books and reading

Summer Reading List: Best Bets

Summer is almost here (is it here yet?  I’m not sure), and with the arrival of summer comes a lot of planning and plotting on my end with regard to what I want to read.  I love to make lists.  We know this.  We also know that I love to make lists of books.  In keeping with that theme, I thought I’d throw out some great reads for this summer.  They’re arranged loosely by theme.  Without further ado, here we go!

Beaches (Without the Depressing 80s-Movie Connotation)

  • The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han: Belly is finally turning 16 and hopes it will be the impetus that helps the boys at her summer house finally notice her.  But nothing goes quite the way she hoped, and Belly discovers that growing up means dealing with heavier stuff.
  • Invincible Summer by Hannah Moskowitz: Chase spends every summer with his family at their beach house.  Over the course of several summers, things change for everyone.  This is the darkest timeline, y’all.
  • Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler: Anna and Frankie have 20 days in Zanzibar Bay to sun, have fun, and flirt.  But both girls are recovering from the loss of Frankie’s brother, and each one has her own secrets.
  • The Summer of Skinny-Dipping by Amanda Howells: Mia’s spending her summer in the Hamptons with her snooty cousins, and it looks to be pretty boring: until she meets the boy next door.

Exotic Locales (Because Anywhere’s Better Than Where You Are)

  • 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson: Ginny’s aunt left her a series of letters that form a sort of scavenger hunt around Europe, but they require her to come out of her shell and take a chance on life–and maybe even love.
  • Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard: When Bria decides to travel around South America, she’s met with doubt.  When she ditches her tourist group to backpack with a group of young people, she discovers herself and rekindles her passion for art.
  • Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins: Anna’s spending her senior year at a school in Paris, and it’s there that she discovers the beauty of the city and the beauty of a boy–Etienne St. James.
  • Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley: On the night they all graduate, a group of teens roam the streets of Melbourne, finding and creating art and forging connections.
  • Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor: Karou, a mysterious blue-haired girl, finally discovers what sets her apart from everyone else.  But can she handle the truth–and does she want to?

Road Trips…The Broke Girl’s Vacation

  • Saving June by Hannah Harrington: A girl mourns the death of her sister and takes a cross-country road trip to California with her best friend and a cute, music-obsessed boy.
  • The Disenchantments by Nina LaCour: After graduation, Colby and his female friends (who are also an all-girl band) take a trip to play some gigs and figure out life.
  • In Honor by Jessi Kirby: After her brother dies while serving in Iraq, Honor travels across the country with his best friend in order to fulfill his last request.
  • How to Be Bad by Lauren Myracle, Sarah Mlynowski, and E. Lockhart: Three girls who each have their own secrets wind up on a crazy road trip through Florida where hijincks ensue and nothing is as it seems.
  • Thou Shalt Not Road Trip by Antony John: Luke’s religious-themed book becomes a best-seller, and his publisher sends him on a road trip to promote it.  But when his crush ends up on the trip, too, Luke just might learn a thing or two about loosening up, redefining faith, and having fun.

This Song Will Change Your Life

  • Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony John: Piper finds herself the manager of a local band.  There’s only one problem: Piper is deaf.  Can she help them make a name for themselves?
  • Being Friends with Boys by Terra Elan McVoy: Charlotte has always been content to sit in the background and write songs for her guy friends.  But when a chance to sing arises and puts strain on her friendships, she has to decide what’s worth it–and what isn’t.
  • Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway: When Audrey breaks up with her musician boyfriend, she doesn’t expect him to write a song about her.  But he does, and when the song becomes a national sensation, she’s thrust into the spotlight.
  • Sister Mischief by Laura Goode: Esme and her all-girl hip-hop group try to shake things up at their suburban high school, but they’re met with some resistance: the school decides to ban everything having to do with hip-hop culture.  Can the girls prove that hip-hop is important–and has a place at their school?
  • Somebody Everybody Listens To by Suzanne Supplee: Retta Lee Jones can sing, and she moves to Nashville to prove it.  Things don’t go exactly as planned, and she struggles to get by, all the while trying to make it as a singer.

Give Me Some Lovin’ (Straight Up Romance)

  • Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins: No one writes a romance like Perkins, and in this one, Lola struggles with her ongoing feelings for her former neighbor (who seems to be back) as well as her own identity.
  • My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick: Samantha Reed has watched the Garretts next door for as long as she can remember.  The summer before senior year, everything changes when she starts hanging out with Jase Garrett and gets invited into their loud, messy home.
  • The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith:  Hadley’s on a plane to England to attend her father’s wedding when she meets the charming (and charmingly British) Oliver, and the two hit it off, big time.  Is it possible to fall in love with someone you’ve just met?

If that’s not enough for you, I don’t know what is.  What do you think?  Did I miss any genres or concepts? What are you looking forward to reading this summer?

10 thoughts on “Summer Reading List: Best Bets

    1. Thanks. I feel like the list could go on forever…and in my head, it kind of does. So many books.

  1. This is a great list! I may have to steal the Beaches portion for my “Beach Reads” book club this summer 🙂

    1. Thanks! It was hard to narrow it down–if you decide to read some of those titles for your book club, I recommend Twenty Boy Summer especially–it’s much deeper than first meets the eye.

  2. I hear you on list making love. Especially reading lists. Those tickle my old bones. And you have a great list. Graffiti Moon rocked my socks. Anna and the French Kiss? Let me confess. I loved this books to pieces when I was reading it, went around crowing about my love and then later, my friend sat me down and talked to me about the contents about the novel. And well…let’s just say, things weren’t the same after that. Anyway, awesome list, awesome books. Happy reading.

    1. Okay, I have to know what you and your friend talked about with regard to Anna and the French Kiss. TELL ME! You can email it if it’s too long for a blog comment, but I must know!

      1. Okay, you haven’t read the book yet so I don’t know whether you’ll be in love with it like I was or not in love with it at all like my friend was but basically the novel deals with what is essentially cheating though it is not called that but once you realize that cheating thing, it becomes a huge roadblock to your enjoyment. Or curtails the enjoyment you may have been deriving from the whole thing. Also, the way one of the friends was treated was a sticking point for my friend who thought it incredibly distasteful. But my thing was the cheating (which rears its ugly head in Lola as well). And it was also present in The Fine Art of Truth or Dare which I reviewed (more like rant disguised as a review). I’d love to discuss the book with you once you’re done and see if which way you fell.

      2. I actually have read the book (both of Perkins’s books, actually). The address for the post is wrong because the post originally started as something else (before I changed my mind).

        I guess I don’t have a problem with the fact that there’s cheating involved in any of the books. It’s been a while since I read Anna, but I remember her feeling some guilt about what was going on. I also don’t think it’s always possible to control how you feel about a person, and I thought Perkins did a great job of conveying the fact that we don’t choose who we fall in love with. I think there are complicated issues in the book, sure (as well as with Lola), but I think that’s what makes the books so interesting and ultimately rewarding. Things aren’t totally black and white.

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