So, what books should you read this summer?
This list is definitely not every book that you should add to your TBR for this summer. You still have classics, like Percy Jackson, Pride and Prejudice, Alice in Wonderland and summer reading books. If you haven’t read any of those books, definitely check them out. As a disclaimer, I’ll be using “book-lingo” a bit in this article. If you’re not familiar with any of the terms, don’t worry, there’s a key at the end of the article.
Now, without further ado, here are some of the best books I’ve read in the last few months that you, without a doubt, need to read this summer.
Under Rose-Tainted Skies by Louis Gornall:
Plot blurb: This book is a great portrayal of severe mental health struggles and falling in love. Norah is 17-years-old who has severe OCD, anxiety and agoraphobia. Until recently she was a “normal” teenager living a “normal” life. The book opens as Norah is about to go to her therapist appointment with Dr. Reeves. Within the first 10 pages of the book, Norah has already had a panic attack. Her mother, who is the best, is able to help Norah calm down. She has a truly awesome support system made up of her mom and her therapist. But when a boy moves in next door, her world flips. How on earth is Norah going to flirt with the boy next door if she can’t even leave her house. Maybe she won’t need to.
One of my favorite quotes: “And you know what I realized?”
“When people say weird, what they really mean is different. And difference has never been a bad thing.”
My thoughts: I loved this book. It was realistic, honest, and there was legitimate struggle in it. It showed that people with mental health issues can do things on their own, but also that there are things that are harder to do. I don’t think this book will give you a new OTP or anything, but I would highly recommend that you read this book. Maybe you’ll relate to Norah, and if not you’ll get to see someone with OCD struggle, learn and grow in a realistic way. This is one of those books that you read, and every 5 pages, there’s a quote you want to write down or a moment that makes you go “woah.”
Content Warnings: Mental-health, self-harm, panic/anxiety attacks, language, nondescript s*x, hospitalized parent, home invasions
She Drives Me Crazy by Kelly Quindlen:
Plot blurb: Scottie loses massively to her ex-Girlfriend in the first game since they broke up. Tally broke up with her, just to move schools so she could be on a better basketball team. Scottie knows that basketball means nothing at her school, but at Candlehawk, the preppy school one town over, basketball slingshots you to the top of the popularity charts. After the game, Scottie is maybe a little distracted, and she gets into a car crash with Irene Abraham. Figures, she would crash into the car of her nemesis, and the ultra-popular cheerleader, right after losing a game to her ex. When the girls’ moms come to figure out insurance, they determine that Irene will need a ride to school, since her car is wrecked. Scottie’s mom volunteers her to drive Irene to school. This day just keeps getting worse and worse for Scottie. Scottie comes up with a way to get back at her ex, and to help Irene get into her dream college. Fake dating, high school drama, and heartbreak ensue.
One of my favorite quotes: “Before you can worry about who’s in your passenger seat, you have to learn to drive yourself.”
My thoughts: I really don’t like high-school sports books. They aren’t my thing, but this book came up on TikTok and I figured “hey, why not, if I don’t like it, I’ll dnf.” Well, I started this book and I finished it 48 hours later. Enemies to lovers is great, but apparently, enemies-to-fake-dating-to-lovers is even better. Honestly, this book is a little bit ridiculous, but it could totally happen. This book is so tropey, but in the best way possible. If you like enemies to lovers, fast paced books, sapphic books, coming of age books or books by Becky Albertalli, you’ll like this book.
Content Warnings: Bullying, homophobia, car crashes
Far From the Tree by Robin Benway:
Plot blurb: Grace has lived her whole life being an only child. She’s always known that she’s adopted, but after she puts her own baby up for adoption, she discovers that she’s actually a middle child. Maya grew up with people who look and act nothing like her. She’s energetic and quick to search for bits and pieces of herself within her newly found siblings. Joaquin has spent 17 years in the foster system, and he’s not interested in bonding with his bio-sisters; he’s spent enough time being tossed from house to house that he knows not to trust anyone. The 3 siblings meet, and try to bond, but will they decide to search for their bio-mom?
One of my favorite quotes: “Don’t you get it? That’s what happens when you love someone: they’re brave when you can’t be! I can be brave–for you, for both of us!”
My thoughts: I loved this book so much. If you don’t like books where the perspective shifts characters, you won’t like Far From the Tree – just a warning. Anyway, personally, I love books that shift perspectives, which added to the reading experience for me. Writing style aside, this book is somehow heart wrenching and heart-warming, and touching and emotional. It takes a lot for a book to make me cry, but this one did it, multiple times. I started reading this book, got 3 chapters in and then immediately texted my friend. She then made me restart the books and read it out loud to her, because she couldn’t find a copy quickly enough. We both loved it, and we both cried and laughed, and talked about it way too much. Also, Robin Benway, manages to include so many wonderful quotes about family, be it found family, blood, or adoptive, and picking a favorite quote for this section was unfathomably hard. This is a great contemporary novel about siblings/family, rather than romance as many contemporary novels are. As a side note, yes this book was an option for summer reading last year, but I think it deserves another chance at the spotlight.
Content Warnings: teen pregnancy, foster care system, adoption, cursing, alcoholism
Three is the magic number, so to keep this article from being extensively long, those are my top 3 books to read over the summer. There are plenty more books you should read this summer like Red White and Royal Blue, One Last Stop, A Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, The Hate You Give, The Henna Wars, Girls of Paper and Fire, Her Royal Highness, Ace of Spades, and May the Best Man Win. I haven’t read every one of these books, but the ones I have read were fantastic. The books I just listed that I haven’t read are on my TBR and you should add them to your TBR too.
Book Lingo Key:
TBR-To be read (a list of books that you want to read at some point)
OTP-One true pair/pairing (a couple that you think work really well together)
DNF-Did not finish (a term sometimes used to describe when someone did not finish a book)
Enemies-to-lovers- This is exactly what it sounds like, 2 characters start off hating each other and then they fall in love
Trope- Essentially an overused plot device, like absent fathers or love triangles