Well, as I spend the second to last Friday of my summer vacation cuddled on the sofa with a good book–I realized I hadn’t shared my summer book list with you!
Usually I begin the summer with a pile of books that have come from my classroom shelves. 80% of those titles are recommendations from my students I couldn’t squeeze into the school year, but I want to be able to talk to them about when they return as seventh graders this year. The other 20% are titles I bought for our class library, but were just too perfect to leave on the shelf all summer long without a good read through. Add to that pile the books that I snag from the library, my fellow bookies, and some of my favorite Instagram feeds–and I always have more of a mountain, than a realistic pile of books to occupy my time. I’ve decided to only share books that I read this summer and LOVED.
The Assistants by Camille Perri
The Assistants is the book that every single millennial stuck in an entry-level job needs to read. At first I wasn’t sure if I would like this, because I really don’t enjoy typical “office” life snapshots. But Tina is hilarious, and I identified a little bit too well with her internal conflict of how to handle student loan debt. Plus Perri gives us this line that just makes me want to move to NYC and be a part of the scenery…
“The Chelsea Bow Tie was my favorite theater in the city because it was often filled with peacocking gay men wearing bow ties, and I just couldn’t resist the obviousness of that. Plus, in the case of a film starring a diva icon — Cher, Barbra Streisand, Sarah Jessica Parker, James Franco — full tuxedos or outlandish costumes were never out of the question. ”
Watching Edie by Camilla Way
For those of us who are a “wee” bit obsessed with books like You, Gone Girl, Girl On The Train, and all of the other excitable thriller novels of the past five years–this will have you smitten.
The one thing that really sets apart Watching Edie from almost all of the other books that I’ve read and really enjoyed in this genre, is that we have two females engaging in the plot instead of a stereotypical male antagonist lurking in the shadows.
Edie isn’t your typical damsel in distress, or mystery solving sleuth. I loved her story, and really felt for her being in small town America, pregnant, and basically alone. You’ll start reading this and not stop until you turn the last page.
Black Eyed Susans by Julia Heaberlin
Oh. My. God. I got this book in the mail, started reading around 7:00 am and then could not physically remove myself from the clutches of its pages until I was finished. This is the one book that really scared me this summer.
“I am the star of screaming headlines and campfire ghost stories. I am one of the four Black-Eyed Susans. The lucky one.”
Well that “lucky one” is Tessa. Who at age sixteen was found in a grave barley alive surrounded by three murdered corpses. The story follows her almost twenty years later, and shows how the ghosts of her past continue to haunt her. Is her killer returning to complete what they started? You have to get a copy and find out because, SUSPENSE.
My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She’s Sorry by Fredrik Backman
I was already a massive fan of Fredrik Backman’s after I read his story A Man Called Ove last year. I loved it, and fell in love with Backman’s ability to create some seriously amazing characters. When this book came out I bought it, but it sat on my desk at work for a month before I had a chance to bring it home to read.
Elsa is seven, and she’s not like the other kids. Her grandma is banana brains crazy. Elsa loves finding comfort in her grandmothers ridiculous stories as she falls asleep at night. Grandma is a really fun/good kind of crazy. The kind of crazy that leaves Elsa a bunch of letters when she dies. The letters send Elsa on an adventure to help her grandmother apologize to all of the people that she has wronged. This one will crawl into your heart and live there for a really long time.
The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner
I already spilled my guts over how much of a girl crush I had on this book, and Jeff Zentner. If you want to read my whole review, and get some more in depth reasoning to buy this RIGHT FREAKIN’ NOW– you can find it here. But for now I’ll just leave you with the fact that this book will change your life. That this book will make you wish you were a character of Jeff’s. That this book will leave you with all of the feelings. Just read my favorite quote and I dare you not to buy it.
“She’s it. She’s my everything. She’s the standard by which I’ll judge beauty for the rest of my life. I’ll measure every touch to her breath on my skin. Every voice to her voice. Every mind to her mind. My measure of perfection. The name carved into me. If I could, I would lie with her under these stars until my heart burst.”
The Way I Used To Be by Amber Smith
This book will make your heart race, and in the best of ways. This was another selection from our traveling book club that none of us could resist one-sitting reading. The only other book that I could compare this to would be Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak but they are so incredibly different, the comparison is still lost. Unlike many other books where the character is the victim of sexual assault, you find that out right away. Within the first ten pages of book you will want to scream, cry, and fight for Eden. Then you will spend the rest of the book begging for anyone to listen to what she needs so desperately to say.
“Whatever he thinks that I am, I’m not. And whatever he thinks my body is, it isn’t. My body is a torture chamber. It’s a fucking crime scene.”
The First Time She Drowned by Kerry Kletter
Okay so I’ll admit this book was read while school was still in session, but I reread it over the summer again because it is JUST THAT GOOD. If you only read one book this year, this needs to be it. Just trust me. And read the full review here. While you do that I’ll leave you with some of my favorite quotes from novel.
“I have seen this happen before, how one act of parental kindness across a history of cruelty can make a kid in here forgive everything that came before simply because they have been deprived of kindness for so long.”
“Suddenly I don’t even care that I fell, because of that brief moment when I stood, and I wonder if this is what other people seem to have that I do not–this courage to fall because they have memory of standing.”