Summer—it's the time of year for road trips, cookouts, and enjoying the warm days and sunshine. It's also a perfect time to grab a good book!
Today on The Fangirl Initiative, we've gotten together to share some of our favorite summer reads. So grab a cup of lemonade, find your favorite reading spot, and let's talk about books!
Second Star by Alyssa B. Sheinmel
This book is a modern take on Peter Pan. It's set near the ocean, involves surfing, and it has all kinds of summer vibes. The setting is vividly written, the characters are lovable, and there are plot twists galore. The imagery conveyed through this book definitely reminds me of summer through and through. Though it may not be for everyone, I loved the setting and the unique twist on a beloved classic.
Since You've Been Gone & Amy and Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson
Morgan Matson is the queen of writing summery books, so that's why I'm recommending two of her titles. Since You've Been Gone is about an epic list of dares, and Amy and Roger's Epic Detour is about an unexpected road trip. Both of them have the perfect summer setting. Both of them contain epic adventures, lovable characters, and alllll the feels. They're two of my favorite books ever, and they encapsulate the wonder and magic of summer. I could think of no better way to spend your summer than by reading Morgan Matson. (Seriously. Just do it.)
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
Since the film version of this book releases at the end of September, I think Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is the perfect summer read for someone looking for a book and movie pairing. While the book is known for its eerie, Victorian-era pictures, the book actually isn’t as horrific as it seems. Instead, it’s a mystery with a sprinkle of the peculiar--or the fantastical. I was wary at first when I started to read it, but by the end, I was wrapped up in this extraordinary story. If you’re looking for something new and unique, this is definitely the book for you.
Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan
Who wouldn’t want to spend their summers battling mythological beasts and trying to save the world from the wrath of Greek gods and vengeful titans? While Percy Jackson and the Olympians has been out for a number of years, I will never stop recommending this series. It’s full of adventure, humor, and magic. Most of the series takes place during the summer, so it’s fitting to read in the summer. You’ll get swept away to Camp Halfblood as if you’re actually there, and you’ll enjoy your summer learning about Greek mythology in a very non-boring way. Plus, I think you’ll make friends with the other campers--the characters. If you finish this series, you can move on to the second series The Heroes of Olympus for more mythological adventures!
Barakamon by Satsuki Yoshino
If you’re looking for a fun-filled graphic novel series, Barakamon will easily do the job. Seishuu Handa exiles himself to a rural island in order to improve on his calligraphy skills, but he isn’t prepared for the demands of island life or the plucky first-grader Naru. Basically, this manga is adorable and so fun! It centers around island life and the many adventures of Handa and Naru (or I suppose the many misadventures Naru drags Handa into). It’s touching, hilarious, and all-around heartwarming. If you’re looking for something along those lines with a glimpse into Japanese culture, you should definitely read Barakamon.
Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech
My favorite book to read during the summer is Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech. This book is about a young girl named Sal who has to move away from her childhood home. She goes on a trip with her grandparents, and as they travel, she tells them the story of her move and of her friend Phoebe's mystery. This books takes place during summer vacation, so it's a perfect book to read during summer. The book has several storylines to follow which helps me pay attention to the story.
Holes by Louis Sachar
Another great book to read during the summer is Holes by Louis Sachar. Holes is a book about Stanley Yelnats the 4th who is falsely accused of a crime. He is sent to Camp Green Lake as punishment. Camp Green Lake, unfortunately, is neither a lake nor green. It is a steaming hot desert. The boys at the camp are forced to dig holes all day long. This story is interesting, entertaining, and mysterious. The book follows Stanley Yelnats the 4th, a boy trying to cope at Camp Green Lake; Katherine Barlow, a schoolteacher turned criminal because of a tragedy; and Elya Yelnats, Stanley's ancestor who brought bad luck upon the family. People of all ages can enjoy this book.
Summer is the nicest season (in my opinion anyway) here in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, so reading usually has to fit in around all my other summer activities. Because of this, I tend to gravitate toward shorter books, which means lots of middle-grade and younger YA novels! Yay! Here are some of my favorites:
The Ocean At the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
While it's not really younger-YA (I think), Neil Gaiman's The Ocean At the End of the Lane is a perfect summer read. Short, achingly beautiful, and creepily whimsical, it's a book I find myself reaching for whenever I'm on a camping trip and know I'll be able to snatch a few moments here and there in my hammock.
Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer
I adore the Artemis Fowl books. They're snarky, goofy, and at the same time surprisingly clever. I love Eoin Colfer's blend of traditional and whacky and his (sometimes sacrilegious to those of us who are mythology buffs) take on fairy legends.
Finding Angel by Kat Heckenbach
Kat Heckenbach's novel Finding Angel seriously does not get enough love. Everything about it is pure MG/young-YA gold, from the heroine's quest to find her family, to the blending of science into the magic system, to the supporting characters. (Yes, I have a slight fictional-character-crush on Kalek. An elf who plays electric guitar...could you ask for more?!?)
Jameson C. Smith
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares
This is an older YA book (and probably the first YA book I ever read), but it's one I read almost every summer. The story is about four friends—Carmen, Tibby, Lena, and Bee—who are spending the summer apart for the very first time. Each girl has her own share of adventures, good and bad, but no matter what, they love each other like sisters.
I've read this book probably close to ten times and look forward each summer to rereading it because the characters are easy to care about and relate to. While I enjoy almost the entire series, this one remains my favorite. I also love how it focuses not only the girls' friendship but their relationships with their families as well. It's also the kind of book you can read at a leisurely pace or breeze through in a few hours, which makes it perfect for a day full of summer reading!
This Is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith
Another summer-themed YA novel, This Is What Happy Looks Like is the story of Ellie O'Neal and Graham Larkin—a small-town girl and an actor who begin an email correspondence by accident and eventually meet in the small Maine town where Ellie lives.
I've only read this one twice but it quickly became a favorite. It's full of awkward and cute moments, which makes it a good choice when you want a romantic read. But it's also about more than just Ellie's relationship with Graham—it's about dreams and friendship and family too.
What are your favorite summer reads?