Saturday, July 8, 2017

8 Ocean-Related Books to Read for Our Awesome, Epic Summer Reading Mission

It's officially July, which means summer is in full swing! I don't know about you, but I've been reading a lot more lately. Something about summer just screams time to read!

But sometimes we need a little more motivation to read (I know I do, all the time), which is why we've got a mission for you. An awesome, epic summer reading mission. One of the prompts for this mission is this:

Read a book related to the beach or ocean. This can be a book with a beach on the cover or something that takes place on the ocean (pirates, anybody?) or any other crazy connection. Be creative!
This prompt was one of the hardest ones for me. If that's you too, never fear! Jaime Heller and I (Sky Destrian) have assembled some of our favorite ocean-related books to read. Grab your trident and let's begin!

Second Star by Alyssa B. Sheinmel

Recommended for fans of: contemporaries, retellings, stunning plot twists

A twisty story about love, loss, and lies, this contemporary oceanside adventure is tinged with a touch of dark magic as it follows seventeen-year-old Wendy Darling on a search for her missing surfer brothers. Wendy’s journey leads her to a mysterious hidden cove inhabited by a tribe of young renegade surfers, most of them runaways like her brothers. Wendy is instantly drawn to the cove’s charismatic leader, Pete, but her search also points her toward Pete's nemesis, the drug-dealing Jas. Enigmatic, dangerous, and handsome, Jas pulls Wendy in even as she's falling hard for Pete. A radical reinvention of a classic, Second Star is an irresistible summer romance about two young men who have yet to grow up--and the troubled beauty trapped between them. - Goodreads
Sky: Second Star is one of my favorite books. It's an exciting retelling with a sparkling aesthetic, and the prose is absolutely gorgeous. Each of the love interests is completely lovable, so it's impossible to choose one. I love this book's take on aspects of the classic story of Peter Pan, such as the Lost Boys, Tinker Bell, and Neverland. (Also, it completely blew my mind.)

Girl Out of Water by Laura Silverman

Recommended for fans of: contemporaries, surfing, coming-of-age stories

Anise Sawyer plans to spend every minute of summer with her friends: surfing, chowing down on fish tacos drizzled with wasabi balsamic vinegar, and throwing bonfires that blaze until dawn. But when a serious car wreck leaves her aunt, a single mother of three, with two broken legs, it forces Anise to say goodbye for the first time to Santa Cruz, the waves, her friends, and even a kindling romance, and fly with her dad to Nebraska for the entire summer. Living in Nebraska isn’t easy. Anise spends her days caring for her three younger cousins in the childhood home of her runaway mom, a wild figure who’s been flickering in and out of her life since birth, appearing for weeks at a time and then disappearing again for months, or even years, without a word.
Complicating matters is Lincoln, a one-armed, charismatic skater who pushes Anise to trade her surfboard for a skateboard. As Anise draws closer to Lincoln and takes on the full burden and joy of her cousins, she loses touch with her friends back home – leading her to one terrifying question: will she turn out just like her mom and spend her life leaving behind the ones she loves? - Goodreads
Sky: I really enjoyed this book because it's a personal, heartfelt look at one girl's journey and struggle. It also has diversity—a diverse love interest and a diverse friend group. I loved Lincoln, the love interest, because he was so different and so dynamic. The emotional cadences of this book hit all the right notes, and the emotions are up and down like the tide. I love this book so much and look back on it with fondness.

The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

Recommended for fans of: fantasy, humor, Greek mythology

Percy Jackson is a good kid, but he can't seem to focus on his schoolwork or control his temper. And lately, being away at boarding school is only getting worse—Percy could have sworn his pre-algebra teacher turned into a monster and tried to kill him. When Percy's mom finds out, she knows it's time that he knew the truth about where he came from, and that he go to the one place he'll be safe. She sends Percy to Camp Half Blood, a summer camp for demigods (on Long Island), where he learns that the father he never knew is Poseidon, God of the Sea. Soon a mystery unfolds and together with his friends—one a satyr and the other the demigod daughter of Athena—Percy sets out on a quest across the United States to reach the gates of the Underworld (located in a recording studio in Hollywood) and prevent a catastrophic war between the gods. - Goodreads
Sky: I came to the party a little late for this one since I just read it last year, but I still enjoyed it so much. It's a hilarious, witty, and original tale with plenty of excitement and surprising plot twists. It offers unique takes and modern spins on the Greek gods, which I really enjoyed. Even though it's meant for middle grade readers, this book has something in it for everyone. Percy's adventures will keep you guessing and laughing out loud. (P.S. - my favorite character is Grover!)

Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen

Recommended for fans of: contemporaries and romance
Also recommended for: fellow insomniacs

It’s been so long since Auden slept at night. Ever since her parents’ divorce—or since the fighting started. Now she has the chance to spend a carefree summer with her dad and his new family in the charming beach town where they live.
A job in a clothes boutique introduces Auden to the world of girls: their talk, their friendship, their crushes. She missed out on all that, too busy being the perfect daughter to her demanding mother. Then she meets Eli, an intriguing loner and a fellow insomniac who becomes her guide to the nocturnal world of the town. Together they embark on parallel quests: for Auden, to experience the carefree teenage life she’s been denied; for Eli, to come to terms with the guilt he feels for the death of a friend.
In her signature pitch-perfect style, Sarah Dessen explores the hearts of two lonely people learning to connect. - 
Sky: I've read many of Sarah Dessen's books, but this is one of my favorites, and one that most sticks out in my mind. It takes place entirely in a beach town, so the feel of the book is supremely beachy (you can almost feel the salt spray in your hair!). Each character in this book stands out, including Auden's friends. But my favorite character is Eli. He's so different from most YA love interests, and I found myself intrigued by him from the start (just like Auden). However, my ultimate favorite part about this book was the fact that Auden and Eli were insomniacs. I deal with insomnia as well, so reading about how Eli and Auden were up 'til all hours of the night made me feel so much less alone. It was adorable to read about how that bonded them, and their slow burn romance over late-night adventures is something that still makes me extremely happy.

This Is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith

Recommended for fans of: contemporaries, romances, light-hearted reads

When teenage movie star Graham Larkin accidentally sends small town girl Ellie O'Neill an email about his pet pig, the two seventeen-year-olds strike up a witty and unforgettable correspondence, discussing everything under the sun, except for their names or backgrounds.
Then Graham finds out that Ellie's Maine hometown is the perfect location for his latest film, and he decides to take their relationship from online to in-person. But can a star as famous as Graham really start a relationship with an ordinary girl like Ellie? And why does Ellie want to avoid the media's spotlight at all costs?
- Jennifer E. Smith's website
Sky: This book was recommended by TFI alumnus Jameson C. Smith in a post about our favorite summer reads. (Definitely check that post out, you might find some additional recommendations!) I picked it up based on that, and I adored it. It's a sweet, happy romance that's just filled with sunshine and adorableness. It'll also fill you with all the ocean vibes, so that's a plus! All in all, it's a perfect summer read (Jameson wasn't wrong!).

Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas

Recommended for fans of: thrillers, wild plot twists, stories told in a unique format

It's Spring Break of senior year. Anna, her boyfriend Tate, her best friend Elise, and a few other close friends are off on a debaucherous trip to Aruba that promises to be the time of their lives. But when Elise is found brutally murdered, Anna finds herself trapped in a country not her own, fighting against vile and contemptuous accusations.
As Anna sets out to find her friend's killer, she discovers hard truths about her friendships, the slippery nature of truth, and the ache of young love.
As she awaits the judge's decree, it becomes clear that everyone around her thinks she is not just guilty, but dangerous. When the truth comes out, it is more shocking than one could ever imagine... -
Sky: This is on my list of top favorite books ever. It's told through narrative and other things, like police interviews and news articles. Its unique format works in its favor. I absolutely love the characters in this one. Each of them is intriguing, but not too lovable—because you want to know who did it, of course! This book isn't a marathon, it's a sprint to the end to find out how it ends. And when you get there, it will blow. your. mind.

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

Recommended for fans of: mythological beasts, heart-pounding thrills, and island life
It happens at the start of every November: the Scorpio Races. Riders attempt to keep hold of their water horses long enough to make it to the finish line. Some riders live. Others die.
At age nineteen, Sean Kendrick is the returning champion. He is a young man of few words, and if he has any fears, he keeps them buried deep, where no one else can see them.
Puck Connolly is different. She never meant to ride in the Scorpio Races. But fate hasn’t given her much of a chance. So she enters the competition — the first girl ever to do so. She is in no way prepared for what is going to happen. - Goodreads
Jaime: The Scorpio Races is one of those stories that blew me away. It's full of twists and turns, dangerous, heart-pounding moments that make you want to scream, and a slow but beautiful unfolding of characters. The story, the characters, the words—it's all breathtaking. While it might seem like a glorified horserace (with man-eating horses), there is more to it than that. It's a story about a girl and a boy and a race and how it changes them.

The Sandcastle Empire by Kayla Olson

Recommended for fans of: dystopians, thrillers, conspiracy stories
When all hope is gone, how do you survive?
Before the war, Eden’s life was easy—air conditioning, ice cream, long days at the beach. Then the revolution happened, and everything changed.
Now a powerful group called the Wolfpack controls the earth and its resources. Eden has lost everything to them. They killed her family and her friends, destroyed her home, and imprisoned her. But Eden refuses to die by their hands. She knows the coordinates to the only neutral ground left in the world, a place called Sanctuary Island, and she is desperate to escape to its shores.
Eden finally reaches the island and meets others resistant to the Wolves—but the solace is short-lived when one of Eden’s new friends goes missing. Braving the jungle in search of their lost ally, they quickly discover Sanctuary is filled with lethal traps and an enemy they never expected.
This island might be deadlier than the world Eden left behind, but surviving it is the only thing that stands between her and freedom. -
Jaime: I recently finished The Sandcastle Empire and I was left in shock at how beautiful this book is. Yes, it has plenty of suspenseful, creepy moments with dangerous island elements that could give The Hunger Games a run for its money. But there's also a lot of heart to it, and it comes in the form of the main character Eden. Her first person POV takes the concept of this story and whisks it away into something more profound than most YA novels. There are deep truths hidden on this island, and this is one novel you don't want to miss.

What ocean-related books do you recommend?


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