Summer Reading List

To me, summer is about reading. On the beach, a plane, by the pool, or just in my back yard with a huge iced coffee, my kindle is pretty much glued to my side. I almost always need something new to read (which is why my parents bought me a kindle in the first place, they got tired of constantly driving me to the book store). I scour the internet for book recommendation lists hoping to find something I want to read.

So I figured, why not make a list of my own?

Imma do something a little different with mine though.

I’ll let the lovely people over at goodreads.com handle the summaries of the books for me (I’ve linked to all the book pages) and instead talk a little about why I love each book. I’m a ridiculous human being who kinda sucks at putting my feelings into words so this will be interesting.

Let’s see how many times I use the words

1. Heartbreaking

2. Beautiful

3. Interesting.

ANNNNNDDD GO!….

being+henry+davidBeing Henry David- Cal Armistead

I didn’t really know what to expect from this book. Over Christmas break I was in a serious reading funk. Nothing was holding my interest and I couldn’t find anything that I wanted to read. Finally, I found some list of “The Best YA novels of 2013” or something like that. This book intrigued me. I mean a book about a boy with amnesia that references Henry David Thoreau and other works of transcendentalism? I was sold. Sure enough I bought the book and started it, and suddenly it was 4:30am and I was still awake. Despite my funk, this book held my interest for so long, even though I had to get up kind of early the next morning, I couldn’t help but read all through the night. It’s a mysterious and interesting book with some great characters (seriously even though he’s like 10 years older than me I totally fell in love with Thomas) and has some great, and super accurate, descriptions of small New England town life. With an unique plot this book will appeal to everyone, not just fans of transcendentalism.

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The Beginning of Everything- Robyn Schneider

At first glance, this book might look like a typical romance novel where the main character gets bored of his life and meets a new girl who brings him on fascinating journeys and changes his life for him. At second glance it’s so much more. It’s really that the main character’s life gets changed after one accident (or tragedy, as this book studies everyday tragedies that shape our life). He’s already changing when he meets the “dream girl,” who is really nothing of the sort. Who is dealing with her own tragedy and  secrets and isn’t as whimsical as she seems. This book is witty, nerdy, heartbreaking, and funny all at the same time. Seriously, all I love from life is a good pun and this book has plenty, so just that makes it worth reading. This book is written in a similar style to John Green, particularly Paper Towns (read Amanda’s review of Paper Towns here), but is still completely original. So if you’re a fan of his books, I would suggest reading this one next.

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 Where the Stars Still Shine- Trish Doller 

The best part of this book was the study of family dynamics. This book is kind of heavy, I mean the main character was kidnapped by her own mother and later abused by her mom’s boyfriend, but the book isn’t about that. It’s about her moving on with her life. Callie’s father was a brilliant character. He was patient and caring and understood what Callie was dealing with. She was abruptly introduced into a huge greek family after being on her own with her mother for most of her life. It’s really interesting to see the test of loyalties. She still feels tied to her mother, despite everything that happened. This story belongs just as much to Callie’s family as it does to Callie. It’s interesting from a psychological perspective and a really intriguing book.

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Tiger Lily- Jodi Lynn Anderson

This book is absolutely amazing. The dedication of the book “to the girls with messy hair and thirsty hearts” captures the tone of this book in a way I could never. My words cannot do my feelings for this book justice. I’m obsessed with Peter Pan, so I’ll read anything and everything relating to that story, or Neverland. This book exceeded all of my expectations. It’s a darker interpretation of the story I love and it shed light on Tiger Lily, an often overlooked and cast aside character, but narrated by Tinkerbell. It’s heartbreaking poetic and something everyone should read. My personal twitter bio is a quote from this book, because it perfectly summed up my thoughts about life in a far more beautiful way than I could ever hope.  I’m in love with this book and anyone, Peter Pan fan or not, should check it out.

P.S. My twitter bio is this quote: “Sometimes I think that maybe we’re all just stories. Like we may as well just be words on a page, because we’re only what we’ve done and what we are going to do.”  Everyone go read this book. Now.

The Night Circus UK

The Night Circus- Erin Morgenstern

This book is absolutely beautiful. There’s no other way to describe it. It’s incredibly rich in detail, the circus felt just as much a character than the people in the book, it is alive. It’s nuanced and mysterious. It feels like it was jumping off the pages and coming to life, and could make an absolutely stunning movie if given the right director (apparently the movie rights are in the works, but no casting or director information is available at this time). I’ve never wanted to visit a fictional place more than I have wanted to experience Le Cirque des Rêves (okay, maybe it’s tied with Hogwarts). The story is told in fragments, but that makes it all the more mysterious and magical. This book captures the feeling of magic and wonder in a realistic way. It focuses on what makes life magical and amplifies it. Everyone should read this book, because it itself is magic.

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The Maze Runner Trilogy- James Dashner

A couple of years ago my town was hit by Hurricane Irene the week I was supposed to start my Junior Year of high school. But when your entire town loses power and your high school gets used as a shelter of sorts, your first day of school gets a little postponed. My house was without power for like seven days (and this was not the first time I’ve gone extended periods of time without power, it’s pretty common in my hometown, and yet my dad still won’t get a generator) because the power company messed up and fixed every house on my power grid except then they forgot to flip a switch that gave power to my how and 5 others (not that I’m still bitter about the incident or anything).

During this time I was pretty bored and one day my cousin texted me asking if I had ever read the books Divergent and The Maze Runner neither of which I had. So needing something to read desperately I found the nearest source of WiFi possible and downloaded both. I loved both but The Maze Runner trilogy had a much more lasting impact on me. I love the story and I love the characters. Like I REALLY love the characters. The cast is what makes this book perfect. It’s a mysterious and action packed book/trilogy (there’s also a prequel but it’s super freaky and I had to stop reading it in the middle for a bit because I started to get nightmares oops). It edges more towards the post-apocalyptic genre than it does dystopia (so no, it’s not the next Hunger Games), and feels kind of like a futuristic, higher stakes in a different way, Lord of the Flies. It’s also being made into a movie which will premier in September (trailer) with an A+ cast who all seem to wonderfully understand the book/their characters. The stills are amazingly gorgeous, the trailer is beautiful, and so is the cast and I’m really pumped. Also this book is amazing.

(I promise to stop rambling about the book if you promise to read it deal?)

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Fangirl- Rainbow Rowell 

I’m a huge fan of Rainbow Rowell. Her books are amazing and she seems like a really awesome person (her tumblr is adorable). While I absolutely loved Eleanor and Park and Attachments is perf, I think Fangirl might be my fave. The charm of this book comes from the fact that it doesn’t sugar coat the negative parts of Cath’s life, but the book never feels too heavy. While the negative is there, so is the positive, which is how life really works. The characters in this book are all so rich and wonderful. I cant’t think of a character I didn’t like at some point when I first read it. While the book uses the concept of fanfiction as a large part of the book, I’ve never been big into fanfiction and I enjoyed this book just the same.While it might enhance your understanding of the main character, it won’t be a problem when you read. If you’re about to start college and feel a little worried, I would recommend this book to ease some of your nerves, because it shows that everyone has different college experiences and there isn’t “right” way to enjoy college.

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Entwined- Heather Dixon 

I’m a sucker for fairytale retellings (Once Upon a Time is my jam, as is Into the Woods). Even though I wasn’t familiar with the fairytale this book is retelling (The Twelve Dancing Princesses btw) the fact that it was an interpretation is what first caught my eye. This book is, descriptively, beautiful. The stunning cover matches the writing style of the book. It uses dance, magic, love, and death to tell a beautiful story. I found myself absorbed from start to finish, not just because I wanted to know where the story was going, but also because I wanted to take in the scenery and the words being used. There are many characters (like 12 princesses) which gets a little confusing, but there was at least one or two traits that defined each character. This book is a unique experience that is almost addictive.

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Elsewhere- Gabrielle Zevin 

I read this book forever ago, and yet it still remains one of my favorites. I bought it in like sixth grade because I had a Borders (RIP Borders) gift card, but none close to me in the town I lived in, so when I finally got to one I randomly bought the first book that looks kind of interesting. Then it sat on my shelf for like a year and a half before I finally got around to reading it. It’s a pretty easy read, could be done in a day or two, but it’s a great book. It’s a book that plays on the idea of afterlife, without being heavy. As well, despite being about death, it’s really a book about celebrating life. Everyday occurrences are just as important as those that seem rare and exciting. As well, it focuses on the idea that most people view “one-day” as when they will be happy, but emphasizes the fact that there are things in everyday life that should be celebrated and make you happy. It’s remained one of my favorite books over the course of many years, which is a good test of time.

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Things Not Seen- Andrew Clements 

This is a book about a boy who inexplicably wakes up invisible one morning. It shouldn’t be realistic, but it is. Probably because this book is about a lot more than just invisibility. Andrew Clements is best known for his children’s literature (Frindle anyone?) but when this book randomly appeared in my home one day (seriously I literally have no idea where it came from it was just randomly on my bookshelf one day like wtf) I was intrigued to read a book by an author I really loved as a child aimed at an older generation. I was not disappointed. The story between Bobby (the invisible boy) and Alicia (the blind girl) was so fascinating and I couldn’t put this book down. Alicia was SUCH an important character and I think she might be one of my favorite characters from a book I’ve read. I think about this book a lot, especially this year when I experienced my first Chicago winter. When I first read this book I thought his excessive bundling up was weird, but NOPE it’s super necessary even if you’re visible. I would say it’s part of a trilogy, but it’s more like there are two companion novels. The other two books were good, but didn’t hold quite the emotional grip the first book did.

Okay stop reading this post and start reading one of these books.

Peace

Colleen

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