“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a tired mom in possession of a good family, must be in want of a summer read.”
Okay, so maybe that’s not exactly how the iconic opening line of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice goes, but a girl can paraphrase.
Ever since I was little, I have equated summertime with reading. One childhood memory I can vividly recall is lounging poolside with my mom, as we each took turns reading aloud from Here’s To You, Rachel Robinson by Judy Blume. From faithfully tracking each title I read for the summer reading club at my local library to prioritizing books over clothing for suitcase space before a vacation, I’ve always devoured books during the summer months.
Of course, my summer reading hobby has halted a bit since becoming a mom. I do still read a lot of books, but most feature colorful illustrations and protagonists with names like Ladybug Girl and Fancy Nancy.
Last year, I made it a mission to get back to reading for myself. Through a combination of e-books, audio-books, and good, old-fashioned tangible copies, I’ve rediscovered my love of reading, especially summer reading.
I’ve put together a list of five of my latest recommended reads to add your summer reading list:
Plot Summary: Dannie is a Type-A New York lawyer who plans every aspect of her life, right down to her very own proposal. While sleeping one night, she wakes up in a different apartment next to a man who is most definitely not her fiancé. Her life doesn’t look anything like the one she knows, and she realizes she is five years in the future. After an hour, she awakes back in the present but is haunted by the premonition as she tries to make sense of it.
My Take: I enjoy books with a twist of magical realism, and I thought this was a very intriguing idea. I related a lot to Dannie and her rigid tendencies. When I first read the jacket, I assumed it was going to be a light rom-com type of book, and it wasn’t that. It was much more substantial and somber than I anticipated, but I tore through it. The writing flowed effortlessly, and it left a big impression on me.
Plot Summary: In her waking life, Lydia is reeling from the unexpected death of her fiancé, Freddie. But in her sleeping life, he is very much alive. She alternates between “awake” and “asleep” throughout the course of the novel, eventually having to choose which reality she prefers.
My Take: I’ve always been into stories that use alternate or parallel universes, so the premise alone had me hooked. This was fairly predictable, and I knew the ending almost straight away. Nevertheless, I enjoyed it. The narrator grows in huge and unexpected ways. It’s ultimately a story about self-discovery and healing; who wouldn’t be inspired by that?
Plot Summary: LA girl Nik is humiliated when her hipster boyfriend publicly proposes to her at a Dodgers’ game. After refusing the proposal, she is rescued by handsome Carlos who whisks her away from the onlooking camera crews. Despite trying to deny their chemistry, Nik and Carlos embark on what they both think will merely be a rebound fling.
My Take: This book is FUN. It is a quick and easy read full of romance and some steam. The characters are written to sound like your own friends; you’ll want to hang with and confide in them. too. I wasn’t on the edge of my seat in anticipation while reading this one; it is fluffy and light, but sometimes that’s just what I want in a summer read.
Plot Summary: January Andrews is a romance novelist with writer’s block. She escapes to her late father’s (secret) beach house on the coast of Michigan only to discover the next-door neighbor is none other than her college rival and serious novelist, Augustus Everett. She uncovers some difficult truths about her family and strikes up an unlikely friendship with the boy next door.
My Take: Much like the title suggests, this is the quintessential beach read full of family secrets, a great small-town setting, and quirky townsfolk. The main characters have so much witty banter and actual chemistry that leaps off the page. The leading lady is a bit of a hot mess, but that makes her all the more relatable. I could easily picture this one as a movie as I was reading. I truly loved this book!
Plot Summary: Ally Linden arrives to work on a rainy day only to find out that she hasn’t worked there in five years. She knows her name but little else of her current life. When she learns that she’s been in a dissociative fugue state for two complete days, she works to piece together what happened to her, believing she has witnessed something terrible.
My Take: Suspense/mystery is not typically my go-to genre, but this was piqued my interest. The narrator is not entirely reliable, and sometimes you get the feeling she’s even misleading you as the reader. This is a bit of a slow burn, but the ending is worth it. I was completely surprised by the twists and turns along the way.
Titles on my to-read list:
· The Lies that Bind – Emily Giffin
· 28 Summers – Elin Hilderbrand
· Summer Longing – Jamie Brenner
· Not Like the Movies – Kerry Winfrey
· Party of Two – Jasmine Guillory
· Opposite of Always – Justin Reynolds
· The Half Sister – Sandie Jones
What are some of your must-read books for the summer?