Summer officially began on Sunday, so it’s time to think about summer reads! Personally, I tend to read all the super long books and weighty classics I don’t have as much time for in the school year while it’s summer vacation, but I know a lot of readers associate warm weather with fun beach reads like contemporary romances. This is the start of a three-post series in which I recommend books for all three types of readers. Remember to check back for parts two and three!
The YA Beach Reads
What I Thought Was True by Huntley Fitzpatrick
In What I Thought Was True, Huntley Fitzpatrick writes a beautiful story of love, loss, and redefining yourself. Protagonist Gwen Castle worries that after sleeping with three different boys on the high school swim team, she’ll always have a reputation as one of the loose “island girls.” With the start of summer, she would like to forget everything, at least for the season, but Cassidy Sommers has apparently booked a gig as the island “yard boy” and is suddenly popping everywhere Gwen goes. Gwen will have to decide if it is ever possible to start over, with old relationships or with how she sees herself.
Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
Lola and the Boy Next Door is funny, creative, and inspiring. Lola, a colorful personality, narrates the events of her seventeenth year, when next-door cutie/jerk Cricket Bell moves back into the neighborhood. Unfortunately, he is not as big of a jerk as Lola remembers, and despite her older, rock star boyfriend, she begins to find herself interested.
Kissing in America by Margo Rabb
A provocative, thoughtful story about what it means to love and what it means to be a friend, Kissing in America follows sixteen-year-old Eva as she journeys across the country to pursue a romantic relationship. She quickly learns, however, that real life is both unlike and yet unexpectedly similar to the steamy romance novels she likes to read.
OCD, the Dude, and Me by Lauren Roedy Vaughn
OCD, the Dude, and Me has a fantastically fresh and unique voice. The novel is a compilation of Danielle’s writing—school essays (in a conversational style that drives her English teacher insane), emails, personal reflections, post cards, and more—and the look inside her mind is staggering. Danielle is vulnerable, quirky, and real. She relates what makes her uncomfortable, and the lengths she must go to refind her peace (hiding quietly under a pile of messy clothes!) as readily as she relates what makes her strong.