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Book Talk This: The Books of Summer

Summers in public libraries are…chaotic.  Loud, busy, and for librarians, it’s often non-stop action.  And while this is very fun (I get to share so many awesome books with people looking for something to read over the summer), it can be exhausting at times.

It’s those times that make me want to dive into a book, looking for an escape into a different kind of summer, and it is in that spirit that I suggest the following books.  Each offers a change of scene, whether you’re thinking summer love, summer jobs, or summer mysteries.
The Summer I Turned Pretty – Jenny Han

Is this the summer you’re going to fall in love?  Wish you could have two equally appealing options, but would prefer to pass on sci-fi revolutions or supernaturals?  Open up The Summer I Turned Prettyby Jenny Han and fall in love along with Belly, who, like every year since forever, is spending the summer at her mom’s best friend’s beach house.  In years past, Belly played tag-along with her older brother Stephen and his friends, Conrad and Jeremiah, while crushing on Conrad from afar, but now that Belly is turning sixteen, things are a-changin’…

Along for the Ride – Sarah Dessen

Is this the summer before you go away to college?  And you still don’t know what you want to do, or who you really are?  In Sarah Dessen’s Along for the Ride, Auden doesn’t sleep at night.  Initially, it was thanks to her parents’ incessant fighting; now it’s because she’s spending the summer with her dad, while getting to know both her frazzled and exhausted new stepmother and the very colicky baby sister keeping her awake.  On a middle-of-the-night wander, Auden meets Eli, a quietly sad town boy who inspires Auden to make some new friendships, finally learn to ride a bike, and to fall in love.
Project Sweet Life – Bret Hartinger

Does the idea of pretending to work as a lifeguard while you and your friends dream up elaborate money-making schemes appeal to you?  Then try Bret Hartinger’s Project Sweet Life.  15-year-olds Dave, Curtis, and Victor are resentful when their dads collectively decide the boys must all get summer jobs.  In protest, they instead pretend to get hired, create fictional schedules, and then set about finding ways to raise the money they’d otherwise be making.  And while the lies prove to be significantly more difficult than actual jobs, those lies do lead to bank robbers, hidden treasure, and life or death situations.  But are they worth it?
Way to Go – Tom Ryan

If you instead dream of getting a summer job that will help you decide who you are and what you want to do with your life, try Tom Ryan’s Way to Go.  In a small Canadian town in 1994, Danny is struggling.  It’s the summer before his senior year, he and his friends seem to be drifting apart, and Danny is afraid he might be gay.  When his mom suggests he help an old friend who’s starting a new restaurant, he welcomes the opportunity – maybe he just needs to meet an interesting girl he hasn’t known his whole life.  Or maybe, just maybe, Danny will find a place in the world where he’ll be comfortable just being himself. 
Where Things Come Back – John Corey Whaley

Would you like to someday spend the summer trying to write your novel?  So would Cullen, the narrator of John Corey Whaley’s Where Things Come Back.  Cullen Witter wants to be a writer someday, and keeps a journal of conversations heard and possible future book titles (he gets to 89, one of which, Zombie Dinner Party, is my personal favorite).  But when his younger brother Gabriel goes missing, Cullen’s plans are derailed, and he instead spends the summer trying to find out what happened to his brother.  This book is great for those who love John Green, and has an ending that will have you arguing with friends about what really happened.
Bad Kitty – Michelle Jaffe

Would you rather spend your summer solving a murder mystery while hanging out in Vegas with your besties?  Join seventeen-year-old Jasmine, aspiring forensic supersleuth, as she tries to catch a killer, avoid dying, deal with a super snobby cousin, and tries to not fall for the hottie who might be a bad guy.  All while suffering footnotes interjected by those previously mentioned best friends.  This book is the perfect read for sitting by the pool in Vegas (or a friend’s backyard, if you, unlike Jas, haven’t been dragged to Vegas by your dad and annoyingly perfect stepmother). 

What are your favorite books about summer?  Please share with us in the comments.


  1. Anonymous says:

    Bad Kitty is a great, fun read. But that's the cover of the book series by Bruel, not the YA book.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I fixed it, thank you. Just got back from vacation and formatted this post at 6:00 a.m. Or, you know, I was just testing you all – tada, you win! But seriously, thank you. Karen

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