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A Little Summer Lovin’

Ah, Summer. There is something about summer that makes me want to read some summer flings. While during the rest of the year I am drawn towards dark and edgy, there is something about the summer sun shining brightly that makes me want to pick up those books with light, airy covers that suggest we can all have our own summer love story. So here are 10 titles whose covers suggest these might be some great summer reads. Don’t get me wrong, that doesn’t mean there isn’t any meat in between the covers. Also, I haven’t read some of these yet (I add notes!), their covers just speak to me and whisper: we would make a great summer beach reads display.

The Bridge from Me to You by Lisa Schroeder

“Lauren has a secret. Colby has a problem. But when they find each other, everything falls into place.” – from the publisher (Scholastic Point, July, 9780545646017)

Things You Should Know:
There is some poetry in this book.
My God-daughter, a Tween and avid reader, is a HUGE Lisa Schroeder fan and highly recommends them all. All of them.

#Scandal by Sarah Ockler

“Lucy’s learned some important lessons from tabloid darling Jayla Heart’s all-too-public blunders: Avoid the spotlight, don’t feed the Internet trolls, and keep your secrets secret. The policy has served Lucy well all through high school, so when her best friend Ellie gets sick before prom and begs her to step in as Cole’s date, she accepts with a smile, silencing about ten different reservations. Like the one where she’d rather stay home shredding online zombies. And the one where she hates playing dress-up. And especially the one where she’s been secretly in love with Cole since the dawn of time.” – from the Publisher (Simon Pulse, June,

Things You Should Know:
Our MC is an online video gamer who loves to shred zombies. And she’s a girl. I love this.
Also, Ockler is a very dependable author that I enjoy so I am looking forward to this one.

Through to You by Lauren Barnholdt

Opposites attract—and then complicate—in this romantic, relatable novel from the author of Two-way Street and Sometimes It Happens.” – from the publisher (Simon Pulse, July, 9781442434639)

Things You Should Know:
I have started this and am enjoying it.

The Chapel Wars by Lindsey Leavitt

“Holly’s chapel represents everything she’s ever loved in her past. Dax might be everything she could ever love in the future. But as for right now, there’s a wedding chapel to save.” – from the publisher (Bloomsbury, May, 9781599907888)

Things You Should Know:
I enjoyed Leavitt’s previous title Going Vintage very much and am looking forward to this.

The Superlatives: Biggest Flirts by Jennifer Echols

“Tia and Will’s lives get flipped upside down when they’re voted Yearbook’s Biggest Flirts in this sassy novel from the author of Endless Summer and The One That I Want.” – from the publisher (Simon Pulse, May, 9781442474451)

Things You Should Know:
Fun series are always a great go to.
Echols is another author I recommend.

Second Star by Alyssa B. Sheinmel

“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.” – from the publisher (Farrar, Straus, & Giroux, May, 9780374382674) 

Things You Should Know:
This is Peter Pan based.
It gets lost some along the way and has some very mixed reviews, but it is an interesting concept and definitely has that summer vibe.

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

“What if all the crushes you ever had found out how you felt about them… all at once?

Lara Jean Song keeps her love letters in a hatbox her mother gave her. They aren’t love letters that anyone else wrote for her; these are ones she’s written. One for every boy she’s ever loved—five in all. When she writes, she pours out her heart and soul and says all the things she would never say in real life, because her letters are for her eyes only. Until the day her secret letters are mailed, and suddenly, Lara Jean’s love life goes from imaginary to out of control.” – from the publisher (Simon and Schuster, April, 9781442426702)

Things You Should Know:
This book is a really great read. It was recently nominated as a Best Fiction for Young Adult title
This is the first book, there is at least one more to come.
This is one of the few titles I have received that really has any diversity.

How to Meet Boys by Catherine Clark

Find out what happens when you fall for your best friend’s worst enemy in this timeless and hilarious story of a forbidden first love and forever friendship.” – from the publisher (HarperTeen, May,

Things You Should Know:
Clark has crafted a couple of other really great beach read favorites so this should be a good one.

The Last Best Kiss by Claire LaZebnik

“Anna Eliot is tired of worrying about what other people think. After all, that was how she lost the only guy she ever really liked, Finn Westbrook. Now, three years after she broke his heart, the one who got away is back in her life.” – from the publisher (HarperTeen, April, 9780062252289)

The Last Forever by Deb Caletti

Endings and beginnings sit so close to each other that it’s sometimes impossible to tell which is which.

Nothing lasts forever, and no one gets that more than Tessa. After her mother died, it’s all she can do to keep her friends, her boyfriend, her happiness from slipping away. And then there’s her dad. He’s stuck in his own daze, and it’s so hard to feel like a family when their house no longer seems like a home.

Her father’s solution? An impromptu road trip that lands them in a small coastal town at Tessa’s grandmother’s.” – from the publisher (Simon Pulse, April, 9781442450004)

Things You Should Know:
Caletti writes amazing and beautiful love stories and you should read them all. 

And don’t forget Morgan Matson! Great summer reads. 

Summertimes by Lindsay Eland, author of A Summer of Sundays

For some reason when I picture summer evenings, I often think of porch lights—that little glow in the evening dusk and on into the thick night. Porch lights are a little smile on a house, a twinkle that blinks a warm welcome to neighbors or passersby.
            My parents have talked about these.
            How porch lights here turned on every evening and the adults pulled out deck chairs or settled onto swings to watch the kids gather around, scheming. Neighbors took walks and stopped by a porch-lit home to chat, share a cup of coffee, a laugh, some talk about the football game, gossip about this and that. It was a coming-together.
            But those sorts of porch lights—collecting stray bugs and bits of moonlight—are more or less a thing of the past.
            We live farther from each other, retreat into our homes for our evening routines of television shows, movies, coffee, or checking the latest on Facebook, YouTube, iTunes, Twitter, or our favorite blogs.
            Don’t get me wrong, I’m not lamenting these times—they are my times, and each time has its own beauty and its own ugly—like in every bit of change.
            But where are the porch lights now? Are there any left shining out in the darkness?
            Because we humans need light—we crave it.
            In the winter, light offers warmth. In the spring, the promise of growing. In the summer, light means long days and late nights. In the fall, light is the orange glow of a pumpkin or candles on a Thanksgiving table.
            “Stories are light. Light is precious in a world so dark. Begin at the beginning. Tell Gregory a story. Make some light.” ( From The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo)
            I couldn’t’ve said it better.
            Books—stories—are lights.
            They do not ignore the darkness but scatter it with light. 
          They illuminate life, ignite dreams, expand our creativity, and tickle our imaginations. They connect us together in ways that nothing else can—in ways that nothing ever can.
            They crisscross time and space and people and cultures and ages like nothing else and allow us to share and experience and touch something magical with another human being—with millions of other human beings.
            They tell us all that life was, and is, and can be, and is meant to be. 
            And libraries’–beautiful, lovely, sweet-smelling (you know the smell I’m talking about), magical—have always been places filled with that light of ideas, people, culture, knowledge, and creativity. A place that brings us humans—in all our Facebooking and blogging and watching, and texting—together. Libraries are like lighthouses—shining out across a stormy, unpredictable sea.
            Sunday, the main character in my book A Summer of Sundays, knows the power of libraries to bring communities together. Through remodeling the local library, she sees friendships healed. Friendships made.  Ideas, secrets, and lives exchanged. And she discovers herself and where she fits in her world.  
            So where are those glowing porch lights now?
            They’re there.
            They’re called The Little Free Libraries.
            Have you heard of them?
            They are beginning to pop up everywhere—in the middle of neighborhoods, by the entrance to dog parks, on the corners of intersections, by the swing sets at playgrounds.
            The Little Free Libraries form a movement that has sprung up from those book lovers who know the power of books and whose desire is to connect people with literature, with information, with stories, and with humanity itself.
            And these little libraries are giving people what libraries have always given and offered and shared—a place to bring ideas together, strengthen communities, and enrich lives.
            They are small boxes—almost like large birdhouses—with books inside. You take a book in exchange for a book that you slip inside for someone else. Sharing with one another.
            Some neighborhoods decide on a theme for their library: mysteries, children’s books, books by a specific author, sci-fi books, books on a specific culture, books that all have a title that starts with a letter of the alphabet.
            These Little Free Libraries are the new porch lights.
            People are beginning to emerge from their houses, from behind their screens, and gather around these libraries, chatting with one another about books. And chatting about books (as it always has) brings up ideas and discussions, laughter and sharing, friendships and creativity—bringing people together.
            It’s really extraordinary, isn’t it? This power of light—the power of books—the power of libraries—in not only the great, wide world, but in our own small world of a few neighborhood blocks.
            Visit www.littlefreelibrary.org and find out how you can turn on your own glowing porch light in your neighborhood. Then watch what happens.  

About Lindsay Eland: I was born in Cincinnati, grew up in various towns in Pennsylvania, went to college in Oklahoma, and found home in Breckenridge, Colorado. I love to write, read, hike, drink espresso, and attempt to keep my plants alive. I am a laugher and a dreamer. Mix all these together and you get me–a lucky writer of middle grade fiction.  Lindsay is the author of Scones and Sensibility and A Summer of Sundays, both published by Egmont USA.

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.