Sitting in the shade of a tree near a river. Or with a toe dragging absentmindedly through the surface of a pool. Or in the air conditioning of a cafe. Or perhaps with toes wiggling in sand as the buzzing of boats on a lake hum in the distance….the options are endless…
Wherever your summer reading takes you, here are nine books to consider tucking into your bag along with your towel and sunscreen.
Let’s start with three Middle Grade suggestions from Ana. She was delighted when she got to read an ARC of one of her favorite authors and she highly recommends A HANDFUL OF STARS by Cynthia Lord (Scholastic) for its story of friendship and its beautiful setting. Friendship isn’t always easy and Ana thought DRIVE ME CRAZY by Terra Elan McVoy was a sweet and funny exploration of two girls who have to figure out how to get along even though they are pretty different (HarperCollins). When Ana read SURVIVAL STRATEGIES OF THE ALMOST BRAVE by Jen White (FSG), she couldn’t stop telling me “this book is crazy awesome — I can’t put it down.” With a clever concept (sort of a reverse home alone story) White gives her readers an adventure they won’t forget when her main character gets left at a gas station by her unpredictable dad with her little sister in tow. This intrepid 12 year old has to be more than “almost brave” to figure things out.
For the YA readers in your life, I recommend ANYTHING COULD HAPPEN by Will Walton, EVERY LAST WORD by Tamara Ireland Stone and SECOND CHANCE SUMMER by Morgan Matson. I just had the honor of reading at the Bay Area Book Festival with both Morgan and Tamara and they are not only ridiculously talented authors who create real and complex characters and situations but also gracious, lovely people — a summer win!
Finally, I’d like to suggest three novels for adults. As you may know, I’m an enormous Dean Bakopoulos fan and loved his first two novels PLEASE DON’T COME BACK FROM THE MOON and MY AMERICAN UNHAPPINESS and I was lucky enough to read an advanced copy of his newest novel SUMMERLONG — a sad, wise, hilariously mature and searingly insightful look at what happens with a group of grown ups who aren’t acting perhaps as “grown up” as they should one hot summer near the college campus of Grinnell in Iowa. Tennessee Williams has nothing on Dean. For more family drama, I recommend THE TURNER HOUSE by the enormously talented Angela Flournoy. Set primarily in Detroit but also in the south, Flournoy explores complicated relationships with siblings (there are 13!) and the way the past (and present) can haunt a family. Speaking of family, Laura Dave writes about a winemaking family in Sonoma in her new novel 800 GRAPES (the number of grapes in a single bottle of wine). I’ve loved everything Dave has written — she is hilarious and has a huge heart — and from what I’m hearing this book will not disappoint as the perfect summer read:
What books are you looking forward to reading this summer? I would love to add to this list!