It’s the official first day of summer where I live, and I thought that it would be the perfect day to do some summer book recommendations!
There is nothing I love more in the summer than sitting outside by a pool with a great summer standalone novel, and now I’m going to share some of my favorite summer reads with you!
For this post, I am only going to recommend standalone novels to you because I do tend to read more of those in the summer, so don’t expect any series in this recommendations post.
Let’s get started!
1. Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened by Allie Brosh
Synopsis: This is a book I wrote. Because I wrote it, I had to figure out what to put on the back cover to explain what it is. I tried to write a long, third-person summary that would imply how great the book is and also sound vaguely authoritative–like maybe someone who isn’t me wrote it–but I soon discovered that I’m not sneaky enough to pull it off convincingly. So I decided to just make a list of things that are in the book: Pictures. Words. Stories about things that happened to me. Stories about things that happened to other people because of me. Eight billion dollars*. Stories about dogs. The secret to eternal happiness*. *These are lies. Perhaps I have underestimated my sneakiness!
*GASP* A nonfiction book on my blog? Say it ain’t so! I never read nonfiction (it’s just not my thing), but guys. This book is hilarious. Like I was laughing out loud for ninety percent of it (except for a section that just made me want to cry a ton). I loved it, and it’s perfect for laughing with your friends next to the pool. Also, there are tons of relatable pictures that you can point to and tell your friends that it’s them, and who doesn’t like doing that?
2. The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen
Synopsis: Luke is the perfect boyfriend: handsome, kind, fun. He and Emaline have been together all through high school in Colby, the beach town where they both grew up. But now, in the summer before college, Emaline wonders if perfect is good enough. Enter Theo, a super-ambitious outsider, a New Yorker assisting on a documentary film about a reclusive local artist. Theo’s sophisticated, exciting, and, best of all, he thinks Emaline is much too smart for Colby. Emaline’s mostly-absentee father, too, thinks Emaline should have a bigger life, and he’s convinced that an Ivy League education is the only route to realizing her potential. Emaline is attracted to the bright future that Theo and her father promise. But she also clings to the deep roots of her loving mother, stepfather, and sisters. Can she ignore the pull of the happily familiar world of Colby? Emaline wants the moon and more, but how can she balance where she comes from with where she’s going?
This book just looks so summery to me, and it takes place in a beach town so it’s a perfect summer read to take to the beach and lay out in the sun while you binge-read.
3. Someone Like You by Sarah Dessen
Synopsis: Halley has always followed in the wake of her best friend, Scarlett. But when Scarlett learns that her boyfriend has been killed in a motorcycle accident, and that she’s carrying his baby, she was devastated. For the first time ever, Scarlett really needs Halley. Their friendship may bend under the weight, but it’ll never break–because a true friendship is a promise you keep forever.
A bit of a more emotional pick, but it’s a great friendship story and still a very good summer read. It’s short, so it’s a book that you could pick up and finish in the same day if you wanted to. Plus, the cover is gorgeously summery, isn’t it?
4. Prom and Prejudice by Elizabeth Eulberg
Synopsis: It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single girl of high standing at Longbourn Academy must be in want of a prom date. After winter break, the girls at the very prestigious Longbourn Academy become obsessed with the prom. Lizzie Bennet, who attends Longbourn on a scholarship, isn’t interested in designer dresses and expensive shoes, but her best friend, Jane, might be – especially now that Charles Bingley is back from a semester in London. Lizzie is happy about her friend’s burgeoning romance but less than impressed by Charles’s friend, Will Darcy, who’s snobby and pretentious. Darcy doesn’t seem to like Lizzie either, but she assumes it’s because her family doesn’t have money. Clearly, Will Darcy is a pompous jerk – so why does Lizzie find herself drawn to him anyway?
Warning: this book is fluff to the max. Even though it takes place during the school year, this fluffy standalone is perfect if you just want to chill out and laugh at a lighthearted and fun novel. I love this book, and I think that anyone who reads it will think that it’s a good summer read.
5. The DUFF: Designated Ugly Fat Friend by Kody Keplinger
Synopsis: Seventeen-year-old Bianca Piper is cynical and loyal, and she doesn’t think she’s the prettiest of her friends by a long shot. She’s also way too smart to fall for the charms of man-slut and slimy school hottie Wesley Rush. In fact, Bianca hates him. And when he nicknames her “the Duff,” she throws her Coke in his face. But things aren’t so great at home right now, and Bianca is desperate for a distraction. She ends up kissing Wesley. Worse, she likes it. Eager for escape, Bianca throws herself into a closeted enemies-with-benefits relationship with him. Until it all goes horribly awry. It turns out Wesley isn’t such a bad listener, and his life is pretty screwed up, too. Suddenly Bianca realizes with absolute horror that she’s falling for the guy she thought she hated more than anyone.
This book is another one that is a great book to just lay out in the sun and read. It’s a fun read with a considerable bit of emotion and heart to it, and I just couldn’t put it down when I read it. It’s fun to read, and I think it would be a great read to just breeze through during the summer.
6. The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
Synopsis: Set in South Carolina in 1964, The Secret Life of Bees tells the story of Lily Owens, whose life has been shaped around the blurred memory of the afternoon her mother was killed. When Lily’s fierce-hearted black “stand-in mother,” Rosaleen, insults three of the deepest racists in town, Lily decides to spring them both free. They escape to Tiburon, South Carolina–a town that holds the secret to her mother’s past. Taken in by an eccentric trio of black beekeeping sisters, Lily is introduced to their mesmerizing world of bees and honey, and the Black Madonna. This is a remarkable novel about divine female power, a story women will share and pass on to their daughters for years to come.
This one is a pick for those of you who want something more than fluff to read during your summer break. I read this last summer and I actually really enjoyed it (obviously or I wouldn’t have put it on this list). It’s emotional and raw and I think it’s a great read for someone looking for a little more substance in their summer reads.
7. The Astronaut Wives Club by Lily Koppel
Synopsis: As America’s Mercury Seven astronauts were launched on death-defying missions, television cameras focused on the brave smiles of their young wives. Overnight, these women were transformed from military spouses into American royalty. They had tea with Jackie Kennedy, appeared on the cover of Lifemagazine, and quickly grew into fashion icons. Annie Glenn, with her picture-perfect marriage, was the envy of the other wives; JFK made it clear that platinum-blonde Rene Carpenter was his favorite; and licensed pilot Trudy Cooper arrived with a secret that needed to stay hidden from NASA. Together with the other wives they formed the Astronaut Wives Club, providing one another with support and friendship, coffee and cocktails. As their celebrity rose-and as divorce and tragedy began to touch their lives-the wives continued to rally together, forming bonds that would withstand the test of time, and they have stayed friends for over half a century. The Astronaut Wives Club tells the story of the women who stood beside some of the biggest heroes in American history.
This TV show is one of my favorite TV shows of all time (if you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it!) and the book is just as great. I read it last summer after the show ended, and I was really stunned by how much a nonfiction book gripped me. It’s a great book, and I think it’s a great one to read in the summer.
8. Tangled by Carolyn Mackler
Synopsis: Paradise wasn’t supposed to suck. Not the state of being, but a resort in the Caribbean. Jena, Dakota, Skye, and Owen are all there for different reasons, but at Paradise their lives become tangled together in ways none of them can predict. Paradise will change them all. It will change Jena, whose first brush with romance takes her that much closer to having a life, and not just reading about those infinitely cooler and more exciting. It will change Dakota, who needs the devastating truth about his past to make him realize that he doesn’t have to be a jerk just because people think he’s one. It will change Skye, a heartbreakingly beautiful actress, who must come to terms with the fact that for once she has to stop playing a role or face the consequences. And it will change Owen, who has never risked anything before and who will take the leap from his online life to a real one all because of a girl he met at Paradise. . . . From confused to confident and back again, one thing’s certain: Four months after it all begins, none of them will ever be the same.
This book is heartfelt and fun at the same time. You get invested in these characters and it’s a book that takes only a couple of days to read because it’s just so easy to binge-read it. It’s a great beach read, and I think any fan of contemporary YA would love it.
9. All We Know of Heaven by Jacquelyn Mitchard
Synopsis: Bridget Flannery and Maureen O’Malley have been BFFs since forever. Then a brief moment of inattention on an icy road leaves one girl dead and the other in a coma, battered beyond recognition. Family and friends mourn one friend’s loss and pray for the other’s recovery. Then the doctors discover they have made a terrible mistake. The girl who lived is the one who everyone thought had died. Based on a true case of mistaken identity, All We Know of Heavenis a universal story that no one can read unmoved: a drama of ordinary people caught up in an unimaginable tragedy and of the healing power of hope and love.
Okay…hear me out on this one.
This book is freaking fantastic. This book falls in the ranks of the best books that I’ve ever read because it is haunting. I read this book two years ago and I still think about it to this day. I read it in the summer, and even though it’s a drama, it’s worth the read. And even if it’s too heavy for you to read in the summer, it’s definitely a must-read for any season of the year.
And that’s it for my summer recommendations!
These books are all quick reads for the summer, and I hope that you feel like picking one of these beauties up and giving it a read! Come back soon for my next post!
See you next time!