Today I’m sharing 8 books you need on your summer reading list! For some of these, I went with the obvious summer/water/beach theme. I also chose some books that are either really fantastic or I’ve heard amazing things about them. With these on your summer TBR, there’s no way you’ll be let down. I’ve reviewed a couple of these in the past, just click on the titles to view them.
Summer of Sloane by Erin L. Schneider
Disney-Hyperion | May 3, 2016
Warm Hawaiian sun. Lazy beach days. Flirty texts with her boyfriend back in Seattle.
These are the things seventeen-year-old Sloane McIntyre pictured when she imagined the summer she’d be spending at her mom’s home in Hawaii with her twin brother, Penn. Instead, after learning an unthinkable secret about her boyfriend, Tyler, and best friend, Mick, all she has is a fractured hand and a completely shattered heart.
Once she arrives in Honolulu, though, Sloane hopes that Hawaii might just be the escape she needs. With beach bonfires, old friends, exotic food, and the wonders of a waterproof cast, there’s no reason Sloane shouldn’t enjoy her summer. And when she meets Finn McAllister, the handsome son of a hotel magnate who doesn’t always play by the rules, she knows he’s the perfect distraction from everything that’s so wrong back home.
But it turns out a measly ocean isn’t nearly enough to stop all the emails, texts, and voicemails from her ex-boyfriend and ex-best friend, desperate to explain away their betrayal. And as her casual connection with Finn grows deeper, Sloane’s carefree summer might not be as easy to find as she’d hoped. Weighing years of history with Mick and Tyler against their deception, and the delicate possibility of new love, Sloane must decide when to forgive, and when to live for herself.
When I was planning this post, Summer of Sloane was the first book that came to mind. Hawaii. Summer love. Angst. Betrayal. This is probably the perfect beach read. I think this is also OwnVoices for a Hawaiian MC.
Saints and Misfits by S.K. Ali
Salaam Reads/Simon & Schuster | June 13, 2017
Saints and Misfits is an unforgettable debut novel that feels like a modern day My So-Called Life…starring a Muslim teen.
How much can you tell about a person just by looking at them?
Janna Yusuf knows a lot of people can’t figure out what to make of her…an Arab Indian-American hijabi teenager who is a Flannery O’Connor obsessed book nerd, aspiring photographer, and sometime graphic novelist is not exactly easy to put into a box.
And Janna suddenly finds herself caring what people think. Or at least what a certain boy named Jeremy thinks. Not that she would ever date him—Muslim girls don’t date. Or they shouldn’t date. Or won’t? Janna is still working all this out.
While her heart might be leading her in one direction, her mind is spinning in others. She is trying to decide what kind of person she wants to be, and what it means to be a saint, a misfit, or a monster. Except she knows a monster…one who happens to be parading around as a saint…Will she be the one to call him out on it? What will people in her tightknit Muslim community think of her then?
Saints and Misfits is one of my most anticipated reads of 2017. While there’s no beach/water theme, reading this can only enrich your summer (hopefully haha). This is OwnVoices for a Muslim MC. TW: Sexual assault.
The Seafarer’s Kiss by Julia Ember
Duet Books | May 4, 2017
Having long-wondered what lives beyond the ice shelf, nineteen-year-old mermaid Ersel learns of the life she wants when she rescues and befriends Ragna, a shield-maiden stranded on the mermen’s glacier. But when Ersel’s childhood friend and suitor catches them together, he gives Ersel a choice: say goodbye to Ragna or face justice at the hands of the glacier’s brutal king.
Determined to forge a different fate, Ersel seeks help from Loki. But such deals are never as one expects, and the outcome sees her exiled from the only home and protection she’s known. To save herself from perishing in the barren, underwater wasteland and be reunited with the human she’s come to love, Ersel must try to outsmart the God of Lies.
The Seafarer’s Kiss is another highly anticipated read! This has mermaids, vikings AND it’s a bisexual, Norse myth retelling of The Little Mermaid.
TW: Misogyny in a dystopian society, discussions of infertility/worth (#ownvoices: the author has a hormonal condition/fertility disorder, but the discussion in the book may be heavy for some), non-binary character is a villain (taken from the author’s website).
Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard
Harper Teen | July 24, 2012
There’s something strange and deadly loose in Philadelphia. . . .
Eleanor Fitt has a lot to worry about.
Her brother has gone missing, her family has fallen on hard times, and her mother is determined to marry her off to any rich young man who walks by. But this is nothing compared to what she’s just read in the newspaper:
The Dead are rising in Philadelphia.
And then, in a frightening attack, a zombie delivers a letter to Eleanor . . . from her brother.
Whoever is controlling the Dead army has taken her brother as well. If Eleanor is going to find him, she’ll have to venture into the lab of the notorious Spirit-Hunters, who protect the city from supernatural forces. But as Eleanor spends more time with the Spirit-Hunters, including the maddeningly stubborn yet handsome Daniel, the situation becomes dire. And now, not only is her reputation on the line, but her very life may hang in the balance.
The first reason for including Something Strange and Deadly on this list is because it’s one of my favourite series of all time! The second reason, the entire series was just re-released with these shiny, new covers, so it was kind of the perfect time to re-share them. The cover on the left is the original one, the cover on the right the new. With zombies and necromancy, this steampunk novel will be unlike anything you’ve ever read!
Girl Out of Water by Laura Silverman
Sourcebooks Fire | May 2, 2017
Anise Sawyer plans to spend every minute of summer with her friends: surfing, chowing down on fish tacos drizzled with wasabi balsamic vinegar, and throwing bonfires that blaze until dawn. But when a serious car wreck leaves her aunt, a single mother of three, with two broken legs, it forces Anise to say goodbye for the first time to Santa Cruz, the waves, her friends, and even a kindling romance, and fly with her dad to Nebraska for the entire summer. Living in Nebraska isn’t easy. Anise spends her days caring for her three younger cousins in the childhood home of her runaway mom, a wild figure who’s been flickering in and out of her life since birth, appearing for weeks at a time and then disappearing again for months, or even years, without a word.
Complicating matters is Lincoln, a one-armed, charismatic skater who pushes Anise to trade her surfboard for a skateboard. As Anise draws closer to Lincoln and takes on the full burden and joy of her cousins, she loses touch with her friends back home – leading her to one terrifying question: will she turn out just like her mom and spend her life leaving behind the ones she loves.
I would definitely consider Girl Out of Water a summer read. You have the summer romance but there’s also angst, family relationships and friendship. It’s at the top of my TBR pile.
The Abyss Surrounds Us by Emily Skrutskie
Flux | February 8, 2016
Cas has fought pirates her entire life. But can she survive living among them?
For Cassandra Leung, bossing around sea monsters is just the family business. She’s been a Reckoner trainer-in-training ever since she could walk, raising the genetically-engineered beasts to defend ships as they cross the pirate-infested NeoPacific. But when the pirate queen Santa Elena swoops in on Cas’s first solo mission and snatches her from the bloodstained decks, Cas’s dream of being a full-time trainer seems dead in the water.
There’s no time to mourn. Waiting for her on the pirate ship is an unhatched Reckoner pup. Santa Elena wants to take back the seas with a monster of her own, and she needs a proper trainer to do it. She orders Cas to raise the pup, make sure he imprints on her ship, and, when the time comes, teach him to fight for the pirates. If Cas fails, her blood will be the next to paint the sea.
Sea monsters. Pirates. A post-apocalyptic world. Being set on the ocean doesn’t really make this a “beach read” but it has pirates in it, which makes everything better. The Abyss Surrounds Us was one of my favourite reads of 2016 and is perfect for fans of Pacific Rim.
See You in the Cosmos by Jack Cheng
Dial Books | February 28, 2017
A space-obsessed boy and his dog, Carl Sagan, take a journey toward family, love, hope, and awe in this funny and moving novel for fans of Counting by 7s and Walk Two Moons.
11-year-old Alex Petroski loves space and rockets, his mom, his brother, and his dog Carl Sagan—named for his hero, the real-life astronomer. All he wants is to launch his golden iPod into space the way Carl Sagan (the man, not the dog) launched his Golden Record on the Voyager spacecraft in 1977. From Colorado to New Mexico, Las Vegas to L.A., Alex records a journey on his iPod to show other lifeforms what life on earth, his earth, is like. But his destination keeps changing. And the funny, lost, remarkable people he meets along the way can only partially prepare him for the secrets he’ll uncover—from the truth about his long-dead dad to the fact that, for a kid with a troubled mom and a mostly not-around brother, he has way more family than he ever knew.
I recently finished this middle-grade novel and it was unlike anything I’ve ever read. I know I said that about SS&D, but so is See You in the Cosmos. The protagonist, Alex is a really smart but naive kid who wants to send his iPod into space so that aliens can see, or rather hear what life on earth is like. A really interesting aspect of this novel, the author has turned the recordings into transcripts, so it’s like the reader is the one who received them. Dialogue would either be Alex repeating or summarizing what someone said, or someone(s) talking as Alex is recording (like a script). If Alex didn’t record something, we didn’t hear about it. This book will make you happy, sad, laugh, and cry. And cry some more.
The Blazing Star by Imani Josey
Wise Ink | December 6, 2016
Sixteen-year-old Portia White is used to being overlooked—after all, her twin sister Alex is a literal genius.
But when Portia holds an Egyptian scarab beetle during history class, she takes center stage in a way she never expected: she faints. Upon waking, she is stronger, faster, and braver than before. And when she accidentally touches the scarab again?
She wakes up in ancient Egypt—her sister and an unwitting freshman in tow.
Mysterious and beautiful, Egypt is more than they could have ever imagined from their days in the classroom. History comes alive as the three teens realize that getting back to the present will be the most difficult thing they’ve ever done. Stalked by vicious monsters called Scorpions, every step in the right direction means a step closer to danger.
As Portia and the girls discover that they’re linked to the past by more than just chance, they have to decide what it truly means to be yourself, to love your sister, and to find your way home.
I’ve been meaning to read this for the longest time because it sounds incredible! Time-travel, ancient Egypt and a beautiful cover, what’s not to love?!