Hello, readers! This may seem really weird to post now since we are definitely in fall, but I thought I would share my top five favorite books I read in the summer, and talk about them with you.
I will only be including the books I read from June to August because that is summer to me. I also won’t be including any rereads because my feelings usually don’t change, and they are usually all time favorites so of course they belong here, but I want to give room to the newer-to-me books.
In summer, I read 25 books, and excluding my rereads, I only gave two books five stars so I will be including some really high four stars. I don’t give half stars in my ratings, but I am kinda thinking that maybe I should because there were so many that were really close to five stars but didn’t hit it for whatever reason. So far, I think this is the worst season of reading because in every other season, I gave at least five books five stars.
These books are in order from least favorite to favorite.
Be Not Far From Me by Mindy McGinnis
The world is not tame
Ashley knows this truth deep in her bones, more at home with trees overhead than a roof. So when she goes hiking in the Smokies with her friends for a night of partying, the falling dark and creaking trees are second nature to her. But people are not tame either. And when Ashley catches her boyfriend with another girl, drunken rage sends her running into the night, stopped only by a nasty fall into a ravine. Morning brings the realization that she’s alone – and far off trail. Lost in undisturbed forest and with nothing but the clothes on her back, Ashley must figure out how to survive despite the red streak of infection creeping up her leg.
I really liked this, and I feel like this is pretty different from the other books I typically read. I’ve read The Female of the Species by her and loved that so much I wrote a final paper on it, but this was different in its own way. It is really gory because Ashley is going through a really rough time in the wilderness so if you’re squeamish, I maybe wouldn’t recommend it. Definitely don’t listen to the audiobook if you’re squeamish.
Again, Again by E. Lockhart
From the New York Times bestselling author of We Were Liars and Genuine Fraud comes a complex novel about acceptance, forgiveness, self-discovery, and possibility, as a teenage girl attempts to regain some sense of normalcy in her life after a family crisis and a broken heart.
If you could live your life again, what would you do differently?
After a near-fatal family catastrophe and an unexpected romantic upheaval, Adelaide Buchwald finds herself catapulted into a summer of wild possibility, during which she will fall in and out of love a thousand times–while finally confronting the secrets she keeps, her ideas about love, and the weird grandiosity of the human mind.
A raw, funny story that will surprise you over and over, Again Again gives us an indelible heroine grappling with the terrible and wonderful problem of loving other people.
I really loved the way that E. Lockhart wrote this book, but there was just something stopping it from giving me it five stars. I think it’s because I was really confused about the ending. This is not about alternate universes specifically, but it takes place in multiple universes. I thought it was so interesting to read the different ways that events could’ve went in Adelaide’s life, and I loved watching her relationship with her brother.
The Deep by Rivers Solomon
The water-breathing descendants of African slave women tossed overboard have built their own underwater society—and must reclaim the memories of their past to shape their future in this brilliantly imaginative novella inspired by the Hugo Award nominated song “The Deep” from Daveed Diggs’ rap group Clipping.
Yetu holds the memories for her people—water-dwelling descendants of pregnant African slave women thrown overboard by slave owners—who live idyllic lives in the deep. Their past, too traumatic to be remembered regularly, is forgotten by everyone, save one—the historian. This demanding role has been bestowed on Yetu.
Yetu remembers for everyone, and the memories, painful and wonderful, traumatic and terrible and miraculous, are destroying her. And so, she flees to the surface, escaping the memories, the expectations, and the responsibilities—and discovers a world her people left behind long ago.
Yetu will learn more than she ever expected to about her own past—and about the future of her people. If they are all to survive, they’ll need to reclaim the memories, reclaim their identity—and own who they really are.
Inspired by a song produced by the rap group Clipping for the This American Life episode “We Are In The Future,” The Deep is vividly original and uniquely affecting.
I think everybody should read this. It’s such a powerful read about shared trauma and the weight it has on a culture. I listened to the audiobook because it’s narrated by Daveed Diggs, and I’m a proud mom of the original Hamilton cast. I will say that it probably is a five star read because this was early in my audiobook listening so I tended to have a hard time focusing.
All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M Johnson
In a series of personal essays, prominent journalist and LGBTQIA+ activist George M. Johnson explores his childhood, adolescence, and college years in New Jersey and Virginia. From the memories of getting his teeth kicked out by bullies at age five, to flea marketing with his loving grandmother, to his first sexual relationships, this young-adult memoir weaves together the trials and triumphs faced by Black queer boys.
Both a primer for teens eager to be allies as well as a reassuring testimony for young queer men of color, All Boys Aren’t Blue covers topics such as gender identity, toxic masculinity, brotherhood, family, structural marginalization, consent, and Black joy. Johnson’s emotionally frank style of writing will appeal directly to young adults.
It’s ironic that I just said that because I just noticed that my two five stars (this being one) were both audiobook listenings. I actually listened this right before The Deep, and it’s narrated by George Johnson. I loved his narration and his story. I think it’s so important for us to share. I felt like I was having a conversation with him, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Aging and reclusive Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life.
When she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one in the journalism community is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now? Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband, David, has left her, and her career has stagnated. Regardless of why Evelyn has chosen her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career.
Summoned to Evelyn’s Upper East Side apartment, Monique listens as Evelyn unfurls her story: from making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the late 80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way. As Evelyn’s life unfolds—revealing a ruthless ambition, an unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love—Monique begins to feel a very a real connection to the actress. But as Evelyn’s story catches up with the present, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.
I read this in the beginning of August, and there hasn’t been a day since that I’ve stopped thinking about it. It will definitely stay with me for a very long time. This is another one that I’d recommend the audiobook for because apparently I am an audiobook reader now. I would look forward to putting in my earbuds and hearing Evelyn Hugo’s story. I really want more books like this because I adored every part of it so if you have recs, please give them to me.
Those are my favorite books I read last season. What was your favorite book you read in summer? Please let me know! I’d love to discuss with y’all in the comments!