Books are my fuel. I’m more often than not simultaneously listening to an audiobook and reading a hardback, knocking out two books every few weeks. I get so lost in a good story, that sometimes I forget to call my mom for our usual after work chats because I’m engrossed in my latest whodunit.
Time spent on a mediocre book is time wasted. That’s why I consider myself a ratings-junkie. Before I purchase a book or audiobook, I’m all about those reviews! For that reason, I generally find myself very lucky in literature. Ratings aren’t always foolproof, as I’ve learned many times with teen fiction and romance novels, but aside from personal recommendations, they’re the best thing we’ve got!
Here are a few of my top reads for your end-of-summer reading list.
I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson
I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson (young adult) was the very first book selected for Modern Martha Book Club. It’s about two fraternal twins, Noah and Jude, who at one time were inseperable, but now they barely speak. The book has split perspectives and split timelines: Noah narrates when they’re younger and Jude narrates when they’re older.
The descriptive language in the book is what really hooked me. It’s written like poetry. I feel like this is almost a love it or hate it type thing. For me, I was impressed by a lot of it and thought the writing was beautiful. The plot is fairly basic, so these inner thoughts are what make the book. I also felt like it helped differentiate Noah and Jude. He thinks in paintings, she thinks in “bible” quotes. He’s far more elaborate with his descriptions, while she has more sassy one liners.
It’s a great summer read because the book completely sucks you into Noah and Jude’s worlds. What a great escape.
The Girls by Emma Cline
This is another book club book from a previous book club I was in, and I found this book to be unlike anything I’ve ever read. The Girls by Emma Cline (adult fiction) is about how Evie, pretty much your average 1960s Northern California girl, gets sucked into a cult. The eerie part is how believable the story is, how I could understand for the first time how this happens to people.
You think, how do people get involved in these strange groups? But in this book, it make sense! She’s going through the standard I-hate-you-Mom teen angst, and she’s been rebuffed by her once-bestie, so when this community opens up their arms to her, and everything seems glossy on the surface, she’s drawn in (as was I!).
The book has a slow pace, which may lose the attention of thrill-seekers, but that’s why I think it’s an ideal lazy summer read.
The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
This book is not my usual selection. Sci-fi is great, but The Ocean at the End of the Lane is straight fantasy. It’s about a middle-aged man who visits his childhood home and begins to remember his past. His memories, however, are at the intersection of fantasy and magical realism (totally stole that from Goodreads, didn’t know that was a genre!). Insert evil babysitters and friendly neighborhood witches, and a pond that’s perhaps an ocean.
The Ocean at the End of the Lane’s ability to transport you to this world-within-a-world is priceless. Even when the wordy descriptions become a tad longwinded, it had me hooked.
The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan
I had to throw a romance into the mix! The Royal We is a book I selected based on title and cover alone, which is rarely a good move, so I was pleasantly surprised when I loved it! If you’ve ever had an interest in the British royal family, this book is for you. Very, VERY loosely based on Prince William and Kate Middleton (so loosely, I hate even typing that), the story follows an American girl who studies abroad in England, only to find herself in the same circle of friends as the prince. Of course, friendship, frienemies, romance, and drama ensue over a period of several years.
I hear the book is being developed into a TV series by Lauren Graham, so you better finish this before it comes to fruition! The book is told over a few years, like I mentioned, so I think it lends itself nicely to a television series.