When I first planned out that I was going to make this post sometime back in May, I thought to myself, “Ooooo, this is going to be the best summer of reading yet!! I’ve got nothing but time on my hands and I am going to hit my all-time high of books read over the summer!!”
Boy, was I wrong.
While I did read a fair number of books this summer, it was nowhere near the number of books I read during my college summer breaks for the past 3-4 years (which averaged between 50-60 books/summer).
Regardless, here is the list of the 19 books I did manage to read these past four months. Each one includes a few of my random thoughts about it (I am by no means an expert literature/book reviewer, so please spare me any harsh criticism). The ones with an asterisk (*) are my self-proclaimed “Best of the Month” books and the ones I would most highly recommend reading 🙂
(Note: none of the images in this blog are my own & no copyright infringement is intended)
Lisette’s Paris Notebook by Catherine Bateson
Can you tell I was immediately nostalgic for France by my first read back in the States? While it was by no means the best book I’ve ever read, it was a cute summer read that brought back the Frenchie feels.
Once and For All by Sarah Dessen
I’ve been a huge Sarah Dessen fan since high school, so of course, I had to get my hands on her newest YA novel as soon as I could. In true Sarah Dessen style, it was a cutesy, YA summer romance, but it did have underlying contemporary, dark theme that plays into the development of the main character. It wasn’t my favorite Sarah Dessen novel by a long shot, but I enjoyed the read.
This is Really Happening by Erin Chack
Being a collection of essays/memoir, it was a nice way to diversify from the YA summer romances. Erin Chack is a writer for Buzzfeed, so of course, there were plenty of funny moments scattered throughout and it’s very relatable. She shares her story with authenticity and vulnerability, which is always a plus. If you’re into memoirs, it’s worth the read.
Turtles All the Way Down by John Green*
I’ll be honest, for the first 50 pages or so, I was not the biggest fan of this book. That being said, by the time I made it to the last page, I was 1000% in love with it and it’s arguably my favorite book by John Green. While the plot is a bit slow in the beginning, the characters development is so deep, intricate, and honest that it makes up for it tenfold. He writes about mental illness from a point of view that is, without a shadow of a doubt, something he has lived through and experienced in the depths of his soul, making it emotional, raw, and real. Long story short, please read this novel if you haven’t already.
Someone to Love by Melissa de la Cruz
I was drawn into the book because I am a fan of Melissa de la Cruz’s writing, but I can’t say I was a huge fan of this book. The issues she writes about are very real (bulimia, self-harm, reckless behaviors, etc.) and could very easily be triggering to a reader who doesn’t know the details of the story before s/he starts. The plot was all over the place and the ending (in which she writes of the main character’s eating disorder recovery), didn’t seem very realistic.
Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson*
Oh. My. Gosh. SO. GOOD. I’m literally so in love with this book. I always tell myself I’m not a mystery novel type of gal but then they always end up being my favorite! This is YA murder mystery perfection. My only complaint is that the second book isn’t out yet because the cliffhanger is killing me!
All or Nothing at All by Jennifer Probst
Recommended to me by my sister, this was quite the steamy romance novel (which I should have realized going into it, given her liking for summer romance novels). I didn’t read the two other books in the trilogy (this one being number 3 of 3), and I imagine I would have understood some of the characters a bit more if I would have, as those characters are the brothers to the main male character in this book. If you’re in the market for a steamy, second-chance romance sort of novel, give this one a read.
Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy
I adored this book and I am so excited they are making a film adaption!! It’s a Southern sweet, down-to-earth, and an overall fun story with a focus on body positivity, all tied together with a little bit of romance (that’s my kind of combination 🙂 )
Meet Cute by various authors
The premise of Meet Cute is that each contributing author wrote a short, fictional story about arguably the best part of any romance story – the moment when two characters first meet. Ever story may not have been my favorite (I think it’s something that’s bound to happen reading an anthology of short stories), but overall, I found it super sweet. Plus, it included a super solid mix of LGBTQ+ love stories, which is always a positive in a YA book.
A Town Like Paris by Bryce Corbett
I’d read about this book ever since I started my France memoir reading binge last summer, but I finally got my hands on it this summer. Now to preface, I have a tendency to be biased toward any story set in France/written by or about someone living in France, this one was kind of hard to like. There was very little structure or organization in the book and I found it repetitive. It succeeded in making me nostalgic for France, but besides that, it wasn’t worth it.
Almost French by Sarah Turner
I appreciated this memoir far more than the previous. While their stories are similar (journalists moving from Australia to France in an effort to see the world and experience a new culture and way of life), I found her style of writing and the overall structure much easier to read. In addition, I connected with her story far more than I did in Corbett’s A Town Like Paris, which truly makes the difference.
The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman*
I was pleasantly surprised by this book! I went into it a bit reserved because it didn’t seem like the type of book I would normally go for but after the first 40 pages or so, I got into it. I found it to be a compelling, emotional, and rich story based on a significant, heart-wrenching, moral conundrum. Plus, the ending had me in tears, which is a solid sign that I had a strong emotional connection to it.
Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth*
Yes, Veronica Roth!!! I am a big Divergent fan and I loved Carve the Mark just as much. It’s everything I loved about Divergent – Sci-Fi, YA-centered, creation of a new world – delivered in a completely different fashion. Reading other’s reviews on GoodReads, I’ve discovered a lot of people out there aren’t huge fans of the book (truthfully, there are many parts that could be quite triggering to many people), but to each their own.
Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom
I read The Five People You Meet in Heaven way back during my freshman year at TCU and had been interested in this book ever since. Why it took me so long to read is beyond me, but it was worth the wait. I think it’s one of those books you could read again and again and get something different out of it each time. Morrie’s perception of life and death is something that everyone should take the time to read, absorb, and apply to their lives. We only get one chance at this life, so we why not live one that is anchored in love and guided in pursuing your passions?
The Fates Divide by Veronica Roth
Of course, when I learned that the follow-up novel to Carve the Mark had already been released, I had to see how the story ended. Given that I enjoyed the first one so much, I found the second novel better and I think it she wrapped up the story very nicely.
The Year of Yes by Shondra Rhimes
I had no idea who Shondra Rhimes was before I read this book (I’m sorry – I’ve never seen Shameless or Gray’s Anatomy!), but I’m a fan of her now! It’s a good read if you’re somebody who has a hard time saying yes to things outside your comfort zone or if you feel stuck in your current situation. Shondra is funny and authentic in the delivery of her message, making it easy to connect with. If you’re not reading it for the self-help ideas, it’s still a nice memoir about her journey to finding her authentic and courageous self.
The Case for Jamie by Brittany Cavallaro*
Y’all have no idea how excited I was when I saw the book sitting on the “New YA Reads” bookshelf in the library. Brittany Cavallaro writes YA mystery with a heavy Sherlock Holmes influence (it’s not called the ‘Charlotte Holmes’ series for nothing!), and I LOVE IT. It’s funny, the characters and their stories and complex, and each book keeps you guessing for what is to come. Again, I tell myself I’m not a mystery novel person but these books… I wish I could insert a praising hands emoji here because that’s exactly how I feel about them! I could not recommend this series more – do yourself a favor and give it a shot 🙂
Jesus Feminist by Sarah Bessey*
I thoroughly enjoyed this book! Coming from a place of humility and love, I think Sarah does an unbelievable job of weaving together the Biblical truth about the role of women throughout the Bible with her personal experiences. As someone who has never read a book about such topics, I found it eye-opening.
Anxious for Nothing: Finding Calm in a Chaotic World by Max Lucado
I bought this book on a whim at a discount bookstore at an outlet mall and I am so glad I did. After spending this summer feeling some level of anxiety nearly every day**, this book really helped me gain an understanding of my own anxiety and how I should rely on my faith in God and my trust in His plan for my life to help alleviate those overwhelming feelings of doubt and fear. I’m really glad I bought the book instead of borrowing it from the library because I underlined and notated the heck out of it! It’s cool how God shows up in different ways at exactly the right time when you need Him most. What a cool guy 🙂
**I should note that things are getting better, it’s just a slow process. I didn’t get anxious overnight and it’s not going to disappear overnight either.
Thanks for reading my (very amateur) book reviews and taking a glance at what I’ve enjoyed reading this summer. I hope you were inspired to pick up a book this weekend and spend a bit of time reading 🙂
Thanks for reading and check back soon for more.
Until next time,