Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, where book bloggers are invited to share their top ten lists centered on a certain theme.
This week’s theme was best bookish websites & book blogs, but since summer is coming to a close soon, I REALLY wanted to talk about my favorite books that I’ve read this summer. Summer is my favorite season, and I always feel inspired to read a lot during those months. So far, I’ve read 31 books in June, July, & August, and am hoping to get through at least a few more before Fall begins.
TOP 10 BOOKS I READ THIS SUMMER:
1. The Summer of Jordi Perez (And the Best Burger in Los Angeles) by Amy Spalding
Goodreads summary: “Seventeen, fashion-obsessed, and gay, Abby Ives has always been content playing the sidekick in other people’s lives. While her friends and sister have plunged headfirst into the world of dating and romances, Abby has stayed focused on her plus-size style blog and her dreams of taking the fashion industry by storm. When she lands a prized internship at her favorite local boutique, she’s thrilled to take her first step into her dream career. She doesn’t expect to fall for her fellow intern, Jordi Perez. Abby knows it’s a big no-no to fall for a colleague. She also knows that Jordi documents her whole life in photographs, while Abby would prefer to stay behind the scenes.
Then again, nothing is going as expected this summer. She’s competing against the girl she’s kissing to win a paid job at the boutique. She’s somehow managed to befriend Jax, a lacrosse-playing bro type who needs help in a project that involves eating burgers across L.A.’s eastside. Suddenly, she doesn’t feel like a sidekick. Is it possible Abby’s finally in her own story?”
My thoughts: This queer summer rom-com is already one of my favorite books of 2018. It’s hilarious, sweet, heart-warming, and basically perfect. Amy Spalding balances romance, friendship, comedy, and heartbreak so well. This was the perfect book to kick off my summer reading.
2. Wildcard (Warcorss #2) by Marie Lu
Goodreads summary: “Emika Chen barely made it out of the Warcross Championships alive. Now that she knows the truth behind Hideo’s new NeuroLink algorithm, she can no longer trust the one person she’s always looked up to, who she once thought was on her side.
Determined to put a stop to Hideo’s grim plans, Emika and the Phoenix Riders band together, only to find a new threat lurking on the neon-lit streets of Tokyo. Someone’s put a bounty on Emika’s head, and her sole chance for survival lies with Zero and the Blackcoats, his ruthless crew. But Emika soon learns that Zero isn’t all that he seems–and his protection comes at a price.
Caught in a web of betrayal, with the future of free will at risk, just how far will Emika go to take down the man she loves?”
My thoughts: Getting my hands on the much-coveted Wildcard ARC was definitely a highlight of my summer! It totally lived up to the hype and was a satisfying end to the Warcross duology. I can’t wait for others to read it so we can discuss it!
3. Ivy Aberdeen’s Letter to the World by Ashley Herring Blake
Goodreads summary: “When a tornado rips through town, twelve-year-old Ivy Aberdeen’s house is destroyed and her family of five is displaced. Ivy feels invisible and ignored in the aftermath of the storm–and what’s worse, her notebook filled with secret drawings of girls holding hands has gone missing.
Mysteriously, Ivy’s drawings begin to reappear in her locker with notes from someone telling her to open up about her identity. Ivy thinks–and hopes–that this someone might be her classmate, another girl for whom Ivy has begun to develop a crush. Will Ivy find the strength and courage to follow her true feelings.”
My thoughts: I finally read this highly recommended middle grade novel, and it did not disappoint. It was so perfectly written, and makes me hope for more queer representation in middle grade fiction. Ivy’s feelings of displacement from her home and her family are so real, and her discovering her queerness is presented in such a natural and authentic way.
4. Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore
Goodreads summary: “For nearly a century, the Nomeolvides women have tended the grounds of La Pradera, the lush estate gardens that enchant guests from around the world. They’ve also hidden a tragic legacy: if they fall in love too deeply, their lovers vanish. But then, after generations of vanishings, a strange boy appears in the gardens.
The boy is a mystery to Estrella, the Nomeolvides girl who finds him, and to her family, but he’s even more a mystery to himself; he knows nothing more about who he is or where he came from than his first name. As Estrella tries to help Fel piece together his unknown past, La Pradera leads them to secrets as dangerous as they are magical in this stunning exploration of love, loss, and family.”
My thoughts: This book’s enchanting, magical-realism style made it perfect for reading outside in the summer weather. I’m so glad that I stepped outside my reading comfort zone for this book, because I ended up loving it so much. Such a gorgeous exploration of womanhood, sisterhood, queerness, and cultural identity.
5. A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard
Goodreads summary: “Steffi has been a selective mute for most of her life – she’s been silent for so long that she feels completely invisible. But Rhys, the new boy at school, sees her. He’s deaf, and her knowledge of basic sign language means that she’s assigned to look after him. To Rhys, it doesn’t matter that Steffi doesn’t talk, and as they find ways to communicate, Steffi finds that she does have a voice, and that she’s falling in love with the one person who makes her feel brave enough to use it.”
My thoughts: Something about romance screams summer, and I’d been super interested in this one even though I’m sort of “meh” about romance. It’s a diverse, thoughtful story about mental health and first love. The author talks writes so well about anxiety and dissects lots of stereotypes about mutism and deafness. I also thought it was a good representation of a healthy first relationship full of communication, mutual support, and consent.
6. Moonstruck, Vol 1: Magic to Brew by Grace Ellis & Shae Beagle
Goodreads summary: “Werewolf barista Julie and her new girlfriend go on a date to a close-up magic show, but all heck breaks loose when the magician casts a horrible spell on their friend Chet. Now it’s up to the team of mythical pals to stop the illicit illusionist before it’s too late.”
My thoughts: This was probably my favorite graphic novel of the summer because of it’s soft, pastel illustrations and the fact that it was about an adorable QUEER WEREWOLF BARISTA and her adorable queer werewolf girlfriend. If that doesn’t make you want to read it, then I don’t know what else to say.
7. How to Make a Wish by Ashley Herring Blake
Goodreads summary: “All seventeen year-old Grace Glasser wants is her own life. A normal life in which she sleeps in the same bed for longer than three months and doesn’t have to scrounge for spare change to make sure the electric bill is paid. Emotionally trapped by her unreliable mother, Maggie, and the tiny cape on which she lives, she focuses on her best friend, her upcoming audition for a top music school in New York, and surviving Maggie’s latest boyfriend—who happens to be Grace’s own ex-boyfriend’s father.
Her attempts to lay low until she graduates are disrupted when she meets Eva, a girl with her own share of ghosts she’s trying to outrun. Grief-stricken and lonely, Eva pulls Grace into midnight adventures and feelings Grace never planned on. When Eva tells Grace she likes girls, both of their worlds open up. But, united by loss, Eva also shares a connection with Maggie. As Grace’s mother spirals downward, both girls must figure out how to love and how to move on.”
My thoughts: Yes, I have two Ashley Herring Blake books on this list, but whatever, I DON’T CARE. I love sad books, queer love, and complicated families, so this book was such a winner for me. Every teen has that one transformative summer that changes everything, and How to Make a Wish perfectly captures that experience for Grace and Eva.
8. Witch Boy by Molly Ostertag
Goodreads summary: “In thirteen-year-old Aster’s family, all the girls are raised to be witches, while boys grow up to be shapeshifters. Anyone who dares cross those lines is exiled. Unfortunately for Aster, he still hasn’t shifted . . . and he’s still fascinated by witchery, no matter how forbidden it might be.
When a mysterious danger threatens the other boys, Aster knows he can help — as a witch. It will take the encouragement of a new friend, the non-magical and non-conforming Charlie, to convince Aster to try practicing his skills. And it will require even more courage to save his family . . . and be truly himself.”
My thoughts: This was another quick graphic novel that I loved this summer. It explores gender roles and dynamics within a mystical community. I thought this was a creative way to explore gender and the pain that can come with trying to fit oneself into a mold dictated by society. Such a magical story about being true to yourself.
9. For Every One by Jason Reynolds
Goodreads summary: “Originally performed at the Kennedy Center for the unveiling of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, and later as a tribute to Walter Dean Myers, this stirring and inspirational poem is New York Times bestselling author and National Book Award finalist Jason Reynolds’s rallying cry to the dreamers of the world.”
My thoughts: Obviously, Jason Reynolds is one of the best writers of our time, and this poem, now published in book form, is no exception. It’s a call to action to keep dreaming, fighting, and pushing. It’s something that I think can inspire anyone, but is especially perfect for young folks trying to find their path.
10. Things Jolie Needs to do Before She Bites it by Kerry Winfrey
Goodreads summary: “Jolie’s a lot of things, but she knows that pretty isn’t one of them. She has mandibular prognathism, which is the medical term for underbite. Chewing is a pain, headaches are a common occurrence, and she’s never been kissed. She’s months out from having a procedure to correct her underbite, and she cannot wait to be fixed.
While her family watches worst-case scenario TV shows, Jolie becomes paralyzed with the fear that she could die under the knife. She and her best friends Evelyn and Derek decide to make a Things Jolie Needs To Do Before She Bites It (Which Is Super Unlikely But Still, It Could Happen) list. Things like: eat every appetizer on the Applebee’s menu and kiss her crush, Noah Reed. Their plan helps Jolie discover what beauty truly means to her.”
My thoughts: I’ve already talked about this one so much because I’m that obsessed with it. Jolie is one of the most relatable teen characters I’ve read about, and this book is such a great balance of funny and serious. I was an underbite teen who had jaw surgery just a few years ago, and I felt like I was reading about myself when I read this one. Read my full review here.
What was your favorite book you read this summer?