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One of the main reasons I became an English teacher is because I love to read and I wanted to encourage others to love reading the way I do. Nerd alert, I know. In all seriousness though, I’m an only child and, growing up, I spent a lot of time reading. I’ve never seen classic movies like Goonies or Ghostbusters. Why? Because I was too busy reading Danielle Steel and Mary Higgins Clark at age 12.
When I was in high school I had to start keeping track of the books I read –using a pen and paper–because I’d get halfway through a book and realize that I’d read it already. (This was way before the days of Goodreads!) And just last summer it happened again, except I didn’t realize it until the last page. The very last page.
Here are 5 fiction books to read this summer — with a little intro to each by your favorite mommy blogger / English teacher.
1. Paper Towns by John Green
If you haven’t read anything by John Green, or if you haven’t even heard of him, it’s probably because he’s a young adult writer. But his books are so well written you’ll forget they’re *technically* for teens. Paper Towns is a fast-paced, hilarious, and mysterious, all rolled into one. And, the movie version is coming out at the end of July, so put this at the top of you must-read list. (And then when you’re done, also check out Looking for Alaska, by the same author. It’s even better than this one!)
2. In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume
Judy Blume was one of my favorite authors growing up and her adult fiction is just as compelling as her young adult novels. In the Unlikely Event is serious and deals with big issues in an intimate way. It’s beautifully written and will truly transport you to 1950s New Jersey.
3. The Girl on the Train: A Novel by Paula Hawkins
This is definitely the hot book this summer and I haven’t read it yet, but I’m happy to report I’m number 9 on my library’s waiting list so I should have it in a few weeks. (I started as number 280, so this is major progress.) It’s being compared to Gone Girl which I liked a lot, so I have high hopes for it. If you’ve read it, tell me what you thought of it in the comments!
4. Reconstructing Amelia: A Novel by Kimberly McCreight
Last fall my husband and I had the pleasure of going to Aruba for a long weekend alone. Alone as in, just us…sans children. It was glorious and relaxing and I finally had time to read. I bought Reconstructing Ameila in the airport and could not put it down. It’s the story of Amelia, a young girl who has apparently committed suicide. Her mom gets a text telling her that Amelia did not actually commit suicide and so she sets out to reconstruct what really happened to her. The twists and turns keep coming and you will not want to stop until you’ve finished it!
5. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
Eleanor & Park–another YA title–is a heartwarming story about 2 misfit, “outcast” teens who strike up an unlikely friendship that eventually develops into more. The pair have some heavy issues to deal with but together they do their best to overcome them. It’s a bit of a tear jerker, but worth the ride.
Not Yet Available:
1. Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee (July 14)
If you haven’t read To Kill a Mockingbird since you were in high school, go read it again. Now. It’s one of my favorite books ever. Harper Lee was considered a one-hit wonder because TKAM was her only published work. (The book won numerous prizes, so, rock on with your one hit wonder status, Harper.) In late 2014 the manuscript of Go Set a Watchman was discovered. It’s the book she submitted to her publishers before she wrote To Kill a Mockingbird and it features many of the same characters twenty years earlier. I cannot wait to read it!
2. Who Do You Love by Jennifer Weiner (August 11)
Jennifer Weiner is one of my favorite authors. Her books are what I call “chick lit with heart”. Yes, they’re fun, quick reads, but the protagonists are not helpless women who just shop all day. Her books are about realistic women dealing with real world issues. The book is about two kids who meet in a hispital and then again several times throughout their lives. I know I’ll be bringing this one on our family vacation and sneaking off for some alone time to read it!