Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Summer Reads

Summer–the perfect time to hang on the beach, barbecue with friends…or take the time to enjoy a good book. Here’s several that Kasey and I enjoyed, and that we think you will too!

Breakout by Kate MessnerBreakout by Kate Messner– June 5th, 2018

“Nora Tucker is looking forward to summer vacation in Wolf Creek–two months of swimming, popsicles, and brushing up on her journalism skills for the school paper. But when two inmates break out of the town’s maximum security prison, everything changes. Doors are locked, helicopters fly over the woods, and police patrol the school grounds. Worst of all, everyone is on edge, and fear brings out the worst in some people Nora has known her whole life. Even if the inmates are caught, she worries that home might never feel the same.

Told in letters, poems, text messages, news stories, and comics–a series of documents Nora collects for the Wolf Creek Community Time Capsule Project–Breakout is a thrilling story that will leave readers thinking about who’s really welcome in the places we call home.” 

Kasey reviewed this one on June 13th, saying “While the social issues are a solid, important part of the story, at its core, this is a tale of three girls who learn what it is to be friends. To take chances, to trust one another, to forgive, to put themselves in the other girls’ shoes. This is a great read for all those reasons.”

Bookish Boyfriends by Tiffany Schmidt– May 1st, 2018

“Boys are so much better in books. At least according to Merrilee Campbell, 15, who thinks real-life chivalry is dead and there’d be nothing more romantic than having a guy woo her like the heroes in classic stories. Then she, her best friend, Eliza, and her younger sister, Rory, transfer to Reginald R. Hero Prep–where all the boys look like they’ve stepped off the pages of a romance novel. Merri can hardly walk across the quad without running into someone who reminds her of Romeo.

When the brooding and complicated Monroe Stratford scales Merri’s trellis in an effort to make her his, she thinks she might be Juliet incarnate. But as she works her way through her literature curriculum under the guidance of an enigmatic teacher, Merri’s tale begins to unfold in ways she couldn’t have imagined. Merri soon realizes that only she is in charge of her story. And it is a truth universally acknowledged that first impressions can be deceiving…”

Fluffy, light-hearted romcoms are perfect beach reads. And ones that feature book nerds at the heart of the story? Sign me up. This book was such a fun story, and I’m hoping the author turns it into a series!

The Opposite of Here by Tara AltebrandoThe Opposite of Here by Tara Altebrando– June 5th, 2018

“Natalie’s parents are taking her and her three best friends on a cruise for her seventeenth birthday. A sail-a-bration, they call it. But it’s only been a few short months since Natalie’s boyfriend died in a tragic accident, and she wants to be anywhere but here.
Then she meets a guy on the first night and sparks fly. After a moonlit conversation on a secluded deck of the ship, Natalie pops down to her cabin to get her swimsuit so they can go for a dip. But when she returns, he’s gone. Something he said makes her think he might have . . . jumped? No, he couldn’t have.
But why do her friends think she’s crazy for wanting to make sure he’s okay? Also, why do they seem to be hiding something from her? And how can she find him when she doesn’t even know his name? Most importantly, why is the captain on the intercom announcing the urgent need for a headcount?
With her signature thrilling storytelling, the author of The Leaving and The Possible explores our vulnerability to the power of suggestion-and the lies we tell others and ourselves-in a twisting, Hitchcock-inspired mystery with high stakes and dark secrets.
” 

Rather dive into a chilling mystery than a fluffy romance? Then check out this intriguing read which Kasey recommends to “older suspense lovers as a nice beach or poolside read this summer.”

Listen to Your Heart by Kasie West — May 29th, 2018

“Talking to other people isn’t Kate Bailey’s favorite activity. She’d much rather be out on the lake, soaking up the solitude and sunshine. So when her best friend, Alana, convinces Kate to join their high school’s podcast, Kate is not expecting to be chosen as the host. Now she’ll have to answer calls and give advice on the air? Impossible.

But to Kate’s surprise, she turns out to be pretty good at the hosting gig. Then the podcast gets in a call from an anonymous guy, asking for advice about his unnamed crush. Kate is pretty sure that the caller is gorgeous Diego Martinez, and even surer that the girl in question is Alana. Kate is excited for her friend … until Kate herself starts to develop feelings for Diego. Suddenly, Kate finds that while doling out wisdom to others may be easy, asking for help is tougher than it looks, and following your own advice is even harder.

Kasie West’s adorable story of secrets, love, and friendship is sure to win over hearts everywhere.”

Kasie West writes sweet romances for young adult readers, and her newest book looks like it’ll be good one. I’m adding it to my reading list!

Starry Eyes by Jenn BennettStarry Eyes by Jenn Bennett– April 3rd, 2018

“Ever since last year’s homecoming dance, best friends-turned-best enemies Zorie and Lennon have made an art of avoiding each other. It doesn’t hurt that their families are the modern day, Californian version of the Montagues and Capulets.

But when a group camping trip goes south, Zorie and Lennon find themselves stranded in the wilderness. Alone. Together.

What could go wrong?

With no one but each other for company, Zorie and Lennon have no choice but to hash out their issues via witty jabs and insults as they try to make their way to safety. But fighting each other while also fighting off the forces of nature makes getting out of the woods in one piece less and less likely.

And as the two travel deeper into Northern California’s rugged backcountry, secrets and hidden feelings surface. But can Zorie and Lennon’s rekindled connection survive out in the real world? Or was it just a result of the fresh forest air and the magic of the twinkling stars?”

This book sounds great for outdoorsy readers who like a good romance. Read Kasey’s review here!

Fawkes by Nadine BrandesFawkes by Nadine Brandes– July 10th, 2018

Thomas Fawkes is turning to stone, and the only cure to the Stone Plague is to join his father’s plot to assassinate the king of England.

Silent wars leave the most carnage. The wars that are never declared, but are carried out in dark alleys with masks and hidden knives. Wars where color power alters the natural rhythm of 17th century London. And when the king calls for peace, no one listens until he finally calls for death.

But what if death finds him first?

Keepers think the Igniters caused the plague. Igniters think the Keepers did it. But all Thomas knows is that the Stone Plague infecting his eye is spreading. And if he doesn’t do something soon, he’ll be a lifeless statue. So when his Keeper father, Guy Fawkes, invites him to join the Gunpowder Plot—claiming it will put an end to the plague—Thomas is in.

The plan: use 36 barrels of gunpowder to blow up the Igniter King.

The problem: Doing so will destroy the family of the girl Thomas loves. But backing out of the plot will send his father and the other plotters to the gallows. To save one, Thomas will lose the other.

No matter Thomas’s choice, one thing is clear: once the decision is made and the color masks have been put on, there’s no turning back.’

This was an incredible historical fantasy that delved deep into relevant issues, such as race, gender equality, and faith. Definitely recommend this one for your TBR list!

Ginger Kid by Steve HofstetterGinger Kid by Steve Hofstetter– March 20th, 2018

“In Ginger Kid, popular comedian Steve Hofstetter grapples with life after seventh grade . . . when his world fell apart. Formatted as a series of personal essays, Steve walks his readers through awkward early dating, family turbulence, and the revenge of the bullied nerds. This YA nonfiction is sure to be the beloved next volume for the first generation of Wimpy Kid fans who are all grown up and ready for a new misfit hero.

Here’s a great nonfiction book for readers who are busy this summer. Broken up into short essays, it’s book that delivers on humor and heart. Kasey recommends it “not just for misfits but for anyone who has ever felt awkward in a crowd or wrestled with self-discovery. If you’re looking for a lighthearted read, add this one to your list for sure!”

Mirage by Somaiya DaudMirage by Somaiya Daud– August 28th, 2018

“In a star system dominated by the brutal Vathek empire, eighteen-year-old Amani is a dreamer. She dreams of what life was like before the occupation; she dreams of writing poetry like the old-world poems she adores; she dreams of receiving a sign from Dihya that one day, she, too, will have adventure, and travel beyond her isolated moon.

But when adventure comes for Amani, it is not what she expects: she is kidnapped by the regime and taken in secret to the royal palace, where she discovers that she is nearly identical to the cruel half-Vathek Princess Maram. The princess is so hated by her conquered people that she requires a body double, someone to appear in public as Maram, ready to die in her place.

As Amani is forced into her new role, she can’t help but enjoy the palace’s beauty—and her time with the princess’ fiancé, Idris. But the glitter of the royal court belies a world of violence and fear. If Amani ever wishes to see her family again, she must play the princess to perfection…because one wrong move could lead to her death.”

This highly anticipated debut from Somaiya Daud features a strong heroine with a lot of heart. I loved the MC in this one, and I bet you will too.

Renegades by Marissa Meyer– November 7th, 2017

Secret Identities. Extraordinary Powers. She wants vengeance. He wants justice.

The Renegades are a syndicate of prodigies — humans with extraordinary abilities — who emerged from the ruins of a crumbled society and established peace and order where chaos reigned. As champions of justice, they remain a symbol of hope and courage to everyone… except the villains they once overthrew.

Nova has a reason to hate the Renegades, and she is on a mission for vengeance. As she gets closer to her target, she meets Adrian, a Renegade boy who believes in justice — and in Nova. But Nova’s allegiance is to a villain who has the power to end them both.

Who doesn’t love a classic superhero story? And by Marissa Meyer? It’s sure to be good. This summer is a great time to read (or reread) Renegades, just in time for the sequel to release this winter.

The Forest Queen by Betsy Cornwell– August 7th, 2018

“When sixteen-year-old Sylvie’s brother takes over management of their family’s vast estates, Sylvie feels powerless to stop his abuse of the local commoners. Her dearest friend asks her to run away to the woods with him, and soon a host of other villagers join them. Together, they form their own community and fight to right the wrongs perpetrated by the king and his noblemen. Perfect for fans of fairy tale retellings or anyone who loves a strong female lead, this gorgeously written take on the Robin Hood tale goes beyond the original’s focus on economic justice to explore love, gender, the healing power of nature, and what it means to be a family.”

This one has been on my TBR list since I first heard about it, and it made our Top Ten Exciting 2018 YA Releases list earlier this year. I can’t wait to read this one!

What’s on your summer TBR list?

How about you? Do you have a favorite beach read you’d like to recommend? Comment below; we’d love to hear your thoughts!

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