|Reading in the hammock is one of my all time favorite activities...|
I should start by saying I devour books. Gobble them up. I average about 2 books a week when I'm in bad shape, my max is somewhere around 5. For a one week vacation I will bring 8 to be safe. Part of this is because I am fast reader, but another part is that I choose to read fun, delicious, light books. The ones you pick up and can't put down. The ones you might have been slightly ashamed to read before the e-reader came along and made book covers obsolete. I read for pleasure. I read to fill time. I read for the love of a good story.
This summer has been a particularly delicious one for book lovers and I am excited to share with you some of my favorites. Most of them are brand new, but a few are just new to me (and possibly to you) but since they floated under my media radar maybe they slipped below yours. I'm sure I'm missing some (enlighten me in the comments!) but if you're looking for that beach read, that flight read, that weekend/commuter read, that "there's nothing good on TV" or "I can't turn off my brain" I've got something for you.
If you loved Luckiest Girl Alive & Girl on the Train...
There is a special place in thriller's for what they call "the unreliable narrator" - she (and it's usually a she) is omnipotent. She's speaking to you from a place of greater knowledge, from the future. She's foreshadowing the past but also the thing (dum dum dum) that is to come. She only hints at both until she wins your trust, and then she rips it away with past and present slamming together into an event that is both horrifying and, if it's good, unexpected. But not so much so that when you read it again (and you will) it becomes clear that the signs were there all along. Such is the tale of the protagonist of Midair (currently FREE on Amazon unlimited!) but this time we are on a trip to paris with four high school girls - an adventure that begins with an ominous first line that hooks you from the start.
The Butterfly Garden begins darker and more twisted than even Gone Girl, but the surprise at the end will have you flipping back to see the breadcrumbs that the author creatively left for you. The horrors of this wealthy man's collection are creative in their atrocity, but it's the twist at the end that redeems the author's wickedly vivid portrayal of human depravity.
If you loved The Hunger Games or Ender's Game...
Oh, Red Rising, you delicious dystopian trilogy. Lovable but oppressed hero? Check. Stratified & exploited society? Check. Star-crossed romance? Check and check and check. Get ready to be swallowed whole by the world building, characters and adventures of the Red Rising trilogy. Our lowly "red" hero exists in a world where color determines your fate. With the help of a rebellious faction he will penetrate the inner circle of the "gold" elite - but not without suffering, sacrifice and war games the likes of which will haunt you with their hint of possibility. Like all good sci-fi this is part cautionary tale - about the dangers of classism, racism and thinking you are better than other people because of accidents of birth - and part super fun, can't-put-down read.
Love The Rules of Attraction by Brett Easton Ellis or Summer Sisters by Judy Blume...
Invincible Summer is another coming of age tale fraught with the kind of missed connections and evolving friendships that gave me nightmares when I first discovered the soapy beach read. Four friends and the bad decisions they make they fling them into and out of each others lives in dramatic fashion. The love that should be so obvious but isn't. The will they or won't they of the Ross & Rachel saga but set in Europe and in book form. Delicious in it's terribleness and with no promise of a happy ending - just like life.
In the same vein (why do so many of these come out in the Summer?) is Losing It. Another coming of age tale, this time about a 26 year old virgin. The anti-hero is hilarious in her awfulness, even as she sweeps you along into her adventures. She will leave you feeling so wise (compared to her foolishness) that it's worth it for the ego boost, but it's also the pixie stick of this summer's beach reads. Quick, sweet and fun to consume, but without any real nutritional value. And that's OK. It's funny and heartbreaking and sweet, and sometimes that's more than enough.