17 Summer Must-Reads

books to read this summer

books to read this summer


Every time we hit mid-August, I panic. It means summer is almost over and I’m just….not okay with that as a person who LIVES for summer and spends most of the other seasons huddled under blankets. Even at 30 years old, I very distinctly see the end of summer as when it’s back to school time (hand raise if you actually miss going back to school. Me!). But HONESTLY…we still have until mid-September before summer is officially over. I feel like by THAT point it’s always FUHREEEZING here (okay full disclosure anything below like 75 is freezing to me) in Pennsylvania but I’ve been trying to remind myself that I have at least a month left of summer to soak in.

This time in August is ALSO that time in which I find myself trying to CRAM in all that summer reading while my pool is still open and the weather is still pleasant enough to sit outside in the sun. So, if you are like me and are trying to squeeeeze every last bit out of Summer that you can…I can help you with the books you absolutely should try to squeeze in before the official end of summer (you know, as if you couldn’t read them any other time).  I mean, suuuure this might be aiming high to think we can get all this summer reading done before the end of summer BUT I’ve never met a reading challenge I didn’t like.

I’ve made of mix of books I’ve already read and think are the absolutes to get to this summer and some that are on MY list of summer reads to finish before the worst day of my life the end of summer. So, don your bikini and a floppy hat (don’t forget that sunscreen!)….we’ve got some summer reading to do, friends!

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YA Beach Reads For Those Who Don’t Really Read Contemporary YA

YA fantasy beach reads

Typically when you think ~beach read~ and what you’ll find on most lists are contemporary books (like the beach reads list I made last week)…which I love! But what about when contemporary isn’t your jam or you aren’t really in the mood for contemporary?? I gotchuuuu!

Here are some books that I think make excellent beach reads and in some way kind of capture the same spirit of a ~beach read~ except it’s not contemporary! I tend to really like addictive and page-turning beach reads and all of these pretty much have that element. With fantasy, my beach reads tend to be not like super high fantasy or with super intricate world-building because I’m too easily distracted on a beach for that!

Next week I’ll be back with my adult fiction recs!

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10 Book Lists To Check Out

I thought it would be fun, while I am away on vacation for these two weeks, to put together a post of some of my favorite book lists I’ve written over the past six years because 1) you may have missed them and 2) I’ve been a little more quiet on the book talks lately leading up to this trip and obviously during so I figured I’d make sure I left you some book recommendations if you were in need!



Check out this list if you crave a little armchair travel outside of the US – from London to Indonesia to Central America and more!

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UKYA Books On My Radar

I thought it would be fun, since I’m leaving for London this week, to let you know which UK young adult books are on my radar and that are on my list of potential books to pick up while I’m perusing some bookstores in London because really that’s always the plan when traveling — to which Will is like “but why? We have bookstores at home?” Oh sweet husband. To which I’m like, “well why do we have to go to a sporting event that we can watch here?” To which he said…touche. SEE…it’s so easy for me to reason with him to see my bookworm tendencies when I explain them in sports terms — basic marriage to a non-book worm negotiating.

Anyways, here are some of the UKYA books on my TBR list that I’ll be looking out for on my trip that are either hard to find here in the US or not published here yet! You’ll have to let me know which ones you think I should get — especially if you’ve read any! I’m always too cheap to pay international shipping so I’m hoping to at least snag one or two of them!



Lobsters / My Totally Awkward Love story


1. Lobsters by Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison: This one actually is going to be published as A Totally Awkward Love Story here in the US this May! Looks like a cute summer read about “finding the one”. The synopsis details that the main characters “ must navigate social misunderstandings, the plotting of well-meaning friends, and their own fears of being virgins for ever to find happiness.”

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Books I Think Should Have Gotten More Attention In 2015

As I said last year — every year, when I reflect on what I’ve read, there are always these books that stick out to me and I’m like MAN these books were fantastic but they didn’t get NEARLY the attention they deserved! I decided that I’d make a list of those books for you if you are wanting to check out some books that were totally underhyped!

Also check out: my favorite books of 2015, best backlist books I read in 2015, favorite debut novels of 2015 and top new-to-me  authors of 2015


So let’s go:

The Unquiet Mikaela Everett

The Unquiet: I’m really surprised this novel didn’t get more attention — parallel earths + the one earth trying to kill off their parallel selves to overtake the planet that isn’t failing! It was not at all what I thought it would be — it was brutal and unsettling and just altogether a surprise to me! It wasn’t perfect (kinda slow in the middle) but I just was surprised there wasn’t more talk about this one because I REALLY enjoyed it! (read more of my thoughts on The Unquiet)

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Best Backlist Books I Read In 2015

I’m breaking up favorite books of the year up again like I did last year (2015 releases, debuts, backlist & books that should have gotten more attention) because I really enjoyed how that worked out last year!

So far this month I’ve already shared my  2015 releases and my favorite 2015 debuts so be sure to check that out! Today I want to talk about all the pre-2015 books I read this year! So I’m defining BACKLIST, for this purpose, as anything that was published pre-2015. It’s important to me as a reader/blogger to not forget about older stuff…plus I always miss SO many things.


So here are my 7 favorite backlist books I read this year:


The Lumatere Chronicles by Melina Marchetta (2008) : This book are DEFINITELY in my top 5 of books I’ve read this year. This fantasy trilogy is amazing and I’m soooo glad I finally read it considering all her contemporary YAs are my fave books of all time. Binging this series was the best thing I did this year probably. I mean, I named my dog after one of the main characters soooo hopefully that indicates this series importance to me??? SERIOUSLY AMAZING. I have never loved fictional characters as much as I love these. SO MANY EMOTIONS JUST THINKING ABOUT THIS SERIES. (my thoughts on the whole series)

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The Five Best 2015 Books I Read In 2014 & Highly Recommend

I made lists of all my favorite 2014 releases, 2014 debuts and the best backlist books I read in 2014. But what about the best 2015 releases I’ve read so far? I will be talking about these all in greater detail later on in their own post but I wanted to spotlight the best 2015 books I read in 2014 and think you should ABSOLUTELY have on your TBR-list!


I'll Meet You There Heather Demetrios

I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios
Out February 3, 2015

WOW. Just wow. Listen, if you love contemporary and even if you only read it once in a while…you NEED this book on your list for 2015. It is pure perfection. One of the best books I’ve read in a while!!

What It Is About: Skylar has been planning her way out of her small town and the future that would await her if she stayed. She’s gotten into art school and has been working her minimum wage job as summer starts to ensure she gets there — until her mother loses her job and starts slipping back into some bad habits making her wonder if she’ll ever be able to leave her and head off to art school at all. At the beginning of her summer she’s reunited with Josh, a boy she used to work with who is back from Afghanistan after his leg gets blown off, and she encounters a different Josh than the one who has left and they find an unexpected friendship despite their differences.


I Was Here Gayle Forman

I Was Here by Gayle Forman
Out January 27, 2015

Ah Gayle Forman. This was quintessential Gayle Forman in that she managed to do something so completely different than everything else she’s written but in that same signature Gayle Forman way — an overload of feels, brilliant and compelling writing and an emotional story that just hits ya hard. This one was heavy but oh so good!!

What It Is About: Meg and Cody were the ultimate bffs. And then the ultimate unthinkable devastation happens — Meg commits suicide and Cody is at a loss because her best friend is gone and she didn’t see it coming. When she goes to clean out Meg’s room at college, she meets her roommates and realizes that there was a lot Meg hadn’t been telling her when she was away for college — a boy who broke her heart and an encrypted computer file that makes her question Meg’s suicide.


The Winner's Crime Marie Rutkoski

The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski
Out March 3, 2015

You there! Have you read The Winner’s Curse? YOU SHOULD. Because it’s amazing and this is the sequel to that. A sequel that was amazingly, devastatingly, overwhelmingly fantastic and beautiful and soul-smashing and JUST SO PERFECT. See, it leaves me forming crazy run-on sentences because I CAN’T EVEN PUT WORDS TOGETHER.

What It Is About: Well, it’s the sequel to The Winner’s Curse and I don’t want to be too spoilery. JUST GO READ THAT ONE OKAY? Or read my review of The Winner’s Curse if you need more prodding! Beautiful writing! Great setting! Two amazing main characters! Political craziness!


Simon vs the homo sapiens agenda

Simon vs. The Homo Sapien Agenda by Becky Albertalli
Out April 7, 2015

This is one debut that should NOT be missed. It made my heart so happy. It was an utterly charming story that I couldn’t put down and Simon is a most endearing character! Definitely one of my new favorites!!!

What It Is About: Sixteen year old Simon is gay and hasn’t yet come out to anyone — until a classmate finds an email of his to Blue, a boy he likes and has been writing back and forth to anonymously from his school, and threatens to out him unless he helps him get a girl that Simon is friends with. Not wanting to screw up things with Blue or let someone else tell everyone that he’s gay, he goes along with it all while trying to navigate this growing relationship with Blue and shifting dynamics amongst his closest group of friends.


My Heart & Other Black Holes

My Heart & Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga
Out February 10, 2015

This one was also a great 2015 debut! Very heavy feeling but ultimately hopeful despite the intense sadness that pulses through this book.

What It’s About: The main character has spent much of her life plotting her suicide because she doesn’t want to end up like her father — a man who committed a violent crime that has made her a pariah amongst her peers. She realizes that she won’t carry it out on her own so she finds a website that helps you find a suicide partner which leads her to Roman — a boy so haunted by a tragedy in his family.



Have you read any of these/are they are on your radar?? Let me know if you added any to your TBR from my list!

Books I Think Should Have Gotten More Attention In 2014

Every year, when I reflect on what I’ve read, there are always these books that stick out to me and I’m like MAN these books were fantastic but they didn’t get NEARLY the attention they deserved! I decided that I’d make a list of those books for you if you are wanting to check out some books that were totally underhyped!
So let’s go:


underrated young adult books




Life by Committee by Corey Ann Haydu — This was one of my favorite books of 2014 and I’m really sad that it didn’t get talked about more! Lots of good things to talk about within these pages and I would have LOVED to have some conversations about it!

Wildlife by Fiona Wood: This was originally published in Australia but this year Little Brown published it in the States! I barely heard ANYONE talk about it and it was so fantastic!! I know it says it’s book 2 in a series but you don’t HAVE to read them in order (I didn’t but definitely plan to read the first one, Six Impossible Things, when it comes out here in the US — they did it backwards IDK WHY

Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley: Seriously, this one is such a powerful one and yet I feel as though not enough people read it! Set during the height of the Civil Rights era, an unlikely relationship is explored between a white teen and a black teen who is one of the first to integrate into this traditionally white high school.

A Mad, Wicked Folly by Sharon Biggs Waller: Historical fiction fans! WHERE ARE YOU? HOW DID YOU MISS THIS ONE? Suffragettes! Art! London! YAY WOMAN’S RIGHTS!

Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White: Seriously, why haven’t more people talked about this one? It’s a fantasy standalone that I found to be excellent and I SO wish it was a series (which is saying something because I’m so series weary). Magic! Great setting! Banter!

Girl Defective by Simmone Howell: Another book originally published in Australia that got published here in the States this year! I mean, it was definitely a very character driven book so you have to really like that kind of stuff but IT WAS FANTASTIC and quirky!

Behind The Scenes by Dahlia Adler: In the blog world we all know and adore Dahlia so it got talked a lot amongst a lot of my followers who also follow Dahlia but it needs to be more widely read! Romance! Hollywood setting! I couldn’t put it down!

Like No Other by Una LaMarche: Oh my goodness this was one I snuck in here at the very end of 2014 but I’m so glad I did! I love reading from a perspective that is not familiar to me and I loved the two characters we meet here and where their stories went. THAT ENDING. *slow claps*

There Will Come A Time by Carrie Arco: You all know I gravitate towards books dealing with grief like bees to the sweet sticky syrup of a melting Popsicle on a hot day. This one dealt so realistically and beautifully about the grief of a brother after his twin sister’s tragic death. It was beautiful and definitely a book that didn’t get talked about nearly enough this year!

Brazen by Katherine Longshore: Come on guys! Historical fiction can totally be awesome and page-turning! I promise! There was drama and betrayal and all sorts of good stuff in this one because HELLO…Henry VIII court!

Wish You Were Italian by Kristin Rae: If you like contemporary romance along the lines of Sarah Dessen plus books involving travel…GET ON THIS ONE! The Italian setting and the romance swept me away!



Tell me some books YOU think deserved more attention in 2014? I want to check them out!! Did you read any on my list??

Seven 2014 Debuts That Shouldn’t Be Missed

Over the course of the coming weeks I’m going to lay my favorites out for you! Yesterday I talked about my favorite new-to-me authors I discovered this year! In the coming weeks I will talk about my favorite 2014 releases (non-debuts), books that should have been talked about more and my favorite backlist books I read this year. And, like the past couples years, I’ll do a favorite of everything music/tv/movies/etc — all things not books!

I still have a couple weeks left and some debuts I’m sure I’ll sneak in before the year ends but today I want to talk about my favorite debut novels of 2014! There were some incredibly strong debuts that got high marks from me!!

Best YA debuts 2014


Far From You by Tess Sharpe

This emotional mystery just completely wrecked me as Sophie searches for who murdered her best friend Mina when everybody, because of Sophie’s past, chalks it up to a drug deal gone wrong but Sophie knows the truth that she’s been clean and it wasn’t random.  (My review of Far From You)

Even in Paradise by Chelsey Philpot

I’m telling you, the summary doesn’t do this book justice at all. This book was enchanting, heart-smashing, beautiful and bittersweet. Plus it was well written to boot. I found myself so mesmerized, like the main character Charlotte does, with the enigmatic new friend Julia and her well-to-do family with secrets of their own. (My review of Even In Paradise)

Let’s Get Lost by Adi Alsaid

Adi’s debut was so impressive and beautiful. It’s about a girl on a road trip and we see her from the 4 teens that meet her in different places along the way in different circumstances.  Then we get the perspective of the girl we’ve gotten to know through the eyes of others and her viewpoint…well I didn’t see that coming. I will say I had a slow start with the beginning bc of some insta-love but then WOW. (My review of Let’s Get Lost)

Falling Into Place by Amy Zhang

THIS BOOK HAD ME UP UNTIL 1AM SOBBING — a wrecking ball to the heart it was.  And I’m an old lady so you know it’s serious if I’m up that late. Quiet and unassuming and then an onslaught of emotional chaos for me by the end. I loved the beautiful prose and the unique narration and how it added to my mounting “pit-in-the-stomach” feeling while reading this one. (My review of Falling Into Place)

Rites of Passage by Joy N. Hensley

I knew I was probably going to LIKE this one but the amount of which I FREAKING LOVED IT..I could not have predicted that. It was an all-consuming reading experience..just ask Will. I was screaming at the book and talking to it and flailing. (My review of Rites of Passage)

Open Road Summer by Emery Lord

Ahhh this book was a very popular debut and RIGHTLY SO. Like so totally deserving. Music, bffs, romance, road tripping it. I’m telling you…watch out for Emery Lord. She’s going to be a staple in the YA contemporary scene. (My review Open Road Summer)

Wish You Were Italian by Kristin Rae

This one was so fun but also it had serious bits in it that I didn’t expect. Kristin Rae just absolutely transported me to Italy and I did NOT want this book to be over! (My review of Wish You Were Italian)


Tell me YOUR favorite debut of 2014!!

So If I Stay Broke Your Emotions And You Don’t Know What To Read Next?

So I have this friend I’ve gotten into YA (hi KELS!!). It started with The Hunger Games and her wanting a list of books to read after finishing. Then she went on a dystopian bender because of that list. Then this year she was looking for more books to read while at my apartment so I pulled out If I Stay by Gayle Forman out (my review of If I Stay). If you don’t know me, I am a HUGE Gayle Forman fan. Her books are just MY KIND OF BOOKS. So, I told her the movie was going to come out this year so she took If I Stay for that reason and I get a text a day later about how she devoured it. And then passed it on to her sister-in-law. So then she was like WHAT DO I READ NEXT??? This made me contemporary YA loving heart happy so naturally, like I do anybody who asks me for book recommendations, I gave her some books to read now that she’s read If I Stay. They aren’t total readalikes because Gayle books are one of a kind but they are what I think make me feel things like Gayle’s books do and are among my favorites.

for fans of If I Stay


So in honor of IF I STAY hitting theaters Friday (with some showings Thursday which I AM TOTALLY GOING TO OBVIOUSLY), I’m sharing the list that I gave her so that perhaps other recent If I Stay fans can find some new books to read! Buy some tissues for some of these…just saying!!


books to read if you liked If I Stay

 A list if you can’t read my awful handwriting + want to see book covers:

books for fans of If i stay

Where She Went, Just One Day, Just One Year


Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson
ROAD TRIP BOOK! Also check out her books Second Chance Summer and Since You’ve Been Gone because they are fantastic!!(my review of Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour)

The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson
OH MY HEART. Plus Jandy’s prose is beautiful and poetic. Her newest book I’ll Give You The Sun is equally as brilliant! (my review of The Sky is Everywhere)

Something Like Normal AND Where Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller
Her books are some of my favorites and I feel like she deserves to be WAY more popular than she is!! These books were just great! (My review of Something Like Normal, my review of Where The Stars Still Shine)

This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales
This was one of my FAVORITE books of last year and I can’t recommend it enough. (My review of This Song Will Save Your Life)

Jessi Kirby’s books: Golden, Moonglass and In Honor
I put them in the order that I prefer them but all her books are just really solid and I can’t wait for more from her!! (My review of Golden, review of Moonglass, review of In Honor)

Twenty Boy Summer AND The Book of Broken Hearts by Sarah Ockler
If I had to pick out of the two The Book of Broken Hearts might win out by a smidge but both of these books made me cry SO THERE’S THAT. (My review of Twenty Boy Summer, review of The Book of Broken Hearts)

Love Letters To The Dead by Ava Dellaira
This book OH MAN. Told in letter form. SO GOOD.

Not as emotional as If I Stay and the above books but good if you loved the romance aspect of the book/movie:

Open Road Summer by Emery Lord
MATT FINCH FOREVER. If you liked that Adam was musical in If I Stay…welcome Matt Finch into your life. And so sweet! (My review of Open Road Summer)

Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard
TRAVEL. South America. SO GOOD & I loved Bria. (my review of Wanderlove)

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
SO SWEET. PARIS. LOVE. ST. CLAIR. (Although there are some people who don’t like this one because of something in it but I don’t want to say whaaaat bc SPOILERS but let me know if you want to know what their dealbreaker was) (my review of Anna and the French Kiss)

Do you have any recommendations you would add, dear readers? Because I know I personally would take any and all books you think fans of If I Stay would like because OBVIOUSLY I LOVE THAT BOOK!!


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