Books. Summer. Reading. You know the drill by now. Here’s the first installment. Here’s the second. I think this puts me at 77 books read this summer. I have 8 more books in my current TBR pile. Think I can get them all done by the first day of school? I do too.
The House That Lou Built by Mae Respicio. MIDDLE GRADE. Wonderful look at community and culture. Filipino American Lou has a real talent for carpentry, design, and architecture. Lou is spirited, filled with determination and heart.
Drum Roll, Please by Lisa Jenn Bigelow. MIDDLE GRADE. Melly’s a shy girl, but she finds friendship and confidence at music camp. She learns how to rely less on her best friend and experiences her first crush on a girl.
When Life Gives You Lululemons by Lauren Weisberger. ADULT. Another rich people and their problems book. These are always my favorite summer reads—a little over the top and a lot of fun.
Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate. MIDDLE GRADE. A powerful look at working class poverty. Unique take on an imaginary friend story. We don’t often see families in situations like this in middle grade. Serious but ultimately hopeful.
The Terrible Two by Mac Barnett and Jory John. ELEMENTARY/MG. Wide appeal. The illustrations and high-interest plot help make for a quick read. Fun, silly, and full of mischief.
The Hero Two Doors Down by Sharon Robinson. ELEMENTARY/MG. Uplifting story of understanding prejudice and encouraging tolerance/acceptance. A quiet story, the strong characters and thoughtful, unexpected friendship and its lessons make up for the lack of real plot.
Cursed by Bruce Coville. ELEMENTARY/MG. Whimsical story, fun illustrations and “documents” help flesh out the story. Humorous, but the story does drag a bit and mixed format/places we learn information a bit confusing. Fans of magic will enjoy this brownie’s story.
Fish in a Tree by Linda Mullaly Hunt. ELEMENTARY/MG. A feel-good story about embracing differences and seeing beyond labels and impressions. Characters are interesting and complicated. Great story about friendship, too.
Webster: Tale of an Outlaw by Ellen Emerson White. ELEMENTARY/MG. Webster thinks he’s a bad hat, but he’s a very good dog. A sweet and emotional look at animal neglect/abuse and rescue. Humorous and full of adventure and rescues.
The Infinite Pieces of Us by Rebekah Crane. YA. Reviewed for School Library Journal.
Last in a Long Line of Rebels by Lisa Lewis Tyre. MIDDLE GRADE. Strong characters carry this rather slow story of Lou and friends working to save her house and solve a Civil War mystery. Themes of racism, atonement, and changing values.
The High Season by Judy Blundell. ADULT. Say it with me now: rich people and their problems! I really loved this book—great writing, compelling characters, lots of depth.
Soar by Joan Bauer. MIDDLE GRADE. I usually love Joan Bauer, but this title lacked depth—characters felt like props and MC doesn’t feel nuanced. People who like “inspirational” unrelenting positivity and adult-sounding sixth graders may enjoy this.
Fuzzy Mud by Louis Sachar. ELEMENTARY/MG. This was great—fast-paced, super interesting, and filled with tension. The cautionary tale puts the characters in real peril. Readers will race through this suspenseful story.
Book Scavenger by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman. ELEMENTARY/MG. An excellent addition to the field of puzzle-solving books. Suspend your disbelief and get caught up in the mystery, ciphers, literary allusions, and the journeys around San Francisco.
Hearts Unbroken by Cynthia Letitch Smith. YA. This is a nice mix of romance, routine high school drama, and more serious topics like racism, bullying, and becoming more socially aware. Louise, the main character, is Muscogee (Creek).
The Collectors by Jacqueline West. MIDDLE GRADE. Great characters, including a hard of hearing main character who uses hearing aids, interesting world-building, tons of suspense, and leaves readers wanting more. A great addition to any collection. Be careful what you wish for!
The Hating Game by Sally Thorne. ADULT. 100% my favorite book I read this summer. Enemies-to-lovers fan? You will devour this book.
The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang. ADULT. Stella is autistic and hires an escort to be a practice boyfriend, but, big surprise, they end up falling for each other. An excellent romance with tons of sexual chemistry and great writing.
Moonstruck, Volume 1: Magic to Brew by Grace Ellis, Shae Beagle (Artist), Kate Leth (Artist). YA. Super wacky graphic novel about lesbian werewolves. What’s not to like? Cute, diverse, and full of supernatural fun.
Giant Days Volumes 1 through 6 by John Allison et al. YA/ADULT. Excellent comics about the first year (and second, by volume 6) of college. Follows a small group of girls and boys as they figure out housing, money, dating, and more. Read all six volumes in 28 hours. Really good.
Meet the Sky by McCall Hoyle. YA. The far-fetched plot will appeal to readers who like their main characters in peril. Girl trapped during hurricane evacuation with the boy who broke her heart.
Girl CEO by Katherine Ellison, Ronnie Cohen. YA. Full color makes this book very visually appealing. Great profiles of and advice from diverse women entrepreneurs, inventors, CEOs, media stars, and other leaders. Inspiring and educational.
The Glitch by Elisabeth Cohen. ADULT. Fast-paced read about a Silicon Valley exec who maximizes every second of every day, but is thrown for a loop when a woman claiming to be a younger version of her shows up and makes her question everything.