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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Illinois State chapter.

The best thing about summer? Being able to read books for fun instead of for class. This summer, I definitely used the spare reading time to my advantage. Below are the six books I read over my summer break.

It Ends with Us

by Colleen Hoover
Rating: 5 stars

When scanning this book’s synopsis, I thought it was going to be a romantic story about two lovers Lily and Ryle, with the possibility of a love triangle (enter Atlas). But, boy, was I wrong.

“It Ends with Us” provided so much more than a fun read about a couple, and it took me on an emotional rollercoaster while doing so. This novel introduced and delved into the deeper and darker side of a relationship, one which has the power to cause destruction, if not put love to an end. This book was hard to put down, but luckily for me, I get to look forward to its sequel, “It Starts with Us,” which is to be published in October.


by Colleen Hoover
Rating: 4 stars

After reading “It Ends with Us,” I just had to continue reading Hoover’s work, and I was not disappointed. There’s a lot more to “Hopeless” than meets the eye. As I read, I began to question if there was something bigger going on beyond the romance aspect between Sky and Holder, and there was. However, because of a tremendous amount of plot twists, answers are not clear until the very, very end. Because of this, this novel provides a romance read all the while keeping you on your toes as it hints at something more.

If after reading “Hopeless,” you’re left wanting more, its sequel, “Losing Hope,” retells the story from Dean’s perspective.

A Court of Thorns and Roses

by Sarah J. Maas
Rating: 4.5 stars

This was the first fantasy book I have read in a while and boy did it exceed any expectations I had. I first heard of this series on #BookTok, and based on the reviews, I caved and bought it. As “A Court of Thorns and Roses” introduced me to the main character Feyre, it also introduced her, and immersed me in, her new world full of faeries, magic, love, lust and, of course, betrayal.

A Court of Mist and Fury

by Sarah J. Maas
Rating: 5/5

After reading the first book in this series, I ran to the nearest bookstore to get the second, and it was the best choice I’ve ever made. Coming off of the first book and loving it, I didn’t know if the story could get any better; it definitely did. Not only did “A Court of Mist and Fury” develop further some of the plots, characters and relationships from the book before, but it went on to introduce and delve into new settings, characters and relationships that made me love this book even more than the first. And guess what? There are three more (so far).

Twisted Love

by Ana Huang
Rating: 4.5 stars

Taking a break from fantasy led me to this romance series, consisting of four books with interconnected main characters all showcasing a different romance trope. In “Twisted Love,” the trope being explored was “brother’s best friend.” Within this relationship between Ava and Alex, there was lust, love, secrets and more—that’s why I finished it in a night.

Twisted Games

by Ana Huang
Rating: 5 stars

The second book in this series, “Twisted Games,” follows a bodyguard trope that revolves around Ava’s best friend Bridget and her bodyguard Rhys, as he protects her from danger since she is a literal princess.

Being that their relationship is forbidden, and danger lurks behind every corner, their relationship was full of lust, tension, protectiveness and a whole lot more.

With each of these books carrying a rating of 4 stars and above, you will not be disappointed if you give one of them a try.

Alexa Fricilone

Illinois State '23

Alexa is a recent journalism graduate of Illinois State University and current student at NYU's Summer Publishing Institute. She has been a contributing writer since 2021 and our Junior Editor since 2022. Follow her on Instagram @alexafricilone