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

Summer time represents those glorious few months between school years free of homework and class readings. Where your free time actually feels like free time and you can sit down on the weekend and enjoy yourself without worrying that you’re sacrificing time that you should be devoting to an assignment, book, discussion post, or essay due for class in the coming week. For me, that means time to finally get around to tackling my to-read list on Goodreads. This summer was no exception. I read nine books this summer, and am reviewing my six favorites here in case you might be on the lookout for a recommendation to add to your own queue. 

  1. The Power by Naomi Alderman

This book was a heavy one to start the summer on, but definitely a worthwhile read. If you’re a fan of speculative fiction that really makes you pause in your tracks and evaluate the world around you; add this to your reading list immediately. The basic premise of the novel is that women start developing electrical powers that, over time, begin to shift the power imbalance between men and women. The book could be categorized as a dystopia, but Alderman challenges that narrative in multiple interviews stating that nothing happens to a man in the book that isn’t already happening to women in our modern society. If The Power is a dystopia, what does that make the world we live in? The Power forces you to question common narratives about gender and power, ponder a world in which the roles are reversed, and confront the uncomfortable reality that is our world today and reflect on our complacency in it. If you enjoyed The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, I’m sure you’ll find The Power equally as compelling. Keep in mind that it is not an easy or comfortable read, some aspects were deeply disturbing and triggering, so be warned. 

  1. A Restless Truth by Freya Marske

A Restless Truth comes as the second book in Marske’s trilogy: The Last Binding. If you are a fan of fantasy in any capacity I cannot recommend this series enough. The first book, A Marvelous Light, sets up an elaborate and unique magical world unlike any fantasy I’ve read before. I’m not quite sure how to plug the second book without spoiling the first, but I’ll just say Marske’s style of writing is so beautiful and her method of world building is so satisfying and compelling. Each book has its own queer romance subplot and spotlights different characters within the greater overarching story. While the first book was definitely my favorite of the series so far, A Restless Truth made a stunning sequel, and I cannot wait to read the third (which, unfortunately, has not been released yet). 

  1. The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune

This book was quite possibly the cutest book I have ever read in my life, and has definitely made its way on to my favorites list. The story follows Linus Baker, a dedicated employee for the Department in Charge of Magical Youth, as he is tasked with a very unusual, very high profile assignment. He is sent to evaluate an orphanage of particularly peculiar magical children and the particularly peculiar man in charge. The House in the Cerulean Sea is a heartwarming story of the family we find and the way life can unexpectedly take us to the places we never knew we were missing. While the ending was a bit idealistic and didn’t go quite as deep as it could have, I think sometimes it’s important to remember that individuals have a stake in the society that surrounds us, and that change, though it may be incremental, is attainable. Overall, this was my favorite of my summer books.  If the children living in the house in the cerulean sea don’t charm your heart, then you are a soulless rock. 

  1. Loveless by Alice Oseman

If you’re like me and got absolutely swept off your feet by the show Heartstopper on Netflix, may I first recommend reading Oseman’s original graphic novels on which the show is based, and then recommend reading another incredible piece of her work: Loveless. Loveless follows 18 year old Georgia as she comes to terms with her asexuality and makes her way through her first year at university. With its specific focus on the importance of (and magic in) platonic relationships, Loveless is not a romance, but it is still a love story. If you’ve read any of Oseman’s work before, you’ll recognise her thoughtful approach to her queer characters and their unique experiences. Authentic, sweet, and a quick read, this uncommon coming of age novel would make the perfect addition to your bookshelf.

  1. Under the Whispering Door by TJ Klune

After reading The House in the Cerulean Sea, another TJ Klune novel was quickly added to my summer queue. Under the Whispering Door follows recently deceased Wallace as he navigates the space between life and death with the help of a few new acquaintances with exceptionally odd occupations. This book was not only adorable, but extremely thought provoking. It caused me to pause and evaluate the way I prioritize and organize my life, and sparked a curiosity in what might come next without inducing the sort of anxiety you might expect when pondering death. Creative, emotional, and endearing, this would make the perfect rainy day read: cuddled up with a warm drink, baked good, and a nice candle (you know the vibes).

  1. How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents by Julia Alvarez

Wrapping up my summer reads was How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents. This novel starts in the present and slowly works its way back into the past following the stories of four immigrant sisters and their family. I have never read a novel structured in this way and thought it was brilliantly creative. Already knowing where they are in the present, you have a unique perspective when events from their pasts are uncovered. The novel is also not told from one distinct point of view. It fluctuates from third person, to first person narrative, to a collective “we”, to a story told by a mother. While at first I was a bit thrown off by this, it makes the novel as a whole more enriching in my opinion. This one took me a bit longer to finish than my other reads this summer, but I would definitely recommend it to any fans of realistic or historical fiction. 

I am currently a junior at Seattle Pacific University pursuing a double major in Sociology and Social Justice. I grew up in rural Colorado, but have found my home here on the west coast. This is my third year as a member of Her Campus, and my first year taking on a leadership role within the SPU chapter. I have also devoted my time to SPU's independent, student run newspaper creating social media content.