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2023 Summer Reading Recap (& What You Should Read This Fall)

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

As fall quickly approaches, I’m left reflecting on what I read this summer and thinking about what I should start reading this season. If you’re looking for some books to add to your TBR (to be read), these summaries are spoiler-free.

Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin

Such a beautiful story. I had heard raving reviews about this book for months, and it was the first thing I read this summer. Zevin stunningly captures relationships in every walk of life from childhood through college and late adulthood. Centered around Sadie Green and Sam Masur; childhood friends who grow apart and then meet again in college for the collaboration of a lifetime, Zevin keeps the pages turning, unlike most other authors I’ve read.

Happy Place by Emily Henry

Emily Henry hasn’t failed me yet. Happy Place is her most recent book, and I think her contemporary romance writing is as beautiful as the way she showcases relationships with friends and family. She seems to effortlessly capture what can appear to be mundane moments and transform them into priceless memories for her characters. The story focuses on Harriet and Wyn, the perfect couple, but what their friends don’t know is that they just broke up and they’re returning to their favorite cottage in Maine. My favorite book of hers is still Book Lovers, but if you haven’t read anything by Henry, I highly recommend Happy Place.

Better Than the Movies by Lynn Painter

This is a classic Young Adult romance. A simple summer read that had been on my TBR for a while, a travel day was the perfect time to start. Wes and Liz are neighbors — and enemies. Wes just so happens to be friends with Michael, the same childhood crush of Liz who moved away and recently returned. I’d recommend this for a weekend read, or a book to keep beside your bed.

The American RoomMate Experiment by Elena Armas

I read The Spanish Love Deception earlier this year, and once my Libby* hold was ready, I could not wait to dive into the sequel. This story follows Rosie Graham and Lucas, the best friend, and the cousin, respectively, of the first book’s protagonist, Lina. Lina offers up her apartment to Lucas for the summer, not knowing Rosie had planned on staying there too, so they stay there together. It was a great summer read and I’m really looking forward to reading more of Armas’ work in the future.

The Best Strangers in the World by Ari Shapiro

As soon as this book was announced, I was so excited to read, or rather, listen to it. I opted for the audiobook version of this story, and for good reason. Author Ari Shapiro is an anchor on NPR’s (yes, the same NPR your parents probably listen to on their way to work, I’m a fan myself) All Things Considered. His narration is crystal clear and his storytelling is beautifully personal, while still tugging at my heartstrings with the human interest stories from his many travels reporting. My dad also listened to this book, giving it a big thumbs up, and commenting on the fantastic storytelling.

The Summer of Broken Rules by K. L. Walther

This book was free through my Amazon Prime membership and since I had seen it on Instagram, I figured it would make a good read for a long train ride. The story focuses on Meredith Fox, whose family has been going to Martha’s Vineyard every summer she can remember. This summer, though, is different. It is the first one back since her sister died, and everyone is in town for a family wedding. To top it off, Meredith’s long-term boyfriend has just broken up with her, and she has a legacy to protect in her family’s annual game of Assassin. This is a great summer read.

Ways to Read

As much as I love reading, it can get really expensive. To combat this while still supporting my favorite authors, here are the reading methods I use:

  • Libby, as mentioned previously, is a free audio and e-book app powered by your local library card. Simply download and input your library card information to see if yours is affiliated, then borrow, place holds, and return books from your Kindle, iPad, or phone.
  • Amazon Prime also offers users a selection of books included with their membership. They can be accessed through the Kindle app, and it’s how I read the last book on this list.
  • Local libraries are perhaps my favorite way to access books. They are quiet and reliable, and everyone who works there is genuinely happy to help. They can also get your desired read from a different library if yours doesn’t have it or if it’s already borrowed.
  • Barnes & Noble, or your local bookstore. I don’t know of many local bookstores in my hometown, so, instead, I opt for Barnes & Noble or pick a book up at a local store when I visit somewhere new. Buying books is a great way to support your favorite authors and allow them to keep writing the stories you enjoy most.
  • Not a way to read but a way to connect with other readers, I highly recommend Goodreads. Think Instagram, but for books. You can add books you’ve read, what you’re currently reading, and what you want to read, plus see the same for friends. My favorite part, though, is the ability to see every book in one place, especially because my reading is often a mix of the above methods.
Bella is a sophomore at the University of Connecticut double-majoring in English and Secondary English Education. She is a Public Relations and Events Chair for Her Campus UConn, where she spends time planning events to foster a strong sense of community among the chapter. Bella enjoys writing articles about books she reads, and providing advice for incoming students. In her spare time, you’ll find Bella browsing a bookstore with a coffee in-hand, baking her latest favorite recipe, embroidering some flowers, or listening to her current Spotify playlist on repeat.