5 Books You Have to Read This Summer

Picture this: a beautiful ocean scenery, heat from the blazing sun, a hot summer body in a stunning bikini, and cute DIY beach accessories taken from Pinterest. It sounds amazing, right? Not quite. Even a beach day this perfect would be incomplete without a great, easy novel to read. Magazines are light and interesting, but sometimes a book (yes, a paper book) can add extra spice to your beach day… or any lazy summer day. 

It’s no secret that English majors adore the art of reading—poetry, classics, plays. There’s a reason we're studying English, after all. Reading is not a chore, but an escape. As Hazel Rochman famously put it, “reading takes us away from home, but more important, it finds homes for us everywhere.” I’m sure many avid readers can agree that the art of reading and escaping reality is one of life’s most amazing treasures. 

Particularly in our society and age demographic, reading can be thought of as a chore—merciless and torturous. However, I believe if teachers and professors were not forcing classics and literary novels down their students’ throats, reading would be much more enjoyable. But life isn’t fair, so it’s up to us to seek out that perfect book to seduce us back into the world of imagination. So without further ado, let me introduce the top five must-reads for this summer!

5. The Kissing Booth by Beth Reekles

The Kissing Booth is a lighthearted story about Rochelle Evans, a high school teen who is running a kissing booth for the Spring Carnival at her school. Everything is going perfectly until a “kisser” backs down and Rochelle finds herself locking lips with her old crush and best friend’s older brother, Noah Flynn. A senior and childhood friend whom she thought she no longer had feelings for… except, once again, she finds herself in the midst of a potential romance. She’s no longer the child she used to be, things have heated up, and high school is about get serious.

4. The Truth about Forever by Sarah Dessen

The Truth about Forever is a heartbreaking and heartwarming novel about Macy Queen, a high school teen who is far from perfect. She’s a girl with a dark past and a dysfunctional family. Her escape? She’s living two different lives—some days she’s the girl working at the library and during others, she’s a caterer with her crazy, loud friends… and a cute, risk taker named Wes. Macy is searching for something, someone to keep her sane—a distraction from the problems she is not ready to face at home.           

3. Perfect You by Elizabeth Scott

Who thought that vitamins could ever lead to romance? High school has not been kind to Kate Brown: she’s been ditched by her now-popular ex-best friend, Anna, and her once-loving parents are officially divorced. Worst of all? Kate is stuck with her vitamin-obsessed father who sells vitamins at the mall. Life couldn’t get any worse or embarrassing for the 16 year old. Then, there’s Will. He’s gorgeous, amazing, wonderful… but most of all, unobtainable. Or so Kate thought. Her resentment towards her irresponsible father and workaholic mother, but most of all, her selfish ex-best friend, forces Kate to live the rest of her high school career in misery and embarrassment. But along the way, she learns that even in the midst of imperfection, good things do happen…

2. The Time Keeper by Mitch Albom

It’s not a romance, and it’s not a thriller. It’s better: it’s a lighthearted sci-fi and fantasy. The Time Keeper follows one main character, Dor—Father Time. He is the man who invented the first clock, and a methodology on how to measure time. Like any workaholic, Dor has neglected his wife in sickness and in health. It would be an understatement to say that the Heavens were not too kind to Dor. The punishment for his obsession with time is banishment to a cave for eternity. But that’s not at all; in the cave, Dor is forced to listen to every living person whine and complain about not having enough time.

The Heavens take pity on Dor and offer him one chance to make things right. He is transported to the present, 21st century, and must help two different people understand the value of time: quality over quantity. Only in this way does Dor have a chance at rekindling his relationship with his wife, and an opportunity to fulfill his duties as a husband before it’s too late.

1. The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han

Isabel Conklin, otherwise known as “Belly,” loves her life during the summer. Her summer life is what she looks forward to during the long, dull school  year back at home—she measures life in summers. Fall, winter, and spring are only irrelevant weeks she must suffer through before the next summer spent at the beach house with Susannah, her best friend Jeremiah, and most importantly - her childhood crush, Conrad. Summers are always the same: predictable, comfortable and secure… until the summer she turned pretty. One summer is all it took for Belly’s life to turn upside down and around, and perhaps for the better. 

This is a classic summer read for me. It’s a series (yes, there are two more books) that I return to every summer—it’s a tradition. It’s a beautiful story about a young teenager maturing into a woman, finding love, losing love, and rekindling it again. Belly is a character many girls and women can relate to, seeing as she describes herself as the child we used to be. If there any one book that I highly recommend reading this summer, it’s this one. Trust me, you will not regret it.

Reading offers us a second home: a place we’ve never visited before. The school year is always filled with long, dull books that most of us no longer care for. If there is a time for us to explore the exciting, creative world of literature, it’s in the summer. Take one of these novels with you, or even better, take them all. Grab a backpack, pack your beach necessities, sit down, open the book and drown out the world. Summer lovin’ may not be a part of everyone’s story, but don’t neglect yourself from experiencing it through a book—especially The Summer I Turned Pretty. (I swear, it’ll be worth every minute of your precious time). Like Nike says, just do it.

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