5 Books to Read When Summer Ends

I would be lying if I said I wasn’t excited for the fall. I’m welcoming cute sweaters, hot chocolate, and spooky season with open arms—and I’m definitely ready to be out of this Georgia heat.

Even so, there’s something about summer that I’ll always love, whatever time of year it is. Maybe it’s the long nights, or the constant promise of new experiences, or just the simple freedom of long drives with no destination in mind. It’s what I try to encompass each year in my summer playlists, spontaneous trips and especially in my reading.

In this transitional period from summer to fall, there is no doubt that some of us want to relive that undefinable summer essence. For all of you summer mourners, here are some books that will help with the grieving process.


  1. 1. Since You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson

    couple string lights

    Morgan Matson is the queen of young adult, contemporary summer reads. Though all of her novels follow the same general theme, each one is distinct in regards to plotline, character development and tone. Matson does a fantastic job of diversifying a seemingly specific category. Really, any of her books are sweetly satisfying summer reads.

    Since You’ve Been Gone, however, is my favorite. It follows a slow-burning, adorable romance, the irreplaceable value of all types of friendships, and protagonist growth that leaves us wondering if maybe, just maybe, we too often let fear dictate our lives.

  2. 2. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

    Stars in the night sky

    Okay, so maybe I’m cheating just a little bit with this book as it doesn’t take place in the summer. However, the late 1980s setting in El Paso, Texas inevitably induces that nostalgic, escapist summer sentiment we’re all chasing. If you want to get introspective with your feelings, this book is calling your name!

    Aristotle and Dante is a coming-of-age novel that focuses on two teenage boys filled with angst and pent-up emotions (really, who would have guessed?). Though simplistic in plot, what really defines this book is the writing. Sáenz beautifully turns simple, everyday moments into crises of existentialism and major life lessons. I appreciate how real and raw this novel is, and I think you will too. 

  3. 3. Anna & the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

    Kellyn Simpkin-Girl In Front Of Eiffel Tower France Hat Paris

    You’ve probably heard about this book a thousand times and have done one of two things: a) read it and loved it or b) didn’t read it out of principle. Well, if you fall into the latter, I’m directing this to you: you’re missing out. 

    Setting in Paris, one of the most romantic and beautiful cities in the world? Check. Boarding school with no parental supervision and, therefore, no boundaries? Check. Complex yet endearing friend group? Check. And, of course, a romance you root for from the beginning? Check!

    Honestly, what more do I have to say?

  4. 4. Once and For All by Sarah Dessen

    pink prom dress

    Sarah Dessen has always been a bit of a guilty pleasure of mine. As an author, she is pretty contentious in the reading community. A lot of people claim that her protagonists are very one-dimensional; any character development is only the result of romantic interests. I would definitely argue that Once and For All breaks away from that formula.

    Dessen detaches herself from her overly romantic reputation (even though her genre is literally young adult romance...but, I digress) by confronting the very timely subject of school shootings. Don’t worry—it’s not all heartbreaking! Aside from a charismatic love interest, the protagonist also works for her mother's wedding business. Come on, what says summertime more than weddings?

  5. 5. Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch

    view of city florence italy

    So maybe you’re not feeling like traveling to Paris in Anna & the French Kiss—how about Florence, Italy? Although the romance and familial relations are the defining attributes, what really shines in Love & Gelato is the setting. Welch perfectly captures the beauty of the birthplace of the Renaissance, a city that for centuries has been known for its dedication to all forms of art. Whether you’re like me, having traveled to Florence yourself and yearning to relive the experience, or you just want to fantasize about that dream Italian vacation you have always wanted to take—Love & Gelato is perfect for you!

I hope whatever you choose to read will help ease the pain of summer’s finale. After all, there are still fall books to be read!