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

These novels are at the top of my list

It’s almost that time of year again: summer. Last year, I read the most books I’d ever read in a summer. Now, I’m ready to do the same thing all over again. At the beginning of 2022, I set a goal to read 30 books this year. Other college students will understand why I unfortunately have not had the luxury of reading for fun during the school year. This past winter break, I’m proud to say I read every book except for one that was given to me as a Christmas or birthday gift in a matter of weeks. Reading is one of my favorite things to do. I love that by turning a page I can go anywhere I want to without ever even taking a step. These books are the newest ones on my bookshelf, and they’re already calling my name.  

1. “The Maidens” by Alex Michaelides

All that I know about this novel is that it takes place on a college campus, but I have a great feeling about this one. Ever since I read The Silent Patient by the same author, I have wanted to pick up another one of his novels. Shortly after I had torn through The Silent Patient, Michaelides’ new novel The Maidens came out, and I knew I had to have it. Every Christmas and birthday season, I’m given at least one book. This particular novel was a birthday gift this past January, and I have been dying to crack it open ever since. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the chance to read it before the start of the spring semester, but rest assured it will be one of the first things crossed off from my summer bucket list.  

2. “The Last Thing He Told Me” by Laura Dave

I picked up this book a few months ago from a local bookstore near my house. The store was new in town, and this was the first time I’d stepped foot inside the mysterious and seemingly limitless building in Genesee Depot, Wisconsin. I recognized the cover of it from the Goodreads app (which I highly recommend). Its cover reminded me of a vibrant Italian rooftop or a building in the countryside.The sticker in its upper right corner told me it was a Reese’s Book Club pick, which made me gravitate towards it even more, as Reese Witherspoon is one of my favorite actresses. In my head, I imagine this to be a story about the relationship between someone who goes missing and the loved ones they leave behind. I’m a true sucker for both mysteries and romantic novels, so I can’t wait to dive into this one. 

3. “Dear Evan Hansen” by Val Emmich

The other day, I saw an advertisement on a city bus for the Dear Evan Hansen musical playing at the Overture Center, and it got me excited about finally reading this book. The first time I’d heard of Dear Evan Hansen, I was a junior in high school, visiting my older sister at college. Her friend told me all about this one musical that had recently blown her mind: Dear Evan Hansen. She fell in love with the music and compared it to the book. Whenever someone tells me about a movie, a musical or a play that’s based on a book, I always hope to read the book first. There’s something so special about being able to create characters and settings in your head on your own before seeing an actor onscreen or onstage. In my opinion, doing it the other way around is the wrong order; if you don’t read the book first, you don’t get the freedom to envision the world on your own first. For this reason, I sadly haven’t gone to see the musical in Madison or watched the new movie that recently came out. I couldn’t be more excited to finally see if this book is worth the hype. 

4. “It Ends with Us” by Colleen Hoover

The first time I read Colleen Hoover’s name was this past Christmas, when my sister-in-law had Verity on her list of gift ideas. The next thing I knew, her name was popping up all over Goodreads (surprise, surprise!), so I decided to look into her oeuvre. A lot of her work was brand-new, with multiple novels published within the last two years. While this book is the only one on my list that I don’t already own, I am determined to check it out at the library or buy it from Half Price Books because I have heard so many good things. Pinterest is another resource I turn to when wanting to know more about what to read, since you can find recommendations from pins like, “Books That I Wish I Could Read Again for the First Time.” It Ends with Us is another one of those books I don’t know anything about but I have a feeling that it will make Hoover one of my new favorite authors.  

5. “The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo” by Taylor Jenkins Reid

One of the topics my boss and I talk about the most is books. That sounds like a joke, but trust me, it’s true. Once a week, we discuss our current reads, the best stories we’ve ever read and ones we’re hoping to get to soon. One day, she mentioned this book as one she wanted to read sometime, and coincidentally, the title found its way back into my life after my sister got it as a Christmas gift. It reminded me of The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, which is one of my top five favorite books of all time. I imagine this novel to be about wealth, power and scandal, but I don’t yet know how they relate to each other in Evelyn Hugo’s life—however, I’m thrilled to find out.  

I’m going into this summer with the goal of only dedicating my time towards things that matter to me. I will have a to-do list of ways to make the most out of my day, spending time doing the things I enjoy. I can tell you already, I’ll be devoting a lot of my time to reading great books. I plan to chip away at my goal of reading 30 books by the end of 2022 to make this summer the one where I’ve traveled the most through others’ words and worlds. 

Isabel Fernandez

Wisconsin '22

UW-Madison Senior, Creative Writing and Spanish major Hometown: Waukesha, WI