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Ranking the Books I Read This Summer

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

I’m very passionate about some of these books and also like cheesy romances, so buckle up.

This summer, I created a goal to read more. You may be thinking, “Mali, that is very vague,” but I made it that way on purpose because I didn’t want to be disappointed if I set a numeric goal and didn’t reach it. I ended up reading a grand total of seven and a half books (I am still working on one I started in August, but in my defense it’s over 600 pages). Seven may not seem like very many for three months, but I am proud of myself because some of these books were long! Here are my thoughts and rankings for each of the books I finished. 

Spoiler warning for all of the following books!

7. Conversations With Friends – Sally Rooney

I think this was the shortest book I read this summer, yet it took me almost the longest of all the books because I just could not get into the story. I understand that the appeal of this book is that you are kind of getting a glimpse into a seemingly normal person’s life, but there were points in this book where I was just really frustrated with the characters and their actions. I also found myself getting bored with the story at points and the Hulu show was extremely disappointing, which also affected my mood about the story. My rating for this book was a ⅗.

6. We’ll Always Have Summer – Jenny Han

This is the third book in The Summer I Turned Pretty trilogy, and it is my least favorite of the series. This summer was my second time reading this series, and I reread all three books in less than a week because I forgot how much I loved them. I just think the whole plot of Belly and Jeremiah getting engaged is so dumb and frustrating because their reasoning is very immature. Despite the fact that it is meant for pre-teens, and this is my least favorite of the series, I still think this is an incredible piece of literature. Did I read this book in two days? Yes. 3.5/5. 

5. My Year of Rest and Relaxation – Ottessa Moshfegh

My thoughts on this book are very mixed. The plot is very different from other things I’ve read which may affect my review. Also, I knew of the trigger warnings that came with this book before going into it, but I still read it. However, I don’t know if I was fully in the right headspace to read this book. Proceed with caution when reading this, but I think the story was interesting. I give this book a 3.5/5 as well.

4. It’s Not Summer Without You – Jenny Han

The second book of TSITP series is also my second favorite. This book is definitely the saddest of the three, but something about this series is literally addictive to me and I think I finished this book in one day. Not much to say about this one other than that I enjoyed it, but it wasn’t my favorite. ⅘.

3. Beach Read – Emily Henry

This is the first book I read after finishing The Summer I Turned Pretty Trilogy, and it was exactly what I needed. I really wanted another silly little romance, but something a little more mature. The story line between Agustus and January (Also, who came up with these names? Emily Henry, I just want to talk) is super intriguing and is relatively fast paced. I liked the idea of their competition and friendship as writers that were former enemies turned friends. I also read this book in like two days. Overall, ⅘.

2. A Court of Thorns and Roses – Sarah J. Maas

Okay — at first, I thought I hated this book. The plot was just too similar to Beauty and the Beast but weirder, but then once I got into it, it was super interesting. The last fourth of this book was so crazy, interesting and kept me on my toes, so once I got to that part I could not put the book down. I am currently reading the second book in this series, and it took a turn that I wasn’t fully expecting so I really recommend the series. I also like that the first book focused on a specific part of the world, while the second is expanding past that and giving a wider view of the world as a whole. I would guess that as the series continues, it will also elaborate on other parts of the world. This book was a ⅘ for me.

1. The Summer I Turned Pretty – Jenny Han 

What can I say, this book had the perfect vibe for me to read over the summer. The first time I read this series I was around the age of 15, which is the age Belly is in the first book so I read it very fast. It was an easy-to-read romance filled with beaches, innocent summer crushes and adventures. What inspired me to reread the series this summer was the fact that the Hulu show came out in June. I really liked the show, but unfortunately they changed so many things from the book to the show. I still plan on watching the rest of the seasons, and honestly I’ll probably reread this series again someday because it just has a special place in my heart. This book was a 4.5/5 for me and I think anyone who likes easy to read romances should read this series (I have it as a three-in-one book that is like 900 pages if anyone needs to borrow it haha). 

I honestly didn’t hate any of the books I read this summer, and I would recommend all of them. As you probably noticed, I tend to gravitate toward romance novels, but I have started to venture into other genres, so look out for future articles about my thoughts as I explore more diverse selections. I also plan on rereading the Percy Jackson series soon before the Disney Plus series comes out next year, so get ready for my Greek mythology phase to return. 

Mali Kruckenberg

Wisconsin '23

Hi! My name is Mali and I am a senior at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, double majoring in Political Science and Communication Arts. I love exploring new restaurants and stores around the Madison area and reading. My favorite Her Campus articles to read from other writers are articles detailing their experiences as college women and how they have learned and grown from their experiences.