Book Talk: Summer Reads & Reviews

9:00:00 AM

Summer isn't my favorite season, but it does offer valuable opportunities for reading ALL THE BOOKS. Some are summer-specific, while others just struck my fancy. Either way, it might be nice to share a few of the books I've been reaching for this summer. And there's still a few weeks left to squeak in a summer read or two!

The cover of The Unexpected Everything screams summer, and it ain't lying. Andi gets dropped from a prestigious pre-pre-med program and ends up with an entirely different summer than she expected. It's got books, it's got boys, it's got dogs, and most of all, it's got friendship. It's probably the largest YA contemporary novel I've read, and it's a bit of a slow burn (it takes time to explore all the relationships in Andi's life - family, friends, more-than-friends) but I enjoyed it immensely. There's no denying that Morgan Matson does summer reads right. 

The Last One isn't a typical summer read, but something about it just felt like summer. Maybe because it reminds me of the trashy TV you watch when it's too hot to do anything else, or maybe it's outdoor setting, but reading this during the summer just felt right. Zoo joins a reality TV show where the only object is to survive the game. The challenges are staged and she can quit any time she wants. How hard can it be? It's Survivor meets The Hunger Games meets The Walking Dead, and I absolutely loved it. The line between perception and reality is quickly blurred as Zoo (and the reader) consider what they are willing to do to survive with their sanity intact. Even if you're sick of (or were never into) the dystopian trend, you'll be into this.

Summer of Sloane is another YA contemporary that just screams summer. Sloane is desperate to leave her messy relationships with her ex and ex-best friend behind and spend the summer with her family, but her problems seem to follow her no matter how far she runs. In spite of this rough start, SoS is truly a fun, flirty beach read. I liked that the book explored the relationship between Sloane and her parents, because parents are often absent in YA. I won't be reaching for it again and again, but I enjoyed it.

The 5th Wave was a recommendation that took me forever to get around to...and it wasn't worth it! It's lengthy, and because it's part of a series the plot doesn't really get moving until the end of the book. Cassie is one of few to survive the first 4 waves of an alien invasion, her only goal to stay alive and find her brother. There's too much telling in this one for my taste - I didn't need to hear so much about the "before" of her life or how the world collapsed - those are dots I could connect on my own. I was more interested in the chapters from another POV, which had an Ender's Game vibe. It was fine, but I don't see myself picking up the next book in the series anytime soon. This book had ample time to suck me in, and it never happened.

This book wasn't super long or super satisfying, which I'm okay with in a summer read. I first heard about No Parking at the End Times from Emily @ Forever Literary, and it had such a Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly vibe that I knew I had to read it. Sacred Lies is much, much darker and has a much more developed cast of characters, but I still enjoyed No Parking. Abigail is the kind of person who would roll her eyes at religious fanatics - that is, if her parents weren't two of them. The end is neigh, at least, according to them, so they sell everything they own and move across the country in preparation. There are a lot of things this book does right - like exploring homelessness and the difficulty of feeling better equipped to handle life than your parents - but as I mentioned, the ending wasn't what I'd hoped. I wouldn't let that stop you, though, if this seems like something you'd be interested in!

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