8 books to kick off your summer reading

one of my favorite things about summer is the fact that i have so much free time to spend reading! i went to the library recently and checked out a bunch of summery books because they always make me feel happy and hopeful for the coming months. so for anyone who’s also looking for great summer reads, here are eight stories filled with adventure, sleepaway camps, beaches, and young love to keep you reading all summer long.


summer days & summer nights: twelve love stories by stephanie perkins – going into this collection of short stories, i was expecting cute, fluffy tales of young love. for the most part, that is not what i got. so many of these stories were melancholy and had bittersweet endings. personally, i think that all of the authors had the idea to make their story sad so that it would stand out from the rest, so then all of them ended up being a little bit miserable.

they aren’t all your basic straight contemporary romance either: there’s a range of genres (fantasy, horror, futuristic) and characters (interracial and lgbt+ couples, love interests with autism and depression, etc.). a theme that ran through most of them was a missing parent/broken family.

my favorite short stories from this collection were in ninety minutes, turn north, love is the last resort, and a thousand ways this could all go wrong.

bad magic by pseudonymous bosch – this is the first book of a series by one of my favorite authors. bosch’s books are always witty and engaging, with quirky characters you can’t help but root for. bad magic is about a boy named clay who gets sent to earth ranch, a summer camp for troubled kids on a volcanic island. but strange things keep happening at the camp — talking llamas, abandoned libraries, ghosts — and clay starts to wonder if there’s something more sinister going on at the island.

swing sideways by nanci turner stevenson – annie’s family is spending the summer in the countryside. while she’s exploring, annie meets california, a girl her age who’s staying on her grandfather’s farm. the two become friends and spend their summer trying to the ponies that california’s mom owned as a child, which the girls think are roaming the woods. it’s a touching story about eating disorders, loss, freedom, and friendship.

lemons by melissa savage – this middle grade story reminded me so much of the cartoon gravity falls, which is probably why i loved it so much. in lemons, a young girl named lemonade who’s lost her mother gets sent to live with her grandfather in a small town. her grandfather, charlie, owns a bigfoot-themed souvenir shop. there are lots of strange bigfoot-sightings throughout town, all of which are reported to the bigfoot detective agency, which lemonade finds herself working for. overall, it’s a sweet story about friendship, grief, and of course, bigfoot.

honor girl by maggie thrash – this is a graphic memoir about maggie falling in love with one of the counselors at her all-girl summer camp. what i loved about this was the nostalgic feel and how spot-on the camp culture was. the art isn’t stellar, but it fits the youthful feel of the story quite well. it felt like it had been plucked straight from the author’s diary, and the ending just about broke my heart.

love & gelato by jenna evans – traveling, mysteries, forbidden love, italian food — this wholesome YA romance has it all. the adorable love interest and gorgeous descriptions of italy will have you hooked from the start, and the drama and emotional twists will make you finish it. my only complaints are that i thought lina, the main character, was kind of rude, and it was so strange to me that the whole story took place in just a few days. but it’s still a cute book overall and i’ve met several people who say it’s their absolute favorite!

we were liars by e. lockhart – this is one of those books that you should go into knowing nothing, so i won’t say too much about it in fear of spoiling the killer twist at the end. but at its simplest, we were liars is about a group of four friends and the summers they spend with their families on their private island. the writing is so gorgeous, and the feeling of dread grows the closer you get to the end until you can barely think about anything else.

frannie and tru by karen hattrup – i finished this book a week or two ago, and it’s the one that really got me excited about summer. in this coming-of-age story, frannie little’s cousin tru is sent to stay with her family for the summer after a bad coming out experience. frannie has been hoping that with tru around, she’ll have the most exciting summer of her life, which is exactly what happens. this is a lyrical, introspective novel about secrets, racism, sexuality, and growing up. however, i do think it’s one of those books where you either adore it or everything about it annoys you, and i am most definitely in the love camp.

have you read any of these books? what are your recommendations for summer reading?

xo apollo

Author: apollo

i'm apollo, a poet & hot mess.

4 thoughts on “8 books to kick off your summer reading”

  1. Ooh, these all look good (the title of We Were Liars reminds me of the Pretty Little Liars series). Well if you like contemporaries I’d recommend reading some of Sandhya Menon’s books. So far I’ve only read When Dimple Met Rishi and From Twinkle, With Love. Her books are always very diverse and have great messages of feminism. Also they’re super uplifting and have a very real plot and still have a happy ending. The Sisterhood Of The Traveling Pants is also a really good summer book. I’ve also been reading Dorothy Must Die and I’m currently reading The Hunger Games series and The Twilight Saga series (yes, yes Twilight is not exactly revolutionary or anything and honestly who would want to date a guy like Edward? But somehow they’re so over the top that it’s funny and I’m a sucker for paranormal). I think it’s time for a Percy Jackson reread soon…….


  2. i researched all of these books and the excerpts seem quite captivating; from each of these types of posts i’ve come to realise you have incredible taste in books, and i’ve actually purchased a few you reccomended, which were all so interesting.
    my reccomendations and annotations for the reccomended books are listed below:

    the scandulous sisterhood of prickwillow place by julie berry – set in 1890s britain, this is possibly one of my favourite books. though written in 2014, it has such a gorgeous writing style that it really feels like a classical novel. i love all of its elements: the mysteriousness, the aformentioned beautiful writing, and the interesting characters.

    the rosewood chronicles by connie glynn – this whole series is action packed and amazing with detailed characters, and i’m currently waiting for the third book in the series to release. it has a really mysterious plot, relationships and love triangles, and overall it’s literally one of my favoutite book series, a close second to harry potter.

    the morrigan crow series by jessica townsend – this series is magical and fantastical, and action packed with a disguised villain and quaint, fantasy town. it’s also on my list of favourites, and is written so well that i can’t help but fall under it’s spell each time i reread the books. like the rosewood chronicles, it has two books and i’m pretty sure a third will release soon. it’s just so good and its magical feeling is indescribable.

    hope you enjoy these books if you read any, and have an awesome day!
    -xx em


  3. I read We Were Liars a while ago and really didn’t like it at all – I was so disappointed because I really thought I’d enjoy it! I’ve seen Love & Gelato floating around for a while now and it does look like a cute Summer read. Great post ! xx


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