Summer Reading

I’m sure for you, that phrase has lovely connotations of lazy days under a shady tree, escaping into a world of fascinating characters living exciting lives. For me at this phase of my life, it means hundreds of kids at the library every Tuesday afternoon. I start feeling a little stressed this time of year, and for a number of reasons, all of my non-job-related reading pretty much grinds to a halt.  While everyone else pulls out their “reading for fun” stack, I just keep adding to my “read someday when everything slows down a bit” stack, without making the smallest dent in it. So, today, I thought I’d just share some of the books that will find their way onto that ever-expanding list this season. Since this is a blog about Mormon letters and my role is the YA angle, I’ll try to keep in that vein, although I know I’ll break those rules at least once, because the book I most want to read this summer is…
The Penderwicks at Point Mouette by Jeanne Birdsall
So, although neither Mormon-related nor written for young adults, I still have to give a shout-out to Birdsall’s delightful series, the third of which was released last month. The Penderwick sisters are a pleasure to read—quirky, funny, gentle without being saccharine. This series reads like classic children’s lit without feeling stale or dusty. My nieces love it, and so do I. A great read-aloud for little girls of all ages.

Entwined by Heather Dixon
For one thing, I want to read this because Heather has been gracious enough to agree to visit our library next month. So, it’s not entirely un-job-related. But I’d want to read it anyway. Her blog is kind of awesome and funny, and if the book has any of the spirit of the blog, it’ll be great. She’s clearly a woman of many talents, and our teens are eating this one up. I’ll be plunking down my own hard-earned cash for this one (something I rarely do anymore) because it’ll be ages before I can get a library copy. It’s a riff on Twelve Dancing Princesses—and I suspect it’ll be a lovely read.

A World without Heroes by Brandon Mull
Okay, confession—I’ve never read Brandon Mull. Terrible, I know. But I’ve heard him speak (he’s quite funny, too) and witnessed the undying allegiance of his multitude of fans at my library. So I think it’s time to give his new series a try. This is another one with an ages-long hold list. The Amazon order just grows and grows.

Possession by Elana Johnson
Dystopian sci-fi is the YA rage right now, and Johnson’s book is right on the pulse of that trend. From the reviews I’ve read, it sounds like a good one for fans of Ally Condie’s Matched. The reviews also indicate a twist in the ending that I’m definitely curious about. Can I keep myself from my usual practice of reading the first chapter, then the last, then the middle? It’ll be a Herculean effort, but I think I can.

Back When You Were Easier to Love by Emily Wing Smith
Smith’s sophomore effort is intriguing to me. Honestly, I wasn’t an unqualified fan of The Way He Lived, but I saw a good deal of potential in that debut, and I’m interested to see what she’s done with new subject matter.

I Don’t Want to Kill You by Dan Wells
I had a hard time with Mr. Monster. Some of that book just downright creeped me out. When you live alone and often read into the wee hours of the morning–well, let’s just say for me this series is better read during the daylight hours. But darn it, John Wayne Cleaver is the most likable sociopath I’ve met in print. So, I’m looking forward to finishing the series, hopefully before the air gets chilly, the leaves start to fall, and Bronco and the boys hit the gridiron again.

Because when fall rolls around, there will be another crop of stuff that I’ve somehow got to find time to read. Like Ally Condie’s Crossed, or Kristen Chandler’s Girls Don’t Fly, or James Dashner’s The Death Cure.
I hope there’s plenty of time to read in heaven.

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2 Responses to Summer Reading

  1. Lisa Torcasso Downing says:

    Marilee, I’ve got a 10 year old son who reads at about a fifth grade level and I’m hoping you can help direct me to reading material for him. I read Brandan Mull TO him and he’s not quite up to sociopathic killers, though I’ve read Wells. Is there something that you (or anyone else) can recommend for boys that reads a tad younger than the titles here? He’ll be finishing the Guardians of Ga’hoole books soon and hasn’t shown much interest in her subsequent series w. wolves, but that’s about his level. Well, he can go up a notch. And personally, I’m so sick of being suckered into buying a series of books, so single titles would be nice. He is not a reluctant reader btw, but won’t tolerate old school books that are more about manners than adventure. Thanks.

  2. Oh, Marilee, from your lips to God’s ears. I really don’t want to die or see the Second Coming until I’ve read all the books in my various To Be Read piles. And if I do die before they’re read, I really hope I get to read them wherever I end up.

    The only thing that saves me is being able to let myself stop reading a book that just doesn’t work for me. Thanks to Tristi Pinkston, I have a t-shirt that says “So many books, so little time” on it, and I mean it. I once prided myself on being able to finish every book I started, but I’m much humbler now. If it doesn’t work after a certain point (and that varies), I can’t invest the time in it.

    So, thanks for more books to add to the list.

    Lisa, has he read the Ranger’s Apprentice series, by any chance (yeah, I know it’s not a series, but what can you do?)?

    How about the Mowgli Stories (the real ones, not the Disney perversion)? Or Swiss Family Robinson? Also, Andre Norton wrote a lot of great middle grade science fiction, and so did Alan E. Nourse. There are some great “old” things out there to try, and not all of them are “old school.”

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