My favorite part about summer has to be the extra reading time.
What little bookworm can resist the thought of summer? Imagine it — there are now whole days free in your schedule where you can simply lie on the floor of your room, watching the rays of the summer sun reflect off your coffee mug and warm the off-white pages of the book in your hands. Summer.
Unfortunately, I didn’t get the summer I was expecting this year, and I didn’t get as many awesome free days as I’d hoped. Nevertheless, I picked up every book I could find and read all that I could. Summer’s almost over, but that doesn’t mean we can’t squeeze in a few last-minute reads.
If you’ve already finished your summer TBR list (or you didn’t make one in the first place, that’s okay too), I’ve compiled a list of 12 out-of-this-world books to read before we head back to school next month. And, in my not-so-humble opinion, these are some of the best books ever.
the wednesday wars • the book thief • i am david
Holling Hoodhood’s greatest enemy is Mrs. Baker. He’s convinced that she hates his guts because — get this — she makes him read Shakespeare. Shakespeare! But his problems don’t end there. Holling has to navigate his way through track team tryouts, evil rats, cream puff wars, yellow tights, a flower child sister, and the Vietnam War waging somewhere across the ocean.
I recently reread The Wednesday Wars and it blew me away exactly as it had done the first time around. While I’m not a big fan of Shakespeare or poetry, this book still never fails to bring out the inner poet in me. Plus, the relationships in the Hoodhood family are so great and delicately woven… Holling and his sister always give me major feels.
Death takes a special interest in a little adopted girl named Liesel, who he’s nicknamed The Book Thief. Liesel learns about the new world around her with her Papa, Mama, and best friend Rudy, along with a stranger named Max and the mysterious mayor’s wife.
I fell in love with The Book Thief a few months ago, and boy did I cry the night I finished. It reminds me a lot of Anne of Green Gables but 10x better?? The writing and storytelling are just fantastic, so if you’re a writer I’d put this on your TBR list as soon as possible. I would recommend it to older kids simply because of some language, but it was a fantastic book nevertheless.
David has lived his whole life in prison. But when a prison gaurd takes pity on him and helps him escape, he knows he’s only got one chance for freedom. David’s a long way away from saftey in Denmark, but he’s not letting this opertunity pass.
It took a while to fall in love with I Am David, but if you’re a fan of history and adventure, this book might be your piece of cake. This story made me feel so grateful for not only my freedom but for the little things that we take for granted too often. A bar of soap literally makes this kid’s day. In the end, this book holds a really powerful lesson that has stuck with me for years.
walk two moons • out of my mind • when you reach me
Sal is in the midst of adjusting to life without her mother just as she meets Phoebe Winterbottom. Through telling Phoebe’s extravagant tales on a road trip with her Gram and Gramps, Sal begins to examine her own story.
Walk Two Moons is one of the very few books that I had to have a good cry over when it was finished. This was an incredibly hard-hitting book in a time when I was dealing with losing someone close to me. If you don’t read it for anything else, read it for Gram and Gramps. They are shipping goals, yall.
Melody is just about the smartest 11-year-old in Spaulding Street Middle School, but, due to her cerebral-palsy that keeps her from walking, talking, and even writing, nobody has ever figured it out. But, with help from a few kind hearts, maybe Melody can prove that she’s more than her condition.
Anybody who enjoyed Wonder, add Out Of My Mind to your TBR list. I read this book when I was about 10 and, wow, has this story stayed with me over the years. I LOVE THIS BOOK. I check it out of the library so often, it’s practically mine now. Melody (and Butterscotch lol) are the sweetest little muffins!!
6th graders Miranda and Sal are best friends who’ve spent all their lives together. But, all of the sudden, the new kid in town punches Sal in the face… for no reason! Miranda is shocked when Sal drops her to peruse other friendships, but even more disturbed by the weird notes she’s finding everywhere — “I am coming to save your friend’s life, and my own.”
When You Reach Me has the most incredible ending… ever. It takes two reads to get the full punch (< PUN ALERT) from this book, but when you do… wow. The story works best if you’ve read A Wrinkle In Time first (it’s bookworm Miranda’s favorite book 🙂 ), but it’s not required.
fairest • the outlaws of sherwood • harry potter and the sorcerer’s stone
In this Snow White retelling, Aza is certainly not the fairest in the land. To her, the only thing good about herself is her voice, which has the strange ability to be ‘thrown.’ She’s not the type to showcase her power, but when she gets tied up in royal affairs, she has no choice but to follow Queen Ivi’s orders, but she could lose her life because of it.
Fairest is a book I 10000% recommend for any young lady EVER. I used to struggle with self-image, and it was cool for me as a kid to see a character I admired dealing with the same thing. This book will be awesome for fans of Ella Enchanted (they are set in the same universe).
Robin Hood has killed Tom Moody. When he’s forced into hiding, he recruits the Outlaws of Sherwood to continue helping the poor. Marian, Little John, Much, and Cecily are only a few of this merry band, but how long can they stay outlaws and not prisoners?
Though I began The Outlaws of Sherwood not being a fan, I totally fell for Robin Hood, Marian, Little John, and Cecily. More specifically, Marian; this girl is not the little maiden fox we knew growing up. Such a good story!! When I finished, though, I had to rethink my life for a little bit. Would recommend to readers 14+ because of gore.
“Yer a wizard, Harry.” These are the words that start a 7-year adventure through the Wizarding World. Harry Potter is an unloved, unwanted orphan who receives an acceptance letter to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. There, he gets into trouble with newfound friends Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger while attempting to avoid Professor Snape, Draco Malfoy, and the infamous Lord Voldemort.
Okay, okay!! I admit, I’m a predictable person, but if you haven’t read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, where on earth have you been?? I had never had any interest in the books or movies, but when I DID read them… woah, man.
cinder • hatchet • alas, babylon
At first glance, Cinder is just another regular teenage mechanic in New Bejing. She’s actually one of many lowly cyborgs that endlessly serve their masters to survive. But when her sister contracts the deadly plauge that’s terrorizing Earth, Cinder has to embrace her past to survive… and maybe even save the world.
I was very wary to read Cinder as I am with a lot of popular books, but, after I started, I really did enjoy it! Admittedly, it is a little cliche, but what else can you expect from a dystopian Cinderella retelling? I particularly like Prince Kai’s name. Good choice, author. All-in-all, it was very nicely done and I can’t wait to see how this series continues.
Brian sets out for what should be an innocent trip to Canada. All Brian knows is taken away when he’s the only survivor of a plane crash. With no idea where he is or how to contact anyone, Brian must learn to survive alone, with nothing but his mother’s hatchet to protect him.
Hatchet has been a long-time favorite of mine. It’s like reading it for the first time every time! Apparently, the book is accurate to what survival in the woods looks like. That’s definitely what it seems like while you’re reading. There are a few graphic scenes, but I read it as a kid and wasn’t scarred for life. 😉
America has been bombed. Chaos reigns over the country. For some in a miraculously saved, off-the-map Florida town, this means laws are irrelevent and life has become a free-for-all. Heros must rise up and restore the lost order.
Right off the bat, Alas, Babylon is NOT a children’s book. I was disappointed with all the mature graphic descriptions, language, and suicide, but as it was a school book, I kept reading. Am I glad I did? Absolutely. In the end, it’s a tale of finding hope in the darkness, and that’s a message I support 1000000%. The writing is superb, and for being published in the 1950’s, it’s still amazingly up-to-date.
Well, there are your book suggestions! If you want to see more of what I’m into, check out my Goodreads. I’ve got a bajillion contemporaries cataloged, so if you’re into that genre, I recommend checking it out 🙂
Anyway, LET’S TALK BOOKS!! What books from my list have you read? Or are you a full-on book dinosaur and have already devoured all of the above? What books would you add — actually, what should I read next?