books to read this summer | recommendations

17 July 2019

I get an overwhelming, relieving sense of joy when summer comes around. Not for the boiling hot temperatures, or for days spent by the beach, but for the complete freedom to read whatever books my heart desires. It's a wonderful break from the hoards of reading I have to do during the school year that take time away from what I actually want to read.
During the peak of summer it can be hard to narrow down what books to prioritize. As a mood reader, I'm always looking for books that feel like summer, or any season I'm reading in.

To me summer books are ones that are happy, magical, nostalgic, or even sometimes melancholy. They can be quick short books to read in one sitting outside in a hammock, or long tomes that take you the whole summer to complete.

Summer is often a time of transition for everyone. It's when you're getting ready to move up to a new year in school. It's a time for graduations and weddings and traveling. Everything feels new and attainable in the summer. It's a confusing and full time of life. Because of that, I always think books about adventure and finding yourself are ones that are especially perfect to pick up in this season. It's encouraging to be able to see how characters in the books we read handle similar transitionary times.

There are so many amazing books out there with a beautiful, summer feel to them. But there are some that have really stuck with me that I feel truly capture what summer is to me.

Bone Gap - Laura Ruby

I read this book several summers ago, and for me it will always remain an optimal read for the summertime. Set in the small town of Bone Gap, this book follows a mystery and a relationship between two brothers.

The story is short and extremely fast paced. Plus it has some amazing themes that stick with you long after you read it.

The writing style is very unique. The book fits under the magical realism genre, and while magical realism isn't for everyone, I feel like the magic and mystery gave the book so much charm and made it so memorable.

For a quick, special book unlike anything else, I can't recommend this one enough!

How to Walk Away - Katherine Center

This adult contemporary book follows the the aftermath of a horrible accident and deals with how someone can move on with their life after everything they had planned on changed.

What I loved most about this book was how it dealt with really hard topics: recovering from a plane crash, realizing how people are not always who you think they are, and how there's always an option to become someone new.
While these themes are heavy, there was still a lot of humor and great positive characters that balanced everything well.

This is also a super short and quick book to read through, which makes it perfect for a summer read.

Lonesome Dove - Larry McMurtry

For readers like me who love reading long books over a long period of time, Lonesome Dove is a perfect pick. This is an epic adventure that takes place over the 1000 pages of this book.

This is a western that follows a group of cattle drivers as they travel from Texas to Montana. The characters are all so vivid and real, and you become invested in what happens to them as they travel and face obstacles.

As you read you can almost feel the dust and the sweat on your face. Spending the whole summer reading this book truly adds to the experience and makes you feel more than anything that you were on the journey with the characters.

The Outsiders - S.E. Hinton

For a short, incredible classic that will keep you invested in the story, I cannot recommend The Outsiders more! I read this book in a single day one summer and I loved it.

The characters and their gang truly make this book so memorable. They push the plot forward, and you grow extremely attached to them even with only 200 pages of the book.

There's also so many amazing themes of growing up and being loyal to your friends through hard situations. This book moved me a lot, and I have not stopped thinking about it since I finished it.

Since You've Been Gone - Morgan Matson

This book captures the essence of summer. It's a light hearted, young adult story surrounding the relationship between two best friends. When one of the friends disappears leaving a list, the other is left to find out where her friend went by doing the activities on the list.

This book is surprisingly deep and thoughtful as the main character breaks out of her comfort zone. This is a story about friendship, second chances, and finding yourself.

I'm admittedly not always a huge fan of young adult books, but this one is one of the best. I related so much to the main character's struggles, and I loved the bright summer atmosphere to it. 
What are some books you love to read in the summertime?


  1. I've seen Bone Gap around a lot! *adds to TBR*

    Great recs!!

    1. It definitely deserves the hype! If you ever pick it up I hope you love it!

  2. Bone gap is SUCH a good book and now I really want to try these other ones! Love your list! ♡

    1. I'm glad you found my recommendations helpful!

  3. I think I want to read the last one! I loved this list!