recommendations

book recommendations | summer edition

18/08/2020

Hoohoo, guys!

We’re well into summer by now. If you’re like me, you cannot wait for it to end so you can finally do things again without melting on the spot. If you’re not, then wow, I admire you. But if you want some summery recommendations for your reading list, I have some cool books in store for you. I did a smol list a few years ago where you can check out some books but I have to say in all honesty that I have no idea why I put some of these books on there. But anyways, here is an updated version…


You Should See Me In A Crown by Leah Johnson

Scholastic | 02.07.2020 | 324 pages | genre: contemporary YA | rep: black lesbian, bisexual, black | TW: racism, loss of loved one

What is it about?

Liz Lighty has always believed she’s too black, too poor, too awkward to shine in her small, rich, prom-obsessed midwestern town. But it’s okay – Liz has a plan that will get her out of Campbell, Indiana, forever: attend the uber-elite Pennington College, play in their world-famous orchestra, and become a doctor.
But when the financial aid she was counting on unexpectedly falls through, Liz’s plans come crashing down . . . until she’s reminded of her school’s scholarship for prom king and queen. There’s nothing Liz wants to do less than endure a gauntlet of social media trolls, catty competitors, and humiliating public events, but despite her devastating fear of the spotlight she’s willing to do whatever it takes to get to Pennington.
The only thing that makes it halfway bearable is the new girl in school, Mack. She’s smart, funny, and just as much of an outsider as Liz. But Mack is also in the running for queen. Will falling for the competition keep Liz from her dreams . . . or make them come true? (goodreads)

A summer read because…

… I read in in summer! Well, that too, but I also feel this has a very summery touch. It’s set in late spring/early summer and it has the atmosphere of stressful school days, new romance and finding to yourself with the finality of finishing school and thinking about the future. Even though I never had something like a prom, this reminded me a lot about the time when I finished school and was looking towards the last few months living at home, with all the uncertainty and excitement that comes with it.


The Falling in Love Montage by Ciara Smyth

Andersen Press | 04.06.2020 | 384 pages | genre: contemporary YA | rep: lesbian, sapphic | TW: dementia, alcohol

What is it about?

Saoirse doesn’t believe in love at first sight or happy endings. If they were real, her mother would still be able to remember her name and not in a care home with early onset dementia. A condition that Saoirse may one day turn out to have inherited. So she’s not looking for a relationship. She doesn’t see the point in igniting any romantic sparks if she’s bound to burn out.
But after a chance encounter at an end-of-term house party, Saoirse is about to break her own rules. For a girl with one blue freckle, an irresistible sense of mischief, and a passion for rom-coms.
Unbothered by Saoirse’s no-relationships rulebook, Ruby proposes a loophole: They don’t need true love to have one summer of fun, complete with every cliché, rom-com montage-worthy date they can dream up—and a binding agreement to end their romance come fall. It would be the perfect plan, if they weren’t forgetting one thing about the Falling in Love Montage: when it’s over, the characters actually fall in love… for real. (goodreads)

A summer read because…

… it’s set in summer. The freedom of summer is in the air but the heat not only brings parties and fun and love but also uncertainty. While the first book on the list was set right before finishing school, this one is set right after it. The characters don’t really think about school anymore but about their future and what they want to do with it. I don’t know why but I imagined everything in this book in the warm colours of a summer evening.

read my mini review of The Falling in Love Montage


Heartbreak Boys by Simon James Green

Scholastic | 06.08.2020 | 400 pages | genre: contemporary YA | Rep: gay, bi | TW: homophobia, cheating, bullying

What is it about?

Faking the best summer ever is a lot harder than it looks…
At the start of summer, Jack and Nate find themselves dumped as their respective exes, Dylan and Tariq, start up a new relationship together. Not only that, their exes start posting pics on social media, showing the whole world how fabulous their new life together is!
Jack and Nate are reeling. Not to be outdone, they decide to create their own ‚highlights reel‘ and show their exes that they’re having an even better time.
But between the depressing motorway service station motels, damp campsites, and an ultimate showdown with the exes, something epic really is happening: Jack and Nate are learning to get over their heartache and open themselves up to new possibilities for love. (goodreads)

A summer read because…

… it’s about a summer road trip! Two estranged best friends go on a road trip through England to get revenge on their cheating boyfriends and growing closer again? While visiting weird camp sites and summer festivals and getting rude comments from little sisters? What screams summer more than a road trip full of fun, awkward encounters and some kissing?

read my mini review of Heartbreak Boys


Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo

Hot Key Books | 05.05.2020 | 417 pages | genre: contemporary YA | Rep: black Dominican, sapphic | TW: sexual assault, loss of loved one, loss of parent, plane crash

What is it about?

Camino Rios lives for the summers when her father visits her in the Dominican Republic. But this time, on the day when his plane is supposed to land, Camino arrives at the airport to see crowds of crying people…
In New York City, Yahaira Rios is called to the principal’s office, where her mother is waiting to tell her that her father, her hero, has died in a plane crash.
Separated by distance – and Papi’s secrets – the two girls are forced to face a new reality in which their father is dead and their lives are forever altered. And then, when it seems like they’ve lost everything of their father, they learn of each other.
Papi’s death uncovers all the painful truths he kept hidden, and the love he divided across an ocean. And now, Camino and Yahaira are both left to grapple with what this new sister means to them, and what it will now take to keep their dreams alive. (goodreads)

A summer read because…

… summer reads can’t all be happy romances and summer fun. This is set during summer, in the Dominican Republic and the US and tells the story of two sisters who didn’t know they have a sister until their father dies. In the following summer they have to learn what to do about their situation and how to handle their grief. It’s sad but hopeful and not exactly a book for a day at the beach but for one where you sit inside, have the windows wide open and enjoy the sound and smell of summer rain.


Kings, Queens, and In-Betweens by Tanya Boteju

Simon Pulse | 07.05.2019 | 374 pages | genre: contemporary YA | Rep: Sri Lankan-American lesbian, sapphic, gay, probably trans (?), black | TW: homophobia, internalized homophobia, transphobia

What is it about?

Perpetually awkward Nima Kumara-Clark is bored with her insular community of Bridgeton, in love with her straight girlfriend, and trying to move past her mother’s unexpected departure. After a bewildering encounter at a local festival, Nima finds herself suddenly immersed in the drag scene on the other side of town.
Macho drag kings, magical queens, new love interests, and surprising allies propel Nima both painfully and hilariously closer to a self she never knew she could be—one that can confidently express and accept love. But she’ll have to learn to accept lost love to get there. (goodreads)

A summer read because…

… it has summer festivals, pool parties and sitting outside having deep talks about life. This book has a lot of humor and awkwardness, but also characters growing into themselves and finding the people they were always meant to be with. It also deals with more serious topics while always being hopeful and having beautiful light moments. Also a drag queen mentor which I loved.


Camp by L. C. Rosen

Penguin | 28.05.2020 | 384 pages | genre: conemporary YA | Rep: Jewish gay, bi, lesbian, demi, gay, black, Korean-American bi | TW: (internalized) homophobia, toxic masculinity

What is it about?

Sixteen-year-old Randy Kapplehoff loves spending the summer at Camp Outland, a camp for queer teens. It’s where he met his best friends. It’s where he takes to the stage in the big musical. And it’s where he fell for Hudson Aaronson-Lim – who’s only into straight-acting guys and barely knows not-at-all-straight-acting Randy even exists.
This year, though, it’s going to be different. Randy has reinvented himself as ‚Del‘ – buff, masculine and on the market. Even if it means giving up show tunes, nail polish and his unicorn bedsheets, he’s determined to get Hudson to fall for him.
But as he and Hudson grow closer, Randy has to ask himself how much is he willing to change for love. And is it really love anyway, if Hudson doesn’t know who he truly is? (goodreads)

A summer read because…

… it’s about a bunch of queer kids at summer camp. And seriously, it sounds like the most amazing time ever. If I could go to a camp like this, I’d get there immediately. This book has that sense of belonging and feeling of home and of acceptance. This camp is where anyone of every gender and sexuality can come together to just be themselves and do activities they like with people they like. There’s romance and friendship and some queer history.

read my review of Camp


The Life and (Medieval) Times of Kit Sweetly by Jamie Pacton

Page Street | 05.05.2020 | 384 pages | genre: contemporary YA | Rep: bi, trans, Indian-Russian | TW: sexism, alcohol, smoking

What is it about?

Working as a wench ― i.e. waitress ― at a cheesy medieval-themed restaurant in the Chicago suburbs, Kit Sweetly dreams of being a knight like her brother. She has the moves, is capable on a horse, and desperately needs the raise that comes with knighthood, so she can help her mom pay the mortgage and hold a spot at her dream college.
Company policy allows only guys to be knights. So when Kit takes her brother’s place and reveals her identity at the end of the show, she rockets into internet fame and a whole lot of trouble with the management. But the Girl Knight won’t go down without a fight. As other wenches join her quest, a protest forms. In a joust before Castle executives, they’ll prove that gender restrictions should stay medieval―if they don’t get fired first. (goodreads)

A summer read because…

… who doesn’t need feminists swinging swords and putting men in their place from atop a horse? All while managing their love life and their future and being poor? There are teenagers having the summer of their lives, fighting for what they deserve with unusual methods.

read my review of Kit Sweetly


The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren

Gallery Books | 14.05.2019 | 400 pages | genre: romance | Rep: gay, hispanic | TW: cheating

What is it about?

Olive is always unlucky: in her career, in love, in…well, everything. Her identical twin sister Ami, on the other hand, is probably the luckiest person in the world. Her meet-cute with her fiancé is something out of a romantic comedy (gag) and she’s managed to finance her entire wedding by winning a series of Internet contests (double gag). Worst of all, she’s forcing Olive to spend the day with her sworn enemy, Ethan, who just happens to be the best man.
Olive braces herself to get through 24 hours of wedding hell before she can return to her comfortable, unlucky life. But when the entire wedding party gets food poisoning from eating bad shellfish, the only people who aren’t affected are Olive and Ethan. And now there’s an all-expenses-paid honeymoon in Hawaii up for grabs.
Putting their mutual hatred aside for the sake of a free vacation, Olive and Ethan head for paradise, determined to avoid each other at all costs. But when Olive runs into her future boss, the little white lie she tells him is suddenly at risk to become a whole lot bigger. She and Ethan now have to pretend to be loving newlyweds, and her luck seems worse than ever. But the weird thing is that she doesn’t mind playing pretend. In fact, she feels kind of… lucky. (goodreads)

A summer read because…

… it’s a fake dating enemies-to-lovers romance set on Hawaii where two people who can’t stand each other have to go on a honeymoon for the actual couple. It’s fun and steamy and sexy and also really cute. And did I mention that oh my god, there was only one bed!

read my review for The Unhoneymooners


Avocado Bliss by Candace Robinson & Gerardo Delgadillo

Evernight Teen | 27.03.2020 | 232 pages | genre: contemporary YA | rep: gay, diabetes type 1 | TW: needles, injections, shooting, guns, alcohol

What is it about?

Dacre Vinson has spent the majority of his life in quite the predicament—even the surf and his books can’t erase his Type 1 diabetes. But when Dacre’s family moves to a new Mexican town, an eccentric girl obsessed with trees offers him a job on the spot, leading to what could be the perfect distraction from his problems.
Salbatora Tames has one true love, her avocado farm. Her family constantly nudges her to be more social, but Sal much prefers the dirt, the sun, and the solitude. Besides, trees listen better than people do.
For Sal and Dacre, their job won’t stay easy breezy for long, not when an avocado delivery to Palenque, Mexico pops up on their radar. Together, they embark on a road trip across the jungle, where they form a tighter bond. However, as obstacles arise, their new-found troubles may lead to more woes than bliss. (goodreads)

A summer read because…

… people are having a big move during summer time and this book has both the feeling of an end and a new beginning, a bit like summer is for many young people the end of a school year and the beginning of something new. In this book, a family has a new start in a new place. They have to get to know each other but also themselves. There is a sweet romance and wonderful family dynamics.

read my review of Avocado Bliss


Other books that are summer books for me:

  • Alex in Wonderland by Simon James Green (goodreads)
    boy tries to save town’s old arcade hall where he’s been working durign summers, hilarious and awkward and gay
  • Loveboat, Taipei by Abigail Hing Wen (goodreads)
    Chinese-American girl goes to Taipei for summer school and gets a taste of freedom, having the summer of her life
  • There’s Something about Sweetie by Sandhya Menon (goodreads)
    player™ and fat girl try out getting matched by their parents, super cute and fun and body positive
  • Hotdog Girl by Jennifer Dugan (goodreads)
    girl tries to save local amusement park and to get her crush to finally notice her, not realizing what she wanted has been in front of her all along, lots of second hand embarassment, hilarious

  • Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett (goodreads)
    estranged best friends/lovers get lost in the woods during a camping trip and have to find their way back together, cute and fun and sweet
  • Summer Bird Blue by Akemi Dawn Bowman (goodreads)
    girl goes to aunt’s place on Hawaii after her sister dies in a car crash and has to learn how to live without her, sad but hopeful, big focus on music
  • The Bird King by G. Willow Wilson (goodreads)
    Granada has fallen and the sultan’s concubine is fleeing the city with her best friend, a gay magical mapmaker while the Inquisition is after them, weird and magical and feels like sitting at a big river just watching the water flow by
  • Circe by Madeline Miller (goodreads)
    retelling of Greek myths, tells the story of Circe who was banished to an island to live a life of solitude and magic

Have you read any of these books? What is the ultimate summer read for you?


Until next time,

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