Monday, June 11, 2012

Summer Reads - OUR List

Last week, I whined about my store's "Summer Reads" shelves, specifically the shelves reserved for the YA reads. Corporate's choices were crappy at best. They picked some depressing reads and then added a bunch of school books. You know I love Jane Austen, but is that really what kids want to read on their summer break? Especially if the book looks like the cover to the left?

I think not.

So I made my own list, but I also solicited some suggestions from you all.

I divvied up the books into three categories - Beach/Road trip reads, Educational/Historical reads, and Adventure reads. Of course, there's going to be some overlap between the three categories, but I thought having all three subsections would help satisfy the different ideas of what a summer read should be. The titles listed are either already out or will be out before August. Recommendations sent by you all are noted accordingly.

BEACH/ROAD TRIP READS

Description: Generally fluffy and/or contemporary. Themes include young love, crushes, actual road trips, and/or summer camps. Covers usually have couples, titles with the words "beach" or "summer," light summer colors (pink, green, yellow, blue), flowers, grass, water, etc.

- All Sarah Dessen books.
- Reunited by Hilary Weisman Graham
- Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares
- My Life Next Door by Hunter Fitzpatrick
- The Summer series by Jenny Han (suggested by Melanie Stanford)
- Amy and Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson
- You Are Here by Jennifer E. Smith
- The Story of Us by Deb Caletti
- Endless Summer by Jennifer Echols (suggested by @Monikarw)
- Just Flirt by Laura Bowers
- Flirting in Italian by Lauren Henderson
- Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
- Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler
- Belles by Jen Calonita (suggested by Anonymous)
- The Big Crunch by Pete Hautman (suggested by Gabrielle Prendergast)
- Blood Red Road by Moira Young (okay, so that may be cheating, but it's a road trip!)
- Sleepaway Girls by Jen Calonita (suggested by Anonymous)

EDUCATIONAL/HISTORICAL READS


Description: Books that teach you something (actual facts, not moral lessons). Books may be set in a point in history OR be a retelling of a classic tale. To count as historical, the setting must be prior to the 1990s. I know, thinking of the '80s as historical hurts for some of you, but think of the age of the intended YA audience. The '80s are pre-birth to them. While Jane Austen books are off-limits because they're required school reading, any YA retelling of a Jane Austen tale is not. Themes, covers, and titles vary.

- The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (some schools may count this as required reading, but ours don't.)
- Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein (set during WW2)
- Karma by Cathy Ostlere (set during and after Gandhi's assassination, suggested by Gabrielle Prendergast)
- Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen (England in the Middle Ages)
- Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers (Brittany in the Middle Ages)
- Epic Fail by Claire LaZebnik (retelling of Pride and Prejudice)
- Avalon High by Meg Cabot (retelling of the King Arthur tale)
- A Breath of Eyre by Eve Marie Mont (retelling of Jane Eyre)
- When You Were Mine by Rebecca Serle (retelling of Romeo and Juliet)
- Masque of Red Death by Bethany Griffin (retelling of/inspired by Edgar Allen Poe's short story)
- The Time-Traveling Fashionista by Bianca Turetsky (set in 1912)

ADVENTURE READS


Description: Books that are generally just awesome, thanks to tense plots, lots of action, and usually some twists that make you gasp. Preferably, said books can be somewhat dark in content but not too dark. This year, themes lean toward the dystopian end of the spectrum, but this can change from year to year. As summer is a great time to catch up on books, some of this past year's biggest hits are included. Covers vary.

- Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi (superheroes/mutants!)
- The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (if you haven't read it already, now's the time)
- Of Poseidon by Anna Banks (it's been buzzed about AND it has mermaids!)
- Lies Beneath by Anne Brown Greenwood (see previous comment)
- Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne (I'm not done, but it hasn't gotten too dark yet)
- Divergent by Veronica Roth (big hit)
- Crux by Julie Reece (suggested by LS Murphy)
- Cinder by Marissa Meyer (another big hit)
- Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi
- Trickster's Choice by Tamora Pierce
- Holes by Louis Sachar (I cheated, because this probably IS a required reading book, but it's such a summer book)
Paper Towns by John Green (suggested by Mrs. Silverstein)
- Graceling by Kristen Cashore (catch up so you can read the others during the fall)
- Heist Society by Ally Carter (light-hearted thieves - fun stuff)
- Katana by Cole Gibson (suggested by LS Murphy)
- Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick by Joe Schrieber (the title just SCREAMS summer read)
- The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson
- The Leviathan series by Scott Westerfield (suggested by karensandler)
- The Queen's Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner (you all just need to accept my rabid fanaticism)
- The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling (suggested by thecheapreader)
- The Princess Bride by William Goldman

Okay, so I cheated on that last one. But it's got everything! It's lighthearted enough to be a beach read, historical-ish, and it has more than enough to qualify as an adventure read. To quote a reviewer who knows:
Are you kidding? Fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, giants, monsters, chases, escapes, true love, miracles...
And if I have to freaking cite that quote for any of you, you will receive a look of grave disappointment from me.

So there you have it, your summer reads suggestions. Of course, this list is by no means conclusive. There are so many amazing books out there, just waiting for you to pick up. Below are some more lists for you to look at. I used them to compile my own lists so I wouldn't just be pushing books I've already reviewed. Take a look, branch out, and use this summer to fall in love with some great books.

Got any final picks to add to the list? What do you think about the list we've compiled so far?


Sources:
Books Besides My Bed (YA retellings)