Summer Reading Recap

I don’t know about you, but I spent most of this summer inside avoiding the crummy weather.  On the bright side, I caught up on my reading (and the second season of Vampire Diaries! It counts if it’s based on a book, right?). My favourite book of the summer (and possibly of the year) was:

If I Stay by Gayle Forman

17-year-old Mia has an amazing family, a loving boyfriend, and a great shot at getting into Julliard.  Then a horrific car accident leaves her family dead and Mia in a coma. In an out-of-body experience during the aftermath of the accident, she must decide if she will let herself die and join her family, or if she will stay and face the pain of living.

I’ll be honest – my expectations for If I Stay were really low, as the plot summary made it sound sappy and melodramatic.  I only read it because it was borrowed from the library a few times this year and I thought I’d better check it out. I’m so happy I did! It’s beautifully written and has an amazing cast of characters. I laughed, I cried! And if you’re a music-lover, this is a novel for you, as music is practically religion to Mia. This book has a cover that is clearly marketed to girls, but I would encourage everyone to read it. I also read the sequel Where She Went (which is on order for the library), which is narrated by her boyfriend three years after the accident. It was good, but not nearly as good as the original.

I liked If I Stay the best, but I read many other really great books over the past two months. Here are some highlights (in alphabetical order):

Beastly by Alex Flinn

A fun and clever retelling of Beauty and Beast. Kyle Kingsbury is a major jerk until he humiliates an “ugly” girl who asks him to a dance. She is actually a beautiful sorceress who transforms him into a beast until he can find someone to love him despite appearances. I really enjoyed Kyle’s character; I loved to hate him and then I simply loved him. This was the perfect beach read!

Beauty Queens by Libba Bray

On order for the library.  A plane full of teen beauty queens crashes on a desert island. As they try to survive in this hostile environment without makeup or hair products, it turns out that both the girls and the island are not what they initially appear to be. My second-favourite book this summer, Beauty Queens is a funny, touching, action-packed novel that is impossible to summarize in a short paragraph. Suffice it to say, it is as awesome as its cover art.

Fallout by Ellen Hopkins

The final book in the Crank trilogy is different from the previous two, as it is narrated by three of Kristina’s children 19 years after she started using meth. They all live in different homes with different guardians, but have one thing in common – their messed-up mother. I loved the new perspective of this verse novel, even if it was hard to keep the characters straight at the beginning. It was really emotional to see how the children of meth addicts are affected by drug use, even if they are not addicts themselves. An intense and amazing read!

Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

Percy Jackson begins the book as a trouble-making, ADHD-suffering kid who has been kicked out of 6 boarding schools in as many years. But after a disastrous summer trip with his mother, Percy finds out that he’s not a delinquent after all – he’s the son of Poseidon. I was expecting a Harry Potter rip-off, but instead I got a great adventure with lots of laughs and some pretty emotional moments too. I will definitely read the rest!

Shine by Lauren Myracle

On order for the library. In a small town in the Southern U.S., 17-year-old Patrick is brutally beaten for being gay. The police have no suspects, so Patrick’s former best friend Cat sets out to solve the mystery on her own. In doing so, Cat is forced to face the truth about her family, friends, and herself. This is a great thriller and overall a very powerful novel.


Sweethearts by Sara Zarr

In elementary school, Jennifer is a loser and her only friend is Cameron Quick. After his mysterious disappearance, Jennifer remakes herself as the popular “Jenna.” None of her new friends know about her past, but her new identity is threatened when Cameron suddenly returns to town. This was one of the most popular books at the library last year and now I know why! I loved it.

What did you read this summer? Did you love or hate any of the books I discussed here? Tell me in the comments!


Posted on September 6, 2011, in Book Reviews, By Miss Calder and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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