I don’t know about you, but Summer has always been a time of lots of reading for me. It’s a little bit ridiculous to me just how many different lists there are out there of books to read this summer. Books to read before they become movies, books to read instead of Harry Potter, books to read when all your friends are on vacation, books to read while you’re on vacation, books to read now that you’ve finished such-and-such series, and so on.
But, I’d like to give you ANOTHER list to choose from. I can personally vouch for all of these books AND I personally believe that they are books that all humans should read. So, here we go. (In no particular order, other than the order I think of them.)
1. Unwind by Neal Schusterman.
If you’re looking for something a little bit like the Hunger Games (just in the fact that it’s kind of a dark plot), you should read this! Unwind is the story of the United States after the 2nd Civil War–which is fought about abortion. Instead of legalizing abortion, all children are given a chance until teenagehood. If, at teenagehood they aren’t good enough, are a rebellious teenager, etc, they can be unwound, meaning that all their body parts are farmed out to other individuals who are in need of them. (Fun fact: My mom refuses to read this because she says it’s too disturbing of a concept, but I really like this book.) It’s part of a trilogy, so if that’s your thing, this is for you!
2. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern.
If I had to pick one word to describe this book, I would choose eerie. It’s not so much that it’s really a creepy book, but it just kind of is magical and mystical and haunting. This is one that I think requires a re-read–in fact, it’s on my list for this summer. The Night Circus tells the story, obviously, of a circus that is only open at night. There’s magic, rivalries, love, and adventure. Plus, it switches back and forth between different times to tell the story, which adds to the mystique of the whole thing.
3. Peace Like a River by Leif Enger
Written in a beautiful, epic style, Peace Like a River is the story of family. With murder, miracles, poetry, and lovable characters, this really isn’t a book you can pass up. Plus, there’s a major plot twist at the very end!
4. The Queen of Water by Laura Resau
This is my book club’s book for June, and I love it. It tells the story of Virginia, an indigenous girl from Ecuador, and her life as she is taken from her small village to work for the wealthy culture of Ecuador. More or less, it’s a growing up story of a girl caught between two cultures and it’s lovely. Plus, it’s based on a true story!
5. Al Capone Does my Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko
I LOVE this book! Moose and his family (his mom, dad, and sister with disabilities) move to Alcatraz Island for his dad’s job. Fun fact: There actually were children who lived on Alcatraz because their parents worked there. CRAZY, right? This book is fun and, as you may or may not know, I usually love a book with a character with disabilities.
6. The Wednesday Wars by Gary Schmidt
It’s the Vietnam War and tensions are high in Holling Hoodhood’s town. (Yes, that is the main character’s name.) His first major problem comes when his 7th grade teacher makes him read SHAKESPEARE of all things. This book is laugh-out-loud funny, but also genuine and sweet. Plus, what’s not to love about a 7th-grade-boy who has to read Shakespeare?
7. There’s a Boy in the Girls’ Bathroom by Louis Sachar.
This is the very first book that the story made me cry. Bradley Chalkers is a bully. No one likes him. All his teachers say he has huge behavioral issues. When he starts going to see school counselor Carla, things start to change in Bradley’s life. If you’ve read Holes, you know that Louis Sachar is superb. Well, this book is wonderful.
8. I am the Messenger by Markus Zusak
DISCLAIMER: THIS BOOK HAS LANGUAGE, so if you’re sensitive to that kind of thing, please don’t read it. Also, please don’t hate me for recommending it. This may be one of my favorite books of all time. In fact, I hardly ever recommend it because I’m afraid people aren’t going to like it and then they won’t like me or something stupid like that. Markus Zusak is a magician with words and stories. Ed Kennedy is a cabbie who is going nowhere in life. He’s in love with his best friend, terrible at poker, and just kind of your ordinary guy. When he stops a bank robbery, he starts getting mysterious cards in the mail that tell him to complete certain tasks. Ed chooses to care, and the adventure begins. Ed grows up a lot during this book, which I think is great! The secret mission he’s been sent on brings meaning to his life and gives him a brand-new outlook.
Those are all of my recommendations for now. What book do you think every single person should read? What did I miss on my list?