1. Please Ignore Vera Dietz – A.S. King
This is a Printz Award Honor Book, and I usually make a point to read the books associated with this award because they almost always wind up being my favorites (See: Looking for Alaska by John Green). I was not disappointed. Vera Dietz is a high school senior whose best friend, Charlie, has just died under mysterious circumstances. Oh yeah, she was also in love with him, but then he betrayed her and ditched her for the slacker crowd. Vera knows what happened the night Charlie died, more than she told the police, anyway. She spends the story struggling with whether or not to clear his name of the accusation pinned on him after his death. Vera is such a great character, flawed and real, and I love the back-and-forth points of view in the story (Vera, her dad, even some tidbits from Charlie, “The Dead Kid” and the Pagoda, the town’s flashy landmark). Get your hands on this one, people! Sidenote, the author lives in Reading, which is practically right down the road from me!
2. Wanderlove – Kirsten Hubbard
I have a hardcore crush on Kirsten Hubbard’s writing style. I’m a huge fan of her debut, Like Mandarin, and I’d been dying to get my hands on Wanderlove for about a year before it was released in March. It’s a travel story based in Central America (Hubbard is the Central America travel writer for About.com) and stars eighteen-year-old Bria Sandoval, fresh out of high school and searching for adventure. She gave up drawing after her ex-boyfriend Toby criticized her work, and now she’s ready for no-strings travel. After she meets backpacker brother and sister Rowan and Starling, she ditches her travel tour group and heads off on an adventure with them. I read this right before going to Africa, and it was exactly what I needed to start my trip with confidence. Hubbard’s love of travel and Central America shines through; the book is stuffed full of beautiful details that only an experienced traveler would know. Funny, romantic, and adventurous.
3. An Abundance of Katherines – John Green
This book had been sitting on my To Be Read shelf for about a year. I started it last September but had to stop when school got busy, so I picked it up again recently and started over. I flew through it this time! Colin is a former child prodigy/anagram expert who has been dumped by nineteen girls, all named Katherine. When Katherine XIX breaks his heart, he takes off on a road trip with his best friend, Hassan, and winds up in Gutshot, Tennessee, working for a woman named Hollis. Colin begins to put together a mathematical theorem of love, believing relationships can be graphed and predicted, and he starts to fall for Lindsey, Hollis’s daughter (who is not ironically named Katherine). In Green’s signature style, the banter and one-liners are hilarious, nerdy, and awesome. Following behind his debut, Looking for Alaska, Katherines is a Printz Honor book.
4. The Fault in Our Stars – John Green
Yes, two John Green books back to back on this list. I have read The Fault in Our Stars (referred to by Green as TFiOS, pronounced tiffy-ose in common speech) twice. Well, one readthrough and one full listen via special-edition audiobook, narrated by Green himself. Before the book was released, he posted YouTube videos of himself reading chapters one and two, and I watched them four or five times each until I bought the book (and you should, too, he’s hilarious). He also autographed every single copy of the book’s first printing (about 120,000 copies), so I now have his autograph! The story is about two teenagers, Hazel and Augustus, living with cancer. Hazel is obsessed with the book An Imperial Affliction and wants to meet the reclusive author who lives in the Netherlands, so Augustus hatches a wild scheme to make it happen. Don’t be scared about the cancer aspect; it’s not your typical cancer book. It’s about the lives and relationship of two people who just happen to have cancer. Yet another solid book by Green.
5. Insurgent – Veronica Roth
Insurgent is the follow up to the addicting bestseller, Divergent, the story of a dystopian Chicago. The city is divided into five factions (Abnegation, Erudite, Amity, Candor, and Dauntless), and at age sixteen, teenagers get to choose whether to stay in the faction they were born into or switch into another. In Divergent, Tris switches into Dauntless from Abnegation, though she really doesn’t belong in either. She is Divergent, and society’s power players don’t like that. Insurgent finds Tris reeling from the events of the first book and searching for a safe haven in the Amity district. A war is approaching, and it is unclear on which side each district (and the factionless, those who were expelled from their faction) will fall. All the while, Tris is dealing with her guilt over her own actions (I don’t want to post spoilers for those who haven’t read Divergent yet) and the secrets she’s keeping from everyone, including Four (one of my favorite YA boys!). Because of Tris’s guilt, which overwhelmed about two-thirds of the book, I found myself not enjoying Insurgent as much as Divergent, but it’s still a solid follow-up, and the secrets revealed at the end have me counting the days until the next book!
What are you reading this summer?