“Good friends, good books, and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life.” – Mark Twain
Summer is one of my favourite times for reading. Travelling with a book in my bag really puts me in holiday mode. I tend to read quicker and faster when I’m in someone else’s country. In fact, this summer I took 4 novels on a 3 week holiday and finished them all before our vacation was over. That was a difficult one.
Today, I want to share with you 5 of my favourite books that I read this summer, in no particular order.
The Girl With All The Gifts – M.R. Carey
My rating – 4/5 stars.
This is an post-apocalyptic story told from the point of view of a little girl. Melanie is treated like an animal in a school; she is kept in a cell, dresses every morning under gunpoint and is taught in a classroom while strapped to a chair. When their campus is attacked, Melanie has to learn how to survive while learning who she really is and where she came from.
I love this book because of the thrilling originality and plot twists. It was complex and clever and intriguing and exciting and it incorporated a new kind of zombie altogether. The characters were new to me, too. They weren’t stereotypes or replicas of other book characters.
As for dropping a star, I got kind of bored in the middle. It is a long book and I would say for about 25-30% the plot really slowed down for me. It definitely picked back up but if you’re a slow or new reader, I would give yourself some easier books before picking this one up.
Harry Potter – by J.K. Rowling
Philosopher’s Stone – 4/5 stars.
Chamber of Secrets – 4.5/5 stars.
Prisoner of Azkaban – 5/5 stars.
Yes, I am reading Harry Potter properly for the first time. For the last year, I have been surrounded by friends online who rave about this book and so I had to pick it up. Ali gifted me the hardback Bloomsbury set for Christmas and so I was finally ready to dive in and what can I say other than I was SUPER impressed?
I honestly thought the series would be overhyped but it is so magical. I expected to go into it with a critical mind but I quickly relaxed and enjoyed every page. I love the characters; Harry is so sassy and Dumbledore is so witty and wise. I ADORED the third book. The mystery plot really captivated me in that one.
I can’t wait to continue with the series! And in case you’re wondering, I’m a Ravenclaw.
The Upside of Unrequited – Becky Albertalli
My rating – 4.5/5 stars.
This book follows Molly, a serial crusher. She is always crushing on a boy. Unfortunately, they never like her back. When her sister gets a new girlfriend and falls head over her heels for her, Molly has lost the one person she can truly be herself around. Molly’s life fills up with other people and soon enough, she’s on a journey of self-discovery and the search for true love.
This book was awesome. Molly was a great and funny narrator who was very honest about what it’s like to be a shy teenager. One of my favourite things was how the author normalised all the things the media makes obscure: being fat, being gay, being bisexual, having two parents of the same gender, being 17 and not ever having a partner, being 17 and having had loads of partners.
If you’re looking for a respectful diverse read, this is the one to go, too. It was super easy to read and very unique. I dropped a star because I felt like I was a little too old for some of the humour and dialgoue. The characters were obsessed with emojis. I also didn’t understand Molly’s sister, Cassie. But other than that, this book is close to perfect.
Vicious – V.E. Schwab
My rating – 5/5 stars.
I was completely blown away by this book. There are so many good things to say about this book that I hardly know where to begin.
The novel follows two college friends that are trying to have a near-death experience in the hopes that they will gain superpowers. Things go horribly wrong. 10 years later, they are both determined to catch up with each other but who will be alive at the end?
First off, I need to compare this to other books. Your average novel would have one main climax point. This book has about 25. And they’re all as good as the one before. Every time you think, ‘ok, it’s about to heat up now’, you realise that the heat is persistent throughout the book. And that’s what makes it impossible to put down.
The writing was perfect, too. The way she phrases, alludes and compares things is truly one of a kind. It takes you aback because you’ve never heard it described like that but at the same time, she writes it in a way familiar to everyone.
And characterisation? OH BOY. These characters grew on me in just sentences. Schwab really knows how to summarise a personality up in just a short space, and that is truly talent and something that always sells me. It helps because then I am emotionally involved. The only character I struggled with was Mitch but around halfway I was like OH MAN I LOVE HIM, TOO.
The concept of this book is amazing and she really carries it to completion. I wouldn’t have wished for it to be different at all. Everything that needs to happen happens, even if it’s not in the way you expect.
Definitely one of my favourite books of all time. GET IT READ.
Sharp Objects – Gillian Flynn
My rating – 4/5 stars.
2 little girls. Dead. In one small town. No one can figure it out. Camille is sent back to her hometown as a journalist to cover the story. Clues keep leading to dead ends, forcing Camille to unravel the psychological puzzle of her own past to get at the story. Dogged by her own demons, Camille will have to confront what happened to her years before if she wants to survive this homecoming.
Gillian Flynn is one of my all time favourite authors. I gave her other 2 novels five stars and I was so ready to give this one 5 as well. The writing is incredible; this woman writes like no other. It’s cohesive but unique and that’s partly what reels me in. Second, her characters are alive, dimensional and SO creepy. It’s perfect for these kinds of novels. And her plots, they’re so well stitched together, the mystery always making sense and the conclusion being clean and exciting.
However, in this novel, I felt the mystery part of it was not all that mysterious. With the small cast of main characters, it couldn’t have strayed too far from them and I honestly had figured out something vital on page 5. The ending was still dark and creepy, and I wish Flynn devoted a little more time to it but overall, I loved the experience of reading this book.
I hope you enjoyed reading about 5 of my favourite summer reads and that you pick up at least one of these books soon 🙂
Song of the day: Blue in Green – Miles Davis (why am I listening to jazz music? i don’t know but it’s very relaxing)