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10 Books to Kick off Summer

By Nick W on July 7, 2024

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It’s a truth universally acknowledged that every person, during the summertime, must be in want of the best summer reads. Now that summer is finally here, what better way to spend your time than delving into some excellent books? Picture this: you’re lounging about in a beach chair, sipping lemonade, and flipping the pages of a binge-worthy thriller. Pure bliss. Whether you’re physically at the beach or relaxing at home, the effect of picking up a good book is the same. As Charlaine Harris once said, “Here’s to books, the cheapest vacation you can buy.” So, after scrolling through blogs, talking to friends, and scanning my own book lists, here is my list of the top ten summer reads.

10. We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

This one’s a mysterious Young Adult psychological thriller published in 2014. It’s a great novel to kick off the start of summer with its nail-biting suspense and memorable characters, all the while under 250 pages. The book revolves around a wealthy family that spends their summers on their private island. Lockhart’s clear writing style makes this one a shocking and tragic read that’ll have you mesmerized until the end.

9. Jaws by Peter Benchley

No, I’m not talking about the Spielberg movie with the creepy music. Jaws, published in 1974, is a classic that’s made millions of beach lovers afraid to swim in the ocean. This one’s a thrilling read that perfectly encapsulates the spirit of summertime.

8. Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin

What can I say about this work of art that already hasn’t been said? Published in 1956 by master of the craft James Baldwin, this novella is full of symbolism, imagery, and morality. Set in Paris, the book centers around an American man confronting his frustrations and desires in life. Picturesque and a brilliant narrative, this one’s an essential summer read.

7. Funny Story by Emily Henry

If you like romance, read this book. If you don’t like romance, still read this book. I am not a romance novel type of guy, but I still enjoyed this comedic and engaging story about “a pair of opposites with the wrong thing in common.” An instant #1 New York Times Bestseller, this is a heartwarming and engaging read for everyone. Emily Henry is a stellar author that makes her characters come to life in this pure beach read.

6. Wow, No Thank You by Samantha Irby

This one’s a hilarious collection of essays that’s laugh-out-loud funny. Irby touches upon aging and settling down in small town America with wit and enthusiasm. We could all use some humor, especially nowadays. After reading the first few pages, you’ll be saying “Wow, yes please!

5. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

“Last night I dreamt I went to Manderly again.” Thus begins a beautiful novel of suspense and romance set in a town in southern England. Published in August 1938, this masterpiece of gothic literature stands the test of time and immerses readers into the story from the very first line. In fact, Alfred Hitchcock enjoyed the novel so much that he made a movie adaptation of Rebecca in 1940 (I highly recommend watching it after reading the novel). Du Maurier’s style makes this work a memorable and gripping tale that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

4. Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

This one’s a gem. Published in 2017 and named Best Book of the Year by NPR, Little Fires Everywhere is an addictive read. It’s a gripping read that explores the weight of secrets. It centers around two families living in Cleveland suburb Shaker Heights and is the height of drama.

3. Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus

Now a series on Apple TV +, this #1 New York Times Bestseller is the perfect book to accompany summer days. It is the debut novel of its author Bonnie Garmus and centers around Chemist Elizabeth Zott as she experiences sexism during the 1960s. This historical fiction novel is hilarious, refreshing, and full of vibrant characters. It’s an incredibly written feminist triumph.

2. Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

You’ve probably heard of this one. After all, it’s been on the New York Times Best Seller List for 168 weeks, it has sold 15 million copies, and it was made into a film found on Hulu. It’s a murder mystery and profound bildungsroman that is sure to grab your attention till the end. Its dynamic protagonist, Kya Clark is suspected of murdering town model boy Chase Andrews. Owens is an excellent writer and her novel is deeply moving and vivid. This novel absolutely lives up to its reputation.

1. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

I know, a 1000+ page dusty novel written in 1844 doesn’t sound like a top choice for a beach read. However, the Count of Monte Cristo is truly one of my favorite books. It’s an epic tale of revenge and suffering that revolves around Edmond Dantés, a young man imprisoned for a crime he did not commit. My history teacher recommended this novel to me and I initially thought he was crazy for telling me to read an ancient book that weighed as much as a small toddler (but boy was I wrong!). I felt a rollercoaster of emotions reading this monster of a novel, and I believe there’s no better time to dive into Dumas’s masterpiece than the summer–when the word “schedule'' sounds like a foreign dialect and time is readily accessible. With chapter titles such as “How a Gardener May Get Rid of the Dormice That Eat His Peaches,” how can you say no? Plus, bring it to the beach and you’ll look like an English Professor from Oxford.

Now, you’re well-equipped to go dive into summer on a high note. I hope you’ll check out these books, and let me know what you think @Nick W on Schoolhouse. Happy summer and stay out of the ocean!

Thank you to Maya B for editing this article! peer tutoring, for free.


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