I ran into a bit of a roadblock with this one because I wasn’t exactly sure what books my brain categorizes as “summer reads.” Are they books that are set during summer, or are they ones that you just feel like reading during summer? And if the latter, I can’t be the only one who feels like reading cold, dark, moody stuff during these months. I mean, what better way to combat the sweltering heat than with a book about an Antarctic expedition? Or one about a haunted doll?
I couldn’t decide so I divided my list into books that are fun light-hearted romps; books that send chills down your spine–thus saving you on air conditioning bills; and one book that just needs to be read during the summer.
1. The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee
I read this in the summer of last year so I may be biased, but Gentleman’s Guide is a fun, uncomplicated story in which young lord Henry and his companions embark on a tour of Europe that soon gets sidetracked into something rather unexpected and harrowing. It’s not quite the rollicking adventure the blurb had me believe, but it’s got a sweet romance, a mystery, and pirates–and that combo just screams “summer” to me.
2. Kings of the Wyld by Nicholas Eames
Kings of the Wyld is such a ridiculously fun read. Set in a medieval fantasy world where adventuring bands are like the rock bands of today (they have band names, they go on tours, their weapons correlate to various instruments, and so forth), it’s a story that’s exciting and funny but also strangely heartwarming–it had me chuckling to sniffling in a matter of paragraphs. And most of all, it’s such a smack on the lips to lovers of fantasy RPGs. So spice up your summer with this pulse-pounding adventure!
3. Bird Box by Josh Malerman
I never really got scared reading horror books as I did watching horror movies (something about the lack of sound and strong visuals). But then Bird Box came along. Its characters are blindfolded for the majority of the story and the horrors that haunt them are unknown and unseen. Malerman masterfully–and evilly–uses your imagination against you and leaves you chilled and shaking for hours after you finish. I read most of it in bed at night in the dark, which turned out to be a terrible, terrible idea, because I couldn’t fall sleep or even get out of bed to turn the lights on.
4. The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden
Rooted in Russian folktales, much of The Bear and the Nightingale is set in winter and Katherine Arden does such a fantastic job bringing the season to life. She’ll make you feel the inhuman cold racing through your body and smell and taste the freshly fallen snow. Perfect for those hot, stuffy nights.
5. On the Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
On the Jellicoe Road isn’t light-hearted or fun, but its setting–a small Australian town–just begs you to read it while surrounded by warmth and rustling summer trees. If you’re reading this masterpiece for the first time, I highly recommend that you do it (if you can) outside on a sunny day, in a secluded area and surrounded by nature. It just enhances the atmosphere of the story and creates this intimate bubble in which friendship is indeed magic and the past and the present merge. And if all of that sounds super vague, just go read the book. It’ll be one of the best decisions you make this summer.
And that’s it from me! Tell me some of your favourite summer reads and if any of the above books are on your list!