Top Ten Summer Books I’ve Read (Or Want To)

Top Ten Tuesday blog header 5-23-17

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly themed post hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. Each week features a different theme/prompt for which you come up with a list of 10 books/ideas. This week is a summer reads freebie. Here’s the description:

In preparation for Memorial Day (which is always the unofficial summer kickoff for me), let’s rec some summer/beach reads: books to go in your beach bag, best books set in summer, books with summer-y covers, best beach reads for people who don’t enjoy contemporary/realistic reads, best beach reads for fans of X genre, etc. etc.

I’ve decided to talk about some books that are set in summer and split this into 5 books I’ve read and enjoyed that are set in summer and 5 others that I want to read.

As an aside, sorry that I kind of disappeared over the weekend (and yesterday)! I graduated from college and so, as I’m sure you can imagine, was just a little busy, haha. Hopefully, I’m now back to my normal schedule!

5 Summer Books I Loved

First, let me talk about some books set in summer that I’ve read, really enjoyed, and love to recommend to people. 3 of these 5 are books that I’ve only just recently read, so if you follow my blog, you’ve probably seen me talk about them (or review them) and already know how much I love them. But I still couldn’t resist talking about them because I just love them so much.

The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord

The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord book cover

When it all falls apart, who can you believe in?

Everything is going right for Lucy Hansson, until her mom’s cancer reappears. Just like that, Lucy breaks with all the constants in her life: her do-good boyfriend, her steady faith, even her longtime summer church camp job.

Instead, Lucy lands at a camp for kids who have been through tough times. As a counselor, Lucy is in over her head and longs to be with her parents across the lake. But that’s before she gets to know her coworkers, who are as loving and unafraid as she so desperately wants to be.

It’s not just new friends that Lucy discovers at camp—more than one old secret is revealed along the way. In fact, maybe there’s much more to her family and her faith than Lucy ever realized.

This is hands-down one of my favorite reads so far this year. After Lucy’s mom is diagnosed with cancer (again), Lucy ends up spending her summer as a counselor at Daybreak, a camp for kids who have dealt with some difficult things. As I’ve said in other posts already (including my review), I was a little hesitant about this one because one of the main themes is Lucy questioning her faith in God and, being an atheist, I wasn’t sure how the religious elements of the story would affect my enjoyment of the book. Needless to say, I ended up really liking how Lord handled the topic and overall thought this book was brilliant.

Girl Out of Water by Laura Silverman

Girl Out of Water by Laura Silverman book coverAnise Sawyer plans to spend every minute of summer with her friends: surfing, chowing down on fish tacos drizzled with wasabi balsamic vinegar, and throwing bonfires that blaze until dawn. But when a serious car wreck leaves her aunt, a single mother of three, with two broken legs, it forces Anise to say goodbye for the first time to Santa Cruz, the waves, her friends, and even a kindling romance, and fly with her dad to Nebraska for the entire summer. Living in Nebraska isn’t easy. Anise spends her days caring for her three younger cousins in the childhood home of her runaway mom, a wild figure who’s been flickering in and out of her life since birth, appearing for weeks at a time and then disappearing again for months, or even years, without a word.

Complicating matters is Lincoln, a one-armed, charismatic skater who pushes Anise to trade her surfboard for a skateboard. As Anise draws closer to Lincoln and takes on the full burden and joy of her cousins, she loses touch with her friends back home – leading her to one terrifying question: will she turn out just like her mom and spend her life leaving behind the ones she loves?

I requested this book after seeing a bunch of rave reviews and ended up really enjoying it. This is such a perfect summer read – a teenage girl has to give up her summer to go help take care of her cousins after her aunt has been in a serious car accident. Over the course of the summer, she’s forced to move outside of her comfort zone and try new things and us readers get to see Anise grow so much. And to top it all off, there’s a super adorable romance, too. Girl Out of Water is available for a pretty low price on Amazon (at least in the US), so you really have no excuse not to pick it up! 😉 Want to know more? Check out my review.

City Love by Susane Colasanti

City Love by Susane Colasanti book coverSadie, Darcy, and Rosanna are living together in New York City the summer before their freshman year of college begins. With no parents, no rules, and an entire city to explore, these three girls are on the verge of the best summer of their lives.

Sadie is a native New Yorker. She is hopeful, romantic, and an eternal optimist who is ready to find her soul mate. Then she meets her dream boy: cute, funny, and quirky in all the right ways. The chemistry between them is unreal. Could he be the one?

Darcy is a free spirit from SoCal with rebellious tendencies and unlimited financial resources. Moving to New York City is just another adventure for her. Darcy wants this summer to be all about boy adventures—nothing serious. But how much fun is too much?

Rosanna leaves Chicago for NYC so she can put her past behind her and reinvent herself. The only thing standing in her way is the grand total of seventy-three cents she has saved. Then she meets a guy who wants to show her the glamorous side of New York—a side that she would never get to experience on her own. If Rosanna doesn’t resist, she may find herself in city love.

Told from alternating points of view, City Love captures the moments in each girl’s life when everything is thrilling, amazing, and terrifying all at once . . . in a way it will never be again.

I read this about a year ago and wow, I enjoyed this book so much. This trilogy is coming to an end this summer, so now is the perfect time to pick it up. City Love is a story about three roommates who are about to start their freshman year of college. Over the summer, they’re all branching out into new territories, trying new things, and trying to navigate their love lives with as much grace and confidence as they can. All three of these main characters were really interesting to read about and even though their stories could be really upsetting at times, I found this book really enjoyable. (Now if I could only get myself to finally pick up the next book…) Here’s my review (although I feel I must warn you, my reviewing style has changed a lot since I wrote this one).

The Truth About Happily Ever After by Karole Cozzo

The Truth About Happily Ever After by Karole Cozzo book coverChin up, Princess, or the crown will slip.

A theme park princess must put her life back together after her happily ever after falls apart in this contemporary YA romance from Karole Cozzo, author of How to Keep Rolling After a Fall and How to Say I Love You Out Loud.

Everything was supposed to be perfect. Alyssa has a job she loves, working as Cinderella at her favorite theme park; a fantastic group of friends; and a boyfriend who will no longer be long distance. But as the summer progresses, her prince becomes less charming and more distant, and Alyssa’s perfect summer falls apart.

Forced to acknowledge that life is not always a fairy tale, Alyssa starts working to pull her herself back together. Fortunately, she doesn’t have to do it alone. With her friend Miller’s support, she’s determined to prove that she’s more than just a pretty princess. And with his help, maybe she’s finally ready for something better than dreams. Maybe she’s ready for something real.

I just read this book a couple of weeks ago and I feel like I’ve been recommending it left and right ever since. This will be the perfect book to read this summer. The Truth About Happily Ever After is about Alyssa, a college student who works as a princess at an amusement park that is Totally Not Disney World. This book will seriously have you feeling so many emotions as you see Alyssa go through so much during the course of the novel, as she watches her relationship fall apart and a new one begin. But rest assured, if you decide to read it, it will be well worth your time. If you want to know a bit more about what I thought, here’s my review.

The Edge of Juniper by Lora Richardson

the edge of juniper by lora richardson book cover“You’re off-limits, so why can’t I stop thinking about you?”

Fay Whitaker, sixteen years old and yearning for adventure, is excited to spend the summer with her fearless cousin Celia in small-town Juniper, Indiana.

But Fay soon discovers that her summer home is not what she expected. She is alarmed by her uncle’s temper, and learns of the grudge he holds against the Dearing family. Celia handles the tension at home by escaping with her boyfriend, leaving Fay with time on her hands—time that leads her straight to Malcolm Dearing, off-limits because of his last name. Fay is captivated by Malcolm’s warmth and intensity. She finds that trying to stay away from him only makes her think of him more.

Fay and Celia are launched on a journey, and each must attempt to navigate the thrilling and unpredictable world of love. Everything Fay thinks she knows about love is put to the test, as relationships unfold and reveal themselves in ways she never before dreamed.

The last book I’ve read and want to talk about today that’s set in summer is Lora Richardson’s The Edge of Juniper. I received this book to review and I’m so glad I did because I highly doubt I ever would’ve found it otherwise. The Edge of Juniper is about Fay, a teenage girl, who is spending the summer with her cousin. While she’s there, she meets Malcolm, who she really likes, but he comes from a family her uncle hates and she’s forbidden to talk to him. I adore forbidden romances and I especially adored Fay and Malcolm together. If this sounds like your kind of thing, check out my review to see if you should pick up a copy (I can pretty much tell you now that you should).

5 Summer Books I Want To Read

As much as I loved the previous 5 books, I’m sure there are a ton of other books set in summer that I would love reading. So let’s talk about some of the books with summer settings that are on my TBR.

Open Road Summer by Emery Lord

Open Road Summer by Emery Lord book coverAfter breaking up with her bad-news boyfriend, Reagan O’Neill is ready to leave her rebellious ways behind. . . and her best friend, country superstar Lilah Montgomery, is nursing a broken heart of her own.

Fortunately, Lilah’s 24-city tour is about to kick off, offering a perfect opportunity for a girls-only summer of break-up ballads and healing hearts. But when Matt Finch joins the tour as its opening act, his boy-next-door charm proves difficult for Reagan to resist, despite her vow to live a drama-free existence.

This summer, Reagan and Lilah will navigate the ups and downs of fame and friendship as they come to see that giving your heart to the right person is always a risk worth taking. A fresh new voice in contemporary romance, Emery Lord’s gorgeous writing hits all the right notes.

I bought this back in September when I was getting ready for the Boston Teen Author Festival where I had the chance to meet Emery Lord. With that said, I still haven’t read this. But after reading The Names They Gave Us, I have a renewed desire to read everything Emery Lord so this is up near the top of my list at the moment. This sounds like it’ll be really fun to read – what’s not to love about having the chance to spend summer on tour with your superstar best friend?

99 Days by Katie Cotungo

99 Days by Katie Cotungo book coverDay 1: Julia Donnelly eggs my house my first night back in Star Lake, and that’s how I know everyone still remembers everything—how I destroyed my relationship with Patrick the night everything happened with his brother, Gabe. How I wrecked their whole family. Now I’m serving out my summer like a jail sentence: Just ninety-nine days till I can leave for college, and be done.

Day 4: A nasty note on my windshield makes it clear Julia isn’t finished. I’m expecting a fight when someone taps me on the shoulder, but it’s just Gabe, home from college and actually happy to see me. “For what it’s worth, Molly Barlow,” he says, “I’m really glad you’re back.”

Day 12: Gabe got me to come to this party, and I’m actually having fun. I think he’s about to kiss me—and that’s when I see Patrick. My Patrick, who’s supposed to be clear across the country. My Patrick, who’s never going to forgive me.

I’ll admit I’ve only recently heard of Katie Cotungo, but from what I hear, her writing is really great. Plus this book sounds like it’ll be completely filled with drama which I love. Right now I’m on a huge contemporary kick and so I think I might have to try and read this one soon…

No One Needs To Know by Amanda Grace

No One Needs to Know by Amanda GraceSometimes, the cost of love is too steep.

Olivia’s twin brother, Liam, has been her best friend her whole life. But when he starts dating, Olivia is left feeling alone, so she tries to drive away Liam’s girlfriends in an effort to get her best friend back.

But she meets her match in Zoey, Liam’s latest fling. A call-it-like-she-sees-it kind of girl, Zoey sees right through Olivia’s tricks. What starts as verbal sparring between the two changes into something different, however, as they share their deepest insecurities and learn they have a lot in common. Olivia falls for Zoey, believing her brother could never get serious with her. But when Liam confesses that he’s in love with Zoey, Olivia has to decide who deserves happiness more: her brother or herself?

I read Amanda Grace’s But I Love Him years ago and really, really enjoyed it. So when I saw that she has a book about a girl who falls in love with her brother’s girlfriend, I was super excited. This honestly just sounds so good and I must read it!!

Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson

Since You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson book coverIt was Sloane who yanked Emily out of her shell and made life 100% interesting. But right before what should have been the most epic summer, Sloane just…disappears. All she leaves behind is a to-do list.

On it, thirteen Sloane-inspired tasks that Emily would normally never try. But what if they could bring her best friend back?

Apple picking at night? Okay, easy enough.

Dance until dawn? Sure. Why not?

Kiss a stranger? Um…

Emily now has this unexpected summer, and the help of Frank Porter (totally unexpected), to check things off Sloane’s list. Who knows what she’ll find?

Go skinny-dipping? Wait…what?

I know Morgan Matson is practically a queen of YA contemporary (alongside Sarah Dessen and Kasie West, of course), so I’ve been wanting to pick up one of her books for awhile. Not too long ago, I was able to snag Since You’ve Been Gone for only a few dollars for Kindle and now I’m pretty desperate to get a chance to read it.

The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han

The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han book coverBelly measures her life in summers. Everything good, everything magical happens between the months of June and August. Winters are simply a time to count the weeks until the next summer, a place away from the beach house, away from Susannah, and most importantly, away from Jeremiah and Conrad. They are the boys that Belly has known since her very first summer–they have been her brother figures, her crushes, and everything in between. But one summer, one terrible and wonderful summer, the more everything changes, the more it all ends up just the way it should have been all along.

Jenny Han is another author who is frequently praised by other YA bloggers. It seems like people tend to prefer her Lara Jean series (which is also on my TBR), but this book still sounds really good, at least in my opinion.

Have you read any of these? What are your favorite summer reads?

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36 thoughts on “Top Ten Summer Books I’ve Read (Or Want To)

  1. It can be interesting to tackle books with religious themes as an atheist. I find I tend to be pretty evenly distributed on the love/hate. The only time I can’t stand a book is when it’s used just as a vehicle for preaching some message. However, give me a good good-vs-evil or even something sweet and tender like A Walk to Remember, and I’m right there soaking it in.

    Summer Blockbusters? We’d like to see these books get a shot at it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes to The Names They Gave Us and Girl Out of Water! I had never heard of City Love until your post, but it sounds like a book I would adore– I’ll have to pick that one up this summer. Emery Lord’s books are so perfect for summer. Open Road Summer is my least favorite of hers, but it’s still so much fun. I really want to pick up 99 Days! I recently read Fireworks by Katie Cotugno and want to read more of her writing (oh, and I also LOVE drama-filled books! why do people hate on them all the time?!). Since You’ve Been Gone is one of my all-time favorite books. I’ve reread it countless times since it came out, and I love it SO much! Great list this week, Kourtni. 🙂


    • I probably never would’ve read City Love but I ended up winning the sequel in a giveaway so I read the first book and really liked it. It doesn’t seem like too many bloggers know about the series – I don’t think I’ve seen anyone else review it or anything. I definitely want to try to read the other Emery Lord books I have this summer because like I said in my post, after reading The Names They Gave Us, I’m desperate to read more from her, haha. I want to read Fireworks too, actually, so I’m glad you liked it! Books with a lot of drama end up being so fun to read, I have no idea why so many people hate on them. Also really glad to hear you loved Since You’ve Been Gone so much!! Thanks, Madalyn!


  3. I’m supposed to be working on review books right now but this post put me in a contemporary mood, specifically for the five books you recommended. I can’t spend any money this month so I hope my library can help me out. And I hope you like the Summer I Turned Pretty. It’s not the greatest but I read it when I was a teen and just adored the story so it remains as a favorite.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I want to read so many of these books in summer as well. I think I most want to read since you’ve been gone because that one’s been on my TBR for so long it’s ridiculous 😂 ! I really want to read more of Emery Lord’s books now after reading the names they gave us because as you said it’s amazing! I read the summer I turned pretty trilogy so long ago and I think it ended up being kind of mediocre for me, I finished the whole series but I didn’t love it! Great choices, my TBR just grew very quickly…

    P.s. – I’ve switched my blog from blogger to wordpress so I’m here now – 💖

    Liked by 1 person

    • Seriously, after reading The Names They Gave Us I want to read literally everything written by Emery Lord, haha. I think that might be my goal for the summer 😛
      TTT always has me adding tons of books to my TBR, so I know how you feel, haha!


  5. Since You’ve Been Gone is one of my top summer reads, and Open Road Summer is high on that list as well. I’m excited to read The Names They Gave Us, because I’m a big fan of Emery Lord.

    I’m new to blogging and book reviewing, and am very impressed by your blog. I was wondering if you had any tips for newbie bloggers and book reviewers.

    If you have the time, please check out my blog @breenysbooks. I’d love any feedback. Have a wonderful day.


  6. Pingback: May Wrapup: A Good Month For Blogging and Somewhat For Reading – Write Through the Night

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