Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish and is now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s topic would be “books on my summer TBR”, but the Spring TBR I wrote this year ended up being such a failure (I read… two out of ten books in all of Spring) that I don’t think seasonal TBRs are something I want right now. Maybe I’ll try again in the fall.
Today, I’m writing a list of books I associate with summer (which I think would be great for your summer TBR, if you haven’t already read them) instead.
The Way You Make Me Feel
This is the first book I thought of when I decided which list I would have written. I have read many books I could describe as cute, summer-y contemporary stories, but none of them were as cute or a summer-y as this one. This is a story about Clara, a girl of Korean-Brazilian descent living in Los Angeles, who is known for being a troublemaker, and the way spending time with her “enemy”, an uptight girl named Rose, while working in her own dad’s food truck (the food descriptions!) helped her grow up and be more responsible. I loved this novel’s focus on family and how atmospheric it was; the main character also had a personality you don’t often see in YA.
[the only flaw: the potential for an f/f hate-to-love romance was right there and yet]
The Gallery of Unfinished Girls
An introspective coming-of-age story set in contemporary Florida (but with a magical twist!), The Gallery of Unfinished Girls has that kind of nothing-is-happening-but-everything-is-changing atmosphere I associate with the long, lazy days of summer. It’s about liminal spaces, about everything that is around you but you can’t quite reach, and it’s such a magical story. Expect this to be character-driven; there might be very little plot, but the main character, Mercedes Moreno (who is Puerto Rican and bisexual), is one of my favorite main characters in all of YA.
Everything Leads to You and You Know Me Well
For me, Nina LaCour’s books always have a season. We Are Okay is one of the most wintry contemporary books I know, while Everything Leads to You and especially You Know Me Well, which she co-wrote with David Levithan, are the perfect summer books. Everything Leads to You is an atmospheric f/f romance involving filmmaking, and You Know Me Well is a book about… the magic of Pride Month (not literal magic, but you get what I mean), friendship between queer people, and also has a cute f/f romance in it.
Wicked Like a Wildfire
This will never not remind me of summer. I don’t know what season it is set in, but it takes place in Cattaro, Montenegro, a town on the northern coast of the Mediterranean sea, and I read it in summer while staying in another, smaller town on a coast of the Mediterranean sea (in Sardinia). This speaks to me of summer the way I experience it, calm blue sea and old buildings and shrubland. It felt so much like home that I barely cared about the plot or the fact that I really didn’t like the main character (Iris was such a clueless straight person, I’m sorry, and her lesbian sister Malina deserved better. Part of the reason I’m interested in book two is her PoV).
The Wicker King & The Weight of the Stars
Kayla Ancrum’s books aren’t summer-y for their atmosphere, as they’re… overall pretty gloomy, since they usually deal with neglected, lost, and struggling teenagers (who succeed and get happy endings, but still). I associate them with summer because they’re very short reads and because I always end up reading them around this time of the year. Of all the seasons, summer is the one that for me is less planned (because no school and now little university) and these books are on this list to represent the strange and unexpected corners this season can have.
Also: they’re very gay (The Wicker King is m/m/f with a focus on the m/m side of the polyamorous throuple, and The Weight of the Stars is f/f). Please read them.
Summer Days and Summer Nights
It is an obvious choice and I don’t care, this is the first anthology I’ve ever read and it means a lot to me. I have so many good memories associated with it, and all of them feel like summer. (My favorite stories were Leigh Bardugo’s and Nina LaCour’s.)
The Candle and the Flame
What about some summer-y non-western fantasy? I think a desert fantasy book set in a world inspired by the Silk Road is the perfect read for the season, and if you love descriptions (especially food descriptions), stories that focus on community and healing more than they do on individuals, and don’t mind slow pacing when the book is atmospheric enough, I really recommend this.
The Lost Coast
Most of the books I associate with rainy days are novels I’d associate with spring or with summer, but not this one. This is such a “rainy summer day” book, with its witch-y atmosphere and the feeling of being near to the sea and the mist in the woods… and I love this kind of feeling so much. Also, as I said many times on this blog before, it’s gay and it has trees, so if for some reason we share priorities, you really should try this!
If my favorite book Riley Redgate has written, Final Draft, isn’t something I would describe as a summer book in any way, Noteworthy is a much lighter read, and more than anything, the narration in it is hilarious. Also, bisexual Chinese-American main character!
This is a book about a girl dressing up as a boy to join her school’s all-male a cappella group. And while it has the flaws of the typical crossdressing plotlines (I hate the naked reveal scenes so much), this book didn’t handle it as badly as it could have.
The Perfect Assassin
This list has been only YA so far, because I don’t know that many adult books I’d associate with summer (I want to read lighter things in summer, and the adult books I reach for usually aren’t), but here’s an adult fantasy recommendation: some more desert fantasy, but gayer than the average desert fantasy, and set in a city built in the sky over a desert, where water is so valuable it’s literally magical!
What are some books you associate with summer?