One thing about being a teacher is that I still get to look forward to summer. My school lets out June 16th so I am officially in countdown mode. Well not countdown so much as speed-down. Somehow the closer the end of the school year comes the faster and more frantic it gets. By the time that school finally lets out I pretty much feel as if I have been hit by a bus.
Which is one reason that I love summer books so much. One of my favorite tropes is the summer that changed everything. I also love books that manage to capture the feel of summer. The vision of bright light and the feeling that there is all the time in the world...
The Unexpected Everything
by Morgan Matson
“Theoretical crushes could remain perfect and flawless, because you never actually had to find out what that person was really like or deal with the weird way they chewed or anything."
You can practically feel the heat, ocean breezes, and laziness in the air while reading this book. If a high school summer was able to take form in the shape of a book this would be it.
My Life Next Door
by Huntley Fitzpatrick
“Who are these people, and why do they think their own opinions are the only right ones?”
This book is the definition of the summer that changed everything and I love it for that. It is one of the most adorable romances ever. Sam and Jace will stay together and I will fight anyone who says differently. Well, not fight so much as silently disagree and then avoid forevermore afterward, but you get the point.
The Upside of Unrequited
by Becky Albertalli
“Because I have to admit: there's something really badass about truly, honestly not caring what people think about you.”
The is the story of a summer when the choices you make jumpstart your life. The main character start to do instead of just watch.
Morning Is a Long Time Coming
by Bette Greene
“That's when I saw—cleary saw—that there was more than one mountain in my life. Some could be seen and some couldn't be, but just the same, they were all out there. All out there waiting for me.”
There is something about that first summer after high school graduation. The excitement of finally being an adult (you haven't figured out yet that you have no idea what you are doing) and the overwhelming sense of the future spreading out before you if only you knew what to do with it. Morning is a Long Time Coming is the sequel to Summer of My German Soldier (which I could also have put on this list). I had read and reread Summer of My German Soldier for years before coming across this book coincidentally the summer I was 18.
by Holly Thompson
Sometimes summer books are about learning and accepting who we are and what we have done and figuring out how to go on from there. Orchards is the story of a half Japanese half Jewish girl who is sent to Japan for the summer after a traumatic incident with her friends.
by Louis Sachar
“A lot of people don't believe in curses.
A lot of people don't believe in yellow-spotted lizards either, but if one bites you, it doesn't make a difference whether you believe in it or not.”
Not every summer is idealic. The sun and the heat in this novel is almost a character in and of itself.
Every Soul a Star
by Wendy Mass
“When people see you're happy doing what you're doing, it sort of takes the power away from them to tease you about it.”
Three middle school students count down to a solar eclipse while they and their lives change forever.
Life is But a Dream
by Brian James
“My memories are like a shuffled deck of cards, each one coming up at random.”
This is a book about a girl, Sabrina, who has a diagnosis schizophrenia. Her family is trying to get her help but she isn't sure what to believe.
The Secret Life of Bees
by Sue Monk Kidd
“Someone who thinks death is the scariest thing doesn't know a thing about life.”
The is something in this book that brings to mind the lazy days of summer and the pain that those days can sometimes hide.