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Bookworms Recommend: Fun Summer Reads

A stack of books sits next to a drink and some sunglasses. Once school gets out, we will be reading as many summery books as possible. Illustration by Pearl McNames.

As we slowly inch towards the end of the school year, a summer full of reading time is steadily approaching. One half of Bookworms, Nora Hugo herself, is about to graduate and leave us in the dust. For this year’s final Bookworms installment, we thought we’d give you some of our favorite books to read over the summer, a wide variety with no real theme but lots of fun. 

In honor of one of our favorite Hugos, let us recommend a book about another great Hugo. “The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo” by Taylor Jenkins Reid is a saga of Hollywood scandals and an exploration of the difficulty of being in the spotlight. An old Hollywood movie star named Evelyn Hugo chooses a reporter, Monique Grant, to write her tell-all biography, one that will tell the story behind the cameras and glamorous parties. This book has millions of little twists and turns and will leave you sitting with shock you might need all summer to process. 

If you’re a fan of “The Daily Show” or like finding humor in hardship, “Born a Crime” by Trevor Noah is the perfect book. Noah tells the story of his childhood in South Africa both during and after apartheid. Throughout his complicated, often difficult childhood, Noah finds levity in his mischievous childhood choices and the diverse cast of characters that surrounded him. One of the key characters in this story is his very religious and often terrifyingly fearless mother. If you want to take on a slightly heavier summer read, this could be a great one to pick up after school gets out. 

On a much lighter note, the book behind the Studio Ghibli favorite, “Howl’s Moving Castle” by Diana Wynne Jones, is just as delightful as the movie adaptation. With a more substantial plot, easier to identify antagonists, and most bizarrely, the existence of Wales, Sophie’s adventure as a stubborn old lady is unique enough from the movie to have some surprises, while keeping the comforting energy that is so beloved of the film. 

“People We Meet on Vacation” by Emily Henry is a cute summer love story, great for fans of the friends-to-lovers trope. Messy and outgoing Poppy and her best friend, the introverted and tidy Alex, have gone on a summer trip together every single summer since they became friends. They aren’t on speaking terms anymore until Poppy asks Alex if they can take one last vacation, one that is both disastrous and wonderful. Through both the present trip and memories of their past, Emily Henry leaves readers on the edge of their seats, wondering what happened between the two best friends. This is a great book for the plane trip to your very own summer adventures. 

“Summer of Salt” by Katrina Leno is set in the erratically stormy island of By-the-Sea, where the Fernweh family reside. It’s the last summer before Georgina, our main character, turns eighteen, the traditional deadline for the women in her family to gain their witchy powers. But her mind is turned elsewhere with the disappearance of a beloved island regular, and the appearance of an unfamiliar girl. This book is a perfect representation of the gray area between childhood and adulthood where we first venture into the real world (not to make everything about Nora leaving). We highly recommend this book, but we also recommend that readers proceed with caution and check out content warnings before reading.

“Mary Jane” by Jessica Anya Blau is perfect for anyone who wishes they lived in the 70s. Fourteen-year-old Mary Jane is from a patriotic, Christian family, recently hired for the summer as a nanny for her neighbors, a doctor and his wife; a respectable job, according to her mother. But the moment she steps into their cluttered, messy house, she realizes that this summer will not be anything like she was expecting it to be. Although it wraps up a bit too neatly, this book is still a fun exploration of what it means to grow up.

Some books to read or reread before the television show: “Red, White & Royal Blue” by Casey McQuiston, “The Lightning Thief” by Rick Riordan,  “Conversations With Friends” by Sally Rooney, and “Daisy Jones & the Six” by Taylor Jenkins-Reid.

And some books we’re looking forward to reading this summer: “Yerba Buena” by Nina LaCour, “Ophelia After All” by Racquel Marie, “Dava Shastri’s Last Day” by Kirthana Ramisetti, and “Book Lovers” by Emily Henry.
As always, some of these books contain upsetting or triggering content. For more information on these subjects, or if you have any suggestions, reactions, or additional opinions on books that you want to share with us, we welcome all emails sent to bookworms.fhspost@gmail.com.

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