If you’ve spent the school year wading through The Odyssey or surviving Dante’s Inferno, you might be tempted to limit your reading to Twitter now that school’s out for the summer. But long layovers and lazy days at the beach are perfect opportunities to turn on your tablet or pick up a paperback and indulge in some reading that’s a little lighter than that stats textbook you hope to never see again.
Here are seven suggestions, ranging from new novels to collections of modern short stories, essays, and other selections that can be consumed in a single sitting. Warning: pick one up, and you might start hoping for rainy days and cancelled plans.
If you have a short attention span…
Fresh Ink – Edited by Lamar Giles
On sale: August 14, 2018
This anthology includes writing from 13 of the nation’s best-known young adult authors, but will appeal to readers ranging from age 12 to 99 according to Random House, its publisher. Produced in partnership with the non-profit We Need Diverse Books, Fresh Ink features 10 short stories, a graphic novel and a one-act play that touch on timely topics including acceptance, gentrification, and coming out.
If you’re craving a juicy thriller…
Tell Me Lies – By Carola Lovering
On sale: June 12, 2018
This debut novel is a coming-of-age tale told in alternating points of view by a couple locked in a toxic romance. Lucy Albright knows there’s something off about charming, complicated, and oh-so-attractive Stephen DeMarco. But she can’t quite seem to kick her addictive attraction through college and their post-college years in New York City—even when the connection might lead to dire consequences.
If you love a good essay…
Look Alive Out There – By Slone Crosley
Published: April 3, 2018
Slone Crosley is considered a modern master of the witty one-liner. Reviews of her latest essay collection indicate she’s continued that signature style in Look Alive Out There, where essays cover everything from mountain climbing to mortality. Those who enjoy her humorous voice but prefer subjects that seem a little more like dessert than the main course might try her first book of best-selling essays, I Was Told There Would Be Cake. Another bonus: these personal pieces might sharpen your essay-writing skills, helping you wow teachers and admissions officers long after summer’s over. (Don’t forget to give it a polish by running it through BibMe’s grammar checker!)
If you can’t stop reading the news…
The Hate U Give – By Angie Thomas
Published: February 28, 2017
This best-selling book might seem more fact than fiction considering it’s about a teen, Starr Carter, who witnesses her unarmed childhood best friend being shot and killed by a cop. The event sets off a collision between Starr’s weekday world, a majority-white private school, and the poverty-plagued urban neighborhood where she lives. So, although it’s classified as a young-adult novel, The Hate U Give covers some heavy topics—no surprise given the fact it takes its name from the acronym behind rapper Tupac Shakur’s profane and profound THUG LIFE tattoo. A movie version of the novel is scheduled for release in October, so read it before it hits the screen!
If you wished books still came with pictures…
Come Again – By Nate Powell
On sale: July 31, 2018
Artist and author Nate Powell shared the 2016 National Book Award for March: Book Three, the last book in a series created by Powell, Andrew Aydin, and U.S. Congressman John Lewis chronicling two pivotal years in the civil rights movement. Come Again, Powell’s first solo graphic novel in seven years, doesn’t cover such weighty subject matter, but still showcases the author’s vivid approach to character-driven comics in a fictional tale of two families grappling with some long-hidden secrets within a 1960s-style “intentional community” in the Ozarks mountains.
If you loved The Hunger Games…
The Darkest Minds – By Alexandra Bracken
Published: October 22, 2013 (paperback)
In the not-too-far-away future, a mysterious disease wipes out 98 percent of America’s 10- to 17-year-olds. The ones who survive all have unique abilities that scare the government enough to imprison them in “rehabilitation camps.” But some manage to escape to go in search of East River, a haven for special survivors like them. The Darkest Minds is the oldest book on this list, but a movie based on the dystopian thriller is slated for release in August and stars Amandla Stenberg, best known for playing Rue in another futuristic film based on a best-seller—The Hunger Games.
If you need a good laugh…
Rhett & Link’s Book of Mythicality: A Field Guide to Curiosity, Creativity, and Tomfoolery – By Rhett McLaughlin and Link Neal
Published: October 10, 2017
This book by the team behind the YouTube talk show Good Mythical Morning features stories and photos from Rhett and Link’s lifelong tomfoolery-fueled friendship as well as charts, illustrations, and activities designed to get you “laughing more, learning more, and never taking yourself too seriously” according to the description on the book publisher’s page. Highlights include Character Building: The Board Game and a list of grownup merit badges you can earn. If one of them is “Read a Book for Fun Over the Summer,” you can check it off the list.