My Favorite Reads from This Summer

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In a shocking turn of events, finally we have some reviews from me for something that isn’t K-pop! I do have a love of reading, though this summer I was finally able to read more books than I had for the last year or so, which managed to knock off at least six books from my to-read list. I figured I would share some of my favorites with you all—because who couldn’t use some more recommendations?

K-Pop Confidential by Stephan Lee

K-Pop Confidential and it’s sequel K-Pop Revolution are books that I learned about from a Teen Vogue article. I got them a few months ago and I read them both in like a day each. I would solidly give these books five out of five stars for the sheer amount of feelings I felt while reading them, including quite the fair amount of frustration, though those feelings always paid off in the end!

Summary: Candace can’t believe her luck when she’s picked from thousands of auditionees to travel to Seoul and train to become a K-pop star. There’s only one problem: she’s really not cut out for it. Amidst scandals, gruelling dance practices and gorgeous boybands, Candace must decide whether a spot in the most hyped K-pop girl group of all time is really worth risking who she is…

The Other Side of Perfect by Mariko Turk

The Other Side of Perfect has very loveable characters—except for Alina. Which doesn’t sound quite right since Alina is the main character, but the development she goes through in this book is like going from a blank canvas to a whole painting. She earned her redemption in my eyes, even though I have to admit I was propelled through the book by wondering when other characters would talk back to her. Again, probably sounds weird, but this is a good book and I do recommend it.

Summary: Alina Keeler was destined to dance, but then a terrifying fall shatters her leg—and her dreams of a professional ballet career along with it. After a summer healing (translation: eating vast amounts of Cool Ranch Doritos and binging ballet videos on YouTube), she is forced to trade her pre-professional dance classes for normal high school, where she reluctantly joins the school musical.

However, rehearsals offer more than she expected—namely Jude, her annoyingly attractive castmate she just might be falling for. But to move forward, Alina must make peace with her past and face the racism she experienced in the dance industry. She wonders what it means to yearn for ballet—something so beautiful, yet so broken. And as broken as she feels, can she ever open her heart to someone else?

The Ivies by Alexa Donne

The Ivies has to be one of the most compelling mysteries I’ve read all year, probably longer than that. I think it’s best described as if Mean Girls and Pretty Little Liars had a love child that took place in an elite northwestern U.S. boarding school. It’s one of those mysteries I thought I had pegged in the first quarter, but natural progression showed me how I was both right and wrong – and I’m glad I wasn’t 100 percent right! Perfect read for the beach or a vacation.

Summary: Everyone knows the Ivies: the most coveted universities in the United States. Far more important are the Ivies. The Ivies at Claflin Academy, that is. Five girls with the same mission: to get into the Ivy League by any means necessary. I would know. I’m one of them. We disrupt class ranks, club leaderships, and academic competitions … among other things. We improve our own odds by decreasing the fortunes of others. Because hyper-elite competitive college admissions is serious business. And in some cases, it’s deadly.

What Kind of Girl by Alyssa Sheinmel

What Kind of Girl is a heavier read and includes topics of domestic abuse, mental health, self harm, drug use, and eating disorders. With that said, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and the kind of thought put into the narrative. I can’t say much without giving away key events, but the characters’ perspectives felt genuine, real.

Summary: The girls at North Bay Academy are taking sides.

It all started when Mike Parker’s girlfriend showed up with a bruise on her face. Or, more specifically, when she walked into the principal’s office and said Mike hit her. But her classmates have questions. Why did she go to the principal and not the police? Why did she stay with Mike if he was hurting her? Obviously, if it’s true, Mike should face the consequences. But is it true?

Some girls want to rally for Mike’s expulsion—and some want to rally around Mike. As rumors about what really happened spread, the students at North Bay Academy will question what it means to be guilty or innocent, right or wrong.

My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

My Life Next Door was, at first, something I thought would remind me of My Life with the Walter Boys. Rather, I got something completely unexpected in the best way. Samantha’s story is an interesting one, with more turns than I expected, and when the tension is high, it’s high. Like K-Pop Confidential, there are moments that are frustrating as a reader, but that’s something this novel handles best. I’m looking forward to reading the companion novel, The Boy Most Likely To.

Summary: The Garretts are everything the Reeds are not. Loud, numerous, messy, affectionate. And every day from her balcony perch, seventeen-year-old Samantha Reed wishes she was one of them … until one summer evening, Jase Garrett climbs her terrace and changes everything. As the two fall fiercely in love, Jase’s family makes Samantha one of their own. Then in an instant, the bottom drops out of her world and she is suddenly faced with an impossible decision. Which perfect family will save her? Or is it time she saved herself?

The Words We Keep by Erin Stewart

The Words We Keep was, like What Kind of Girl, a heavier read with topics of self harm, mental health and suicidal ideation and attempts. I whipped through this book as fast as I could, wanting to know more about Sam and Micah and what they were both going through. Be warned—there’s plenty of discussion of above topics as well as the stigma surrounding mental illnesses, specifically depression and bipolar, but I believe this book handles said topics in one of the most realistic matters I’ve seen.

Summary: It’s been two months since the Night on the Bathroom Floor—when Lily found her sister, Alice, hurting herself. Now Alice is coming home after treatment and it’s getting harder for Lily to outrun the compulsive thoughts she’s having.

Meeting Micah, a guy with a troubled past of his own, the pair embark on a poetry project that helps Lily to see that the words she’s been holding back, desperately want to break through. But what will Micah think if he finds out who she really is? 

The Agathas by Kathleen Glasgow and Liz Lawson

The Agathas was a must-read for me as a fan of mysteries, and especially for fans of Agatha Christie. The mystery is intricate and easy to follow, with information following at a near perfect pace. I felt quite smart having picked up on foreshadowing a little over halfway through the book that helped me solve the case myself, but it’s the kind of foreshadowing that gives the book plenty of rereadability. It does touch on topics such as abusive households, and has possibly the longest acknowledgements section I’ve read, but I can quite honestly say this was one of my favorite beach reads and I would absolutely read it again. I’m also about 90 percent sure this is setting up to be a series—fingers crossed!

Summary: Last summer, Alice Ogilvie’s basketball-star boyfriend Steve dumped her. Then she disappeared for five days. She’s not talking, so where she went and what happened to her is the biggest mystery in Castle Cove. Or it was, at least. But now, another one of Steve’s girlfriends has vanished: Brooke Donovan, Alice’s ex–best friend. And it doesn’t look like Brooke will be coming back…
 
Enter Iris Adams, Alice’s tutor. Iris has her own reasons for wanting to disappear, though unlike Alice, she doesn’t have the money or the means. That could be changed by the hefty reward Brooke’s grandmother is offering to anyone who can share information about her granddaughter’s whereabouts. The police are convinced Steve is the culprit, but Alice isn’t so sure, and with Iris on her side, she just might be able to prove her theory.
 
In order to get the reward and prove Steve’s innocence, they need to figure out who killed Brooke Donovan. And luckily Alice has exactly what they need—the complete works of Agatha Christie. If there’s anyone that can teach the girls how to solve a mystery it’s the master herself. But the town of Castle Cove holds many secrets, and Alice and Iris have no idea how much danger they’re about to walk into.

The Falling in Love Montage by Ciara Smyth

The Falling in Love Montage is another great beach read in a completely separate direction—love. As a fan of romcoms myself, complete with daydreams that I would have a short summer fling at the beach (that never happened), following Saoirse through her summer romance felt actually really fulfilling! I don’t have too much else to say, but the book honestly speaks for itself.

Summary: Seventeen-year-old cynic Saoirse Clarke isn’t looking for a relationship. But when she meets mischievous Ruby, that rule goes right out the window. Sort of.

Because Ruby has a loophole in mind: a summer of all the best cliché movie montage dates, with a definite ending come fall—no broken hearts, no messy breakup. It would be the perfect plan, if they weren’t forgetting one thing about the Falling in Love Montage: when it’s over, the characters have fallen in love…for real.

You can probably tell I have a certain type of books I love, huh? I hope you find something to look into, and look mach with fondness on your summer reads as well!



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