Here are the books I started reading and finished this summer that you might want to add to (or take off) your lists for the fall. I ended up only having to purchase two of these 10 titles, so three cheers for the library!

Young Adult Fictionyoung-adult-fiction

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

I kicked off the summer with this charming, geeky teen love story that unfolds through music, comic books and just enough sarcasm to keep a girl like me smirking. It didn’t change my life (and I certainly enjoyed The Fault in Our Stars more), but it did change my pace as I set out to read more for fun this summer.

The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay

Wow, this book. Stunning. Surprising. Suspenseful. I thought about the characters constantly whenever I wasn’t reading, and the acknowledgements at the end made me weep. What a debut novel for Katja. I don’t know what to say about it except to tell you to read it.

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

Request this from your library immediately! You’ll finish it quickly as no word is wasted in this unexpected, smartly-written summer mystery about a distinguished family, a damaged girl, and the tragic accident you’ll never see coming. Wowza.


Historical Fiction


Right, so, I kind of went on a Susan Meissner binge this summer. I love how she artfully weaves present-day story lines with historical ones, moving with ease between two different eras, yet finding common ground in both.

The Shape of Mercy

Half of this story is set in my hometown (Santa Barbara) where Lauren Durough finds herself transcribing the journal entries of Mercy Hayworth, a victim of the Salem witch trials. It’s a mysterious, powerful read with a strong message of redemption, and I loved it. 

Secrets of a Charmed Life

Of the three Meissner books, Secrets of a Charmed Life was by far my favorite, probably because it was set in London and the Cotswolds, two of my favorite places in the whole wide world. The story is about two sisters torn apart in the early part of WWII, so it taught me as much about war-torn England as it did about good writing, and I was grateful for both.

Lady in Waiting

I’m glad I read this, but I didn’t love it. The connection between the historical and modern-day storylines was thin, and the experiences of the characters in each time period didn’t come together nearly as powerfully as I kept hoping they would. I also didn’t like how hard I had to work to follow the royal names and nuances in the 16th Century chapters. If you are new to Meissner, definitely skip this one and start with A Fall of Marigolds.



Every Bitter Thing is Sweet by Sara Hagerty

I had no idea when I read this book at the end of May that its title would perfectly describe the summer into which my family was headed. As I look back now on the things I underlined, I can see how careful God was to prepare my heart for all that eventually came to pass. “The hard and the good were intertwined.” Yes, yes they were.

The Antelope in the Living Room by Melanie Shankle

I wanted to like this more than I did. It was clever and funny (in parts) and perfect for reading in the airport, but several of the chapters left me skimming for a point. On more than one occasion I was like, “Wait, why are you telling me this?” It started off strong but by about halfway through it fell flat for me. Definitely not the humorous take on marriage I was hoping for.

Learning to Walk in the Dark by Barbara Brown Taylor 

I skimmed over a lot of this because, while Barbara Brown Taylor’s writing is totally gorgeous, I thought she could’ve made her points in half the space. I kept waiting for the metaphors to end and teachable moments to begin.



The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

This was my first time reading a thriller in years, and it made we wonder why I ever bailed on the genre. It was a fun, quick, addicting read that proved the perfect poolside companion this summer.

Your Turn…

What did you read that you loved this summer? My to-read list is set for September, but I’d love to add some of your recent favorites to my October stack, so don’t be shy! Thanks. 🙂