Saturday, June 27, 2009

Summer Reading Series - Week 1

Each Saturday or Sunday, for the duration of the summer, I'm going to try to post my weekly picks for summer reading! The books will be random - sometimes children's picture books, sometimes middle-grade, sometimes YA, sometimes adult.

My recommendations will not just be anything that I have read through the week that doesn't fit my daily themed reviews... instead, I will try to recommend literature that I believe will touch the reader(s) in at least one of several different ways...
  1. Make a difference in their life.
  2. Allow them to appreciate and openly accept the differences between themselves and the characters within.
  3. Allow the reader to make a text-to-self connection to their everyday lives.
  4. Introduce readers to new topics.
I have two selections for this week, both YA and I hope you'll enjoy reading them!

Ockler, Sarah.
Twenty Boy Summer.
June 1, 2009.
Little Brown Young Readers.

"Don't worry, Anna. I'll tell her, okay? Just let me think about the best way to do it."
"Promise me? Promise you won't say anything?"
"Don't worry." I laughed. "It's our secret, right?"
According to her best friend Frankie, twenty days in Zanzibar Bay is the perfect opportunity to have a summer fling, and if they meet one boy ever day, there's a pretty good chance Anna will find her first summer romance. Anna lightheartedly agrees to the game, but there's something she hasn't told Frankie---she's already had that kind of romance, and it was with Frankie's older brother, Matt, just before his tragic death one year ago.

I wasn't sure what to expect going in to this book. Would it be too much? Promote promiscuity amongst teenagers? Would the death of Frankie's brother, Matt, be portrayed realistically? I think Sarah Ockler did an incredible job of showing the emotions - rage, anger, upset, confusion, self-blame, guilt of moving on - of those dealing with the death of Matt and its impact on their daily lives. Alongside the emotions of teenagers dealing with death, I could see teenager girls who are spending their "dream" summer on the beach partaking in such activities. While I don't condone the ways in which Anna and Frankie deal with their grief, I feel that the life of teenage girls today is accurately portrayed and that this book will have a great deal of appeal to them.

Dessen, Sarah.
Along for the Ride.
June 16, 2009.


It’s been so long since Auden slept at night. Ever since her parents’ divorce—or since the fighting started. Now she has the chance to spend a carefree summer with her dad and his new family in the charming beach town where they live.

A job in a clothes boutique introduces Auden to the world of girls: their talk, their friendship, their crushes. She missed out on all that, too busy being the perfect daughter to her demanding mother. Then she meets Eli, an intriguing loner and a fellow insomniac who becomes her guide to the nocturnal world of the town. Together they embark on parallel quests: for Auden, to experience the carefree teenage life she’s been denied; for Eli, to come to terms with the guilt he feels for the death of a friend.

Oh, it's been so long since I've read anything by Sarah Dessen... reading Along for the Ride makes me want to head out to the local library and get my hands on as many books of hers as I can! There's nothing quite like the feeling of relating whole-heartedly with the main character of the book. I could easily compare myself to Auden... at the beginning of the book anyways - someone who never quite made it into the "girlfriend" circle in high school. However, unlike Auden, I never really came full circle. Thanks to Sarah Dessen, I was able to live vicariously through Auden for the three days I took in reading Along for the Ride! The book was so wonderfully written that I actually felt like I was there, walking alongside Auden on her adventures this summer before starting college. This is an incredible read for teenage girls! In recommending this, I can only hope someone can enjoy it half as much as I did!

If you're interested in finding out more information about any of the books reviewed or if you'd like to purchase the books, click the cover image for a link to