You’re all used to posts from my parents, but today, I, the oldest of the Montague kids, come to you with a post I’m very excited about – a summer reading recommendation list! A few days ago, my mom posted a blog about 8 things to do with your kids over the summer, and at the top of the list was a library summer reading program. I definitely support doing those (and you can usually even find them for teens or even adults), and this list of books should help you get going. There’s a total of five books for each age group, so if you get started today, you’ll have about one book to read every two weeks!
Young Adult Readers (Ages 13-19):
This is my age group, so I have loads of favorite books, and it was so hard to narrow it down to just five. Nevertheless, here we go:
- To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han. This book follows Lara Jean Covey, a sixteen-year-old who adores anything vintage, and who has loved a total of five boys. She has a habit of writing letters to the boys that will help her get over her love, and they’re top-secret, until one day, they aren’t. Lara Jean’s life flips upside-down, but all for the better. This book is so much fun to read, and I absolutely devoured it. My rating: 5/5 stars!
- Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard. Aveyard’s debut YA novel is about Mare Barrow, who lives in a fantasy universe where the world is broken down into two groups: those with red blood, Reds, and those with silver blood, Silvers. Reds are mundane, ordinary, and slaves to the extraordinary Silvers, who possess magical abilities. Eventually, Mare (a Red) finds herself working in a palace of Silvers, and before long, Mare discovers that she as an amazing power of her own, regardless of her blood status. This is an edge-of-your-seat, thrilling fantasy novel, and it’s pure magic to read. My rating: 5/5 stars!
- An Abundance of Katherines by John Green. Although not nearly his most famous novel, this book is essentially about two boys who find themselves on a rural road trip. One of the boys, Colin, has only ever dated Katherines, and the road trip is his best friend’s, Hassan, plan to get him over the Katherines. It’s just a blast to read, and it’s so short that it’s perfect for a lazy summer afternoon. My rating: 4/5 stars!
- Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs. This may not be a book that screams, “Summer read!” However, it’s a fantastical, incredible read that follows Jacob, a boy who has grown up hearing his grandfather’s outlandish stories about World War II. He dismisses him as senile, because his stories always involve monsters that couldn’t possibly be real, until one day, he is found dead in a forest, and Jacob himself sees a monster. His journey only gets crazier from there, but I won’t spoil it for you. My rating: 4/5 stars!
- The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan. I know what you’re thinking, but don’t dismiss the book as middle grade too quickly! I grew up on Percy Jackson, and this book is like being thrust back into his world – this time, from the perspective of one of the Greek gods. Zeus is mad at Apollo after the war in The Blood of Olympus, and has, therefore, banished him from Olympus to live as a human. Apollo, who is now a sixteen-year-old demigod, finds himself indebted to Meg McCaffery, a twelve-year-old demigod. They go on some adventures, there’s some crazy plot twists, and man, it’s just a blast from beginning to end! My rating: 4/5 stars!
Middle Grade Readers (Grades 4-7):
These books are all full of some sort of fantastical adventure, and they’re honestly perfect for a reader of any age.
- The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen. This action-packed adventure follows Sage, an orphan, and two other boys, also orphans, on their competition to become the next Prince of Carthya. Personally, it reminds me of a much more fantastical, boyish version of Kiera Cass’s The Selection. A super fun read, and you’ll fall in love with all of the characters, although the plot line is a bit predictable. My rating: 3/5 stars!
- The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart. A whole novel written about extraordinary children “looking for special opportunities,” it follows Reynie, Sticky, Kate, and Constance on their imaginative adventure to out a… well, a mysterious society. In all honesty, I have yet to finish this one, but what I’ve read has been so enjoyable and so much fun. It’s a little large, but don’t let that intimidate you, because it really is a fantastic read. My rating: 4/5 stars!
- The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan. The first in Riordan’s trilogy about Egyptian mythology, this book follows Carter and Sadie Kane, two siblings who grew up so very differently – Sadie, with her grandmother in England, and Carter, with his father traveling all over the world. Every year on Christmas, Carter and Sadie are reunited for a day, and this particular year, their father takes them to a museum in Britain just to look at exhibits. As it happens, he accidentally releases the Egyptian god, Set, and is sucked into the Underworld. As you can imagine, adventure ensues for the siblings, and their around-the-world travels are a blast to read about. Although I would recommend many of Riordan’s books for grades younger than fourth, Carter and Sadie are the same age as many of the middle grade readers, which makes their adventures so much more relatable. My rating: 5/5 stars!
- The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick. This book is pure magic. It follows Hugo Cabret, a little French orphan who grew up learning how to tend to the clocks of a busy train station. One day, though, he meets an old man and a young girl, and his life is never quite the same. The book is over 500 pages, but so many of those are filled with gorgeous illustrations that are unforgettable. It’s a fantastical mystery that I, in the fifth grade, could not get enough of! My rating: 5/5 stars!
- The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi. My true confession: I actually read this book in third grade, but I absolutely devoured it, and I would recommend it for middle grade readers more than anything. It follows thirteen-year-old Charlotte, who is on a boat in the middle of ocean, accused of murder, and forced to join the ship’s crew through some dangerous deeds. It’s action-packed, well paced, and brilliantly written. My rating: 5/5 stars!
And, finally, Early Elementary Readers (Grades 1-3):
Now, this list was a little hard for me to come up with – I’ve been a reader since kindergarten, so in early elementary, I was reading books much more advanced than my friends were, so I tried to find a balance between the two.
- Matilda by Roald Dahl. I love this book, because it follows a little girl who loves her books, just like I did as a kid. Her family is horrid to her because she’s a little special, a little different, and rather extraordinary. It’s a very magical read, just like all of Dahl’s books, and it’s just so much fun (like every other book I’ve put on the list). My rating: 4/5 stars!
- The Dark by Lemony Snicket and Jon Klassen. There’s not much of a summary to this adorable story – it’s a cute picture book about a little boy named Laszlo. Laszlo is afraid of the dark, but the dark wants to be his friend. The illustrations are enchanting, and I adore reading it (even as a seventeen-year-old!). My rating: 5/5 stars!
- The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis. Most everyone knows about this book, but nevertheless my summary: The Pevensie siblings are staying in an unusual home with an unusual man. The youngest of the four, Lucy, finds a wardrobe hidden away in a room one day, and she immediately proceeds to walk into it, stumbling upon the magical land of Narnia. Simply put, adventure ensues, and the magic that tags along with it feels almost real. Not only that, but it has some great underlying religious themes – and C.S. Lewis is a brilliant author whose works are easily enjoyed, no matter what your age. My rating: 5/5 stars!
- Pinkalicious by Victoria and Elizabeth Kann. Another delightful picture book, Pinkalicious is all about a girl who loves pink. When Pinkalicious’s mom makes pink cupcakes, Pinkalicious eats too many and turns pink! At first, she loves it, but before long, Pinkalicious can’t stand her pink skin. The only cure: eat all the green foods she can possibly find! My little sister grew up loving this book, and I’ve read it to her countless times. It’s just a delightful explosion of color and princesses and sparkles, and it’s an absolute blast. My rating: 4/5 stars!
- Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling. This book. This book. I read Harry Potter for the first time in second or third grade, and I absolutely devoured it. It follows, of course, a boy named Harry Potter who lives with his aunt and uncle in a cupboard under the stars. His life is terribly mundane, until one day, this special boy finds out that he is a wizard, and suddenly, his life isn’t so awful. His story becomes a magical battle between good and evil, with so many themes of friendship, love, and defeating darkness – it is pure magic, and I’ll recommend Harry’s story to anyone and everyone until the day I die. My rating: 5/5 stars!
Well, ladies and gents, there you have it: Audrey Montague’s 2016 Summer Reading Recommendations! Get to your local library and get your hands on as many as possible, and as you read them, please comment and let me know how you and/or your kids are enjoying them!