Summer. The time for beaches, pools, and deck chairs. Put a book in your hand and you have the recipe for a perfect season. For some, reading is a part of everyday life. You read on a regular basis and the only thing that might change during the summer is the scenery or which current best seller gets tossed into your beach bag. For others, summer is your primary reading season. The stacks that have gotten pushed to the side during the beginning of the year are staring you down. I occasionally share some of my recent reads, not only because I love talking about books, but more importantly because I want you to pick up one of the books (hopefully from the Levittown Public Library), or at least be inspired to pick up a book. Rather than go through the entire list of 27 books that I’ve read this year, I’m going to highlight five that I especially enjoyed, representing adult, YA, and children’s. Maybe you’ll decide to read them, too!
Kevin Kwan’s 2013 best seller has spawned a sequel and a major motion picture to be released this August, the first in 25 years to feature an all-Asian cast. Set in Singapore, this is the story of American Rachel Chu, an academic who decides to accompany her boyfriend home to Singapore for a wedding, unaware that he is one of the wealthiest and most eligible bachelors in the country. If you’re looking for a fun, beachy read, this is a great option. The level of opulence described is astounding. Despite its length (just over 400 pages), the chapters are short, alternating between a myriad of characters, all of whom are well-defined and engrossing.
This thriller has been spreading like wildfire through the LPL staff. It’s a gripping mystery with a strong emotional center, short chapters that move quickly (can you tell how much I appreciate short chapters?), and lots of classic film references movie buffs will appreciate. Anna Fox, a former child psychologist, has become an agoraphobic with a serious drinking problem, trapped in her NYC home following a traumatic event that is slowly revealed to readers. Like a plot turn in a Hitchcock film, Anna believes she witnesses a violent event involving her new neighbors, though no one seems to believe her.
This companion to Dumplin’, one of my favorite books of any genre, does not disappoint and even features former protagonist Willowdean as a secondary character, while lovable sidekick Millie takes center stage. In this new story, Millie rebels against her parents and decides she’s not going to attend fat camp again, but rather audition for a summer program in broadcast journalism. Meanwhile, an act of vandalism forces Millie to work alongside popular, but mean-spirited classmate Callie Reyes. Both girls learn some important lessons in friendship, honesty, confidence, and the power of being true to yourself.
This journalistic books tells the true story of a black teen who sets the skirt of agender teen Sasha on fire while they sleep on Oakland’s 57 bus. Slater’s greatest strength is in giving equal voice to both sides, allowing us to understand how Richard’s life of hardships would lead him to that life-changing moment. Forgiveness, ignorance, acceptance, and inequality are all woven into this compelling true story account.
Nora Tucker is excited for summer in her small town of Wolf Creek, New York. As an aspiring journalist, Nora hopes to brush up on her journalism skills for the school paper, with help from her best friend and comic relief, Lizzie. When a prison break, inspired by the real Clinton Corrections break, disrupts the sleepy, “idyllic” town, the fear and unease reveals the latent racism of Wolf Creek. The tension is further deepened by the arrival of African-American Elidee, whose brother is an inmate in the jail. Breakout does many things well; it’s an accessible and fast-paced book for middle graders thanks to its modern epistolary style (time capsule letters, transcripts, text messages) and alternating perspectives.
If you’re reading this summer, be sure to register for one of our summer reading programs. If you have not yet registered for one of our summer reading programs, which allow you to log in or report on your reading to win prizes and/or gain admittance to special Library events, there is still time. Contact the appropriate department for more information. For book recommendations, the Librarians at the LPL are always eager to offer suggestions. With your LPL card, you can also use our great database, Novelist, which will provide you with read-alikes. It’s never too late to dive into a good book this summer!