Hello! We’re officially in the middle of 2020 and so much has happened this year. It might seem redundant to label anything a “summer” book. But whether you’re chilling on your living room couch or self-isolating on a distant island somewhere, there’s sure to be something for you to read.
From romance novels to young adult novels and back-listed fiction, this list features some of my favorite books to recommend to anyone this summer 2020! Pick up any of these 8 books and let yourself be transported to another world!
And if you would like more recent recommendations, check out my list of most anticipated books of 2020! So, let’s get to it!
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1. You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson
“I was born royalty. All I had to do was pick up my crown”
There are so many stories about slavery, racism and Black pain and although, those stories are important, we also deserve stories about Black joy. This debut f/f novel (and one of my most anticipated books of 2020) by Leah Johnson delivers beautifully!
Liz Lighty is a poor, Black high school senior who decides to run for prom Queen so she can win a scholarship to the college of her dreams. However, this is not an easy task. She has to work with her former friend-turned-enemy, Jordan, juggle multiple events with her classes and music, and figure out her increasing crush on another opponent.
In the rush for the crown (and scholarship), she’s being forced to deny parts of herself; her style, her personality, and worst of all, her sexuality. You Should See Me in a Crown follows Liz as she challenges out-dated norms, learns to take up space that she deserves and accepts herself in all her queer, Black glory. This is a self-love anthem for queer, Black girls and I recommend it to everyone!
2. A Man Called Ove by Frederik Backman
“People said Ove saw the world in black and white. But she was color. All the color he had.”
Ove is a fifty-nine year old man living in a world that has deemed him unnecessary. He’s a principled person with strong beliefs in right and wrong but he’s also uncompromising and unyielding, and possesses a very short fuse. It’s no wonder that people call him a grumpy, old curmudgeon. But behind that cranky exterior are a story, and a heart of gold. It takes his new neighbours; Parveneh, a very pregnant and strong Iranian woman who connects instantly with him, her husband, Patrick, and their two chatty, beautiful daughters, to gently coax Ove out of his shell and expose the generous, kind soul underneath.
A Man Called Ove is a heart-warming book about grief, friendship and found family. It’s a story that will make you cry, laugh, and will leave your heart marked by the most loveable main character you will never forget!
Related: How to Read Books on a Budget Legally!
3. Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert
“You were hurt, and you reacted. You were in an unhealthy situation in more ways than one, and you panicked and cleansed everything with fire. Don’t dismiss your emotions and your self-protection as just a fucked-up decision. Don’t reduce something so complex and real and important to nothing.”
Still on the topic of Black joy, Get a Life, Chloe Brown is a romance novel about a very brave woman challenging herself every day, and a sweet man recovering from an abusive relationship.
This book follows Chloe, a Black woman with chronic pain. Her condition has always held her back from doing many things but after a near-death experience, she creates a seven-point “Get a Life” plan to challenge herself. Enter, Redford “Red” Morgan, the superintendent of her building and a pain in her ass. The two of them bond over shared experiences and they slowly fall in love.
Get a Life, Chloe Brown is such a cute enemies-to-lovers story! There’s also a lot of discussion around mental health, consent and emotional abuse, and the author treated those topics very well. If you’re in need of a cute, fluffy and healthy romance, I wholeheartedly recommend this book!
4. Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
‘Howl’s voice was presently heard shouting weakly, “Help me, someone! I’m dying from neglect up here!” ’
Howl’s Moving Castle is a short story about a young woman, Sophie who is resigned to living a dull life working at a hat shop. However, one day, she’s transformed into an old woman by the Wicked Witch of the West, and she sets off to seek her fortune. She meets Wizard Howl, a young magician rumoured for eating the souls of young women, and thus, begins her adventure fighting evil with a fire demon, a young apprentice and a bratty drama king.
I read this book for the first time this year after a fellow blogger’s recommendation and I was surprised by how much I loved it! This book is funny and charming, and Sophie’s character development from a drab, timid girl to a brave, ass-kicking woman is incredible. Go read this if you want lots of humor with a side of romance! 😉
Related: Top Books Everyone Should Read!
5. The Weight of the Stars by K. Ancrum
“Don’t…take time for granted. You have all this freedom and opportunity and people around who love you. Make sure you use the time you have to love them back.”
When I finished this book, I had to go into a quiet corner of my house to sit
sob my heart out . But it’s not that this book is sad – far from it – it’s just so much, it evokes so many emotions.
Ryann Bird is a tall, butch Black girl and the unofficial leader of their group of misfits; her younger brother, James, her best friend, Ahmed, and Tomas and Blake. She’s been taking care of James and his son, Charles since their parents died, and it doesn’t seem like she has a future or any chance of achieving her dream of going to space. That is, until she meets Alexandria.
Alex is angry, rude and obnoxious on the surface but underneath, there is a story filled with sadness that makes her who she is. Ryann becomes determined to connect with her and include her in their group.
The Weight of the Stars is a story about hope, friendship, an amazing found family and love between two girls that transcends through time and space, and it’s like nothing I have ever read before!
6. The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune
“Change often starts with the smallest of whispers. Like-minded people building it up to a roar.”
Good Omens meets Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children in this story about a lonely, uptight man who has always followed the rules and obeyed orders until he’s forced to see the prejudice that those rules enforce and encourage.
In a world where magical creatures exist, Linus Baker is a caseworker for the Department in Charge of Magical Youth (DICOMY) which oversees the registration and care of magical children. His job is very dull
(and his life too 🙊); he visits government-sanctioned orphanages for magical children and submits reports to his supervisor with a recommendation to continue or discontinue those orphanages. One day, he’s given a top-secret assignment; go to a classified orphanage, observe the children there and submit weekly reports about them.
But when Linus gets there, he finds out that the children are not what he expected; they’re powerful and unique, but they are still just children. As he connects with them and falls in love with their eccentric and handsome caretaker, Arthur, he’s forced to examine his own biases and see the children for who they really are; not the threats that DICOMY has labelled them, but little children who are smart and adorable and amazing just the way they are.
The House in the Cerulean Sea is a cute, queer book about prejudice and standing up for people regardless of their differences. The underlying message presented in this book is simple; “A home isn’t always the house we live in. It’s also the people we choose to surround ourselves with.”
Related: 30 Most Anticipated Books of 2020!
7. Other Words for Home by Jasmine Warga
I’m starting to think,
might be the bravest thing a person can do.”
Jude is a Muslim, Brown girl living in Syria with her mum, her dad and her big brother, Issa. She loves old American movies, singing Whitney Houston songs with Issa and hanging out at her father’s store with her best friend, Fatima. But change is happening in Syria; protests and raids are more frequent and Issa is always talking about revolution. It is no longer safe in Syria.
When Jude moves to America with her mum and unborn sibling, she experiences a culture shock; everything is fast and loud and new, and it proves difficult to adjust to life in America. This book follows Jude as she struggles to fit into a world that’s very different from the one she grew up in.
Written entirely in verse and from a first-person POV, Other Words for Home is a middle-grade novel about the pain and guilt of leaving everything you know behind and starting something new and foreign in your life. But it’s also about empathy and kindness, and a Brown girl with hopes and dreams who refuses to stay backstage but glows in the spotlight!
8. The Universe Versus Alex Woods by Gavin Extence
“If you had to relive your life exactly as it was – same successes and failures, same happiness, same miseries, same mixture of comedy and tragedy – would you want to? Was it worth it?”
Alex Woods was struck in the head by a meteorite when he was ten years old, an “accident” that makes him a bit of a celebrity. Being bookish, epileptic and the son of a fortune teller, he’s also an easy target for bullies. But when he meets widower and Vietnam veteran, Mr. Peterson, he forms an unlikely friendship that will shape the rest of his life forever.
At first, The Universe Versus Alex Woods seems like just another coming-of-age story with a quirky main character. But as you go deeper into Alex’s story, you’ll discover that this is a deeply profound book that discusses complex subjects that you wouldn’t find in many works of fiction – religion, morality and euthanasia – all discussed in a reverent and meaningful way. It’s about life, death and the choices we make in between. This is not to say that it is in any way boring; it is very funny – laugh out loud funny – and entertaining. This is a beautiful book that will stay with you for a long long time.
What are some of your favourite feel-good books to read? What books are you reading in summer 2020?
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