Summer offers a chance to explore uncharted territories and to take up new hobbies and activities. However, more than a month into this year’s long summer, the thrill of activities may have already gotten stale and uninviting. Thankfully, literature provides all those who are weary of heat and boredom the ability to visit new sights and meet interesting characters, all in the comfort of your own home. Whether it’s for travelling, lounging in your humble abode, or just for a bit of entertainment, The Menagerie has hand-picked a list of books that will help you pass the time before the new school year begins.
The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell by Chris Colfer
Perfect for: Travelling to a new place for the first time
Are you raring to go to a new destination, far from the mundane and old rigor of the city’s usual hubbub? Summer offers the opportunity to discover new locales that will enthrall. Enter twins Alex and Connor Bailey who grew up on their grandmother’s stories of fairy tales and adventures from the written word. When the book’s presence begins to push them on an adventure, the twins are thrust into a world where an expecting Cinderella is queen, Goldilocks is a wanted fugitive, and all the kingdoms are in chaos because of the Evil Queen’s growing and ominous presence. Chris Colfer, best known as Kurt Hummel on Glee, presents a story oh so familiar and close to the heart; all the while bringing a refreshing take on the dynamic of family, fantasy, and believing in the power of magic.
Carrie by Stephen King
Perfect for: Bringing on a road trip
The heat of the summer often leaves a sticky feeling on one’s skin. None, however, can be as sticky as pig’s blood, proven by the horrifying and tragic story of Stephen King’s seminal heroine, Carrie. Born with powers of telekinesis, Carrie White’s upbringing is filled with strife and the burden of growing pains, not to mention the tension inherent in her relationships with her mother and her peers. The energetic storytelling and wondrous pacing will have you devouring Carrie’s tale on a whim. Look out for the iconic prom night sequence that solidified Stephen King as one of the greatest horror writers of his generation.
Every You, Every Me by David Levithan & Jonathan Farmer
Perfect for: Taking great photos in different places
Nowadays, most people get away during the summer to take numerous photos of various places and idyllic hiding spots nestled away from the metro. What better way to usher the rush of photography than with one of David Levithan’s novels about friendship and its mysteries? Accompanied by haunting photographs of Jonathan Farmer, Levithan’s work captures the friendship between Evan and Ariel, as well as the guilt and angst that come with growing up and losing friends. Sit back and relive the familiar ache and nostalgia of younger and more innocent summers.
Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
Perfect for: Falling in love (or just making a new friend)
Like summer, the YA genre has the tendency to make some tropes and story ideas overstay. Eleanor & Park saves the day! Coming out of critical acclaim, Rainbow Rowell’s novel about a girl with ginger hair and a shy teenage boy is a refreshing read. It may seem like it’s been done before, but Rainbow’s voice adds heft and dramatic vigor to Eleanor Douglas, Park, and the other colourful characters in their lives. By adding surprising depth and emotional arcs to the characters’ stories, Eleanor & Park is reminiscent of meeting a new friend and finding out more about them, a sure-fire way to spend the summer.
World War Z by Max Brooks
Perfect for: Staying up until 3 AM
As children, staying up until the wee hours of the morning was the rebellious thing to do. Now, with all the obligations and requirements of college, it just feels like a chore. Summer provides the chance to rediscover the good ol’ days of staying up, and World War Z is the ultimate companion. Combining first-hand “accounts,” compelling witnesses and their “epic” stories, and a story spanning continents and sparing no zombies, the book really is better than the movie adaptation. With thrills and horrifying gore that enhances the humanity of the plot and the characters involved, World War Z is the classic page turner that will keep you up all night.
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Perfect for: Drinking a warm cup of cocoa when the weather turns cold
There are times when a book just takes your breath away. That book is Gone Girl, the word-of-mouth bestseller that took the world by storm. Gillian Flynn narrates Nick Dunne’s story, which begins when his wife disappears. We find Nick against Amy Elliott-Dunne’s diary entries throughout the rise and seeming failings of their marriage. The climactic twists and game changers of the story will have you raring for another go and another cup of good cocoa. Judging by the successful adaptation, it’s a must that the book be read for the full macabre and twisty experience of good and thrilling literature.
Diary Of A Wimpy Kid Series by Jeff Kinney
Perfect for: When you’re stuck at home
A light read will surely lessen your woes in an instant. Join Greg Heffley in his (mis)adventures as he enters middle school, where he deals with puberty, school, annoying brothers, girls, and best friends, as he documents everything in his journal, accompanied with hilarious illustrations. The cover may make it seem like just an ordinary children’s book, but Greg’s experiences at home and in school might just remind you of your own, and give you a good laugh in the process.
Wonder by R.J. Palacio
Perfect for: Light reading in between classes, for those taking the special term
School work, as we all know, is draining. What more if it’s during the summer? For a quick pick-me-up during breaks, Wonder is definitely a good option. Follow August “Auggie” Pullman, a boy born with a facial difference, as he enters mainstream school for the first time at Beecher Prep. Filled with the experiences of adjusting to a new environment and precepts that would be nice to live by, this book may make you laugh and cry, but it will definitely leave you smiling once finished.
Para Kay B. (O Kung Paano Dinevastate ng Pag Ibig ang 4 out of 5 Sa Atin) by Ricky Lee
Perfect for: Days when you just want to think
As adolescents, there are a lot of times when we just contemplate about our lives, may it be our past, present, or future, and love always seems to be one of the most talked about aspects. For these times, Ricky Lee’s first novel will suit your fancy. The novel revolves around five different stories of love, highlighting the writer’s own insecurities and theories. Filled with unforgettable quotes, this isn’t your ordinary sappy love story compilation; it is filled with raw emotion, and might even make you reflect on your very own existence.
Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler
Perfect for: Parting with summer
Alas, all good things must come to an end. The end of summer may be bittersweet, but at some point you’ll also be glad it’s over. Similar to this is the story of Min, who narrates her concluded love story with jock Ed, in the book aptly titled Why We Broke Up. Similar to other novels in the YA genre, this book will give you all the usual feelings accompanied by a fictional love story, from kilig, to anger, to acceptance. Definitely a read that will help you get over the fact your beloved (summer) is now leaving you for the incoming school year.
Whatever book you choose to pick up, it is a must to heed the call of literature and indulge in the experience of reading. Summer has an end date, but the joy of reading does not; whether it’s a suspenseful thriller or a light breezy read, books have a way of encapsulating your summer experience through words and the feelings you get from them.