Summer is rearing its head and, with that, many of us will be enjoying a relaxing week or two abroad, or simply lounging around in our gardens and making the most of the weather while we can. If you're like me, then you'll enjoy reading a book or two while soaking up the sunshine. Here's a list of my five essential summer must-reads!
1. 'Midnight Sun' by Trish Cook
Midnight Sun follows the life of Katie Price, a 17-year-old girl with a rare condition that means that even the slightest amount of exposure to the sun could kill her. She spends her days trapped inside, with her only company being her widowed dad and her best—and only—friend. Only when night falls is it safe enough for Katie to venture outside her house, and when she does, she usually finds herself at the train station playing her guitar for passers-by.
For as long as she can remember, she's had a crush on Charlie Reed, a former athlete that's struggling to make a decision about his future. After admiring him from afar for years, Katie's world is turned upside down when Charlie stumbles upon her playing her guitar one night.
As the pair begin to spend more and more of their time together, their love for one another grows strong enough to change their lives—and the lives of the people around them—forever.
This book is one of those that you'll pick up and find you can't put down until you've finished it. I went into it with high expectations and was not disappointed. It is a perfect example of a coming-of-age story with a slight twist that I've never seen done before. You feel thrown into Katie's world, and as if you're struggling with this disease with her. It's definitely a must-read, and with the film adaptation having recently been released, you'll get to experience Katie's story twice!
2. 'All the Bright Places' by Jennifer Niven
Theodore Finch and Violet Markey come from different worlds. Finch is fascinated by the idea of death and is constantly thinking of ways in which he could kill himself. But each and every time he attempts to, something good—no matter how big or small—stops him. Violet is constantly looking to the future, a time after graduation when she can leave her small town in Indiana, and escape the grief that has consumed her since her sister's death.
Their worlds collide when Finch and Violet find themselves atop the ledge of the bell tower at school. And when they're paired up for a group project, the two come to the realisation that they can only truly be themselves in the company of one another. But as Violet's world begins to blossom and grow, Finch's begins to shrink. Can they keep saving one another?
Okay, so I may be slightly biased because this book is perhaps my most favourite of all time. But, still, it's a definite must-read! It faces the trials and tribulations that come with high school and the transition into adulthood. Violet and Finch are both characters that are easy to love and, despite coming with their own baggage, you will love them by the time you've put the book down. It's a story that I've read multiple times and definitely will again because it's so beautifully written, and it's a story that you'll want to remember forever. And yeah, the description may make the book sound a bit morbid, but I promise it's worth a read!
3. 'I Was Here' by Gayle Forman
Cody's world is turned upside down when her best friend, Meg, takes her own life alone in a motel room. The two knew one another inside out, shared everything with each other, and were practically inseparable, so how did Cody not see it coming? A trip to Meg's college has Cody uncovering things that she never knew about her best friend, including new roommates and friends that Meg rarely spoke about, a boy that broke her best friend's heart, and a file that Cody can't seem to open. Could it contain information that will explain her best friend's sudden death?
Yes, I know—another book that deals with death and suicide, but again, I can assure you it's worth it! Throughout the book, we endure Cody's struggle to overcome her grief and get to the bottom of the mystery surrounding Meg's death—which proves to be difficult when the only person that can offer any sort of clue is no longer around to question. The book deals with the topic of suicide well and shows that depression isn't always as obvious as we'd expect it to be.
4. 'Black Ice' by Becca Fitzpatrick
Britt Pheiffer's idea of spring break doesn't involve sun, sand, and sea. No, for spring break, Britt wants to backpack the Teton Range with her best friend, and spend a few days in a remote cabin in the woods. However, what she didn't plan for was that her ex-boyfriend would insist on joining the girls. But before she can come to terms with having to face him after months apart, a blizzard brings the vacation to a grounding halt, and the girls find themselves finding shelter in a nearby cabin where two seemingly hospitable men agree to look after them. But it's not long before the girls discover that they are fugitives, and the men take them hostage.
Britt is expected to guide them off the mountain. Her main goal is to stay alive long enough for her ex-boyfriend, Calvin, to find her, and so abides by the men's rules and attempts to guide them off the mountain with nothing but her own grainy memory of the forest and a rather thorough map that she found in Calvin's car.
There are twists and turns all throughout, and everyone is keeping a secret. Who can Britt really trust?
For as long as I can remember, Becca Fitzpatrick has been one of my most favourite authors. From the Hush, Hush series, to Black Ice, and her most recent release Dangerous Lies, Fitzpatrick can always be counted on to release a spine-chilling and captivating novel. Black Ice definitely does not disappoint! The overall setting and atmosphere of the book draws you in from the very beginning, and on numerous occasions you may actually feel as if you're trapped in the mountains with Britt and her captors. As someone that isn't particularly fond of horrors and thrillers, you can trust me when I say that this is a must-read!
5. 'Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children' by Ransom Riggs
When 16-year-old Jacob loses his grandfather, he stumbles upon a collection of curious photographs that have the boy travelling to a remote island off the coast of Wales to follow a trail of clues left behind by his grandfather. These clues lead him to the ruins of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. As he explores the home, it seems as though the children had been kept away from the mainland for a very good reason. And, as impossible as it may seem due to the age of the photos, the children and their carer may very well still be alive.
I may be a year or so behind on this one, but it's a classic that should appear on everyone's to-read list! The book mixes written word with a collection of eerie photographs to tell the tale of peculiar children who are shielded from the outside world by their seemingly over-protective carer, Miss Peregrine. Each child comes with their own peculiarity, each of which is fascinating in its own way. The story follows Jacob, who seeks to protect the children and their caregiver from the monsters that lurk in the shadows. This book is a definite must-read! And make sure to read the other two books in the trilogy, and check out the film at some point! You won't be disappointed.