June Ripples in the Inkwell: Summer Reading Recommendations

Posted by Katie L. Carroll on June 8, 2015 in Books, Charlie Joe Jackson, Ink Ripples, Kai Strand, Mary Waibel, Middle Grade, Young Adult |

Inkwell meme greenIt’s the second Monday of the month and that means a new Ripples in the Inkwell post! May was all about change (my post was about how change is hard at any age). June heralds the start of summer, so Kai Strand, Mary Waibel, and I thought it would be fun to talk about summer/vacations. We’d love to read your posts on the theme; find out how to play along with the monthly meme HERE. And be sure to stop by Kai’s and Mary’s blogs to check out their posts.

When I knew the June #inkripples theme was summer/vacation, my first inclination was to talk about the last, horrible vacation I went on where we hated the (leaky, smelly, awful) rental house so much we left halfway into our trip. (The owner was quick to remind me that there was a no refund policy…jerk!) But summers and vacations are supposed to be about fun, so I started thinking about some of my favorite things to do while on vacation.

And, of course, one of those things is read. So here are a few summer reading recommendations, straight from you to me (partial blurbs pulled from Goodreads). I picked books that had a summer feel to them, whether they took place during the summer or because they fit the lovely category of beach reads. I’d love to hear your summer reading rec’s in the comments!

Sky EverywhereTHE SKY IS EVERYWHERE by Jandy Nelson

“Seventeen-year-old Lennie Walker, bookworm and band geek, plays second clarinet and spends her time tucked safely and happily in the shadow of her fiery older sister, Bailey. But when Bailey dies abruptly, Lennie is catapulted to center stage of her own life – and, despite her nonexistent history with boys, suddenly finds herself struggling to balance two.”

This is one of my favorite books of all time (and it you know anything about my personal life and how I started writing, you’ll understand why), so it pretty much ends up on every recommended list I create. But it fits this list especially because it takes place during the summer.

Twenty BoyTWENTY BOY SUMMER by Sarah Ockler

“According to Anna’s best friend, Frankie, twenty days in Zanzibar Bay is the perfect opportunity to have a summer fling, and if they meet one boy every day, there’s a pretty good chance Anna will find her first summer romance. Anna lightheartedly agrees to the game, but there’s something she hasn’t told Frankie–she’s already had her romance, and it was with Frankie’s older brother, Matt, just before his tragic death one year ago.”

This has a little bit of everything you want in a summer read: beach setting, forbidden romance, secrets and lies, and parties!

Summer SistersSUMMER SISTERS by Judy Blume

“In the summer of 1977, Victoria Leonard’s world changed forever—-when Caitlin Somers chose her as a friend. Dazzling, reckless Caitlin welcomed Vix into the heart of her sprawling, eccentric family, opening doors to a world of unimaginable privilege, sweeping her away to vacations on Martha’s Vineyard, a magical, wind-blown island where two friends became summer sisters…”

Judy Blume, Martha’s Vineyard, friends who are like sisters, and, um, Judy Blume! Do I even need to explain including this one? Didn’t think so.

WE WERE LIARS by E. LockhartLiars

“A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.”

This is one of those books you read and then want to immediately read again. The island setting screams summer, and the lies, oh, the lies!


“Despite all attempts to avoid reading and extra work, Charlie Joe Jackson finds himself in a terrible dream he can’t wake up from: Camp Rituhbukkee (pronounced “read-a-bookie”)—a place filled with grammar workshops, Read-a-Ramas, and kids who actually like reading. But Charlie Joe is determined to convince the entire camp to hate reading and writing—one genius at a time.”

All the Charlie Joe Jackson books are great for young and young-at-heart readers. This one will keep you laughing all the way to summer camp!

Panic_HC_JKT_des4.inddPANIC by Lauren Oliver

“Panic began as so many things do in Carp, a dead-end town of 12,000 people in the middle of nowhere: because it was summer, and there was nothing else to do.

Heather never thought she would compete in Panic, a legendary game played by graduating seniors, where the stakes are high and the payoff is even higher. She’d never thought of herself as fearless, the kind of person who would fight to stand out. But when she finds something, and someone, to fight for, she will discover that she is braver than she ever thought.”

This one will keep you up late into the summer night. My own teen summer nights did include some dangerous antics but none quite at this level.

Mermaid's mirrorTHE MERMAID’S MIRROR by L.K. Madigan

“Lena has lived her whole life near the beach – walking for miles up and down the shore and breathing the salty air, swimming in the cold water, and watching the surfers rule the waves – the problem is, she’s spent her whole life just watching.”

My only fantasy book in the bunch (shocking, I know, but I tend to think of more realistic stories for beach reads). Love the setting of this book; it has just the right feel for summer.

In the interest of keeping this post manageable (cause I could go on and on and on when it comes to recommending books), I’ll stop here. So now it’s your turn. What’s on your summer reading list? What book(s) do you recommend for the perfect beach read?

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