Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish.
This is a tough one because I never usually categorise books in terms of what season to read them in. Therefore I’ve chosen books that have a romance, summery-type theme (at least in my opinion!).
1. If I Stay by Gayle Forman
I realise my first choice doesn’t fall under romance or summery themes, but I had to include this, as it is a beautiful book. It surrounds a comatose Mia who has been in a serious car accident with her family and she’s trapped between living and dying. She knows life won’t be the same if she chooses to keep living and I found myself unable to predict which way she would go because I really don’t know how I’d react in that situation.
2. Always the Bridesmaid by Sarah Webb
What I really loved about this book is that I can relate to it. We’ve all been there, our friends seem to be moving on with their lives while you feel stuck and with no direction. Amy is essentially in that trap in terms of her love life. All her friends are getting married and making babies and she feels left behind. This is both funny and entertaining, definitely a summer story.
3. I was Here by Gayle Forman
Another Gayle Forman book! But anyone who’s read her books knows that this woman knows how to write a heart wrenching story. I actually read this before If I Stay, but I loved it just as much. Again, it explores tragic circumstances and deals with the sensitive subject of suicide. Cody sets out to find out why her best friend decided to end her life and it’s difficult not empathise with her as she is forced to face the reality of the situation. Again, like If I Stay, it’s a beautiful story and one worth reading.
4. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
This is another book I find is easy to relate to, as it explores the life of someone who seems to be always on the sidelines and never quite fits in. Charlie is such an amazing and sympathetic character and clearly dealing with his own demons as he essentially steps into the snake pit that is high school. Nevertheless it is a feel-good book, with an equally good film adaptation.
5. Bared to You by Sylvia Day
Yes, this is essentially another Fifty Shades of Grey, but it explores the concept of the woman being just as independent as the male, something severely lacking with E.L. James. Instead of Ana, we have Eva, rich and ready to start her career in the field of marketing. And conveniently enough the building she works in – the Crossfire – is owned by Gideon (I love the name!). It’s refreshing having a strong female lead in this genre and there are plenty twists and turns that don’t make it as predictable. It’s part one of a five-part series, though I think Day should’ve stopped at three.
6. A Walk to Remember by Nicholas Sparks
I actually watched the film adaptation before reading the book (back in my Mandy Moore fangirl days) and I was very surprised at how different it was. While I loved the film, you can clearly see how it was changed to suit Hollywood standards. Nevertheless, they both get my seal of approval.
7. The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith
I happened across this book at random in a bookshop and was immediately intrigued. For some reason, stories of finding love when you’re several thousand feet up in the air is one of my guilty pleasures and one that isn’t explored enough. Smith does a good job of not making it a cheesy case of love at first sight, but instead develops a special connection between the characters that only grows throughout the book. It’s a book I’ll definitely read again.
8. The Twelfth Day of July by Joan Lingard
My sister read this to me as a child when she was studying it in school (I would later go on to study it too). You could brand this as a Romeo & Juliet-type story, but it’s not without its harsh realities. Taking place in Northern Ireland during the troubles, Kevin is Catholic and Sadie is Protestant. It’s both moving and heart wrenching, but being from Ireland myself (though the Republic, not the North), it hits home.
9. Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar by Cheryl Strayed
This is essentially a self-help book, but a summer read nonetheless. Cheryl Strayed is Sugar – the once-anonymous online advice columnist for The Rumpus. Now she co-hosts the Dear Sugar podcast, which I love! Having been there and done that, Cheryl offers unbiased advice for the “lost, lonely and heartsick”. If you like the podcast, this book is for you, and vice versa.
10. Sidewalks by Valeria Luiselli
This surprisingly short book is a collection of essays exploring different places that shape the life of Luiselli, places that I could only dream of visiting. Following her journey, it’s almost like you’re there with her which is why I loved this book so much.