Book Lists

Summer 2020 Wrap Up & Ratings

Summer is finally coming to an end! I’m just about to start back up with college classes and that means it’s time to round up my summer reading list. 

I started off really strong this summer and read a lot of books on vacation. But since beginning a heavy work schedule in August, my reading time began to dwindle. Still, I was able to finish fourteen books this summer!

My TBR pile for the fall is so high it’s probably taller than me, but I  can’t wait to begin my fall reading. Goodbye beach reads, hello cozy fallen leaves reads. Since my college is online this fall, I’m definitely going to be doing a lot of reading in my free time.

One challenge I set for myself this summer was to begin to introduce some non-YA books into my lists. I began with Jane Austen because I love the 2005 Pride & Prejudice film far too much for my own good. I’m proud to say I read two classics this summer on my own! Hopefully the fall will allow for more genre expanding. 

All of my star ratings are taken straight from my Goodreads account. If you aren’t connected with me on Goodreads, follow my page here! I’m always updating my page counts, TBR list, and sometimes random thoughts I have in the middle of books.

  1. The Jewel by Amy Ewing

Rating: 3 out of 5.

The concept of The Jewel is disturbing as poor women are stripped of basic reproductive rights to service aristocrats as surrogates. I found myself just wanting more from this book. There is such opportunity for real conversation here, but I think it focuses too much on being for young adults and not enough on the message it wants to send. I’m hoping the sequel will  deliver! There is potential. 

  1. Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen M. McManus

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I am a fan of this author already, and this mystery kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time. The multi-perspective approach works well in Two Can Keep a Secret as character pasts are unraveled and true motivations are revealed. I definitely  recommend this mystery YA!

  1. Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I cannot gush enough about how much I love this book. Zélie and Amari are two of my new favorite characters! The worldbuilding in this book is intricate yet told in a manner that is easy to understand. I read this book in less than two days because it was absolutely addicting. 

  1. The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The perfect beach read! It is cool to see how much Jenny Han has grown as a writer since this book. It isn’t terribly complex, but the story is enjoyable and has the perfect summertime energy.

  1. All Our Broken Pieces by L.D. Crichton

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I am a little bit torn on my opinions of this book. The female lead Lennon is diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and I think the author definitely is attentive and thoughtful ini writing a realistic and respectful representation of this in Lennon’s thoughts and behaviors. While I immensely appreciate this, the central romance in the story begins to spiral into a place of angst that felt concerningly toxic to me. Still, I did enjoy this book overall.

  1. It’s Not Summer Without You by Jenny Han

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This sequel to The Summer I Turned Pretty is much more serious than the initial beach read. The book focuses heavily on loss, grief, and the complicated connections between the main characters. 

  1. The Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

Rating: 3 out of 5.

I’ve been reading the Mara Dyer novels at the recommendation of a friend. Sometimes I get frustrated because descriptions are a bit vague, but that aspect is also my favorite part about them. Mara is an unreliable narrator and this makes the story fascinating and engaging.

  1. The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This book is the third in the Heroes of Olympus series. I was so excited to see Percy and Annabeth back together and was surprised to find myself growing to love the other characters as well. Rick  Riordan does a nice job of trading perspectives in this book.

  1. Love, Hate & Other Filters by Samira Ahmed

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I loved Maya Aziz as the main character. Her dream of filmmaking at NYU runs a lot of parallels with my own goals, so reading her story was something I loved. Maya is a very hopeful character and goes to great lengths to try and please her family and help herself. This book dives into discussions of Islamophobia, which is a topic that is very important and should be discussed more in the YA space. 

  1. Last Sacrifice by Richelle Mead

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Admittedly my rating of Last Sacrifice is not totally objective. I reread this novel over the summer to discuss it with a friend who was reading the series for the first time. Last Sacrifice earns five stars from me mostly because of my attachment to a few characters (specifically, Rose and Adrian), and my obsession with vampire stories in general.

  1. Mansfield Park by Jane Austen

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Jane Austen’s writing style is beautiful. But I don’t feel as much of a connection to the story so heavily endowed with the weight of wealth and gender politics as I do in other Austen novels. I admire this story for giving us Fanny, a more soft spoken female protagonist. 

  1. Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This book owns my heart. Lizzy is fierce and intellectual, and the slow-burn enemies to lovers romance crafted here is enchanting. There is a special feeling to the characters of Lizzy and Mr. Darcy—they feel as if they could live in any time, any place, and still live out this romance. 

  1. Women, Race & Class by Angela Davis

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This is a book I read for school that deserved a thorough independent reread over the summer. Angela Davis offers a poignant analysis of how misogyny, racism, and classism have operated both independently and intersectionality to define experiences of Black women. The retelling and examination of history given by Davis makes this book an essential read.

  1. Midnight Sun by Stephenie Meyer

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Oh, Edward. Never in my life have I encountered so much angst in a single novel. There are moments of this book that felt absurdly comedic, and others that seemed agonizingly misogynistic. I have a sort of love-hate relationship with the Twilight saga, and Midnight Sun did not disappoint in making me frustratingly entertained. 

I know this summer was strange and unprecedented. Believe me, I’ve never felt more out of sorts in my entire life. Social distancing sounds like a reader’s dream, but it can get tiresome. I’ve found books to be a great way to feel connected to the world, even if just for a little while. We might be stuck at home, but stories can truly take us anywhere.

Let me know if you’ve read any of the books on my summer list! Did you read anything good this summer? I’m always looking for more recommendations. 

That’s all I’ve got to say for this post. I hope everyone is staying safe and healthy. 

Happy reading! 

2 thoughts on “Summer 2020 Wrap Up & Ratings”

  1. I’ve read One of Us is Lying by Karen McManus and I thought it was really good. I love stories that change character perspective every chapter and this one delivers that and a solid twist or two. If you’re looking for more McManus, I highly recommend.


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