One of my favorite things to do is share book recommendations! In fact, when we decided that this week would be summer reading recs, I was super-excited. But when I sat down to write the post, I froze. How do I even begin to narrow down this list? THERE ARE SO MANY AWESOME BOOKS TO READ. But here are a few of my recent favorites. (And note, I’m not including THE COINCIDENCE OF COCONUT CAKE or COME AWAY WITH ME here, since I’ll be singing their praises shortly — but know that they are at the top of my READ THIS NOW list.)
THE WRATH AND THE DAWN, by Renee Ahdieh
Can’t get away? This amazing debut fantasy will offer the perfect escape. A Thousand And One Nights spin, it follows strong-willed and revenge-bent Shazi into the arms of death — quite literally — as she becomes the latest bride of Khalid, the Caliph of Khorasan, a murderous prince. As the old story goes, she traps him a web of tales, and despite himself, he falls. The problem? So does she.
THE LAST LEAVES FALLING, by Sarah Benwell
Moody, melodic, and utterly captivating, Benwell’s debut follows Abe Sora, a Japanese boy afflicted with ALS, as he looks for faith and friendship as he faces his own mortality at the young age of 17. A smart, conflicted protagonist, Abe’s story will leave you sobbing, but it’s a cathartic, uplifting story at one boy’s decision to live life — and to die — on his own terms.
UNDER A PAINTED SKY, by Stacey Lee
Forget Thelma and Louise, Sam and Andy are the real deal. It’s 1849, and Samantha is in deep trouble. She’s just killed a man in a courageous act of self-defense, and goes on the run with escaped slave Annamae by her side. The pair disguise themselves as men and head across the country to California gold country, fighting for their lives—and each other. Adventure, survival, romance, and, above all, friendship are at the heart of this gorgeous work of YA historical fiction.
I AM PRINCESS X, by Cherie Priest
Best friends May and Libby shared everything — including Princess X, a sword-wielding, dragon-slaying heiress they invented together. But when tragedy struck, May lost Libby — and Princess X with her. Three years later, May discovers an entire fandom dedicated to Princess, but the story has shifted, and things don’t quite add up. Could it be a clue? Fun, fast-paced and vividly drawn, this is a tale of friendship and loss, of kicking butt and slaying dragons, real and imagined.