12 Best Books to Read This Summer

Becca Cornell
May 4, 2021

Whether you’ve always been a big reader or you’re trying to become one, a love of reading is one of the best gifts you can offer yourself. Reading is a great way to educate yourself and become a life-long learner even after you graduate from college. Reading over the summer offers another great benefit: it can help you become a stronger reader for your classes as well. While you might not be excited to dive into a textbook this summer, there are some great page-turners out there that can educate and open your mind as well. Below are some of our favorite reads for this summer. Some of them are lighthearted, some of them are meant to challenge the way you think, and some of them will take you back to your childhood. Right now, we think we could benefit from all of that!

1. We Set the Dark on Fire

This book has adventure, love, and a fierce desire to make one's parents proud. It also holds rebellion, a wall, classism, and prejudice. The book creates a world based on a long-ago myth about the island on which the characters live. Every man of means marries two women: one to support his career and one to support his family life. Girls who wish to be married into good families go to a girl's school where they’re taught how to do their "jobs" within their married families. Dani finds she’s to be married to one of the most powerful families in the nation. While this is what she's worked for, it also brings Dani a new set of problems. She’s soon under more scrutiny than ever before ... and her history isn’t what it seems. While her school and friends have always known her to come from a poor family from the outer ring of the island, they don’t know that she’s from even farther out than they believe — she’s from outside "the wall." While her parents brought her to this place so young that inside the wall is all she knows, this won’t change anyone’s mind about her should they know her secret. As Dani prepares to move to a position higher within the inner ring of the nation than she could have ever dreamed, she’s faced with protecting her secret, spying for a growing rebellion, and the fact that she will share her new husband with her arch-nemesis from school. If you like the way The Handmaid’s Tale makes you question the similarities you see between the book and your own society, you’ll love this novel. We guarantee you won’t be able to put it down this summer until you’ve devoured it cover to cover.  

[maxbutton id="2" url="https://amzn.to/2CbRsD8" text="$10.39 on Amazon" ]


2. The Girl on The Train

This thriller is the perfect way to get your brain working this summer and staying sharp for school! The mystery is told from the point of view of a recently divorced woman who struggles with alcoholism. She rides the train into the city every day and passes the house where she once lived with her ex-husband. He now lives in their old house with the woman he cheated on her with and his child. Our main character becomes entangled in a suspenseful plot when a young woman from that very same neighborhood disappears. The ensuing twists and turns drive her to overcome her past woes and substance abuse. This book is a wild ride with an ending that very few will guess!  

[maxbutton id="2" url="https://amzn.to/2ADrxUi" text="$7.48 on Amazon" ]


3. The Perfect Girlfriend

This is another thriller, but instead of following a main character who is trying to solve the mystery, you see the novel through the point of view of the person creating the mystery. This novel will play tricks with your head and heart as you struggle between identifying with the narrator or the subject of her obsession.  

[maxbutton id="2" url="https://amzn.to/3faKjBo" text="$5.10 on Amazon" ]

4. The Wife Between Us

What happens when a jealous wife is replaced with the "perfect" woman? On the surface, this is a story you may think you've heard before. A nice and well-off man marries young to a wild, reckless, and ungrateful first wife. After trying to make it work for years, they finally divorce. He finds himself the "perfect young wife," seemingly built from every man’s dream, but the crazy ex-wife continues to get in the way. We promise, this story is unlike any you’ve read before. Just when you think you have it figured out, it’ll surprise you. If you’re looking for a wild ride this summer, this will be the perfect read for you.  

[maxbutton id="2" url="https://amzn.to/38AdsUh" text="$8.49 on Amazon" ]


5. An Anonymous Girl

Written by the same co-authors as The Wife Between Us, this book has similar twists and turns. It follows the journey of a young makeup artist, a successful psychology professor, and her less-than-faithful husband. If you couldn’t put down The Wife Between Us, expect to love this book as well.  

[maxbutton id="2" url="https://amzn.to/2OhFAlT" text="$10.59 on Amazon" ]


6. Fix Her Up

While the last few books will get your brain thinking during your time away from college, Fix Her Up will leave you ready for a summer fling. It will make you laugh and it will make your heart fly. The love story is based around the idea that a young woman needs to earn the respect of her family. As the youngest of the family, she finds this hard to do. She decides to take up a fake relationship with the family's long-time friend (and her older brother’s best friend), whom the family holds in extremely high regard. While this works for a time, a wrench is thrown in her plan when the crush she used to have in high school for the older boy flairs up once again.  

[maxbutton id="2" url="https://amzn.to/31WekRW" text="$10.88 on Amazon" ]


7. The Hunger Games

This may be an older series now, but reading or rereading it this summer — given the current climate — may just give you the chills. In addition, you’ll be able to watch the movies as you finish the books. This could be a great way to get friends from college to connect while still living far apart!  

[maxbutton id="2" url="https://amzn.to/3e9QvrW" text="$25.65 on Amazon" ]


8. Harry Potter (any/all of them)

If you’re feeling some nostalgia in your old room, with its dated posters and twin-size bed, rereading the Harry Potter books might be the perfect way to spend your summer free time. They’ll transport you back to the first time you read or watched the movie and you won’t have to worry about needing to find a new book to read for the whole summer!  

[maxbutton id="2" url="https://amzn.to/3iI3Uv9" text="$86.48 on Amazon" ]


9. My Not So Perfect Life

  This novel will hit home for many students home from college. It's about a girl living in the city, working towards her dream, and being paid little for it, who loses everything and is forced to move home. Not wanting to disappoint the father she loves so much, she lies about why she’s home and instead begins to help with her father and stepmother’s new business venture: a family retreat. She slowly learns that the life in the city she thought she wanted oh so badly isn’t exactly what it seems. This coming-of-age story is perfect for college students, those about to enter college and those who have just graduated!  

[maxbutton id="2" url="https://amzn.to/2CjzHBy" text="$13.55 on Amazon" ]


10. 99 Percent Mine

A tough-girl photographer and her twin brother’s best friend — what could go wrong? When the renovation of an old family heirloom in the form of her grandmother’s old cottage brings them back together for the first time in 18 years, Darcy is determined that this time she’ll make Tom hers. This steamy romance will make your heart flutter. It's the perfect pool-read, although maybe not while you're lounging next to the family.  

[maxbutton id="2" url="https://amzn.to/3ecnw6W" text="$9 on Amazon" ]


11. The Bluest Eye

Finding ways to make a difference while in school can be difficult. What isn’t difficult is educating yourself through a mesmerizing story. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison is a great novel that calls racism, sexism, and classism into question in a haunting way. If you’re looking to broaden your horizons this summer, this novel may be the perfect read for you.  

[maxbutton id="2" url="https://amzn.to/2AETrzp" text="$13.45 on Amazon" ]


12. Pride and Prejudice

If you’re a bit more classical and a bit less steam, pick up this beloved romance. In a world where love is less about love and more about your standing in society and the money your family has, one young woman is determined to settle for nothing less than finding real love. The kind of love that offers respect, friendship, and challenges you to become a better person. While the dialect can be a bit to get used to, this love story is well worth the work.  

[maxbutton id="2" url="https://amzn.to/2Ca6ol3" text="$9.99 on Amazon" ]

  Whether you’re looking for a little mystery, smile, or love this summer, these books will be sure to keep you engaged until school starts this fall!