Summer Reads Make Me Feel Fine

[dropcap]Y[/dropcap]esterday was the first day of fall and I actually had to bring a jacket for my early morning walk to the subway. Two weeks ago, I thought sweating through my dresses was going to be a constant in my life because whoa, I did that a lot this summer. (Gross but true.) Needless to say, I’m so looking forward to cozy sweaters, hot lattes, and breaking in a new pair of boots.

Despite the heat, it was a really good – somewhat odd? – summer. My husband obsessed with studying for the bar (as he should have been). I visited a friend in her Gilmore Girls-esque Massachusetts town, got to hang out with M in Texas(!!), and returned to Savannah for a trip with no set alarms and a lot more sweating because, oh right, it was 110 degrees. (Not kidding.) There were some new bars to sample with our trusty beer passport, and, like I had wanted to, gave away/sold/donated at least fifty books that have been cluttering my apartment. I worked out almost every day (thanks to Cassie for keeping me on track!) and cooked with zucchini so much. Lots of fun, sun, spirits, and organizing!

And, of course, reading. I meant to have this post ready for the actual first day of autumn but as you know, the Muppets take precedent in my household. (Did you watch? I really, really enjoyed it and can’t wait for more!) I’m going to share 15 of my top reads from over the summer, but first, a few stats…

From Memorial Day (May 26) until the last full day of summer (September 22), I read 59 books. (Eee!)

  • 14 of 59 were books I owned or were gifted
  • 8 of 59 were borrowed from the library
  • 12 of 59 were published before 2014.
  • 12 of 59 were romance novels.
  • I only bought 4 physical books the entire summer. (Three of these were in the last week.)

The super-special winners:

15 SUMMER READS

Contemporary fiction:

Stay by Allie Larkin: dogs, cute old man, LOLs
Maybe in Another Life by Tara Jenkins Reid: two roads, two men, solid best friend
Night Blindness by Susan Strecker: dads & daughters, childhood, secrets
Come Away With Me by Karma Brown: travel, marriage, strife

Young adult:

Dumplin‘ by Julie Murphy: Dolly Parton, pageants, best friends
Cut Both Ways by Carrie Mesrobian: bisexuality, fathers & sons, independence
Feeling Sorry for Celia by Jaclyn Morarity: letters, new friendship, laughs
A Million Miles Away by Lara Avery: grief, sisters, pretending
The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler: magic, little brothers, seaside town
What You Left Behind by Jessica Verdi: single dad, supportive mom, sacrifice
Noggin by John Corey Whaley: science, time, a bit wacky
Hello Goodbye and Everything In Between by Jennifer E. Smith: college, decisions, tissues
Emmy and Oliver by Robin Benway: reunions, surfing, friendship
The Last Leaves Falling by Sarah Benwell: Japan, ALS, online friends

New adult:

Second Position by Katherine Locke: second chances, dance, secrets

Bonus (A MIDDLE GRADE):

Rules for Stealing Stars by Corey Ann Haydu: sisters, darkness, light

♥

Ah! What a great summer it was. Hope you not only read some awesome books this summer but you made the most of your weekends and vacations days with friends, family, and new adventures.

Here’s to a fabulous fall (with lots of pumpkins and fun socks)!

Psst. Did I miss out on any special reads? Be sure to let me know below.

Estelle: Perfectly Good White Boy by Carrie Mesrobian

Perfectly Good White Boy by Carrie MesrobianPerfectly Good White Boy by Carrie Mesrobian ( web | tweet )
Publication Date: October 1, 2014
Publisher: Carolrhoda Lab
Pages: 304
Target audience: Young adult
Keywords: Friendship, post-high school decisions, family life
Format read: ARC from Publisher via NetGalley. (Thanks!)

Summary: After an intense summer romance, Sean is starting his senior year of high school single. He works at a thrift shop, reluctantly helps his future sister-in-law with wedding tasks, and sets his sights on joining the Marine Corps. Sean secretly gets the ball rolling, never thinking he has any reason to stay in town post-graduation.

After purchasing Carrie Mesrobian’s Sex & Violence back in February, I never imagined that Perfectly Good White Boy would be my first time officially reading her. (Though, I’m hoping by the time this review publishes I will have read my copy of her debut book.) But I’m glad this title finally got my butt into gear. For once, high expectations did not ruin my reading experience. Perfectly Good White Boy was that good.

Sean is a senior in high school, recently moved into a rental with his mom. His dad is off to rehab. His older brother is engaged to a bubbly girl and they are in the midst of planning their wedding. (The DIY projects peppered throughout the story made me smile.) Over the summer, Sean fell into an unexpected romance with Hallie, a older girl he knows from school who is off to college. I appreciated how Mesrobian crafted Sean’s character. He was a pretty normal teen who was dealing with the aftermath of his family torn apart, he was very open with himself about his sexual urges, and he was also incredibly sensitive. So it’s heartbreaking to him, after being attached to Hallie’s hip, that she decides she wants to start college single.

So Sean is without Hallie (but still missing her), hanging out at home, and also working his part-time job at a thrift shop. I worked so much retail in high school, and I loved how his job was such a big part of his social life. He liked people he worked with, while he disliked others. They all had their quirks, too. In another surprising turn of events, Sean finds himself getting into a friendship with Neecie. It happens by accident but she begins to confide in him about the guy she is sort of seeing. He starts to open up to her in a way he hasn’t with others, and they suddenly have this awesome friendship. Can it be more? Sean isn’t so sure.

Especially because Sean is determined to go into the Marine Corps once he graduates. He doesn’t tell his mother, or call a family meeting. He enrolls, not even wanting to see what happens with his senior year. I was back and forth through the whole book wondering if Sean would go through with it, and, of course, curious about the reaction of his family when they finally found out. I know I had to work through my own acceptance of Sean’s future so I could only imagine what people closest to him were feeling. But, sometimes, we have to make decisions just for us. We just have to.

Perfectly Good White Boy was like this snapshot of Sean’s life before it changed even more than it had already. None of his feelings or the things that happen to him and his friends aren’t necessarily groundbreaking but the fact that they are expressed so authentically on the page made all the difference. From depression to disappointment to the expectations of sex and beyond. I laughed, I teared up, and I wondered what would happen in a year’s time to these characters and their relationships. They all felt like people I knew, and that made the book even more effective for me.

All in all, a super refreshing voice in young adult combined with so many discussion-worthy elements? A winner, for sure.

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A Rare Mid-Week Shelve It (Plus Giveaway!)

weekly feature to share the books magan and estelle are adding to their bookshelves each week

I’m sorry to tell you that it’s not Sunday. But yesterday I was all dressed up and not post-gym gross for once so I decided to clean off my “kitchen” table (it’s in the living room, if I’m honest) and share with you what I’ve been buying lately: the results of my book buying ban, some great mail thanks to some awesome people, and a few stragglers I picked up today!

Plus I talk about my problems with reading hardcovers over eBooks during the week. I’ll be curious to hear you guys handle this VERYSERIOUS problem. 🙂

Hope you enjoy this week’s Shelve It! (I just read this is our 60th video on YouTube… how is that possible?!)

Bought:

Sex and Violence by Carrie Mesrobian (B&N coupon)
All the Truth That’s In Me by Julie Berry (B&N coupon)
Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt (gift card)
Fixing Delilah by Sarah Ockler (gift card)
The Winner’s Curse
by Marie Rutkoski (pre-ordered)
You Are Here by Jennifer E. Smith (used copy)
Out of Easy by Ruta Sepetys
Anatomy of a Single Girl by Daria Snadowsky

I also bought a copy of Love Me at the Rachel Shukert book signing. How did I forget to mention this?!

In the mail:

Kiss Kill Vanish by Jessica Martinez (Thanks Jessica!) — out October 7th!
Nantucket Red by Leila Howland (Thanks Jamie!) — out May 13th!

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Don’t forget we still have copies of Starstuck and Love Me available for you to win rolled over from our Hollywood Week! I’ll be picking a winner on Sunday!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

You don’t want to miss these great stories!

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Let me know what you are reading + buying lately! (Did any of you give up shopping for Lent?)

Thanks so so much for stopping in today! <3

Top Ten Books We Wouldn’t Mind Santa Bringing Us

Happy Almost-Christmas, friends! Today we’re participating in The Broke and the Bookish’s Top Ten Tuesday feature by sharing TEN books we wouldn’t mind Santa bringing us. (*hint, hint* *wink, wink*, husbands!) Do you have books on your wish lists this year? Let us know what they are and which of ours you’re hoping for, too!

Top Ten Gifts We Hope to Get for Christmas

Top image from Botanical Paperworks — Check out the site for beautiful ideas and cute printable gift tags!

Estelle’s Picks – all of E’s picks have received seals of approval by other bloggers!

Magan’s Picks — all of M’s picks are books she can’t believe she hasn’t read yet (eep!)

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Tell us what books you hope are under YOUR tree this year!