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Boredom Buster: the Best Summer Books

Summer's here! Blue skies, water parks, and picnics ahead . . . right?

I love everything about summer: mango popsicles, late-night trampoline jumps, and most importantly, no school. But we've all had a case of the Summer Boredom Blues before.

It's easy to think up a list of all the things you're going to do this summer beforehand (reckless road trip! homemade ice cream!). But when your parents are at work and your friends are all busy, we often slip into a YouTube-watching-spiral.

Not to fear; I have the perfect solution! Duh, duh, duh . . . reading!

“Never trust anyone who has not brought a book with them.” ~Lemony Snicket

If there was ever a truth that needed to be universally acknowledged, it's that time flies when you have a good book. I'm witness to the fact that hours can slip away when you get your hands on a copy of Anne of Green Gables or The Five People You Meet in Heaven.

Reading expands worlds, allows you to time-travel, and wins you some pretty sweet stuff when you enter your library's summer reading program! Here's a list of 8 books that need to top your reading list. Summer should be a time for discovery, adventure, and fun, so when you're not jet-setting off to Mexico, find your excitement within these pages!


#1: Broken Hearts, Fences, and Other Things to Mend

What it's about: Gemma is in a total baking craze . . . and it's not because she's applying for cooking school. In fact, she wishes she was in any situation but hers. Her longtime boyfriend Teddy broke up with her in a Target parking lot and apparently baking white chocolate macadamia cookies is Gemma's way of coping with heartbreak. To make it worse, her mom insists that she go spend the summer with her dad at his house in the Hamptons. She'd be totally stoked to see her dad, but Hallie (you know? The girl whose life she purposely ruined when they were nine, which led to Hallie's mom being fired.) lives there. She can only hope that 'forgive and forget' is Hallie's motto. Gemma's terrified, so when Hallie's brother mistakes her for someone named Sophie, it's way too easy to play along, even if it means a mistaken identity.

Why it's perfect: We all need a juicy beach read! Broken Hearts, Fences, and Other Things to Mend isn't short on drama but stays clean and relatable. This novel will sweep you away into Gemma's Hamptons! I guarantee your heart will thump-thump along with Gemma's when she comes face-to-face with Hallie (and her cute older brother) and you'll cringe too when the bathing suit Hallie loaned her disintegrates in the pool. Coincidence? I think not.

Take a hint: Once you've had your fill of this amazing read, pick up some of Gemma's tips to have an awesome vacation. I wouldn't recommend meeting up with your archnemesis, but there are a few Gemma-approved things that'll brighten up your summer:

  • Bang those pots and pans! You don't need to be freshly dumped to whip out the spatula. I recommend White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies. Comforting melty white chocolate combined with bursts of fruity flavor? Yum!

  • Throw a pool party! (No sabotage, though, por favor.) I'm obsessed with Oh Happy Day's Pool Party Balloon Wall and ice cream decor. Check out this book club email I sent out earlier for activities and recipe ideas. Bring on the sunshine!

  • Get a job! I know, I know, it doesn't seem like the best thing to do with your summer, but I promise it's worth it! Getting a job will give you a sense of a purpose, make you more productive, and put some cash in your pocket. Scoop ice cream, mow lawns, or take a page from Hallie's book and do some babysitting. Your wallet will thank you!


#2: Mother-Daughter Book Camp

What it's about: Megan, Cassidy, Becca, Jess, and Emma are off to camp! However, Camp Lovejoy is nothing like they expect. It's as cold and drizzly as can be when they arrive, and Jess's stuck-up, MENSA-approved cousin Felicia showed up too. Not to mention Marge the Barge, the pain-in-the-bumpkin director that seems intent on ruining all their fun. When the friends are split up and faced with the horrors of camp life, they're certain that their summer couldn't be worse. But when they start a camper-counselor book club that involves a few choice pranks on the boys (hint: lots and lots of toilets), their summer takes a turn for the better.

Why it's perfect: This book screams summer! These teens are ready for one last camp fling before college, so they're living it up. Their tales of gooey s'mores, getting lost at sea, gigantic bubble baths, and bug juice might just convince you to sign up for summer camp yourself!

Take a hint:

  • Why not become a camp counselor yourself? If there isn't a job opportunity in your area, create your own camp by inviting the kids of adults you know to participate in a week-long day camp. Make simple crafts like this Q-tip Painted Dragonfly and eat scrumptious treats like these S'more Energy Bites.

  • Go kayaking or canoeing! Experience the kind of outdoor adventure the book club girls loved. Bonus points if you convince your friends to join in the wet water fun and reward everyone with the perfect snickerdoodles.

  • Join a book club! Cassidy, Emma, Jess, Becca, and Megan would never have become pals without their club and are all proud endorsers of the books . . . and in Cassidy's case, the snacks. Follow these steps to start a mother-daughter book club and join this website's book club for complete plans each month. Simply subscribe. No planning necessary, just loads of fun and tasty treats!


#3: The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate

What it's about: Calpurnia Tate's ideas about life don't exactly line up with her mother's, who believes that Callie Vee needs to be a perfect lady, proficient in needlework and cooking. Thankfully, Callie's grandpa has other ideas and is teaching her all about the wonders and complexities of nature. Her mother sets new rules in place to help Callie Vee improve as a "young lady" but when they discover a new species, Callie's more determined than ever to avoid them! With Callie's brothers fighting like cats and dogs over her best friend Lula, dodging her mother's culinary lessons, and one h-u-g-e birthday party, there's one thing for sure: this summer sure won't be dull!

Why it's perfect: Callie Vee is a big promoter of living fully! She'd much rather be scrambling around the yard or wondering if a firefly ever mistook the end of a cigar for one of its own than sewing. She'll definitely inspire you to have a few organic adventures of your own!

Take a hint:

  • Learn about some of nature's finest! I think Callie Vee would spend hours pouring over this Big Book of Bugs and collecting her own crawly creepers.

  • Callie and her brothers would probably go ga-ga over this inflatable game where you try to knock your opponent down! Just don't let the brothers start fighting over Lula.


#4: We Were Liars

What it's about: The Sinclair family is perfect. Wealthy, good-looking, without a scandal to their names. But if there's anything Clarence has learned from spending every summer at Beechwood, it's that there are piles of dirty secrets under the Sinclair's rug. Something happened last summer Cadence can't seem to remember, but every minute she spends with her cousins slowly unearths something new. E. Lockwood masterfully peels off each layer of the plot. Readers will be shocked with every secret and moment Cadence remembers about the fire, the heartbreak, and the ghosts.

Why it's perfect: This is the ultimate poolside read! I wasn't able to put this book down. I'm still in a state of shock over its beautifully written plot.

Take a hint:

  • One of the things Cadence remembers most about the summers is making vats of homemade ice cream. And I don't blame her: what's better than a scoop of custard on a warm summer night? Corral the whole family into churning up some vanilla nostalgia with this ice cream maker.

  • Sip summer in a jar. Cady recounts slipping up to the attic to drink bottled ice tea with Gat, so stock up on a few bottles of your own.


#5: Once and for All

What it's about: Louna's mom and her mom's best friend own a highly successful wedding planning business, so she's been roped into helping manage countless dream celebrations. Witnessing hundreds of couples toast their happily-ever-afters should make Louna a true love activist, but she can't help thinking she's missed her only chance. Ever since Ethan, the boy she loved, was killed in a school shooting, Louna's been certain she won't be able to find love again. Everyone only gets one chance, right? She shouldn't be so sure, especially because Ambrose, the highly cocky, prone to getting in trouble new employee is going to be working right alongside Louna all summer.

Why it's perfect: Sarah Dessen is great at crafting a summer novel: romance, hilarious situations, and adventure, but real consequences. Louna's story will grab onto your heartstrings, hard, but there are enough sidesplitting encounters and cringe-worthy dates you won't be crying at the beach. Hopefully.

Take a hint:

  • Throw a par-tay! You probably won't have a chance to plan a Pinterest-worthy wedding, but there's plenty of other opportunities to show off your skills, either with a beach ball blast or a sprinkle soiree. I love the party planning book Best Party Ever! for complete party plans, recipes, and decor. (Hint, hint: go ahead and subscribe to my mailing list! Our monthly party is all ice cream themed.)

  • Go shopping! This might be a little more up her best friend Jilly's lane than Louna's, but that shouldn't stop you from hitting buy on this buttoned sundress! It's light but modest, has the cutest blue stripe pattern with brown buttons, and most importantly, does not require matching a shirt to a pair of pants. (This is summer, y'all, you're allowed to be lazy.)


#6: The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants

What it's about: It's the first time Lena, Carmen, Tibby, and Bridget, best friends ever since their mothers bonded in a prenatal yoga class, are splitting up for the summer. Beautiful and shy Lena's off to Greece to visit her grandparents. Drama queen Carmen's finally visiting her dad at his house for more than a few days. Athletic and gorgeous Bridget's spending the summer in Mexico at soccer camp. Film lover Tibby is stuck at home, working at a drugstore and making a "suckamentary." They're determined to stay chums even if they're scattered all over, so the Pants are the perfect solution. For some reason, a pair of thrifted jeans fit all of them perfectly: from tall and thin Lena to curvy Carmen. They decide to share the Pants this summer as a way of staying in touch and living to the fullest. But can the Pants save them from every unexpected mishap along the way?

Why it's perfect: The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants is full of girl power! Full of friendship, summer larks, and light romance, this is the ideal series to read with your squad.

Take a hint:

  • Explore what interests you. Whether you're dying to shoot goals like Bridget or create a documentary like Tibby, branch off this summer and try something out.

  • Become healthier! It's hard to concentrate on drinking eight glasses of water a day when you're studying for finals, so now's the time to focus on your self-care. Run on the beach like Bee, whip up a pineapple-coconut smoothie for breakfast, or play tennis with your dad like Carmen!


#7: The Way You Make Me Feel

What it's about: Clara may be as bright as the pink flamingo lights in this picture, but her teachers and dad aren't convinced she's focusing her smarts on the right things. Clara is a massive prankster, whether she's sprinkling sugar on lettuce at the salad bar or campaigning for prom queen with tampons. The last straw is when she wins the prom queen title and has one of her friends dump blood on her like in the movie Carrie, resulting in a nasty fight with her archenemy, Rose. Rose and Clara end up being punished by being forced to work at the KoBra, Clara's dad's food truck, together. When you throw in a cute boy, a food truck competition, and a waterpark accident, one thing's for sure: either Clara and Rose will form an unlikely alliance or there won't just be fake blood at their next fight.

Why it's perfect: Chopping onions and taking orders at the KoBra may not have been how they wanted to spend their summer, but Rose and Clara manage to pull it off.

Take a hint:

  • Start cooking! I 100% guarantee you'll drool over Clara's dad's cooking, so why not test out a few new recipes yourself? I'm obsessed with Beth Branch's cookbook Hello Sugar right now. (Hint: try out her S'mores Skillet Cookie! Best. Thing. Ever.)

  • No one can deny that Rose is driven! She's incredibly accomplished because she works hard. Take a page from her book this summer and read up on your dream school with Seventeen: College Goals: An Insider's Guide.


#8: Let's Get Lost

What it's about: Hudson's trying to figure out what college to go to that will please his Pop, even though he's not sure that's the path for him. Bree's parents died and she had a huge blow-up with her sister, so she's hitch-hiking across the country with no plan in mind. Elliot confessed his love for his best friend, Maribelle, at prom, but nothing's turning out as he thought. Sonia's boyfriend Sam recently died. She's at his sister's wedding and is trying to figure out how to tell Sam's family she's dating someone new . . . Sam's best friend. These four teens have one thing in common: Leila. Leila was just in a car crash where her mom, dad, and sister died, and she can't seem to remember anything from her past. So she's headed north to see the Northern Lights, which she thinks will jog her memory. Leila meets each teen on her road trip and they all discover something new, even if it's not exactly what they expected.

Why it's perfect: Who hasn't thought about just hopping in the car and driving to anywhere? Leila's road trip is exactly what we're talking about, and the transformation story that takes place will give you a serious case of wanderlust.

Take a hint:

  • Go on a family road trip! Okay, I know this one is a little obvious, but major props to you if you can. If not, do the next best thing by watching the movie RV with your family! It's a film about a family that doesn't get along too well who goes on a road trip in a crowded RV and all the quirky people they meet along the way.

  • Isn't Hudson's lake hideout awesome? This summer, find a super-secret hideout with your friends and break out a game of Codenames.


I hope you enjoyed this post! Sharing is caring. Comment down below your summer plans! Ciao.


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