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As a bookworm, the arrival of summer means of one of two things: no school, and more time to read. Leaping into the pages of various novels, poems, and short stories allows us to explore different worlds and fantasies without any distractions. Considering summer is slowly approaching, I’ve taken the time to pick and choose between some “summer aesthetic” novels you might enjoy reading during the upcoming flaming Arizona summer, to help you forget about the searing desert sun and get lost in the literary world.
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen is a timeless classic, delving into the life of a young woman, Elizabeth Bennet, during the Regency Era as she struggles to overcome her prejudice and pride against a snobby, socially-awkward Mr. Darcy, who has fallen in love with her, despite his outward rude behavior (to quote him himself, “I certainly have not the talent which some people possess, of conversing easily with those I have never seen before”). The novel, written in Austen’s acclaimed ironic tone, follows the Bennet sisters as they navigate their love lives and contend with Georgian society and social classes, while facing foolish characters such as Mrs. Bennet and Mr. Collins. Known as one of the most distinguished and eminent romance novels, Pride and Prejudice sets the stage for many other books and stories and most famously created the trope of “enemies-to-lovers” popular. Warning: you may fall in love with Mr. Darcy or you’ll realize you are Mr. Darcy.
Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo is the first novel in the Shadow and Bone trilogy, followed by The Six of Crows duology and The King of Scars duology. The fantasy adventure series follows a young girl, Alina Starkov, as she discovers she has magical abilities- and is, apparently, the savior of their kingdom and country. Inspired by Imperial Russia, the novel follows Alina as she prepares herself with the Grisha, soldiers with similar magical powers, to destroy the evil entity called the Shadow Fold, while also being charmed with the mysterious general, the Darkling. The series was recently turned into a Netflix show, starring Jessie Mei Li as Alina Starkov.
The Summer I Turned Pretty, written by Jenny Han (who wrote the popular To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before trilogy), is the first of three novels following protagonist Belly, who spends her summers on Cousins Beach with her mother’s best friend’s sons, Jeremiah and Conrad. Just like her Lara Jean trilogy (To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, P.S. I Still Love You, and Always and Forever, Lara Jean), Han’s newest novels feature her most famous trope: love triangles.
The Percy Jackson Universe by Rick Riordan is just as famous as Harry Potter’s Wizarding World, featuring magic, evil antagonists, and action-filled battles. While Harry Potter focuses on wizards and witches, Percy Jackson’s world incorporates Greek and Roman mythology into the 21st century. Percy, a son of Poseidon, is taken away to Camp Half Blood, the demigod summer camp where he learns how to fight off monsters with the leadership of the centaur Chiron, and forges friendships with the satyr Grover and Annabeth, daughter of Athena. The first five Percy Jackson novels (referred to as Percy Jackson and the Olympians) feature Percy on various quests as he discovers its up to him to defeat the evil Titans. The next five novels, called the Heroes of Olympus, star Percy and the Greek demigods as they learn that there are more demigods- children of the Roman gods- and that they must defeat Gaea, the Mother Earth, as she tries to awaken for the first time in eons and destroy civilization. The final five books, named the Trials of Apollo, put the reader in the shoes of the god of music, Apollo, as he suffers a horrible punishment: Zeus has turned him into a human. Apollo struggles to adopt to normal, mortal life as he befriends Meg, a feisty daughter of Demeter, and learns that he has to stop some of the most sinister Roman emperors from coming back.
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares stars four best friends, Lena, Tibby, Bridget, and Carmen, as they discover a pair of jeans that somehow, magically, fit them all, despite their varying sizes. As they embark on their summer vacations, all four of them separated, they mail the Traveling Pants back and forth to each other, forming their sisterhood. Lena spends the summer in Greece with her grandparents and falls in love with a young man, while Libby spends her summer working and befriends a 12-year-old with leukemia. Carmen goes to South Carolina to see her father, who she hasn’t seen since her parents divorced, and learns that he is engaged; in Baja California, Bridget tries to seduce one of her soccer coaches at the camp. The series was turned into two movies, starring Blake Lively, Alexis Bledel, America Ferrera, and Amber Tamblyn as the four close-knit friends.
I hope you’ve enjoyed all of our book recommendations, Knights. Have a fantastic summer!