Summer reading is in full swing here. The kids are all doing the summer reading program through the library, and it is a million degrees outside, so we have stepped up our reading in general. Sammy and Ali are really in to sitting and looking at books right now, so we all sit and read. This has been great because it means I get to read too! I have been taking advantage. This month I have a faith-based book that reminds me to keep working towards my goals, a book about a woman who must overcome her fears to live a normal life, a fun retelling of a childhood classic, and a more dramatic book with a murder mystery.
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The Pattern Artist by Nancy Moser was a sweet read. It takes place in 1911 and focuses on a girl named Annie. She starts out as a maid for a wealthy English family as they visit America. While there she meets new friends and leaves her position without a concrete plan of what she is doing, just the hope that she can do more. It’s a straightforward book. She learns that if you work hard and treat others right you will go far. Along the way she also starts her relationship with God. I admit it isn’t a groundbreaking work or anything, but I find books like this comforting. They are a good thing to read if you are struggling in life and want to remember that if you are following your morals you will succeed. Maybe not the way you thought you would, but you can’t do wrong by doing right. The details on early 1900s department stores and how dress making patterns were sold were pretty interesting too.
Close Enough to Touch by Colleen Oakley is about a woman who can’t be touched. For real. Jubilee is allergic to the skin to skin contact of other humans. She managed her condition until a couple of other kids were jerks to her in high school. They bet a boy to kiss her, which in fact almost killed her. After that Jubilee just never left her house. Her mom remarried and left, but continued to send Jubilee money. Sadly after nine years of being a recluse her mom dies, and Jubilee is forced to get a job and actually interact with other people. She manages, despite it being hard. She ends up working in a library, which is kind of a dream job of mine. You can bet she meets a guy. The guy is interesting. He is divorced and his daughter lives with his ex-wife. But he lives with his adopted son, who was the son of his best friend who died and also has some social challenges. Not your typical arrangement. This story is all about fighting your way out of your comfort zone. It can be scary to face the world and all the unknowns in it. But nothing ventured nothing gained, right? At the end of the day our relationships with other people drive and fulfill us more than anything else.
Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige is the first in a series of young adult books that also includes some prequel novellas I sadly haven’t read yet. I did plow through the first three of the four in just a few weeks though. These books were so fun. It is what it sounds like- Dorothy Gale from the Wizard of Oz needs to die. Basically she went back to Oz, kind of took over, and is a bit of a crazy tyrant. Amy Gumm is another girl from Kansas who ends up in Oz and is recruited to get rid of the Dorothy problem. The Lion, the Tin Man, and the Scarecrow are all there, and twisted by power. The imagery in these books really lets you see what can happen when power corrupts. There is an underlying message of having to decide what is good and what is wicked, and that things are not always what they seem. I did get a little annoyed by all the ‘secrets’ Amy’s comrades kept from her all the time with the excuse that she didn’t need to know. They did ask something really big of her with very little information. But overall these were super fun to read and I am for sure going to get the fourth book that just came out recently.
Everything You Want Me to Be by Mindy Mejia was an interesting one. The main focus is on the death of a high school senior, Hattie. The story is told from the different points of view of Hattie herself, the detective in charge of her case, and her English teacher. He has an interesting story. This teacher moved to the small town where this book takes place because his wife’s mother was ill. He is not really happy with being there. Due in part to this unhappiness, he begins an illicit online affair. You can probably guess who it is with. Hattie is an interesting character. She plays the part she thinks everyone around her wants her to fill- the great daughter, a good friend, a wonderful student. Hattie is a great actress, but the problem is she knows this. She has dreams and finds an inappropriate love. I think her downfall is that she thinks she can control people and life simply by acting the right part. This gets her in to trouble. There were some turns in this book, and the ending wasn’t what I thought it would be. This is a good read to hold your interest this summer.
These books were good for fun summer reading. They kept my interest and made me want to turn the page. But they also weren’t too heavy. I think they would be a great vacation read because you won’t get bored by too much fluff, but it won’t leave you weighed down by something deeper while you are trying to relax and have fun.
Have you read any of these? What are your thoughts? Any recommendations for new things to read?