An Alternative Summer Reading List

I don't know about anyone else but unless I'm on holiday basking in the sun by a pool or at the beach, easy read chick lits just don't do it for me. Maybe it's because I'm not in that holiday bubble or enjoying a cheesy girl meets boy storyline isn't enough for me anymore. But whatever the reason alternative quirky reads are much more my bag right now!

When I pick up a new book I still want to be submerged into the storyline but it definitely doesn't need to be a walk in the park (is that the correct saying... I'm not sure!). Instead, I'm happier with a book that tackles current issues or even my own beliefs or things I struggle with. Basically, my literary tastes have changed for the better and I'm finding reading more enjoyable than ever!

So with the hope that another heatwave is just around the corner and I can spend evenings and weekends reading in the garden, I thought I'd share my Summer 2017 reading list. A list of fsix books, consisting of a few non-fluffy reads of which I've already started working my way through and thoroughly enjoying.

All The Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood
£17.17 Amazon

Book Synopsis: As the daughter of a meth dealer, Wavy knows not to trust people, not even her own parents. Struggling to raise her little brother, eight-year-old Wavy is the only responsible "adult" around. She finds peace in the starry Midwestern night sky above the fields behind her house. One night everything changes when she witnesses one of her father's thugs, Kellen, a tattooed ex-con with a heart of gold, wreck his motorcycle. What follows is a powerful and shocking love story between two unlikely people that asks tough questions, reminding us of all the ugly and wonderful things that life has to offer.

My thoughts: A book that challenges how I think is my kind of read and along with being a New York Times bestseller I knew I had to pick this up. Set over more than a decade of Wavy's childhood and adolescent years this was much more than what I thought it would be. The main characters are detailed and the ones that aren't still have their place within the story, a few even get their own chapters to give their own point of view which I actually enjoyed. A morally challenging story in parts but one that's multi-layered and ultimately enjoyable to read. A gritty yet touching novel.

The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas
£3.85 Amazon 

Book Synopsis: Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighbourhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon afterwards, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil's name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr. But what Starr does or does not say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.

My thoughts: Having just started this book I can't say too much about it. But what I can say is that this is an important read and one I hope continues to receive attention. This is YA fiction but I feel this is for both teens and adults as the message of privilege and race is the same and such an important issue. The writing style is brilliantly authentic and not specifically aimed at younger readers so if you've been unsure due to the suggested target audience don't let it put you off. Eager to get my teeth fully into this book now!  

The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck by Sarah Knight
£9.00 Amazon

Book Synopsis: Are you stressed out, overbooked, and underwhelmed by life? Fed up with pleasing everyone else before you please yourself? It's time to stop giving a f*ck.

This brilliant, hilarious, and practical parody of Marie Kondo's bestseller The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up explains how to rid yourself of unwanted obligations, shame, and guilt--and give your f*cks instead to people and things that make you happy.

My thoughts: A book I've so far dipped in and out of and nodded to in agreement. However, I must make this my next read as I think I need a dose of no f*ck giving right now! This is basically as modern as the self-help book gets and something most people could benefit with having in their life! An amusing and liberating read I hope to enjoy more of this summer.  

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
£5.99 Amazon    

Book Synopsis: Eleanor Oliphant leads a simple life. She wears the same clothes to work every day, eats the same meal deal for lunch every day and buys the same two bottles of vodka to drink every weekend. Eleanor Oliphant is happy. Nothing is missing from her carefully timetabled life. Except, sometimes, everything.

One simple act of kindness is about to shatter the walls Eleanor has built around herself. Now she must learn how to navigate the world that everyone else seems to take for granted while searching for the courage to face the dark corners she’s avoided all her life.

My Thoughts: This was a book that popped up on my Amazon recommendations and with the quirky title along with a unique reading plot I had to give it a read. A book without a doubt all the feels, from sadness to warmth and even a few laugh-out-loud moments in-between. This did at points make the book feel like a young adult fiction but with a dark undertone, I think I'd ultimately put it down to being more of an easy read than anything else. I seriously warmed to the main character that was like nothing I'd ever read before which made it a really unique experience for me and ultimately a satisfying read. Dark yet quirky and without a doubt beautiful!

The Wonder by Emma Donoghue
£5.59 Amazon 

Book Synopsis: An English nurse brought to a small Irish village to observe what appears to be a miracle-a girl said to have survived without food for months soon finds herself fighting to save the child's life.

Tourists flock to the cabin of eleven-year-old Anna O'Donnell, who believes herself to be living off manna from heaven, and a journalist is sent to cover the sensation. Lib Wright, a veteran of Florence Nightingale's Crimean campaign, is hired to keep watch over the girl.

My Thoughts: After thoroughly enjoying Room by Emma Donoghue (another highly recommend alternative summer read) I knew I had to read The Wonder. With slow-burning suspense I really got into the storyline, reading it over 5 days, desperately needing to know the fate and truth of Anna. Inspired by 'fasting girls' of the sixteenth century and even modern day I found this an eye-opening read about commitment to religion. My only criticism would be that the story does stall a little in the middle but if you persevere it's definitely worth it! 

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood 
£3.99 Amazon 

Book Synopsis: Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. She may leave the home of the Commander and his wife once a day to walk to food markets whose signs are now pictures instead of words because women are no longer allowed to read. She must lie on her back once a month and pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, because in an age of declining births, Offred and the other Handmaids are valued only if their ovaries are viable. Offred can remember the years before when she lived and made love with her husband, Luke; when she played with and protected her daughter; when she had a job, money of her own, and access to knowledge. But all of that is gone now...

My Thoughts: Having just finished watching the TV adaption and being seriously gripped by it, I can't wait to read the book. I'm imagining this to be a scarily relevant read and just as horrifying as the TV series. 

Further recommendations: The Girls by Emma Cline, Into The Darkest Corner by Elizabeth Haynes, Stolen by Lucy Christopher (YA)

What's your favourite summer book genre? 

Fee xo.  
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