Summer Reading Roundup

Summer reading list!
I am so excited because next month I get to go to Tulum, Mexico with our bar partners—wahoo! Anytime I have a beach or, as I like to think of it, hang-out-and-do-nothing trip coming up, I spend a little time picking out a book (or two) to read while on the trip. I love reading and I think it's even better when done on a beach. :) 

I thought it might be fun to share some books that are on my list this summer. I'm having a hard time deciding what I want to read next, but these are my top choices. For this roundup, we are working with Oyster, an app that allows you to read unlimited books on any of your devices for $9.95/mo.—kind of like the Netflix of books.

My top nine picks: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9

If you've already read any of these, feel free to let me know what you thought! You just might sway my decision on what to read on vacation next month. 🙂 Thank you in advance and happy Saturday! xo. Emma 

P.S. Oyster is exclusively offering 3 months for only $0.99 this summer using this link! Not bad, right? It's a great way to read, and they offer over a million titles. 

  • I have read 1 and 6. 1 more recently and 6 was when i was in junior high – around 18 years ago! Both are great.

  • A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius is one of my all time favorites. You’ll experience every emotion you have reading it. Enjoy!!

  • I loved American Gods, it’s a great blend of myth and magic with the real world. Neil Gaiman is one of my all time favorite authors.

  • I read Looking for Alaska years ago and it was Great! I believe they are making a movie out of this one, too. John Green is an amazing writer!

  • Holy moly American gods is my favorite. I love the way Neil Gaiman finds odd little things and places in the real world and fills them with magic. This is the great American road trip and mythology all mashed together in one of my favorite books to give to everyone I meet ever.

    Additionally, Grimms fairy tales are something everyone should read in their lifetime. They’re great when you don’t know how much time you may have to read, since the stories are short and you can pick away at it!

  • Some of these are on my list as well! Perks of Being a Wallflower is a great book that I feel like everyone should read at sometime in their life. You have great tastes in books Emma! 🙂

  • I’ve read She’s Come Undone, and in fact, just mentioned it in a comment over at Writer’s Unboxed. It’s a really good book. The voice is so spot on, I kept having to flip the book shut and read the man’s name on the cover, just to prove it wasn’t really a women narrating. Have a great trip!

  • I have read both The Perks Of Being A Wallflower and Looking For Alaska, I didn’t enjoy perks as much as I thought I would regardless of all the hype, I actually eventually preferred the movie which is a rarity for me! Alaska is such a good book though, easily my favorite John Green book!:) x


  • She’s come undone is in my all time top ten reads.
    I’m a huge Wally Lamb fan.
    Jacci x

  • ugh don’t even get me started on Looking for Alaska…so good. Im such a sucker for YA books but seriously this one has so much depth and thought provoking themes (and it is funny) through out that it just sticks with you. Even now a few years after reading about it I STILL think about it from time to time. There is something major that happens in the book so it is broken up into two parts…Before and After which I thought was a interesting way to break it down, it definitely kept me reading. This is one of those that Ive read a few times and the poor book is in used condition for sure because Ive leant it to other people to read as well So basically…pick this one, pick this one!

    P.S. I read Denton Little based off of your recommendation….so funny! So thank you 🙂

  • American Gods is fantastic but takes a lot of concentration – not really a beach read!

    I loved Looking for Alaska (although I know I would have idolised Alaska if I had read it as a teenager…) and The Perks of Being a Wallflower (ditto whatever the main girl in that was called).

  • I’ve read most of these, and, of all of them, Perks of Being a Wallflower and Salvage the Bones were my favorites, although neither of them are necessarily relaxing beach reads, to be honest!

  • A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius is a phenomenal book! So, so good.

  • Although I seldom read fiction, “She’s Come Undone”, followed by “A Heartbreaking Work…” would be my choices. On my own nightstand are, “The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up”, which advises you to “Keep only those things that give you joy.” Also “The Big House: a century in the life of an American Summer House.” A National Book Award finalist. On order is the 2007 edition of the 1932 Newberry winner, “Young Fu of the Upper Yangtze”, with essays by Pearl S Buck and another Chinese authority. How did you choose Oyster over the similarly priced Kindle subscription? [email protected]

  • I have read both Finding Alaska and The Perks of Being a Wallflower…both of which I thought were really easy reads, but good books! I think everyone should read these books with interesting perspectives on life. 🙂

  • I never got into American Gods, but Salvage the Bones is really, really special. Such an incredible narrator, beautiful writing. A true American novel.

  • She’s Come Undone is like nothing I’ve ever read. Like a previous commenter mentioned, you won’t be able to believe it’s been written by a man. It’s a wild and crazy story that will keep you enthralled. I’ve read all of Lamb’s books and this as well as I Know This Much is True, are his very best.

  • I really enjoyed the Emperor of All Maladies. The author did a great job of taking a large, complicated disease and telling its story in a way that was fascinating and understandable. I still talk about it several years after reading it.

  • Looking For Alaska is my favorite book! Keep in mind it is a YA book though. But I hope you will post your thoughts on all these when you finish!

  • ive read both
    looking for alaska: ( **SPOILERS**

    and perks of being a wallflower: ( **SPOILERS**

    so i can only speak for those two but if i had to choose between them, id say Alaska mostly cause it has humor. so does wallflower but i dont remember being to fond of that book to want to read it again. the movie was better i think (i saw the movie before the book and my theory is a movie is almost always better, in my case, if you watch it first before reading the book)

    but ya know what!, go with Neil cause i read Coraline ( and i LOVED IT!!!!
    so theres your confusing advice from me! (:

    but if its still open for suggestion, read all the bright places!!!! it gave me all of the feels!!!!
    or….the house of memories by monica mcinerney!
    or her fearful symmetry but audrey niffenegger.
    and ooone more but i have that one at home and i never blogged about it!

    okay shutting up now!this is a serious life question! so i just wanted to give you options! 🙂

    enjoy your trip!

  • I listened to American Gods audiobook after I heard there was going to be a show made from it on HBO (I think?) I really enjoyed it! I’ve read a few others on this list but not all! Will be adding some to my reading list 🙂

    – Kaitlyn |

  • The emperor of all maladies is good but I’m still getting through it as it is like a million pages long! May not be ideal vacation reading.

  • American Gods is WONDERFUL. I’ve read it twice, and am currently listening to the award-winning audiobook version. But… The Oyster version doesn’t look like the 10th anniversary addition. The anniversary re-release is the unabridged, author’s edit and has a LOT more content. I would check with your local library to see if they have it. Don’t forget, they have FREE ebooks you can check out with your library card!

  • I grew up with Grimm’s fairytales.. original German version. You may think you know the classics such as snow white, sleeping beauty, etc. (or at least what Disney made of them) but in most of the original versions there’s a bloody/cruel spin on it. So beware of that. But nevertheless I believe one should read it at least once in life and as someone mentioned earlier they are good for in between reading as they all aren’t very long.
    Personally, I believe they would be more suitable for Fall/Winter reading, curled up with a nice cup of hot beverage. Another idea would be to read them with your niece, since a kid’s perspective could be really interesting (that is if she won’t mind the bloodiness 😉 )
    Also I’d like to thank you for posting this because it’s given me some inspiration of what to add to my already neverending reading list.
    Have fun on your trip and happy reading!

  • eads up, Salvage the Bones has A TON of graphic dog fighting scenes. I read it in one of my graduate courses. I really didn’t enjoy it and neither did my colleagues.
    Heartbreaking is good, read it in highschool. Same with Perks. YA isn’t my favorite anymore but I remember enjoying them when I was 15.
    Happy reading! PS, if you ever are looking for good books look at PhD qualifying exam lists in English. They break it up in sections like novels, theory, poetry, etc.

  • I was about to say the same thing! I agree with all of the above. 🙂

  • I’ve only read Looking for Alaska, but such a great book list! I miss your monthly book club so much! Have a great vacation! Happy Saturday!

  • Personally I would not bother with The Perks of Being a Wallflower. It was boring, sad, and did not live up to the hype at all! Not a book you think about later. Just read “The Martian” by Andy Weir and it definitely stays on your mind!! So good.

  • “Salvage the Bones” was a chilling book! I loved it. Just curious, how did you stumble upon it? I had to read it for a course at my university in Louisiana, so glad you liked it 🙂

  • A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius is amazing. One of my favorite books of all time. I hope you enjoy it!

  • i wanted so badly to read book #1 but i just couldn’t get through it. i loved #6 in high school. my go-to summertime book is White Oleander, even though i think it’s targeted to a younger audience i can read it over and over again. i recently read The Art Forger by Barbara Shapiro and The Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter and just loved them both. also, THANK YOU for the tip on Oyster! been wanting to try it out for awhile, so this is a great opportunity. i just signed up!

  • I’m going to be in Tulum next month too! I’m turning 30 and wanted to do something memorable, and any tropical location with Mayan ruins overlooking the ocean seems like a place I want to be:-) I hope you guys have fun, and if I happen to see you I will probably fan girl you, apologies in advance!

  • I just picked up a gorgeous edition of Grimm’s Fairy Tales last week, I love fairy tales and Disney and finally decided to read the originals. I was surprised how many of them there are that are lesser known, and how short they all are!! The only one I’ve read from your list is The Perks of Being A Wallflower (, I did enjoy it, and think it’s worth reading at least once in your lifetime. R x

  • Looking for Alaska is easily my favorite John Green book. I had the honor of giving it away for World Book Night a few years ago. It’s terrific! I wasn’t a huge fan of She’s Come Undone, but I know a lot of people love it.

  • The only one I have read is Looking for Alaska which I love! It’s probably one of my favorite books ever. Quick warning it is definitely a real tear jerker, especially at the end.

  • You’re going to just love She’s Come Undone. I’m soo excited for you to read it!!
    I read it back in Grade 12 for an English assignment and in the past 12 years or so have re-read it no less than 6 times (once every two years or so… lol). It’s so beautifully written and once you’re through, you’ll have difficulty reminding yourself that Wally Lamb is a MALE author writing on behalf of a female character…it’s just sooo good. Another great novel of his, I Know This Much Is True, is also a brilliant story.

    If you’re a fan of John Irving (huge fan, right here)and those hard, gritty, sometimes ugly, albeit utterly beautiful stories about being real, and being human, than you’re golden!
    Enjoy!! *maybe have some tissues nearby*

  • A Heartbreaking Work Of Staggering Genius is one of my all time favorites! I always recommend it to people who are looking for suggestions for new reading materials.

  • I haven’t read any of these, but I have read “Paper Towns” by the author of number 9, John Green. I absolutely loved that one so I would love to see how “Looking for Alaska” stacks up!

  • Salvage the Bones – great book, but there are better times to read it than on vacation 🙂

  • American gods and looking for Alaska are both amazing. You’ll fly right through looking for Alaska so bring a back up! 🙂

  • She’s Come Undone is my favorite book, I’ve read it probably ten times since high school. American Gods is great too, I’ve been wanting to reread it recently, but She’s Come Undone will probably always be my favorite. My first copy of it was held together with duct tape, it tore in half after the third or fourth read.

  • idag fyller jag 25 år! Skulle bli väldigt glad om jag kunde fått ett grattis på mitt senaste blogginlägg. Plus har jag lagt upp väldigt fina och vackra bilder Smiley smile

  • ‘A Heartbreaking work of staggering genius’ is one of my favourite books! I’ve reread it a bazillion times too – it’s THAT good!

  • I am an absolute book nerd, and I am happy to see Looking for Alaska on there. It’s probably my favorite John Green book. However, I have enjoyed all of his books. I recommend them, especially Papertowns. You’ve probably heard a lot about The Fault in Our Stars as well. But hopefully, if you choose to read them, you’ll enjoy them, too! I also recommend Fangirl and Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell. Phenomenal. And finally, mostly anything by Laurie Halse Anderson (mostly known for Speak, which actually is not my favorite by her). She is a phenomenal young adult writer. What can I see, even as I just entered my 40s, I’m still a fan of YA literature!!! As for “adult” fiction: The Last Summer of You & Me (Ann Brashares), The Art of Racing in the Rain (G. Stein), oh, I could go on and on! Sorry for writing so much!!! 🙂

  • She’s come undone is my all time favorite book, I’ve read it 6 some odd times over the years. It moves quick and has such an interesting pov. It’s a good beach read too since it’s thought provoking but also has a tinge of humor tucked in.

  • She’s Come Undone is one of my all-time favorite reads. Very well written and emotional! I’ve also read American Gods which is super fun. If you ever do long car rides, there is an audiobook of American Gods with a really great reader!

    Currently my summer read is In The Woods by Tana French. I’m almost done and it’s fantastic! Classic murder mystery in a modern Ireland.

    Have fun, Emma! Summer reading is the most satisfying 🙂

  • Grab Looking for Alaska…if you enjoyed paper towns even a little I’m sure you’ll like this one. Heads up though it is sad(but has humor through out)but it’s such a good read. I believe this is his first book don’t quote me for sure but I’ve read it several times and seem to enjoy it more and more.

  • Just a shout out that many of these titles (and many, many more) are available for FREE at your local library. Yes, even eBooks and eAudios! Hard to beat that deal!

  • I really wanna read the book “looking for Alaska” because the cover looks so lovely! I hope it isn’t as sad as “the faults in our stars” 🙂 love Sophia from

  • For someone who reads so much, I’ve only managed to get 7 and 8 on this list. In 9th grade, Perks was life-changing for me.

  • Both Perks and She’s Come Undone were AH-mazing. Perks is really short so you could most likely blow through that in a day or two. Wally Lamb is insanely wonderful at tapping in to the female voice and soul in She’s Come Undone and that book has stuck with me long after reading it. I actually may need to read it again just to feel all the feels. Also, if you haven’t read it yet, Just Kids by Patti Smith is another read that stuck with me years later… Her life and passion is just so interesting!

    Jealous of your Mexico trip, ARRRRIBA!

  • I would not recommend taking #5 on vacation. It’s very heavy (both literally and figuratively). I don’t know about you, but I love to finish a couple of books on my vacations. That book took me moths to read, but then I had to read some other inbetween to rest my mind from all the horror that is cancer. It was fantastic and I encourage everyone to read it, but maybe as a longer project, not as a vacation read.

  • I might be of the minority opinion here, but I found “She’s Come Undone” hard to get through. It turned into one of those books I drug my feet on until I finally finished it!

  • I read both “She’s Come Undone” and “Perks of Being a Wallflower” about 13-15 years ago each (yikes!) and to this day, they are still two of my favorite books of all time. If I could make a recommendation, I’d start with ‘She’s Come Undone;” while “Perks” is an awesome story, as a woman, the first will definitely pull your heartstrings a lot more. Enjoy!

  • ADORE “Perks”. Read it when MTV was publishing and promoting books! Do you remember that?! I gave my beat up copy to my favorite college Lit prof (over 10 years ago. YIKES.) and haven’t bought a new one. They did a decent job with the movie but it’s never the same 🙂

  • So not what you asked and we don’t even know each other, but I’m going to Tulum in September!! I can not wait for tacos and drinking out of a coconut! cheers!

  • I’ve read A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius several times. It’s so good, and even more interesting as it’s based off the author’s real life. Dave Eggers’ work is really compelling and he is clearly influenced by Vonnegut, which is fun (I love his works, too). Looking for Alaska is enjoyable and much shorter and a little lighter of a read. I think I read it in just a couple of days. Enjoy!

  • My bookclub recently read Salvage the Bones and it was (as some other commenters have indicated) pretty brutal. It won the National Book Award for fiction and was very definitely well written and thought provoking. But so intense and not actually pleasurable to read, so it’s hard for me to actually recommend it.

  • Looking for Alaska is one of my favorite, if not my absolute favorite, book of all time. I didn’t care for Green’s “Paper Towns,” but Looking for Alaska is just indescribably good. I read it at least once a year and am both amazed and happy I did so each and every time.

    I’ve read “Perks of Being a Wallflower” at least 5 times. My very “alternative” (jagged hair cut, skinny jeans, and an endless affinity for liking music and novels beyond our years) guy crush in the 8th grade gave it to me and told me it was the best book he’d ever read. I didn’t care for it the first time I read it, which absolutely bugged me. I re-read it and something about it finally clicked. It gets better with each read.

    Loved this roundup!

  • Neil Gaiman is one of my favorite authors, and I don’t really consider myself to be into sci-fi/fantasty; he manages to seamlessly blend mythology into his stories in a way that feel absolutely magical. American Gods is definitely a longer read, but worth it—I also recommend Stardust and The Ocean at the End of the Lane!

  • As another Kendra, I agree with what Kendra said about American Gods. One of my favourite books for sure! All three of the bottom ones (7, 8 & 9) are some of my favourite books – Paper Towns is another great one by John Green that’s a great road trip book 🙂

  • She’s Come Undone was the first “adult” book I read as a teen, and I felt so many emotions (I mostly read BSC or Goosebumps, not very emotional reads) and it changed my reading world. I also love Looking For Alaska…it’s my favorite John Green novel!

  • A heartbreaking work is amazing, I highly recommend it.

    Good to know for the non-Americans amongst us: Unfortunately Oyster is not available outside the US yet! So don’t try the link, it will make it possible to sign up and pay (!) but not actually to download the app and read the books.

  • A heartbreaking work of staggering genius is SO good. One of my favorites! He has such a a great voice and managed to share such a tragic tale in a way that was still funny, dynamic, and enteraining. A great postmodern work 😉

  • Whoa, Emma. At first I thought you’d already read all these book this summer! I look forward to you reviews of whichever you end up choosing.

  • Salvage the Bones is SO GOOD!! I read it at the beach a year or two ago and I’m pretty sure I read the whole thing in one sitting – it’s so compelling I just couldn’t put it down! Such an interesting look at one family’s experience of a very particular sort of Southern culture and weather.

    American Gods is also amazing, if you’re into the whole modern-urban-fantasy thing – Neil Gaiman can basically do no wrong. It does an awesome job of incorporating mythology from multiple cultures into one well-woven story.

    Looking for Alaska has been one of my nostalgic favorite books since I was about 13 – almost 8 years ago now. It’s very emotional for YA, but beware of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl trope (yeah JG was actually trying to dismantle it with LfA but that’s another discussion!) and just know that not everyone likes the same books – it’s ok if it doesn’t live up to the hype.

    The Perks of Being a Wallflower was just one of those hyped books for me – I loved the story but I didn’t feel the same emotional connection to it that so many others have. It’s a great book though, very compelling and makes you think about relationships and the individual human experience!

  • Currently reading American Gods! I’ve read four other Gaiman books and I have absolutely loved them. So, that is my pick!

  • I’m always down for anything Neil Gaiman 😉
    American Gods is on my list as well.
    Just finished ‘Neverwhere’ and ‘The Ocean at the End of the Lane’ and loved them both. Gaiman is a special man, indeed.

  • Perks of Being A Wallflower is one of my all time favorite books (and movies), but it is incredibly sad and I cry every time I read or watch it. Looking for Alaska is almost as sad, but I definitely recommend it, even if not for beach reading.

    I want to check out everything else you’re looking at to read, some of them have quite the interesting cover.

  • Salvage the Bones is so warm and heartbreaking at the same time. Great choice! My book club just read this book.

  • I’ve had “She’s Come Undone and “Heartbreaking Work” sitting on my nightstand for months, lol. Neil Gaiman is one of my favorite authors so I would recommend that.
    John Green is also a great author, I’ve enjoyed his other books but haven’t gotten to “Alaska” yet.

  • I love a good YA novel, but Looking for Alaska is not one of them. There are lots of significantly better books out there That are better worth your time.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.