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Literally Speaking: My Summer Reading List

AIR GUITAR: Weezer front man, Rivers Cuomos, rocks out during the band's set at Arizona Fall Frenzy Saturday. (Photo Courtesy of Lauren Jordan)
AIR GUITAR: Weezer front man, Rivers Cuomos, rocks out during the band's set at Arizona Fall Frenzy Saturday. (Photo Courtesy of Lauren Jordan)

This past summer I experienced a transition in my reading preferences that was actually quite significant but went unrecognized. In high school I got used to reading "classics" and more worldly books, like "Cry," "The Beloved Country" and "The Grapes of Wrath." So for the last few years, most of my favorites have been Steinbeck novels like East of Eden and the entirety of Shakespeare's repertoire. Retrospectively this was one of those classic "I like these books... but I also like that they make me look smart too" situations. Come on, tell me I'm not the only one who's felt like that before.



But anyway, this summer I returned to the comforts of young adult books with unique plot lines and spunky characters. You know how people say that returning to something familiar is like putting on an old musty sweater? That's exactly how this felt! So here are a few of those books:

photo (9) - Copy "Looking for Alaska" by John Green

"Looking for Alaska" by John Green This book was spunky, heartfelt, and quite frankly, a bit on the angsty side. But in a good way! I think John Green has a way of taking characters we think we've read before and shedding an entirely new light on them. And then he makes us readers reflect on ourselves through these unique characters.

"Thirteen Reasons Why" by Jay Asher I may have been into the whole teen angst scene this summer. I picked up this book as a recommendation from a friend. It was a quick read, and I'd like to say it was easy, but it certainly was not. Not to give too much away, the story focuses on the effect of a girl's suicide on her entire community and the silence that ensues much too often. The journey throughout the book is unlike anything else I have read before. It's incredibly profound. You'll run the entire gamut of emotions reading this book.

"Every Day" by David Levithan

"Every Day" by David Levithan "Every Day" by David Levithan

Oh, man. Every Day. After reading a couple of John Green books, I had been told that David Levithan is another author I should consider reading. The book is unique in that the main character doesn't identify with a specific gender... And moreover, every day they are someone else, somewhere else. Certainly, if you're a fan of John Green, this is a must-read.

I saw a girl waiting for her school bus the other day on the side of the road, with Every Day tucked under her arm... I squealed out of excitement. I may be obsessed.

"Dash and Lily's Book of Dares" by David Levithan and Rachel Cohn So naturally, after loving "Every Day," I had to read another of his books! I read this collaborative effort between Levithan and Rachel Cohn. Some book titles can be vague or evasive. This book title is spot on.

To give you a bit of insight into how I felt about the book: this was a romantic scenario that I wish I had dreamt of myself. I would think of scenarios where I'd meet my future significant other, and I wish I would've thought of what Lily did in this book. But then again, I'm probably not as fearless as that wonderful lady is.

"Eleanor and Park" by Rainbow Rowell. "Eleanor and Park" by Rainbow Rowell.

"Eleanor and Park" by Rainbow Rowell

And finally, one of the most memorable books I read this summer was definitely "Eleanor and Park." I believe these characters' personalities have been written before, but I think the way Rainbow Rowell utilizes the physical appearance of Eleanor and Park makes for such a great read, and a challenge as well. Eleanor is a red-head and Park is Korean. Their love story is familiar but also incredibly unique. But you'll have to read the book to find out why!

If you've read any of these books or have any book suggestions for me, please comment on this post! You can also reach me at or on Twitter @marie_eo.

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