Summer Book Review

Daniela Britton

Summer is right around the corner, meaning there will be ample time to sit back and enjoy a good book. Of course, not every book will be a hit, so I’m here to share my honest opinion on summer-ish books to help you out in these upcoming months, or possibly make you very upset.

The Box in the Woods – Maureen Johnson
What better way to to get the feeling of summer than with a murder mystery? Jokes aside, this book takes place at a summer camp, which is why it was able to wind up on this list. It is the fourth book in a series, but it isn’t necessary to read the first three books to read this one. Overall I rated this book 4 stars out of 5, it was a simple read and only took a day or two. I enjoy Johnson’s style of writing, and the plot twist wasn’t too far out of left field, but it was just predictable enough so I could have the satisfaction of semi-guessing whodunnit.

We Were Liars – E. Lockhart
I’m thoroughly confused by this novel. It is the quintessential summer read; set in a vacation house, with a girl who has something she needs to work through. So it should’ve been great right? I read the book in one day, but this in no way means I liked it. I ended up giving it 2.5 out of 5 stars, because of the ridiculous ending. The ending left me very wondering, and not in the philosophical sense. Instead it was more like, why did I just read that? It felt like the book had way too much build up for what it ended up being. Aside from the questionable plot twist and lazy ending the writing was alright, slightly too metaphorical at times, at least for my taste.

Beach Read – Emily Henry
This book about two very different writers has no flaws in my eyes, and I’ll definitely be rereading this every summer for the foreseeable future. Everyone knows that Emily Henry’s summer romance books are top notch, but the only unpopular opinion I have of this book is that it is actually better than her other summer book, People We Meet On Vacation. This book kept me completely engaged throughout my time reading it, which consisted of one night. That’s how fun it was. I also really enjoy when books incorporate music into the plot, because it helps me feel the mood of a scene. Henry included lots of songs into the story, so while I read I would listen to them, which created a fun atmosphere while reading.

People We Meet On Vacation – Emily Henry
This book is about two polar opposite friends who met in college, and have gone on a vacation together every year since, until something went wrong and they stopped speaking. To be honest, out of Henry’s two summer books, this just doesn’t compare to the aforementioned Beach Read. There were a few too many spots when I felt the plot wasn’t moving, and I got pretty bored. I also wasn’t too fond of Alex which made it hard to read at times. But overall the ending really saved the book, and bumped up my score one half point! (4/5 stars)

I Killed Zoe Spanos – Kit Frick
This book is about a girl nannying a mansion in The Hamptons for the summer, when things take a turn. It’s basically if We Were Liars was done right. I highly recommend sitting back on a hot summer day and enjoying this page turner mystery with dual timelines!(4/5 stars)

Malibu Rising – Taylor Jenkins Reid
I’ve never seen anyone say anything negative about this story, and I’m very surprised. Malibu Rising is a novel centering around one Hollywood family and the huge rager they throw annually. It takes the reader over the course of the summer day on which the party takes place, with some flashbacks into the family’s past. Speaking of the family, Reid relies heavily on the family dynamic plotline/trope which I had a hard time understanding, and relating to. There were also so many flashbacks that it ended up taking up most of the book, and the party conflict didn’t start until the last hundred pages or so. Lastly, the ending was predictable, and I usually like it when I can somewhat guess how a book ends, but when I didn’t enjoy reading the book in the first place, the predictable ending added to my disdain. (2.5/5 stars)

Alex, Approximately – Jenn Bennett
This is a fun and cute summer romance in, you guessed it, a beach town! This follows a girl who moves to the same beach town as her sole online friend. But while she’s there she meets this guy at her work who she hates. You could probably predict the plot of this book off of this (I did) but that doesn’t mean I liked it any less. (5/5 stars)

Where The Crawdads Sing – Delia Owens
This might be the most hyped up book on this list, while simultaneously being the most disappointing. This novel is a coming of age story about a girl who rejects society and lives in a marsh, being one with nature. There are two timelines, the mystery portion which is her in the present facing a trial for a murder the police believe she committed. And the coming of age part of her in the past growing up and facing challenges all on her own. This book was surprisingly underwhelming and it honestly felt like Owens was trying too hard to have a deeper meaning behind the story.

Death On The Nile – Agatha Christie
A classic Hercule Poirot murder mystery that takes place one summer on The Nile river in Africa. I thoroughly enjoyed the mystery aspect and I was constantly guessing the outcome. The only issue I had with this book was that the plot didn’t really start until about halfway into the book. And while some of the beginning of the book was planting easter eggs for the ending, a lot of it felt like boring space filler.

The Electric Woman – Tessa Fontaine
This is a memoir of Tessa Fontaine who ran away from her troubles to join the circus. I considered this to be a summer read because it mainly takes place over the course of the summer she spends with America’s last traveling circus. While reading I was not aware that this book was a memoir, so I was wondering where the plot was, but after finding out that it’s a memoir, the story makes a lot more sense. (3/5 stars)