I’m a big fan of Modern Mrs. Darcy’s podcast, What Should I Read Next? so I signed up to receive her summer reading guide as well (to get the guide, you will need to provide your email). This is a list of summer releases that aims to satisfy a variety of readers. This year’s list is organized thematically, with categories like “Tales of Complicated Families”, “Not Just For Young Adults”, “Awesome on Audio” and “Love Stories to Fall For.”
It includes her top five picks across all categories – these include The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennet, The City We Became by N.K. Jemisin, and This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger. Also included are eight picks from previous summer lists, for those who prefer not to buy new releases. I’ve read a few of these books, Everything I Never Told You, Everyone Brave is Forgiven, and When Dimple Met Rishi.
Here’s what I’ve read so far from her list:
- Simon the Fiddler by Paulette Jiles
- Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo
- The House in the Cerulean Sea by T. J. Klune
It’s fair to say I would have read the first two either way, since I loved Jiles’ last novel, and I love everything by Acevedo.
Simon the Fiddler was disappointing, because I loved News of the World so much. This was a dry read, a lot of description but not a lot of character development. The book is occasionally moving but for most of it, I didn’t feel I got to know the characters and it just seemed to be about a group of men traveling from town to town. Those who love music will probably find this book more interesting than I did.
Clap When You Land was just as good as I expected it to be. It’s about two teenage girls, one in the Dominican Republic and one in New York, who both lose their father in the American Airlines crash of 2001 (a real incident that, sadly, received very little news coverage in the U.S., coming upon the heels of September 11 and affecting mostly people from the Dominican Republic). It’s written in verse, and I think both the audiobook and the print version are well worth the read for Acevedo’s beautiful writing. Fans of this book might also be interested in Tayari Jones’ Silver Sparrow.
I’m not sure if I would have picked up Cerulean Sea if not for this guide, but this book was easily one of my favorites of the year, and it’s perfect for anyone who likes fantasy and is looking for a “comfort read”. The characters are lovely (not a term I use lightly), and this book made me smile so many times. The audiobook version is absolutely wonderful.
I’m currently reading Code Name Helene by Ariel Lawhon and The City We Became by N.K. Jemisin, and I’ve put a lot of other recommendations from the 2020 Summer Reading Guide on my TBR list:
- Writers and Lovers by Lily King
- The Happy Ever Playlist by Abby Jiminez
- I Was Told It Would Get Easier by Abbi Waxman
- Sea Wife by Amity Gaige
- The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennet
- The Switch by Beth O’Leary (I loved The Flatshare)
- Party of Two by Jasmine Guillory (I loved The Wedding Date)
Have you read any of these books? Any recommendations?
Modern Mrs. Darcy has a book club and a Patreon group that I’m thinking about joining, but they require monthly subscriptions, so I’d love to hear if any of you are members.
Happy summer reading!
Follow-up note: I loved Code Name Helene, Writers and Lovers, and The Vanishing Half, and highly recommend all of them! I hated The Happy Ever Playlist, which for me is a very strong reaction to a romance. I didn’t like the characters or the story – everything felt way overdone. But I know this book is very popular, I just didn’t like it at all. All in all, way more hits than misses, so thumbs up to Modern Mrs. Darcy!