In My Library Tote: Top 5 Books of Summer

What makes a book stand out as excellent to you? There are a lot of factors, but to me, I know I've found a great book when I want to talk about it all the time. Typically I encounter a book like that about once a month. This summer, I went on a great book streak, finding several that I couldn't shut up about. Here are a few of my summer favorites.

{top 5 books of summer}

{The Dry by Jane Harper} Mystery isn't a genre I reach for first, but after hearing so many good things about this one, I joined the miles long library holds queue. Once again, my book people didn't let me down--this one sucked me right in. It's the story of Aaron Falk, a federal agent who returns to his small hometown to attend his best friend's funeral. He isn't welcomed back with open arms; Aaron left with his father years ago after being accused of murder. His return rustles up emotions and exposes secrets, both old and new. My rating: 4/5 stars. 

{The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas} This YA novel is timely and important, but doesn't at all feel like a book you read because you "should". It's about a 16 year old girl, Starr Carter, who is trying to find a balance between two worlds: her poor, mostly black, neighborhood, and her private, mostly white, school. One night she gets in a car with her childhood best friend Khalil, and he is shot and killed by a police officer, right in front of her. Before she is even able to process his death, she is immediately swept up in police interviews and protests, and she's being judged on all sides. Through her grief, Starr tries to both find her voice and navigate her place in the world. I'm pretty sure Aaron got tired of hearing about this one, I couldn't stop talking about it. My rating: 4/5 stars. 

{This Is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel} It's hard to pick a favorite from this "summer of good books" but this is the one that tops my list. It's another timely read for many reasons, but, like The Hate U Give, it doesn't feel preachy or political. Instead, it is warm, funny, and poignant. Claude is the youngest of 5 boys, and his parents have always encouraged him and his brothers to be who they want to be. But Claude wants to be a girl. While Claude is the glue that holds this story together, there is much more to it than that. It's the story of a family who comes together over keeping a secret and how that secret can threaten to break them apart. While it's a work of fiction, it feels like a very real family, with real, everyday problems that have both nothing and everything to do with protecting Claude and his secret. I get almost all of my books from the library, but this is one I want to go out and buy so I can read it again. My rating: 4.5/5 stars.

{The Almost Sisters by Joshilyn Jackson} Leia Birch Briggs is a graphic novelist who finds herself pregnant by an anonymous batman at a comic convention. The last person she wants to tell is her step-sister Rachel, a Pinterest-perfect wife and mother. However, she's not the only one with something to hide. Rachel's marriage is in trouble, and what's more Leia's grandmother Birchie, with whom she's always been close, is suffering from dementia that she's managed to keep hidden for years. She heads to Alabama to help Birchie, and while there she unearths more secrets about her family's past. Joshilyn Jackson is a talented writer, and this is my favorite yet from her. My rating: 4/5 stars. 

{Beartown by Fredrik Backman} Beartown, a tiny town deep in the woods, is known for one thing: hockey. Their junior ice hockey team is about to compete in the national semi-finals, and the whole town talks about how much a victory would mean for their beloved, often forgotten about, town. However, a decision the team's star player makes at a party one night starts a chain of events that shakes up the town and traumatizes a young girl. While hockey is so important to this story that it is a character in itself, you definitely don't have to be a hockey fan to read this book. Believe me, I'm not. My rating: 4.5/5 stars. 

Have you read anything good lately?

Linking with Modern Mrs. Darcy.

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