Whether you are headed to a dream destination or relaxing at home, summer is the perfect time to unplug with a good book. VALLEY has chosen a variety of page turners to keep on hand this summer that may be a bit more enjoyable reads than books that you’ve been assigned for a class.
“The Woman in the Window” by A.J. Finn
This dark thriller transports you to uptown Manhattan where the main character, Anna Fox, hides away in her dreary townhouse. After a traumatic accident renders Anna unable to go outside, she is left with her wine, prescription medication and the ability to spy on her neighbors. Suddenly, Anna believes she witnesses a violent crime being committed in her neighbor’s house, but no one believes her.
“It was very unpredictable and kept my attention the entire time. Overall it was a really good thriller,” says Nicole Kilrea, a sophomore at Penn State. “This book is great for anyone who likes a good mystery book and likes to be surprised.”
“Child I” by Steve Tasane
Imagine growing up in a place where your name is just a letter. For this group of undocumented children, a refugee camp is home, and they are each other’s family. Steve Tasane’s “Child I” is indeed a fictional story; however, the gripping reality behind it that the author brought from his own childhood is what makes it a truly astonishing novella. Tasane perfectly captures the feeling of wanting to belong somewhere else while trying desperately to hang on to your own identity.
“Everything I Know About Love” by Dolly Alderton
If you are a fan of “Sex and the City,” meet the real-life, British Carrie Bradshaw. Former Sunday Times dating columnist Dolly Alderton takes everything she knows and has learned over the years and throws it into a witty, insightful and slightly satirical memoir. “Everything I Know About Love” documents the highs and the lows of life with something that almost everyone can relate to. We follow Dolly through her relationship, career and the realization that your best friends are the true loves of your life.
“Everything Here is Beautiful” by Mira T. Lee
“Everything Here is Beautiful” is a vibrant novel revolving around two sisters that are anything but alike. The eldest sister, Miranda, is always thinking two steps ahead, while her younger sister, Lucia, prefers to live life impulsively. Suddenly, the sisters get their world rocked when their mother dies of cancer and Lucia, who had already been treated for her psychotic episodes once, starts to hear voices. Rather than be held back, Lucia plows on with her head in the clouds, while everyone around her waits for her to inevitably crash back down to earth. Miranda soon realizes her love and loyalty to Lucia will stretch across oceans, but Lucia can only be saved if she chooses to accept help. Mira T. Lee beautifully attempts to erase the stigma of mental illness and instead show a woman and her attempt to find fulfillment within her life, giving readers insight on why we make the sacrifices we do for people we love.
“The Fear” by C.L. Taylor
Sometimes the one you fall in love with isn’t the best person for you. Swept up in what seemed like a fairytale, main character Lou Wandsworth ran away to France with her teacher, Mike Hughes, whom she believed to be “the one.” The fairytale came to an end however when Mike revealed himself to be a darker human than Lou ever thought possible and left her broken. Although Mike is the villain every reader loves to hate, Lou is no damsel in distress. Years later, she discovers Mike is now involved with another teenager, Chloe Meadows. Traveling back home to face him, Lou has to rescue Chloe without once again becoming Mike’s prey herself. In this fast-paced thriller, author C.L. Taylor portrays what it is like to be in the clutches of an emotionally abusive relationship, and this book will leave you questioning what it is that makes us susceptible to fall into them.
“The Pisces” by Melissa Broder
Last, but not least, “The Pisces” is the perfect summer novel with a fun and unexpected twist. By 38, Lucy expected to have her life figured out, but she couldn’t be more lost. Her long-term boyfriend broke up with her, and her dissertation doesn’t seem to be headed anywhere either. In an attempt to help, her sister Annika offers her a job housesitting in Los Angeles for the summer. Hoping to find an escape from her misery, Lucy accepts the job and splits her time between caring for the gorgeous house overlooking Venice Beach and chasing every romantic encounter that comes her way with less than satisfying results. One night, however, while sitting alone on beach, Lucy becomes mesmerized by a mysterious swimmer named Theo who catches her attention. All of a sudden they are meeting up every night, but Lucy starts to wonder if this seemingly perfect man is hiding something. After making bad decision after bad decision, could trusting Theo be another one?
Take your mind on a vacation of its own this summer and get lost in an amazing book. Know of a book we missed? Tweet us, @VALLEYmag, with your favorite beach reads.