My Bossy Favorite Reads of the Summer
My Very Favorite Bossy Summer Reads!
I had a great reading summer, so I had a tough time deciding on the six books I most loved reading during the heat of the past few months. I loved the books here so much, I rated each of them 4.5 or 5 Bossy stars.
You might also want to check out the books on my spring Greedy Reading List Six of My Favorite Reads of the Year So Far.
If you've read any of these, I'd love to hear what you think!
And I'd also love to hear: what were some of your favorite reads this summer?
01 Better Than the Movies by Lynn Painter
I LOVED this young adult book. It's perfectly charming, funny, quirky, and sweet, yet it deals with grief and fear, hope and forgiveness, being true to oneself and growing up, and of course love.
Lynn Painter's adorable young adult rom-com Better Than the Movies is about Liz Buxbaum, a fabulously eccentric high schooler coping with the grief of having lost her mom--while navigating the sparkly idea--and messy reality--of romance, with the inspiration of her mom's favorite romantic comedies.
Liz is a hopeless romantic who has been waiting her whole high school career to be swept off her feet in quintessential romantic-comedy fashion--with the perfect soundtrack playing in the background.
But it looks like she may have to rely on her annoying next-door neighbor Wes to try to gain the attention of dreamy Michael with the perfect hair, who has just moved back to town.
Better Than the Movies is funny funny funny and so lovely and sweet, I adored the whole story, the characters, the growth, the banter, the heartbreaking, heartwarming growth, the fun--this is basically a perfect young adult romantic comedy.
For my full review of this book, please see Better Than the Movies. This book made it onto the recent Greedy Reading List Six More Great Rom-Coms Perfect for Summer Reading.
If this book sounds intriguing, you might also be interested in the books on my Greedy Reading Lists Six Rom-Coms Perfect for Summer Reading, Six Great Light Fiction Stories Perfect for Summer Reading, and Six More Great Light Fiction Stories.
02 Wrong Place, Wrong Time by Gillian McAllister
Gillian McAllister offers a smart, intriguing, twisty story that plays with time and offers second chances, revelations, betrayals, deep connections, and an unusual route to uncovering the truth. I loved it.
Gillian McAllister's twisty mystery begins with a mother awaiting her teenage son's return home late one night. She peers out the window to see him walking down the street--then she sees that he is armed, and to her horror, she sees him kill another man on the street.
But when she awakens the next morning bracing to face the living nightmare her family has begun living in, she's relieved to find that her son hasn't killed anyone, he hasn't been arrested, and in fact, none of last night's events have happened after all. She must be losing her mind. But she knows that last night was real.
Somehow she's reliving yesterday again. Can she shift the future by changing the past?
Wrong Place, Wrong Time offers a smart, mind-bending structure that is complex and interesting but not difficult to follow. McAllister develops her characters fully and uses the time jumps wonderfully--to explore relationships, truth-telling and lies, assumptions, terrible realizations, and heartwarming reassurances.
For my full review of this book, check out Wrong Place, Wrong Time.
If you're intrigued by time-travel stories, you might also like the books on the Greedy Reading Lists Six Riveting Time-Travel Stories to Explore, Six More Riveting Time-Travel Stories to Explore, and Six Second-Chance, Do-Over, Reliving-Life Stories.
03 The Last Ranger by Peter Heller
Heller's suspenseful wilderness story is full of danger, wonder, and emotional ties; the unforgiving nature and beauty of the natural world; and quick thinking that saves the day more than once. As with all Heller novels, the writing is exquisitely beautiful.
The Last Ranger centers around Ren, an enforcement officer in Yellowstone National Park.
Ren spends his days protecting tourists from the wild animals who live in the park, stopping drunken fights at campgrounds, and serving as mediator between wealthy vacationers temporarily in the park and the working-class full-time residents of the neighboring town.
When he investigates a local poacher, he begins to unravel a complicated web of conspiracy theories, renegade heroism, secrets, and danger.
As always, I'm in for Heller's showcasing of the unforgiving, beautiful natural world; the sometimes-renegade justice that emerges in impossible situations; and his characters' hard-won emotional vulnerability.
His writing is just gorgeous and I'm in for every word.
04 This Time It's Real by Ann Liang
I was hooked by Liang's fake-dating, famous-everyday relationship duo setup, fantastically funny dialogue, and wonderfully imperfect characters with their hard-fought vulnerability and heartbreaking missteps. I devoured this in a rainy afternoon.
In Ann Liang's young adult rom-com This Time It's Real, when seventeen-year-old Eliza's class essay about young love goes viral, it leads to the offer of a competitive internship and soaring popularity at her new school. She should be on cloud nine.
The only problem is, she made it all up. She's never been in love. But the whirlwind around her pretend relationship is taking on a life of its own.
So Eliza makes a desperate deal with a famous actor in her class: if he plays the role of her fake boyfriend at school, she'll help him write his college applications. He's already seen how convincing her writing can be, after all--she's got everyone fooled.
When the line between acting and reality becomes blurred, will Eliza's grand plans end up in her own heartbreak?
I love a fake-dating premise and a famous-everyday dating premise, and here they are combined. Ann Liang's funny dialogue, characters' various interpersonal challenges and victories, and messy family dynamics had me swooning.
Yes to all of this!
For my full review, please check out This Time It's Real.
05 The Rachel Incident by Caroline O'Donoghue
Caroline O'Donoghue's coming-of-age story celebrates friendship, young love, and life-changing decisions and missteps that shape the lives of her characters in 2010s Ireland.
In Caroline O'Donoghue's contemporary fiction The Rachel Incident, main character Rachel is an Irish university student working in a Cork bookstore in the 2010s. She's dating a boring but reliable young man from her high school and living at home when she meets James.
James is irresistible, vivacious, and mischievous--and Rachel is immediately swept into his powerful orbit.
Years later, Rachel runs into someone from her past, which spurs her to think back to the events and relationships that shaped her during her college years.
Despite some of the questionable, haunting choices that are made at times in the story, I was so taken with the characters that my cringing didn't hamper my enjoyment of the celebration of friendship, circuitous routes to self-confidence, and heartwarming second chances.
I loved The Rachel Incident--the story, the characters, and the vivid setting of 2010s Ireland.
Click here for my full review of The Rachel Incident.
06 Don't Tell Anybody the Secrets I Told You by Lucinda Williams
Lucinda Williams offers a gritty, honest, captivating, spare yet fully developed memoir in which she explores her musical influences and influential high and low moments in her personal life.
In Don't Tell Anybody the Secrets I Told You, songwriter, singer, and musician Lucinda Williams shares stories of her childhood, her musical influences, and pivotal moments in her career and personal life.
Williams takes us along as she digs into her life's trajectory and the various conflicts, explorations, realizations, and challenges that have shaped her.
Her insights into her mindset and her creativity are often offbeat, and they always feel thoughtful. She writes songs about "sex, love, and the state of the world," and in one instance describes musical freedom as feeling like everything is “uncorked."
As she digs into the inspirations for her music she quotes her own lyrics--along with, occasionally, others' poems--and it all feels like truth-telling poetry--in her case, often set to music.
Don't Tell Anybody the Secrets I Told You was wonderful--spare yet fully developed, often surprising, and always intriguing.
With wry humor, gritty honesty, and refreshingly candid reflections, Williams's singular voice comes through steadily here. I listened to Williams's Don't Tell Anybody the Secrets I Told You as an audiobook and enjoyed hearing her tell her own story.
For my full review, check out Don't Tell Anybody the Secrets I Told You.