Summer Reading 2020

In case you don’t follow the rest of my life on social media, the last few months have been light on reading. There’s the pandemic, and then my mask-making, which have taken over my usual prolific reading life.

On the positive end of things, SO many books have been available for the Kindle library app, that I have been drowning in good choices. The bright side.

As I do each year, I have listed here my favorites for the first six months of the year so you can easily find them to take to the beach (or to your home if you can’t get to the beach this year). The selections have garnered 4.5 stars or more. While usually I think they are good beach reads, this years top picks are overall rather depressing and deep. Nonetheless, they will engross you and get you thinking for sure.

I will post another list of those I am reading this summer – who know if they are going to be good or not…happy summer, everyone!

Links to read my blog posts and/or buy each book are here:

5-star
No One Will Tell You This But Me
The Only Plane in the Sky
Outlaw Ocean
Such a Fun Age

4.5-star
Becoming Mrs. Lewis
In Five Years
Dear Edward
American Street
The 57 Bus
Mrs. Everything
The Rosie Result
If You Want to Make God Laugh

2019’s summer books are here.
2018’s summer books are here.
2017’s summer books are here.

Windfall

Windfall by Jennifer Smith was an OK read, but the whole way through I kept thinking, it seems like a teenage story. Well, as it turns out, it’s YA. As you know, I don’t like YA. And, while this was decent YA, it didn’t have enough depth for me. And, there was a terrible loose end that just faded away with no explanation. Overall, I was disappointed in this one because I went it thinking it was one thing and discovered it was another.

This Will Only Hurt a Little

I don’t usually listen to audiobooks, but to stay sane lately, my long walks have included listening to books. It’s been a nice change from my murdery podcasts. This Will Only Hurt a Little was recommended by a friend. I didn’t even know who Busy Phillips was, so I didn’t have the context for this memoir that many people would have. However, I loved it anyway. It was a great memoir on it’s own and read by Busy herself, which livened it up a lot – the voice she has for her mother is priceless. It’s sad and funny and everything in-between. A great read, I am sure, but also a terrific listen.

Godshot

Godshot by Chelsea Bieker had a gorgeous cover, covered in gold. Don’t let that reel you in. I found this book to be tedious and almost gave up on it multiple times. I only read to the end, as often happens to me, to find out what happened to the pregnant 15-year-old in the cult. Yes, it’s a cult book, but not the type that draws you in. This one was choppily told and not very interesting. I’d certainly give it a pass if I were you.

Darling Rose Gold

Darling Rose Gold by Stephanie Wrobel would have been much more interesting to me if I hadn’t just watched The Act on Hulu. It’s the same story, though this version was a more fictionalized one, about Gypsy Rose Blanchard whose mother has Munchausen Syndrome. It’s a fascinating story and a really good book, but, for me, because I just watched the show, it felt too repetitive. If you haven’t watched, this would be a good book to grab. It’s full of surprises.

Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour

In Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson, Amy’s father has recently died. Consequently, Amy has been left to finish high school in CA by her mother, who has taken a new job in CT and her brother who is in rehab in NC. Amy’s mother asks a friend’s son, Roger, to drive their car and Amy (who no longer drives for reasons we suspect, but aren’t named for a while in the story) across the country. As the title promises, they chart a new course than the one Amy’s mother has planned. While this book has its down moments, overall it has a fun premise. Even though there is heavy subject matter overlaying the story, it’s a quick read and delightful story. My only disappointment was the ending, which dropped off rather abruptly.

Afterlife

I love Julia Alvarez. I always have and I have read most of her books. Afterlife is her newest. I was lucky enough to get it immediately from Hoopla, a new app shared by the Montgomery County Library. Hoopla, however, does not play nice with the Kindle Paperwhite, so I had to read it on the iPad, which is not my favorite, but #firstworldproblems, it was free. This is the story of Antonia whose husband has just died. She is an immigrant herself, she is dealing with immigrants next door, and she is trying to help her sisters in various ways. Immigration is a key theme of this one, obviously, as is coping after the rug is pulled out from under you. It was good, but not great. I didn’t really feel hugely invested in the characters and it fell a little flat for me.

The Last Book Party

The Last Book Party by Karen Dukess was an OK read. It’s about a woman in NYC publishing who moves to the Cape, where her family has a summer home, to be a personal assistant to a writer. This writer and his wife host a party each summer where each attendee dresses as a literary figure. It’s a slow story that reads quickly, but it left me cold – a story that has too often been told. So, not one I would grab, if I were you.