Since summer has arrived, I thought it was be a good time for me to share my favourite contemporary books to read in the summer. I just sat down to write out books that I want to talk about, but I realised that I haven’t read many books set around a summer romance. If you have any that you can recommend to me, that would be great because a lot of the books I mention here are from the same author.
The Summer I Turned Pretty trilogy – Jenny Han
Belly measures her life in summers. Everything good, everything magical happens between the months of June and August. Winters are simply a time to count the weeks until the next summer, a place away from the beach house, away from Susannah, and most importantly, away from Jeremiah and Conrad. They are the boys that Belly has known since her very first summer–they have been her brother figures, her crushes, and everything in between. But one summer, one terrible and wonderful summer, the more everything changes, the more it all ends up just the way it should have been all along.
This is my favourite summer romance story. Although it includes a love triangle which I usually hate, the romance in this story is so fun to read about. Each of the characters have their flaws, but they develop so much over the series of three books. There’s romance, drama, emotion, and fun and I just think that this series is beautiful.
Just One Day – Gayle Forman
Allyson Healey’s life is exactly like her suitcase—packed, planned, ordered. Then on the last day of her three-week post-graduation European tour, she meets Willem. A free-spirited, roving actor, Willem is everything she’s not, and when he invites her to abandon her plans and come to Paris with him, Allyson says yes. This uncharacteristic decision leads to a day of risk and romance, liberation and intimacy: 24 hours that will transform Allyson’s life.
What I love about this book is that it’s set over one single day, and so much happens in this day. I also love that it’s set in Paris which is my favourite city in the world and it just makes the book that much more romantic. The characters in the book are written so beautifully and uniquely, and it was fun to discover even more about them in the sequel ‘Just One Year’.
The Unexpected Everything – Morgan Matson
Andie had it all planned out. When you are a politician’s daughter who’s pretty much raised yourself, you learn everything can be planned or spun, or both. Especially your future. But that was before the scandal. Before having to be in the same house with her dad. Before walking an insane number of dogs. That was before Clark and those few months that might change her whole life. Because here’s the thing—if everything’s planned out, you can never find the unexpected. And where’s the fun in that?
This is probably one of the funnest contemporaries, yet it still talks about some serious issues too. There’s romance, friendships, family relationships, and finding yourself. My favourite part of the book is Andie’s friendship group and how they all get along so well, even though a lot of drama between them occurs in the book. And Clark is just the perfect YA contemporary guy.
Second Chance Summer – Morgan Matson
Taylor Edwards’ family might not be the closest-knit—everyone is a little too busy and overscheduled—but for the most part, they get along just fine. Then Taylor’s dad gets devastating news, and her parents decide that the family will spend one last summer all together at their old lake house in the Pocono Mountains. Her former best friend is still around, as is her first boyfriend…and he’s much cuter at seventeen than he was at twelve.
As the summer progresses and the Edwards become more of a family, they’re more aware than ever that they’re battling a ticking clock. Sometimes, though, there is just enough time to get a second chance—with family, with friends, and with love.
This was the first Morgan Matson book I read, and despite what a lot of people say about it, I really loved it. This one is extremely emotional and it’s unlikely for me to cry whilst reading a book, but I definitely did when reading SCS. There were a few parts in the book that I found a bit “meh” but overall it made me in the mood for summer even though I read it in the middle of winter.
Since You’ve Been Gone – Morgan Matson
It was Sloane who yanked Emily out of her shell and made life 100% interesting. But right before what should have been the most epic summer, Sloane just…disappears. All she leaves behind is a to-do list. On it, thirteen Sloane-inspired tasks that Emily would normally never try. But what if they could bring her best friend back? Apple picking at night? Okay, easy enough.. Dance until dawn? Sure. Why not? Kiss a stranger? Um… Emily now has this unexpected summer, and the help of Frank Porter (totally unexpected), to check things off Sloane’s list. Who knows what she’ll find?
I loved the whole idea of this book and how it included more aspects than just romance – I feel that Morgan Matson always does a good job at that. Emily’s closest friend is gone and she has to learn to be her own person, and I feel like this is an important thing for a lot of readers to learn about. Her friendship with Frank and how it blossoms was so cute to read about, and I’m always left wanting to read more of Matson’s characters.
My Life Next Door – Huntley Fitzpatrick
The Garretts are everything the Reeds are not. Loud, messy, affectionate. And every day from her rooftop perch, Samantha Reed wishes she was one of them . . . until one summer evening, Jase Garrett climbs up next to her and changes everything.
As the two fall fiercely for each other, stumbling through the awkwardness and awesomeness of first love, Jase’s family embraces Samantha – even as she keeps him a secret from her own. Then something unthinkable happens, and the bottom drops out of Samantha’s world. She’s suddenly faced with an impossible decision. Which perfect family will save her? Or is it time she saved herself?
The thing that I loved most about this book is the comparison between the two families and how the Garretts (and Jase) really help bring Samantha to life. There are so many secrets in this book, and as they are being discovered it’s just like our own little mystery. But my favourite part was definitely reading about Jase and Samantha together. Not only is it a summer romance, but also a boy next door romance.
What I Thought Was True – Huntley Fitzpatrick
Gwen Castle has never so badly wanted to say good-bye to her island home till now: the summer her Biggest Mistake Ever, Cassidy Somers, takes a job there as the local yard boy. He’s a rich kid from across the bridge in Stony Bay, and she hails from a family of fishermen and housecleaners who keep the island’s summer people happy. Gwen worries a life of cleaning houses will be her fate too, but just when it looks like she’ll never escape her past—or the island—Gwen’s dad gives her some shocking advice. Sparks fly and secret histories unspool as Gwen spends a gorgeous, restless summer struggling to resolve what she thought was true—about the place she lives, the people she loves, and even herself—with what really is.
I only read this books recently, and although I didn’t love it as much as I loved ‘My Life Next Door’, I still really enjoyed this one. The theme of summer is more obvious and it put me in a big summer mood. The romance between Cassidy and Gwen is adorable and I loved seeing it develop slowly over time. There are other aspects of family and friendships in this book which also added to the beautiful and touching story line.
How to be Bad – E. Lockhart, Lauren Myrace, Sarah Mlynowski
Jesse, Vicks and Mel couldn’t be more different. Jesse, a righteous Southern gal who’s as thoughtful as she is uptight, is keeping a secret that she knows will change her life forever. Vicks is a wild child: seemingly cool, calm and collected on the outside, but inside she’s furious at herself for being so anxious about her neglectful boyfriend. And Mel is the new girl in town. She’s already been dismissed as just another rich kid, but all she wants is to get over some of her fears and find some true friends.
But for all their differences, the girls discover they’ve got one thing in common – they’re desperate to escape. One ‘borrowed’ car later, it’s time to hit the road and head for Miami. Hearts will be broken, friendships will be tested, and a ridiculously hot stranger could change the course of everything
I really loved this book, just like I love every E. Lockhart book, and it was good to discover the other two authors also. All three characters were so different yet they were so much fun to read about, and I loved how each author wrote their own characers’ chapters which made them even more different. Personally, my favourite character was Mel and I feel like I can relate to her most. The road trip theme was so much fun and the book was filled with drama that kept me really intrigued with the story line.
Lola and the Boy Next Door – Stephanie Perkins
Budding designer Lola Nolan doesn’t believe in fashion… she believes in costume. The more expressive the outfit – the more sparkly, more wild – the better. And life is pretty close to perfect for Lola, especially with her hot rocker boyfriend.
That is, until the Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket return to the neighbourhood and unearth a past of hurt that Lola thought was long buried. So when talented inventor Cricket steps out from his twin sister’s shadow and back into Lola’s life, she must finally face up to a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door. Could the boy from Lola’s past be the love of her future?
Although all three of the books in this companion trilogy are perfect, I feel like Lola felt more summery when reading it. I can’t remember if it is actually set in summer, but it definitely gave me those summer feelings. There’s a lot of drama going on in this book, and I love how it covers a wide range of diversity. But of course, just like the rest of this series, the romance is the best part and I just want to read it over and over again.
Summer Days and Summer Nights – Stephanie Perkins
Maybe it’s the long, lazy days, or maybe it’s the heat making everyone a little bit crazy. Whatever the reason, summer is the perfect time for love to bloom. Summer Days & Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories, written by twelve bestselling young adult writers and edited by the international bestselling author Stephanie Perkins, will have you dreaming of sunset strolls by the lake. So set out your beach chair and grab your sunglasses. You have twelve reasons this summer to soak up the sun and fall in love.
Featuring stories by Leigh Bardugo, Francesca Lia Block, Libba Bray, Cassandra Clare, Brandy Colbert, Tim Federle, Lev Grossman, Nina LaCour, Stephanie Perkins, Veronica Roth, Jon Skovron, and Jennifer E. Smith
I read this book when it came out during Northern Hemisphere summer, therefore the middle of winter for me, and it made me want it to be summer so badly. Although a few of the short stories I didn’t love as much, the ones that I did like I really loved them and wanted them to be full length stories. I feel like short story collections like this also help you discover more authors to see if you want to check their books out.
So those are a few of my favourite summer contemporaries. Like I said at the beginning, please recommend some more to me because I haven’t read as many as I thought!