I love reading, but it seems like I rarely have time to do it during the school year. That being said, summer is the perfect time to catch up on your recreational reading! Maybe there are so many books out there that you just can't decide which one to start with. Maybe you've already read everything on your shelves and need some new recommendations. Maybe you hate reading, but you're bored as heck. Never fear, I've compiled the ultimate summer reading list that has something for everyone.
1. "The Secret Life of Bees" by Sue Monk Kidd
This book was on the required reading list for one of my English classes in high school. The story takes place in South Carolina, 1964. Young Lily and her black caretaker flee town after running into some trouble back home, and end up being taken in by three beekeeping sisters. At first glance it may seem uninteresting, especially to someone who is not a big reader, but trust me, it is worth the read.
2. "Fahrenheit 451" by Ray Bradbury
If you love dystopian novels you definitely need to read this one. It is the future and books are outlawed. A society stimulated by various forms of entertainment and instant gratification leaves no room for literature. If someone is found with a book it is burned and its owner is often burned along with it.
3. "I Am The Messenger" by Marcus Zusak
This book is the perfect balance of humor, seriousness, and suspense- it will suck you in from the very first chapter. If you loved Zusak's The Book Thief, you will love I Am The Messenger.
4. "The Awakening" by Kate Chopin
You can't go wrong with Kate Chopin. You just can't. The Awakening is an engrossing story of self-discovery, human consciousness, society, identity, and feminism. Need I say more?
5. "I Am Malala" by Malala Yousafzai
Whether you are into biographies or not, you should read this book. Malala's heartbreaking and miraculous story is one that deserves to be heard by all. Her fight for women's right to education is truly inspiring.
6. "Into The Wild" by Jon Krakauer
I originally was unsure if I would like this book, but I absolutely loved it! Journalist Jon Krakauer tells the gripping true story of Chris McCandless' journey in giving away everything he owned and heading to the Alaskan wilderness to live off the land. McCandless' story is fascinating and tragic. If you are a Jack London fan you will love this book. (Bonus: The movie is great, and Eddie Vedder did the soundtrack!)
7. "Eleanor and Park" by Rainbow Rowell
I don't read very much young adult fiction these days, but this book is one that I would highly recommend to anyone. It is the total package: funny, sweet, romantic, and heartbreaking. You will absolutely love it.
8. "The Outsiders" by S.E. Hinton
Chances are you've read this in school or seen the movie. If you haven't read it, you need to go out and do so right now. If you have read it and have no interest in rereading it, try one of Hinton's sequels, That Was Then, This Is Now or Rumblefish.
*Disclaimer: Although these books take place after The Outsiders, they do not include the original characters and are not nearly as good.
9. "Gone Girl" by Gillian Flynn
If you are into mysteries, this book is for you. I can assure you that the plot is captivating, thrilling, and completely unpredictable. I was left guessing until the very end.
10. "Milk and Honey" by Rupi Kaur
This book is a little different than anything else on the list because it is a book of poetry. You've probably heard about it somewhere, or know someone who has Instagrammed it with a cup of coffee and an artsy caption. I just bought this book and let me assure you, it lives up to the hype. Plus, it is perfect for bookworms and non-readers alike.
11. "Jane Eyre" by Charlotte Bronte
This is the longest book on the list, but it is also the best in my humble opinion. The book's size may seem daunting at first but I promise you you won't be able to put it down. Adventure, love, heartache, and feminism- there's a reason it's a classic.