Your Summer 2020 Book Bucket List
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Your Summer 2020 Book Bucket List

Summer reading isn't only for kids, right? Here are 10 must-haves on your book bucket list this summer.

Your Summer 2020 Book Bucket List

As we near the end of spring quarantine and dive in to the beginning of summer, it feels as if we've already lived two months of summer. While many of us still work from home or do classes online, sometimes we still can't help but feel like summer has already started. I mean working out, swimming, spending time outside—I swear I haven't seen this many people outside being active since summer last year. And summer has realistically barely even started! With this comes the occasional summer boredom, except we've already been living that for the past month or so in quarantine. As the weather gets warmer and the grass dries up so we will continue to enter the drought season. Not just the social drought with social distancing, but more specifically, a book drought. From the beginning of the quarantine and into this summer I've finally found the time to sit down and enjoy a good book. Books have been flying off of Amazon, and with that my bank account has entered a drought as well.

Now, I get it. Some of us just don't turn to reading books during our summers due to our scarring childhood experiences in summer reading. But thankfully, unlike those students, you actually have the power and choice that will allow you to enjoy it. We aren't young school-kids anymore, we don't have to analyze the text or annotate it and we can choose with freedom what interests us and what we want to read. I mean feel it: that summer sun sinking in as you enjoy a drink by a pool or in a hammock, diving in to the sun-warmed pages in your hand that will take you on a visual vacation. It's like a vacation on a vacation, right? No essays to write, no forcing yourself to understand every aspect of the book. The book is just a story to enjoy. There are few challenges except finding the right book to read and sitting down to read it. And if you're stressed about finding a good book, relax. I've got you. All you have to do is read below. No scouring the internet or the bookstore for your perfect prince-charming of a book, because I've got 10 right here. So dive in and enjoy.

"Educated" by Tara Westover

I know what you're thinking, a memoir? Really? But seriously, this is one of the best books I've ever read. It reads like a true story, keeping you shocked and intrigued on every page.

Amazon Book Description:
"Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, Tara Westover was seventeen the first time she set foot in a classroom. Her family was so isolated from mainstream society that there was no one to ensure the children received an education, and no one to intervene when one of Tara's older brothers became violent. When another brother got himself into college, Tara decided to try a new kind of life. Her quest for knowledge transformed her, taking her over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge University. Only then would she wonder if she'd traveled too far, if there was still a way home."

"All the Light We Cannot See" by Anthony Doerr


Yes, historical fiction can be a bit daunting, but this is hands down one of my favorite books I've ever read. It can be a bit of a slow read, but is written so beautifully and the storyline is so well crafted that it is so worth it.

Amazon Book Description:
"Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where he works as the master of its thousands of locks. When she is six, Marie-Laure goes blind and her father builds a perfect miniature of their neighborhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home. When she is 12, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure's reclusive great-uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum's most valuable and dangerous jewel.
In a mining town in Germany, the orphan Werner grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments, a talent that wins him a place at a brutal academy for Hitler Youth, then a special assignment to track the resistance. More and more aware of the human cost of his intelligence, Werner travels through the heart of the war and, finally, into Saint-Malo, where his story and Marie-Laure's converge."

"Everybody, Always" by Bob Goff

For individuals wanting a good self-help and ways to deepen their understanding and relationship with God this is an incredible book. Bob Goff is a well-known Christian author whose way of storytelling creates a genuine interest while generating understanding and new perspectives on God's love.

Amazon Book Description:
"In his entertaining and inspiring follow-up to Love Does, Bob Goff takes listeners on a journey into the secret of living without fear, constraint, or worry. This liberated existence we all long for is as simple to say as it is difficult to do: We are called to love everybody, always – even when it's really difficult.
Driven by Bob's trademark storytelling, Everybody, Always reveals the lessons Bob learned - often the hard way - about what it means to love without inhibition, insecurity, or restriction. From finding the right friends to discovering the upside of failure, Everybody, Always points the way to embodying love by doing the unexpected, the intimidating, the seemingly impossible. Whether losing his shoes while skydiving solo or befriending a Ugandan witch doctor, Bob steps into life with a no-limits embrace of others that is as infectious as it is extraordinarily ordinary. Everybody, Always reveals how we can do the same."

"Where The Crawdads Sing" by Delia Owens

Not only can you find this book on Reese Witherspoon's book club list, but it is becoming quite popular around the U.S. as I have seen it on many bookshelves across many stores. Recommended to me by a friend, this book tells an incredibly detailed and beautifully visual story of a young woman's life on the abandoned marsh. Delia Owens creates a beautiful depiction of nature that often goes unappreciated, telling the carefully woven story about the past and the human need for connection and relationships.

Amazon Book Description:
"For years, rumors of the "Marsh Girl" have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life - until the unthinkable happens.
Where the Crawdads Sing is at once an exquisite ode to the natural world, a heartbreaking coming-of-age story, and a surprising tale of possible murder. Owens reminds us that we are forever shaped by the children we once were, and that we are all subject to the beautiful and violent secrets that nature keeps."

"Sharp Objects" by Gillian Flynn

While I have yet to read this book it has been highly recommended to me from many others, which is why this book has made its way on to my summer bucket list. After hearing rave reviews of "Gone Girl", another hit book by this author, this story seems equally as compelling and gripping. Not only this, but it is soon to be made into a new hit HBO series to follow along with.

Amazon Book Description:
"Fresh from a brief stay at a psych hospital, reporter Camille Preaker faces a troubling assignment: She must return to her tiny hometown to cover the murders of two preteen girls. For years, Camille has hardly spoken to her neurotic, hypochondriac mother or to the half-sister she barely knows: a beautiful 13-year-old with an eerie grip on the town. Now, installed in her old bedroom in her family's Victorian mansion, Camille finds herself identifying with the young victims - a bit too strongly. Dogged by her own demons, she must unravel the psychological puzzle of her own past if she wants to get the story - and survive this homecoming."

"All American Boys" by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely

For fans of Young Adult literature, this book is for you. Again I have yet to read it, but it is was an optional reading in one of my classes this past semester (of course, I opted not read it but I wish I had). This book is geared towards younger individuals as it is told from the perspective of high school students; however, it opens up a modern discussion and understanding of intense topics like ongoing violence and racism that are equally still as prevalent today.

Amazon Book Description:
"In an unforgettable new novel from award-winning authors Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely, two teens - one black, one white - grapple with the repercussions of a single violent act that leaves their school, their community, and ultimately the country bitterly divided by racial tension.
A bag of chips. That's all 16-year-old Rashad is looking for at the corner bodega. What he finds instead is a fist-happy cop, Paul Galluzzo, who mistakes Rashad for a shoplifter, mistakes Rashad's pleadings that he's stolen nothing for belligerence, mistakes Rashad's resistance to leave the bodega as resisting arrest, mistakes Rashad's every flinch at every punch the cop throws as further resistance and refusal to STAY STILL as ordered. But how can you stay still when someone is pounding your face into the concrete pavement?
But there were witnesses: Quinn Collins - a varsity basketball player and Rashad's classmate who has been raised by Paul since his own father died in Afghanistan - and a video camera. Soon the beating is all over the news, and Paul is getting threatened with accusations of prejudice and racial brutality. Quinn refuses to believe that the man who has basically been his savior could possibly be guilty. But then Rashad is absent. And absent again. And again. And the basketball team - half of whom are Rashad's best friends - start to take sides. As does the school. And the town. Simmering tensions threaten to explode as Rashad and Quinn are forced to face decisions and consequences they had never considered before.

"Far From The Tree" by Robin Benway

Again geared towards Young Adult readers, this book was hard for me to put down from start to finish. Told from the interchanging perspectives and lives from three siblings separated by the foster system at birth, this book creatively introduces topics like the foster system, adoption, race, and more. Each sibling has their own separate story to tell in this book, each having a voice while creating a larger story in which all of them are connected. Robin Benway highlights the bond of family through the telling of the story of three siblings separated through the foster care and across time, creating a story that ruminates with the reader.

Amazon Book Description:
"Being the middle child has its ups and downs.But for Grace, an only child who was adopted at birth, discovering that she is a middle child is a different ride altogether. After putting her own baby up for adoption, she goes looking for her biological family, including—
Maya, her loudmouthed younger bio sister, who has a lot to say about their newfound family ties. Having grown up the snarky brunette in a house full of chipper redheads, she's quick to search for traces of herself among these not-quite-strangers. And when her adopted family's long-buried problems begin to explode to the surface, Maya can't help but wonder where exactly it is that she belongs.
And Joaquin, their stoic older bio brother, who has no interest in bonding over their shared biological mother. After seventeen years in the foster care system, he's learned that there are no heroes, and secrets and fears are best kept close to the vest, where they can't hurt anyone but him. Don't miss this moving novel that addresses such important topics as adoption, teen pregnancy, and foster care."

"Big Little Lies" by Liane Moriarty

I have yet to read this, but I have recently got hooked on and binged the HBO series take on this book. Even better is that you can do both this summer--read and watch! If the book is anything like the tv series, this serious yet unstoppable storyline you won't be able to put down. There are enough lies to go around for everyone.

Amazon Book Description:
"From the author of Nine Perfect Strangers, Truly Madly Guilty, and The Husband's Secret comes the number-one New York Times best-selling novel about the dangerous little lies we tell ourselves just to survive.
A murder.... A tragic accident.... Or just parents behaving badly? What's indisputable is that someone is dead.
Madeline is a force to be reckoned with. She's funny, biting, and passionate; she remembers everything and forgives no one. Celeste is the kind of beautiful woman who makes the world stop and stare, but she is paying a price for the illusion of perfection. New to town, single mom Jane is so young that another mother mistakes her for a nanny. She comes with a mysterious past and a sadness beyond her years. These three women are at different crossroads, but they will all wind up in the same shocking place.
Big Little Lies is a brilliant take on ex-husbands and second wives, mothers and daughters, schoolyard scandal, and the little lies that can turn lethal."

"We Were Liars" by E. Lockhart

Young Adult literature fans will love this book. Highly recommended to me by a friend, this book I've been told has a compelling storyline with an even more unforgettable and shocking ending. Although I have yet to pick up this book, who wouldn't love a surprise ending with an air of mystery? For fans of mystery and drama similar to Big Little Lies but on a lesser, more young-adult-scale this seems to be the perfect book for you.

Amazon Book Description:
"A beautiful and distinguished family.A private island.A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.A revolution. An accident. A secret.Lies upon lies.True love.The truth. We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from New York Times bestselling author, National Book Award finalist, and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart. Read it.And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE."

"American Dirt" by Jeanine Cummins

This book has been the center of some much-heated criticism and has sparked many a debate recently in the literary world regarding right to authorship. A front-runner on Oprah's Book Club Picks, this book has created controversy over the idea that unless an author has experienced the culture, experience or topic themselves, they can't accurately write about it for fear of telling a single story or stereotype. You may have heard of the #OwnVoices movement. However, in hearing about this debate and both sides in my multicultural education classes this past semester, I would like to pick up this book to be able to further understand and educate myself on the argument further. While many have given it rave reviews on the writing style and storyline calling "A New American Classic", others have spoken out against this book. Either way it seems like an intriguing book I won't be able to put down regarding not only the story itself but also its place in the modern media and movement.

Amazon Book Description:
"Lydia Quixano Pérez lives in the Mexican city of Acapulco. She runs a bookstore. She has a son, Luca, the love of her life, and a wonderful husband who is a journalist. And while there are cracks beginning to show in Acapulco because of the drug cartels, her life is, by and large, fairly comfortable.
Even though she knows they'll never sell, Lydia stocks some of her all-time favorite books in her store. And then one day a man enters the shop to browse and comes up to the register with a few books he would like to buy—two of them her favorites. Javier is erudite. He is charming. And, unbeknownst to Lydia, he is the jefe of the newest drug cartel that has gruesomely taken over the city. When Lydia's husband's tell-all profile of Javier is published, none of their lives will ever be the same.
Forced to flee, Lydia and eight-year-old Luca soon find themselves miles and worlds away from their comfortable middle-class existence. Instantly transformed into migrants, Lydia and Luca ride la bestia—trains that make their way north toward the United States, which is the only place Javier's reach doesn't extend. As they join the countless people trying to reach el norte, Lydia soon sees that everyone is running from something. But what exactly are they running to?
American Dirt will leave readers utterly changed. It is a literary achievement filled with poignancy, drama, and humanity on every page. It is one of the most important books for our times."

Check out all these books on or find them at your local bookstore. I hope this gave you some ideas for your summer reading and hope to hear all your reviews and recommendations!

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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