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2022 Summer Reading Recommendations From Our Friends At Wellesley Books

With summer approaching, it is the perfect time to select some books to read on the beach or on the porch with a tall glass of lemonade. With the volume of homework you manage all year it can be hard to find time to read for pleasure. Remember the joy you get from reading a riveting story and not wanting to put it down? Our friends at Wellesley Books offer recommendations in a range of genres to ease you into summer!

Family of Liars by E. Lockhart (thriller, suspense) 
 
The thrilling prequel to Were Liars takes readers back to the story of another summer, another generation, and the secrets that will haunt them for decades to come.

A windswept private island off the coast of Massachusetts. 
A hungry ocean, churning with secrets and sorrow.
A fiery, addicted heiress. An irresistible, unpredictable boy. 
A summer of unforgivable betrayal and terrible mistakes.
 
Welcome back to the Sinclair family. 
They were always liars.
 
 
Bravely by Maggie Stiefvater (fairytales/folklore) 

What if you had one year to save everything you loved? Merida of DunBroch needs a change. She loves her family, but is frustrated by its sluggishness; each day, the same. Merida longs for adventure, purpose, and a challenge.  But she never expects her disquiet to manifest by way of Feradach, an uncanny supernatural being tasked with rooting out rot and stagnation, who appears in DunBroch on Christmas Eve with the intent to demolish the realm – and everyone within. Only the intervention of the Cailleach, an ancient entity of creation, gives Merida a shred of hope: convince her family to change within the year – or suffer the eternal consequences.  Under the watchful eyes of the gods, Merida leads a series of epic journeys to kingdoms near and far in an attempt to inspire revolution within her family. But in her efforts to save those she loves from ruin, has Merida lost sight of the Clan member grown most stagnant of all – herself?


 
Ballad and Dagger by Daniel Older (fantasy/contemporary)
 
Almost sixteen years ago, Mateo Matisse’s island homeland disappeared into the sea. Weary and hopeless, the survivors of San Madrigal’s sinking escaped to New York.

While the rest of his tight-knit Brooklyn diaspora community dreams of someday finding a way back home, Mateo is focused on one thing: getting the attention of locally-grown musical legend Gerval. Mateo finally gets his chance on the night of the Grand Fete, an annual party celebrating the blended culture of pirates, Cuban Santeros, and Sephardic Jews that created San Madrigal all those centuries ago.

But the evil that sank their island has finally caught up with them, and on the night of the celebration, Mateo’s life is forever changed when he witnesses a brutal murder by a person he thought he knew.

Suddenly Mateo is thrust into an ancient battle that spans years and oceans. Deadly secrets are unraveled and Mateo awakens a power within himself–a power that not only links him to the killer but could also hold the key to unlocking the dark mystery behind his lost homeland.
 
 
 
I Kissed Shara Wheeler by Casey McQuiston (romance/LGBTQ+)

A recommendation from bookseller Lucy: Vibrant, twisty, and entertaining as hell, I Kissed Shara Wheeler is the ensemble rom com/mystery you didn’t know you needed! McQuiston’s gifts for writing compulsively readable prose, lovable queer found families, and simmering romantic tension are all on display in this YA debut from the beloved romance author. With a mystery reminiscent of Paper Towns, or a less dark Pretty Little Liars, and a romance that feels a little like if Killing Eve was about rivals for high school valedictorian , I Kissed Shara Wheeler introduces a cast of irresistibly flawed teens trying to find their way amidst the various pressures of a strict Evangelical school and an insular small town. As delightfully queer and irrepressibly hopeful as we have come to expect from Casey McQuiston!
 
 
Squire by Sara Alfageeh and Nadia Shammas (comics/graphic novels)
 
I breathed this book in. I wanted to live in the world so lovingly crafted by Alfageeh and Shammas. I wanted to learn to fight next to Aiza, to study with Husni, train with Sahar, learn from Basem and Doruk. Squire is immersive and compelling from the very beginning; I couldn’t put it down. The sumptuous colors felt textural, like I could reach out and touch the course stone, or the softness of the clothes each character wears. A Middle Eastern fantasy, Squire touches on colonialism, identity, exploration, coming-of-age, found family, friendship, and nationalism. How do you continue to chase a dream when the dream reveals it’s true colors? This one is going in my top favorites of the year, easily.
 
 
All My Rage by Sabaa Tahir (prejudice/racism) 
 
The last act had me reading through tears, and the last page had me weeping. An emotional gem of a book, Tahir is a masterful storyteller who holds such compassion for the youth she writes for and about. She holds multiple truths in her hands, showing that rage and grief and laughter and terrible mistakes can all exist together. All My Rage is a survival story, a hopeful story, a violent story, an empathetic story. The stories of Noor and Salahudin and the generations before them from their small California town to their parents’ homes in Pakistan will weave themselves into your heart with all their beautiful angry edges.
 
 
Little Thieves by Margaret Owen (fantasy/humor)
 
Vanja wants just one thing.
She wants enough money to escape the life of servitude her godmothers, Death and Fortune have promised her. She has stolen many things, jewelry, clothes, money, and the identity of her former lady, the Princess Gisele. Cursed by a low god, Vanja only has a fortnight to return what she’s stolen before the jewels growing on her body will take over and kill her. Add in a looming wedding, another plot to kill her, a kind, nerdy prefect who knows more than he wants to let on, the daughter of the low god watching her every move, and the princess she left behind in the dirt, Vanja will claw her way out by any means necessary. A lifetime of isolation, Vanja knows that she’s the only person she can count on.
Perfect for fans of Six of Crows, this Bavarian-inspired fantasy is a delightful adventure with found family, thrilling mysteries, and is full of heart. Maybe Vanja wants more than one thing, after all
 
 
Beautiful Country, Qian Julie Wang (personal memoirs) 
 
A critical addition to the literary memoir canon. Beautiful Country follows Qian Julie Wang, aged 7, from Shijiazhuang, China to New York City in 1994. There her mother works in sweatshops in Chinatown, her father works under the table at a law office, and Wang attends public school, feeling separated from her classmates, unable to speak English, and unable to disclose the reality of her home life. Like a certain plucky Roald Dahl character, she finds solace at her local public library as she learns to read, getting lost in the worlds of characters who lead lives differently than her own. Joy and hope tie up with overwhelming stresses.
Wang’s clear, emotionally charged storytelling takes us through her childhood with such care and tenderness towards her family. Qian Julie’s story is not new to the United States, but it’s one that is rarely heard above the other myriad voices. You won’t want to miss this one.

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