We know school's out but that doesn't mean our brains should be on permanent vacation mode, too. Fuel your mind and read the rest of summer away with these Chalk-approved titles (FYI, they make great beach or poolside companions, too!):
If you're looking for kilig, read: On the Fence by Kasie West
Being the only girl and the resident tomboy of the family, Charlie can outsmart any boy she knows, including her three brothers, her dad, and their neighbor—the honorary fourth brother, Braden. But when she starts to work in a clothing boutique in order to pay for a speeding ticket, she suddenly gets into all the "girly" stuff she wasn't paying any attention to before. Makeup, short skirts and even a new boy—Charlie becomes so confused about her "new reality" that she starts to confide in Braden, but then finds herself falling for him—hard. It may be a classic girl-falls-for-the-boy-next-door tale, but it's also a coming of age story with deeper moments that will touch your heart and make it flutter.
If you want to believe that #LoveWins, read: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
It's a poetic, almost-lyrical tale about family and finding friendship in a place where you least expect it. Aristotle Mendoza and Dante Quintana are not your typical boys—they don't watch television and instead exchange poetry and art and share stories only the two of them will understand. While both struggle with their inner battles, they soon discover that the one thing that can save them is already right in front of them—each other. When you're feeling down and you want to believe that all can still be right in the world, then read this book. You'll cry your eyes but with hopeful, happy tears, and you'll soon realize that there is no wrong kind of love, because love is just that—love.
If you're looking to push your boundaries, read: Slammed by Colleen Hoover
After her father's death, 18-year old Lake, along with her mother and 9-year old brother, moves from their house in Texas to live in Michigan, so her mom can take on a better job and provide for the family. There, Lake meets her enigmatic next door neighbour, 21-year old Will, and the two immediately hit it off—going on dates in a popular club where people perform slam poetry, and bonding over their mutual liking for it. Will and Lake's mutual attraction continue to intensify, but their relationship comes to a halt when Will's true nature is revealed. The push-and-pull of the main character's romance will hook you in, but it's the emotional roller coaster of the rest of the plot that will keep you turning the pages. Slammed will make you push your boundaries, and make you question whether you should always stick to the rules—especially when love is in the equation.
If you want a book that will challenge your mind, read: The Elephant Vanishes by Haruki Murakami
Prepare yourself, because this collection of short stories will absolutely blow your mind. Haruki Murakami presents simple premises then tackles it with profound ideologies. The Elephant Vanishes depicts different forms of hunger—the physical, emotional, intellectual and the internal void—and focuses on painful issues like loss, confusion, destruction and loneliness. It's not all heavy though–stories like On Seeing the 100% Perfect Girl One Beautiful April Morning will tug your heartstrings. And just like any of Murakami's books, this short story collection will draw you in, and you won't be able to put it down until you get to the last page.
If you want to remember your first love, read: Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen
This is a beautiful, innocent story about first loves at a young age, and realizing that love is not all about sweetness and roses. The people you love will disappoint you, break your heart and hurt you, but you will learn how to move past the pain. Juli and Bryce, the main characters of the story, will teach you that how you are on the outside doesn't matter; it's how you treat other people and how you are on the inside that does. And what if your first love doesn't like you back? That's okay, too. Life and love goes on and you'll find that sometimes, those two have a funny way of flipping things around.
So which books will you include on your next summer trip? Happy reading!
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