Kelsey's Summer Must Reads

By Kelsey Quin
Distinguished Young Woman of Indiana for 2011
Two things I LOVE: reading and summer. Summer is so close I can taste it; so why not put together a little summer reading list? Really, is there anything better than relaxing on a blanket in the middle of some green grass while the sun is shining down, and alternating between reading and napping? I don’t think so.

 Just a FEW books I have read and loved (in no particular order):

1.    Harry Potter series: seriously guys, if you haven’t read them yet you are SO FAR BEHIND! But they’re amazing books- and are great to reread about 100 times. This series follows a boy named Harry Potter who not only is a wizard, but a wizard who has a serious destiny to fulfill.

2.    The Hunger Games trilogy: again, you are behind if you haven’t read them yet. These are amazing action packed books with a nice helping of love story. Told from the point of view of Katniss, these books tell about a future world where the Capitol forces the people Panem (futuristic North America) to sacrifice their children to a game that forces them to fight to the death. Only Katniss is about to change everything.
3.    Water for Elephants: because I’m in the circus, I’ve read tons of books about circuses and loved them all. This is one that everyone can enjoy, focusing more on a story than history. The story follows a young man who loses everything and runs away with the circus; only it’s during the Great Depression, and he finds out that the circus is more intricate side than silly clowns and pink cotton candy.
4.    Atlas Shrugged: this is definitely not for those who enjoy a light read- its packed with tons of words in tiny print on numerous pages, but it’s also a thinker and requires deep thought. It’s an amazing story with a lot to teach. Who is John Galt? And what happens when the greatest minds in the world disappear, rather than continue to fight?
5.    The Shack: an absolutely amazing, inspirational story that will leave you feeling happy and blessed. A man loses his connection with God after his daughter is murdered in an old shack in the woods. Then, God invites him back to the same shack to talk with him. What happens in the shack changes him forever.
6.    The Luxe series: definitely a guilty pleasure. Full of betrayal, lies, and rumors. These books focus on a group of people in wealthy New York  in the late 1800s; back when everyone still wore giant, gorgeous gowns, attended balls, and rode around in horse drawn carriages. However, life is not as simple as it seems, and those pretty houses and dresses hide a lot more than you would believe.
7.    Sing me to Sleep: literally the saddest book I have ever read. Do NOT read unless you want to cry for a good hour or two. Her classmates have taunted Beth as long as she can remember; they call her the Beast, and let no day go by without telling her how ugly she is. Yet, Beth has a voice so beautiful people cry when they hear her sing. When her choir gets a chance to compete at Nationals, one of her fellow performers gives her an extreme makeover. Vulnerable, scared, and looking like a completely different person, Beth is exposed to her perfect Prince Charming. But watch out, because there isn’t a happy ending in store here.
8.    Need series: I won’t lie, I LOVE fantasy. Dragons, princesses and princes, wizards and magic, fairies- all of it. This series is about a girl who finds herself in a battle of fairies versus shift-changers (like werewolves, but they change into all kinds of animals). She falls in love with a werewolf, but then finds out she is part fairy. Can she save the world and maintain her relationship? Or will she find a new prince in an unexpected place? [Fourth book coming out this May!]
9.    Wings series: again, another fairy book. This one is completely different than all the other books I’ve read though. Laurel finds out she is a fairy, which means, she’s not a human, a mammal, or even an animal at all. She is an extremely developed plant. Trying to navigate between the human world she grew up in, with her boyfriend, family and friends, and the fairy world where she came from, is complicated. Even more complicated? There’s about to be a war, and she may be the only one who can help stop it. [Fourth book also coming out this May!]
10.     A Million Little Pieces: this book has received a lot of negative press because the author originally portrayed the book as a memoir, which isn’t true. However, the way the book is written, and the content are both extremely different than most books and extremely raw. WARNING: this book is NOT a happy, la-la-la, fairies and magic, book. It contains a lot of harsh stories, curse words, and references to drugs, alcohol, depression, etc. However, I think it’s still a great book for a lot of different reasons. It follows a man through rehab, as he tries to conquer a lot of inner demons. Followed up by My Friend Leonard, which is also a great book.
Sometimes, it pays off to find a good author and look into any and all of their books! Here are three great authors! All of their books are great!
1.    Jodi Picoult
2.    Nicholas Sparks
3.    Maeve Binchy (My FAVORITE is Circle of Friends!)I could give you a list of a thousand great books and series to read (Before I Fall, Paranormalcy, and on and on and on I could go), but I’ll refrain, as reading my list would take away from your time to actually read and enjoy your books! So, here’s a short list of some books I want to try to finish this summer; leave me a comment and tell me what books I need to add to my list!

1.    Under the Tuscan Sun
2.    Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (reading now!)
3.    Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet
4.    Still Alice
5.    Room

Leave me a comment and let me know if you need any new books to read- seriously, I could give you a thousand books to read this summer.
 
Kelsey Quin is a college freshman at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana majoring in General Health with a Pre-medicine concentration. Originally from Peru, Indiana, Kelsey was a participant in the Distinguished Young Women program and was selected as the Distinguished Young Woman of Indiana for 2011. Learn more about Kelsey here!

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