Last summer I posted a summer book review and I found it one of my favourite posts to write so I’m back with new edition for 2018. So, if you’re looking for some ideas of books to read this summer you have come to the right place! Here are 6 of my favourite books that I have read recently that I really recommend you read too! 😊
HERE’S TO YOU RACHEL ROBINSON by Judy Blume
I really love Judy Blume’s books! Even though most were written nearly 40 years ago, they are still very relevant for today. The only real changes have been the introduction of the internet and mobile phones, but many of the issues teens face are still pretty much the same, such as friendship problems, puberty, acne, embarrassing braces, awkwardness, first love and many more.
This book is the sequel to ‘Just as Long as We’re Together’ which I absolutely loved and is one of my most favourite Judy Blume books (and not just because it’s pastel blue with a cupcake on the cover of course)! This book instead follows the life of Stephanie’s best friend Rachel which is cool to see the perspective of one the other characters from the original.
Rachel is a straight-A student and a gifted musician which of course puts a lot of pressure on her to be perfect all the time. Her infuriating and troublesome older brother Charles has just been suspended again from boarding schools who her friends find dreamy! Rachel natural talents mean she ends up in a higher-grade Math class with the coolest boy in ninth grade: Jeremy Dragon!
FINDING AUDREY by Sophie Kinsella
I think I first saw this book in one of Zoella’s monthly favourites videos and it sounded so interesting I had to preorder the paperback straight away! This is Sophie Kinsella first YA novel, but I knew she was a good author as my mum had read some of her Shopaholic series.
Audrey suffers from severe anxiety and panic attacks after an event at school earlier in the year. Everyone has anxiety to some degree, it’s part of being human, but the degree of this varies from person to person, fight or flight is a natural response to a perceived danger. Personally, I’m often told that I overthink things to much, which I guess is true – I can’t help it – and that means I notice a LOT of things to be scared of so my anxiety can get quite bad a lot of the time. So I found this book helped me realise that I’m not the only one, it also taught me than there will be bad days and times when the anxiety feels worse than ever when you thought you were getting better, as long as the trend on your graph is heading in the right direction it is totally normal and it fine to not be ok all of the time.
I love that although one of the main themes of the book is anxiety it did not make me feel anxious to read it, it is full of a lot of humour and heartwarming moments. One of the key themes is love, within the family and the new love between Audrey and Linus (her brother’s friend) who tries his best to help her through her anxiety, starting with little notes so they wouldn’t have to actually talk and eventually to a local Starbucks, which may sound small but Audrey’s anxiety meant that she hadn’t really left the house very much recently, I feel I can really relate to this as there have been times where just stepping outside the front door has been so terrifying I’ve frozen to the spot.
I really like the style of this book with film transcripts, changes of fonts for when the characters are speaking through handwritten notes or for the inclusion of the Audrey’s mum read and little illustrations such as the graph. I think everyone should read this book, it’s perfect to help you understand your own anxiety or what others are going through to try and help them with their recovery as best we can.
DASH AND LILY’S BOOK OF DARES by David Leviathan & Rachel Cohn
I read the sequel ‘The Twelve Days of Dash & Lily’ when it was part of the Zoella Book Club a couple of years ago and I was interested to find out how Dash and Lily met a year earlier.
This book is written in the same style as the sequel, switching between the perspectives of Dash and Lily in each new chapter. I think this style is the perfect match for this story.
Lily leaves a red notebook with a dare inside on a shelf of her favourite bookshop. It turns out that this is also Dash’s favourite bookshop and the second he spies the notebook he is curious and excited for the challenge. Over the course the story Dash and Lily pass the notebook backward and forward, sending each other on a scavenger hunt across Manhattan, and without realising learning more about each out. They seem perfect on paper but deciding to meet could be their biggest dare (now if you’re like me and you’ve accidentally read the sequel first without realising you know it must work out). The ending is super sweet and it’s interesting finding out more about the backstory of the characters.
A MOST IMPROPER MAGICK by Stephanie Burgis
I bought this series a while ago and I wasn’t sure about it at first as I don’t normally read books set in the past or about magic! I also have this thing where I feel that a book won’t be as good if it has a gloss cover rather than matte – I really don’t know why? – but you seriously shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover because I ended up really enjoying this book and I can’t wait to read the rest of the series!
The book is set in England in 1803, Kat is trying her best to stop her older sister Elissa from marrying the evil Sir Neville (who is rumoured to have murdered his previous wife!), to clear the family’s debts caused by their stepbrother Charles’ gambling problem. Kat is intrigued to find out more about her mother’s magic past as she finds her magic books hidden under her sister Angeline’s bed which were supposed to be locked away as ordered by their stepmother. Kat is shocked to learn that her mother was both a witch and a Guardian and that she the true heir of her guardian powers!
This book is full of twists and turns and hilarious drama such as the mystery of the highwayman or when Angeline casts a spell to find her true love causing her to be suddenly followed everywhere by Mr Carlyle!
BORN TO DANCE by Jean Ure
I just finished reading this book and I knew straight away that I needed to add it my review! I have loved ballet since I was very young, and I still really wish I’d continued lessons longer. I found the trilogy on sale on Book People for only £5.99 for all three books which was such a great deal!
The story begins at the beginning of term when Maddy, Livi and Jordan over the banister to see who the new girls are. The second Maddy saw Caitlyn she knew she was also a dancer, it just took her a while to admit it, you see Caitlyn’s mum couldn’t afford ballet lessons, so Caitlyn had been teaching herself in secret! When Maddy finds Caitlyn practising pirouettes in the gym before school she decides to help her train to find out more about her story.
As much as she has learnt from her mum who is a ballerina and a dance teacher, Maddy knows that her help won’t be enough, and she can’t bear to see Caitlyn’s natural talent wasted so she hatches a plan to get her mum to notice Caitlyn in the hope that she could get a scholarship or at least some professional lessons before it’s too late.
I really enjoyed reading this book, it was so hard to put down! If you love ballet, you’ll love this series! I love the comedy between Maddy and her older brother Sean, and you can help but hope that Caitlyn overcomes her fears and achieves her ballet dreams as you read on through the book!
STRICTLY SHIMMER by Amanda Roberts
Ok so everyone who knows me knows that I am a massive Strictly Come Dancing fan so when I spotted this book in The Works I was really excited and just had to get it! But I put off reading it for quite a while as I guess I was worried it wouldn’t live up to my expectations but when I finally read it a couple of months ago and found it’s such a great book!
The book tells the story of Amanda who has just started working on the new series as a production runner – I loved getting an inside look into the backstage workings of the show, I was so excited to turn the page! The book was written in 2011, whilst the show was still being filmed at Television Centre in White City which I found really interesting as I went on a school trip there whilst I was in primary school, so it was easier to imagine and picture the different scenes in the story.
On her first day Amanda bumps into a ‘Wall-of-Man-Chest’ who she later finds of is Lars, one of the new professional dancers, who she ends up having a mega crush on – to Amanda he seems to be the perfect guy and the only one who understands her love of dance – but this causes some serious tension within her office as her work partner Matt can’t bear to see Amanda get hurt as it turns out Lars actually had a secret girlfriend all along!
This book is full of drama and of course dance! My favourite parts are the little cameos from and a bit of a throwback to the real Strictly dancers, such as James and Ola, and Vincent and Flavia! I can’t wait to find out what happens next with Amanda and Matt, in the back of the book it advertises a sequel called Strictly Glitter, but I just can’t seem to find it anywhere, but I hope to one day!
Comment below if you have read any of these books before and whether you enjoyed them or what books you would recommend. Also let me know if you would like me to do more book reviews!
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Emily M x