Today I'm happy to announce that Kate Harrison has dropped in, obviously she's a UKYA author but she's allowed to escape beyond that. In case you haven't heard of '#murderonthebeach' it's a twitter & blog event for James Dawnson's Cruel Summer and Kate Harrison's own Summer read, Soul Storm. I'll hand you over to the lovely Kate who I am really glad to have here today... It's a list of fantastic books!
Summer reads – two of my favourite words in the entire English language, and they work even better together! So stand by for a list of the best books to help your holiday take you further than you ever dreamed…
Except, I have a confession to make. For the last few months, my reading mojo has gone AWOL. So there’s a growing pile of the brilliant books on my bedside table, and a digital traffic jam idling on my Kindle.
I became a writer because I love to read – yet writing has kept me so busy this year that I haven’t felt like opening a book. What with finishing Soul Storm, writing stories including one for the Sunlounger anthology, and doing a diet book and a cook book, I’ve mainly been vegging out watching telly!
Well, enough already! I need to get back to books. So here are my top summer reads: ones I have read and want to recommend; ones I read when I was a teenager and want to read again; and some of the most tempting titles on my to-be-read pile. Do add your own suggestions!
I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith is a book writers often mention as a favourite. 17-year-old Cassandra writes to make sense of her eccentric family and her crazy life. It’s funny and bright and a perfect read for summer, winter, or any time.
The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13 and ¾ by Sue Townsend – poor Adrian. You wouldn’t wish his family on anyone, or his angst, or his spots, but reading about them is the best literary fun you can have. Great history lesson if you’ve ever wondered about the 80s – your parents will probably remember it all!
The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper – I’ve chosen this as a summer read because it really reminds me of holidays in Cornwall when I was a teenager. They kept me gripped on cloudy days, and I loved the huge themes and dark mood, and how the landscape was right in front of me as I read. This series focuses on mythology and a terrifying battle which puts the young hero right in the centre of the action.
I must apologise to Amy for these as they’re not all UK books. I guess I’ve been craving a little escapism…
Slated by Teri Terry: I know we’re meant to be ‘all over’ dystopia by now, but Slated is so much more than a book written to fit a trendy genre. The idea of having your past life wiped from your memory is terrifying – and as Kyla discovers, it’s never quite that simple. She’s a fantastic character, trying to stay out of trouble, when what she desperately wants is to find the truth. And there are two more books in the series!
Angel and Angel Fever by L. A Weatherly – I’m not always a fan of books featuring supernatural ideas, but these are just wonderful – so intense and thrilling and they feel very ‘real’. Best of all, the final part of the trilogy has just been published. Hoorah!
The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith – I met Jennifer last summer and loved the idea behind this book – that someone you meet on a ‘plane journey could change everything. Her heroine isn’t perfect but that makes her seem so real – and you will be rooting for her too.
Paper Towns by John Green –the first John Green I read, and I only stumbled across it on a Kindle offer, but I instantly fell for the super-smart writing, and the voice of the main character, as he’s led on a crazy road trip by a mysterious, irresistible next-door neighbour obsessed with towns that don’t even exist.
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein – I hate war movies featuring men in khaki, but I love stories of the resistance because women play their part, and I can imagine what I might do in their place. This adventure story set in the Second World War looks wonderful. I’ve heard nothing but great things about it.
Kiss Me First by Lottie Moggach seems to touch on some of the same themes as my Soul Beach trilogy, though with a really different premise – that a girl who plans to die hires someone to pretend to be her online when she’s gone. It’s intriguing and has had a lot of publicity, so I’m interested to find out exactly how it works out!
Ketchup Clouds by Annabel Pitcher – the author of the incredibly moving My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece has come up with another amazing sounding book, about the pen pal relationship between a British teenager with a secret and a prisoner on death row. I know it’ll be original and compelling and I can’t wait to lose myself in it!
Sunlounger anthology – OK, this is cheating as I have a story in here, involving muggers, books and Barcelona, but there are stories from 40 different authors, all set in different holiday locations. As I don’t yet have a holiday booked, this is the nearest I’ll be getting to an exotic getaway. Though, as I live in Brighton, I do have one of Britain’s most fun beaches to escape to…