Riot Headline 10 Exciting Books to Read this Summer

Are You Sure This is YA? A Lot of People Die

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Amanda and guest Mya Nunnally discuss mermaid literature, engrossing audiobooks, and more in this week’s episode of Get Booked.

This episode is sponsored by TBR , Smoke and Summons by Charlie N. Holmberg, and Lola.

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1. I teach 9th grade Honors English in Texas and am looking for a title to add to my novel unit for the spring semester. I currently have my classes choose between The Book Thief, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, and Ender’s Game.  Ultimately I would like to find a book that hits a different level of interest for 15-16 year-olds, and can provide insight into a social issues research project that will close our unit. Preferably a book that is relatively similar in length to the other titles.

Love your podcast and thanks in advance for your input,



2. I am looking for fiction for my wife, who is a huge fan of heist movies, soap opera-levels of drama, and sexually liberated female protagonists. She doesn’t read fiction for the most part, but her favorite media include Ocean’s 8, Ms. Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, and the Netflix show Cable Girls. Her academic specialization is refugee studies and the Middle East, so if there are any recommendations that take feature either, that would be fantastic. Thank you for your assistance in my overly narrow search.



3. A few years ago, I bought a copy of Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan, brought it home, and placed it on the bookshelf in my bedroom. Much to my surprise, when I was trying to go to sleep that night, I realized it glows. (By the way, this book made it off my TBR list in record time because the glowing cover made it really difficult to ignore!)

Maybe a year later, I came across Radioactive by Lauren Redniss, which is a visual biography of Marie and Pierre Curie. This book also glows.

Ever since then, I have been on the lookout for more books that glow, but have been unsuccessful. I had high hopes for The Radium Girls by Kate Moore, but much to my disappointment, it does not. Do you know of any books that fit the bill?

I know this may be difficult, so in lieu of a luminescent read, I would also accept a book in which the reading experience goes beyond just words on the page. I’m thinking something along the lines of the “Miss Peregrine” series by Ransom Riggs which was inspired by old photographs and includes those photographs in the print edition. Another example is Echo by Pam Muñoz Ryan which encompasses multiple stories, including a fairytale. The fairytale pages are formatted differently than the rest of the book, music is woven throughout the book, and actual harmonica music is included at the beginning of each section. House of Leaves seems like it would work, but I’m a total scaredy cat and horror books are just not my thing.

I like most genres (except horror), but tend to gravitate towards fantasy, historical fiction, and science nonfiction.

Thanks for your help!



4. Hi Amanda and Jenn! I travel from NC to TN at least once a month and it’s eight hours both ways. I usually download an audiobook that’s either 8 hrs or a little more or 16 hrs so I can read one or two going to and from. I download from my Libby app to dull the boredom and lately, I’ve been listening to what seems like the same book over and over again. I recently listened to The Other Woman by Sandie Jones followed by The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins (I know I was late to that one). I’m just really not digging this rut of sad female English main characters in abusive relationships because it makes for a depressing drive! I think Amanda was the one who said she only listens to nonfiction on audio, and I’m okay with that (recently also listened to Hidden Figures & I’ll Be Gone In The Dark on audio as well) but it would have to be super engaging. Basically I just want a fun audiobook that has the potential to make me laugh out loud. Other audiobooks included YA reads like The Hate U Give; The Fault in Our Stars; Will Grayson, Will Grayson; The Cruel Prince. DNFed Fates and Furies because I’m weird about audiobook narrator voices. I’m interested in some fantasy/sci-fi if possible. My latest pick for this weekend is Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. I’ll take Audible reads but will be sad because I’m a poor library science grad student.



5. Hi! I’m trying to find some books for my 8 year old who reads at a 5th grade level. Most books in her age range bore her and trying to find more advanced books is tricky as she IS 8 so sometimes the subject matter can get a bit dicey. She really loves fantasy (HUGE Harry Potter fan!). She has specifically asked for books that are really thick and will take her awhile to read. Series books are a plus as she loves to really immerse herself in these characters and worlds. Thanks for your help!



6. Hi! I’m looking for read-a-likes of some favorite books but by authors of color. I don’t have a specific genre in mind that I’m requesting, so here’s a list of some favorites to give a sense of what I like, and you can choose your own adventure: Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye, The Rook by Daniel O’Malley, the Sevenwaters series by Juliet Marillier, the Lady Astronaut series by Mary Robinette Kowal, and the Murderbot series by Martha Wells.



7. Hi, I’m sure you’ve gotten questions about mermaid books before, but I’m hoping specifically for recommendations that are not YA but more literary with mermaid themes. I’ve loved books like Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock, or Alice Hoffman’s The Museum of Extraordinary Things. I’m a huge fan of Hoffman’s writing style even though (spoiler alert!) there was no real mermaid in the novel. I don’t necessarily need a romance element to enjoy the story, but it seems like all that’s out there is teen romance YA which is just not quite what I’m craving. If you have any recommendations at all for a richer, possibly mysterious read, I’d love to hear about it!! Thank you so much



Books Discussed

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

The Disturbed Girl’s Dictionary by NoNieqa Ramos

One Good Earl Deserves a Lover by Sarah MacLean

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

S by JJ Abrams and Doug Dorst

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Bad Blood by John Carreyrou

Dread Nation by Justina Ireland

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor

Zero Sum Game by S.L Huang

The Black God’s Drums by P. Djèlí Clark

The Merman by Carl-Johan Vallgren (TW abuse of children and animals)

The Mermaid by Christina Henry