Riot Headline 10 Exciting Books to Read this Summer

Sometimes You Need Dark And Sexy

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Jenn and special guest Nicole Young, of the Kidlit These Days podcast, discuss Robin Hood, rom-coms, novels about family drama, and more in this week’s episode of Get Booked.

This episode is sponsored by Book Riot Insiders, the digital hangout spot for the Book Riot community, The Midnight Lie by Marie Rutkoski, with Fierce Reads, and Lerner Books.

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1. Ladies,

I am sure this has been asked, but what would you compare to Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell? Susanna Clarke has a new book coming out this year and I need something to feed my fix until the big day arrives.

I loved the prose, the footnote fairy-tales, the characters, the historical fiction aspects… all good. so good.

What do you recommend?


2. One of the girls I nanny for (age 12) has a lot of difficulties. She has mood disorders that lead to difficulty expressing emotions appropriately, and so do her sister, and crucially her mother. As far as I can tell, (I don’t know him) her dad has severe anger management issues and her step dad is on his second family and not really interested in doing a lot of parenting.
It’s a difficult situation for anyone to manage, but I particularly feel for her as she enters her teens and deals with all the instability and mood swings that brings.
I would really like to push her toward some coming-of-age books dealing with handling irrational people who nevertheless have power over you; but I would also love something not too on the nose— my sense is that if she sees herself and her life too closely reflected she will distance herself reflexively so I am hoping for something a bit fantastical. She loves Percy Jackson and, weirdly, Walter Isaacson’s biography of Albert Einstein.
As a bonus, she’s a little obsessed with money as a marker of status right now since money has been the only constant factor in her life. If you can find anything with a bit of a Paper Bag Princess element to it, I would love to be able to discuss that with her.


3. Hi ladies!
First I just wanted to say I love your podcast! Your enthusiasm for books is so delightful to listen to, I look forward to every new episode!
Onto my question:
Somehow I missed learning about the Robin Hood story growing up. The only version of the story I am familiar with is the disney version which I know is not the full story (obviously with the talking animals and whatnot)
Anyway, I’d like to find a book that tells that story. I know there’s a lot out there that debates on if the story is even true or not, but I’m looking to read the story that everyone seems to know except me. I don’t care if it’s a fictionalized or a more academic book, or even if it’s for children or adults. I’ve tried to read a few retellings, but they seem to assume that the reader is already familiar with the tale, or with the politics of the time, which I don’t know anything about either.
Do you know a good starting point for this well loved story?
Thank you!

4. Hello, hello! I am looking for books that give me what I think of as a 90s-rom-com type feel. Usually these are adult books that have a romance story line, but aren’t overly steamy; feature a few quirky friends; and most importantly have some humor. Examples include: Bridget Jones’s Diary (of course); Rainbow Rowell’s and Meg Cabot’s adult books; and the Walsh family series by Marian Keyes. Diversity is always a plus. Thank you!

5. Hi! I’m normally a big reader of fantasy (Night Circus, Little Big, The Magicians) or things set in the Victorian era (The Fair Fight, Misfortune, The Crimson Petal and the White.) My book choosing Mojo seems to be off lately so I’m wanting to try something totally new.

Would you be able to recommend any books similar to movies such as Dan in Real Life, This is Where I Leave You (I know it’s a book, but I saw the movie first), etc? I’ve recently realized a pattern in my life of loving modern family dramas, especially when it’s a family coming together for a life event such as in these films. Realism is great, but elements of the fantastical and the weird are totally fine as well.

Can’t wait to hear!


6. Last summer I read the book the Selection and loved it. I then read all of the sequels and Kiera Cass’ other book. I am now in the market for similar books. I loved the combination of royalty, romantic comedy, and reality TV type dating competition. I’ve also read the Glittering court books, the red queen, the jewel, , and the lunar chronicles. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I love the show.

7. I’m going through a stressful time right now and have totally stopped reading books. However what I am reading is a lot of slash fanfiction! I am looking for books that give me some of the same feels as I edge my way back to reading actual books. I don’t read much adult romance but I love YA romance like Becky Albertalli, Mackenzi Lee and Rainbow Rowell. Can you recommend me something easy going and fairly fluffy? LGBT rep not essential but preferred 🙂


Books Discussed

Confessions of the Fox by Jordy Rosenberg (tw: transphobia and/or fetishization, racism)

Wintersong & Shadowsong by S. Jae Jones (tw: self-harm)

45 Pounds (More or Less) by K.A. Barson (tw: fatphobia)

The Outlaws of Sherwood by Robin McKinley

Lady of the Forest by Jennifer Roberson

Outlaw: The Legend of Robin Hood by Tony Lee, illustrated by Sam Hart and Artur Fujita

Sofia Khan is Not Obliged by Ayisha Malik (tw: racial harassment, fatphobia)

The Proposal or Royal Holiday by Jasmine Guillory

All This Could Be Yours by Jami Attenberg (tw: domestic violence)

The Yellow House by Sarah M. Broom

Tracked by Jenny Martin

The Matchmaker’s List by Sonya Lalli

Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Kann (tw: ace-phobia, sexual harassment)

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han