Riot Headline 10 Exciting Books to Read this Summer

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Amanda and Jenn discuss middle-grade read-alouds, atmospheric novels, snarky narrators, and more in this week’s episode of Get Booked.

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Dare to Disappoint: Growing Up in Turkey by Özge Samanci (rec’d by Jan)

Notes on a Foreign Country: An American Abroad in a Post-American World by Suzy Hansen (rec’d by Sibyl)

Anthony Horowitz’s the Susan Ryeland series (first book: Magpie Murders) and the Hawthorne and Horowitz Mysteries (first book: The Word is Murder) (rec’d by Ann)


1. My [niece] is 23 and just informed my sister, brother-in-law, and the family that [she] is transgender. (So she is now my niece). She is starting the process of taking hormones and the like. My sister was shocked and did not see it coming. She is very liberal and is coming around to the idea. I was hoping for book recommendations that would help us (especially my sister) understand what my niece has felt like being in the wrong body. In a quick search I found books involving young kids. I was hoping for books centered more on coming out as trans as a 20-something. I’m thinking maybe a biography or non-fiction. Also my whole family loves fantasy so if there’s a book in that genre maybe we could read it together.


2. Love the show!   I’m looking for recommendations to read aloud to my 7 1/2 year old boy/girl twins that I will enjoy too.   We love well-written, funny middle grade books – preferably with animal characters.   They are still sensitive readers – we avoid books with any violence and try to avoid orphaned children or those with not great parents.   We’re not scared of long books or intricate language.  

Books we’ve loved (and read over and over) include:

  • The True Blue Scouts of Sugarman Swamp 
  • The Very Very Far North & it’s sequel
  • Winnie the Pooh Collected Stories

Books we’ve liked a lot: 

  • Flora & Ulysses 
  • Ruby Lu Brave & True
  • Gooseberry Park

Books that I liked but they didn’t:

  • Wild Robot

Books they love but I’m not as into: 

  • Humphrey series
  • Mrs Piggle Wiggle & Missy Piggle Wiggle

We’ve read most books by Roald Dahl & most age appropriate ones by Kate DiCamillo.

They are still too nervous to start Harry Potter.



3. Hi Jenn and Amanda!

I’m finally coming back to Get Booked now that I can read again! (baby girl took all my free time hihi)

In the last couple of months, I realised that I love atmospheric books, even if the plot is weak or nonexistent. Some other books I loved are Erin Morgenstern books (both!), The Invisible Life of Addie Larue and Piranesi. 

Do you have other recommendations like it? If it’s mixed with greek mythology it’s even better.

Thanks a lot!

PS: love from Canada.


4. I’d love recommendations for books set in or about Bogota, Colombia. Preferably, something like Chanel Cleeton’s books about Cuba that help to understand the history and current impacts or nonfiction about the history. Any genre is fine!


5. Two of my favorite books/series I read this year have been “A Deadly Education” by Naomi Novik and “The Murderbot Diaries” by Martha Wells. On the surface they might seem kind of different, but they both had such a great narrative voice, with the right amount of sarcasm/snark/humor, and a completely lovable main character, and they left me feeling warm and fuzzy inside. Also, my favorite genres are Fantasy and Sci Fi, so these were perfect. I’m so sad I have to wait until more comes out from these authors. Please tell me what I can read while I’m waiting! Thank you!


6. I recently read Lost Roses and seriously loved A Gentleman in Moscow before that.   I’ve also just marathoned The Last Csars on Netflix — and I haven’t had my fill!   Can you recommend some historical fiction set in late 19th, early 20th century Russia that will help me get my next Russian nobility fix?  Thank you!


7. Hello there – Trigger Warning: So this is a tough one since it deals with a sensitive topic – suicide. I’m looking for a book (fiction or non-fiction I suppose, YA or Adult) that deals with how to cope when a friend/family member attempts suicide BUT does not succeed/commit. I find that most books about suicide are dealing with the aftermath of someone’s death, but what happens if they didn’t die? No one ever seems to talk about that. A recommendation for this would be very helpful, as this past year has been rough and I’d like someone else’s perspective of coping with this kind of situation. Sorry this one is a bit of a downer, but important given the need for mental health awareness. Thank you.


Books Discussed

Fairest by Meredith Talusan (tw: racism)

Sorted by Jackson Bird

Bright Lines by Tanwi Nandini Islam

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate

Where The Mountain Meets The Moon by Grace Lin

Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

Travel Light by Naomi Mitchison

The Sound of Things Falling by Juan Gabriel Vasquez, transl. by Anne McLean

Fruit of the Drunken Tree by Ingrid Rojas Contreras (tw: rape & other violence towards women, harm to children including death, panic attacks & PTSD)

Velocity Weapon by Megan E. O’Keefe

Chilling Effect by Valerie Valdes

The House of Special Purpose by John Boyne

The Winter Palace by Eva Stachniak

Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 

Prozac Nation by Elizabeth Wurtzel (tw: suicide attempts)

Please Like Me S2, particularly Episode 7


Borderline by Mishell Baker