10 Books for Your 2013 Summer Reading List

Today being the book birthday of two of my most-anticipated summer reads, I thought I’d offer a rundown of a handful of titles I’m looking forward to digging into over the next couple months. Of course, by now I know all too well that you can’t judge a book by its cover–or by its marketing copy. But I offer these summer reading suggestions with the hope that at least a few will make my summer–and yours–a little bit richer in the reading department.


wigThe Wig in the Window by Kristen Kittscher. Release date: June 18, 2013. About: Seventh grade sleuths (and best friends) who either stumble upon–or accidentally fabricate–a quirky mystery. Why I’m excited about it: Reading the blurb for this book made it sound like a cross between Walk Two Moons (in which, in a subplot, a pre-teen’s overactive imagination fuels a hilariously-misguided murder investigation) and Nancy Drew. I’m also a sucker for any book that screams girl power. (Middle Grade)

proxyProxy by Alex London. Release date: June 18, 2013. About: Think The Whipping Boy, set in a dystopia. Knox, a rich kid, commits the crimes. Syd, the poor kid, takes the punishment. But when the teens go rogue together, their carefully-constructed world starts to come apart at the seams. Why I’m excited about it: Having loved The Whipping Boy since I was seven years old, there’s something enticing about seeing the same dynamics play out in a completely topsy-turvy futuristic setting. Dystopian fiction often breaks down for me just a few chapters in, but I have high hopes for this book. (YA)

sidekickedSidekicked by John David Anderson. Release date: June 25, 2013. About: Middle schooler Andrew Bean is part of a secret organization for the training of superhero sidekicks. Too bad he has to keep his powers hidden from the rest of the world. (Good luck with that.) Why I’m excited about it: I have to admit, this marketing copy really hooked me: “Middle school is a drag, even with superpowers.” If the story can live up to the humor, complications, and excitement implicit in that one line, I’ll be a happy reader for sure. (Middle Grade)

lemoncelloEscape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein. Release date: June 25, 2013. About: 12 kids are chosen by game-maker Luigi Lemoncello to participate in a night of games, food, and fun in the new library. But in the morning, the doors are still locked. Time for a reality show, set among the stacks! Why I’m excited about it: If this has all the charm and quirkiness of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory with the braniac/puzzle-tastic qualities of The Mysterious Benedict Society, consider me hooked. (Middle Grade)


mouseThe Mouse with the Question Mark Tail by Richard Peck. Release date: July 2, 2013. About: A mouse who ends up in Buckingham Palace and befriends Queen Victoria. (Who knew she could talk to mice?) Why I’m excited about it: Honestly, I do wish Richard Peck would go back to writing his hilarious tall tales about Americana. (In my opinion, no other author can touch him in that department.) But he’s such a great storyteller that a new book by Richard Peck, even one about mice, is definitely better than no new book by Richard Peck. Plus, who doesn’t love a good animal story? (Middle Grade)


boy on bridgeThe Boy on the Bridge by Natalie Standiford. Release date: August 1, 2013. About: It’s 1982, and Laura’s studying abroad in Leningrad while Cold War paranoia is on the rise. So when she meets Russian artist Alexei and starts to fall for him, complications ensue. Why I’m excited about it: I have consistently loved Natalie Standiford’s books, such as this one and this one. Plus, there’s nothing more escapist than a summer book set in a foreign country, especially one with the intrigue of 1980s Russia. (YA)

peacockForgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick. Release date: August 13, 2013. About: On Leonard Peacock’s birthday, he plans to bring a gun to school to kill his best friend, and then himself. But first, he must say goodbye to the four people who matter most to him. Cue an emotional odyssey that could change everything. Why I’m excited about it: Matthew Quick’s writing is consistently the most hope-filled of YA lit being published today, so I’m curious to see how he can take a hot-button topic like gun violence and turn it into something redemptive. (YA)

dark betweenThe Dark Between by Sonia Gensler. Release date: August 27, 2013. About: Part mystery, part romance, this story, set in 1920s England, takes the lives of three troubled teenagers and merges it with the spiritualism craze of the day. Why I’m excited about it: OK, I admit: paranormal fiction, and especially paranormal romance, is generally not my thing. What intrigues me most about this book is the setting and era. Done well, this could be some pretty creepy historical fiction–and I wouldn’t even mind the ghosts. (YA)


oreosHeaven Is Paved with Oreos by Catherine Gilbert Murdock. Release date: September 3, 2013. About: Sarah Zorn’s plans to spend the summer in Wisconsin are upended when her hippie Grandma invites her on a trip to Rome. No contest there, of course, but even a trip abroad can’t carry Sarah away from the issues she’s facing. Why I’m excited about it: I’ve enjoyed some of Catherine Gilbert Murdock’s other books, especially her humor and characterizations. Looking forward to seeing how she does with a book geared toward a slightly younger audience. (Late Middle Grade/Early YA)

roseRose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein. Release date: September 10, 2013. About: Rose Justice is a pilot and amateur poet who’s been captured by the Nazis. Can she survive the horrors of the concentration camp by relying on her art–and by drawing strength from the remarkable loyalty and bravery of her fellow prisoners? Why I’m excited about it: Elizabeth Wein’s first novel, Code Name Verity, was my favorite of 2012. I can only imagine what her new book will offer in terms of another cast of courageous, brilliant, and heartbreaking characters. Sign me up! (YA)

What books are you looking forward to this summer? Let me know in the comments!


  1. I want the summer to be over just so I can read ROSE UNDER FIRE!

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