Note: Some of these books I got for free from NetGalley in exchange for my honest reviews. None of the links in this post are affiliate links, which means I’m recommending these books purely out of the goodness of my heart. Some of them have already been published; some you’ll have to wait a little bit for. Sorry/not sorry?
Sometimes, all you want is a fun read, right? Something light and easy to remind you that life isn’t all viruses and virulent politics? Or something to give your teenage daughter to both satisfy her English reading requirement and give you a few, precious “self-care moments?” Oh, do I have some recommendations for you then! These are books I’ve read or listened to before and liked.
Love & Olives by Jenna Evans Welch
I suspect, judging by the author’s acknowledgements at the end of Love and Olives, that this story’s evolution caused her a few “stomach-wrenching pulls,” the kind I reference in my full review of this book on GoodReads. She thanks her readers, saying: “Your existence is…[a] personal miracle. I gave more than I had to give on this book…. And…thank you to me, for being the only person who knows what it took to not give up.” Interestingly, though, the travails that Evans Welch hints at are belied by the humor and sweetness of the story she tells, Olive’s story.
Olive was eight when her father, a man fully immersed in the myths of Atlantis, abandons her and her mom. So when Olive grows into a teenager and suddenly gets a postcard from him inviting her to Greece to visit him on the island of Santorini, where his research into that fabled city took him and which has now caught the attention of National Geographic, she’s more than a little hesitant. After some coaxing from her mom, she goes, but her reunion with her dad isn’t the apology-fest she’d hoped for. Still, his theories are intriguing, as is his young, handsome assistant and the fact that her dad’s made friends with almost everyone on the island. So she begins a personal journey of ferreting out how he could have left her but still appears to love her, and whether there’s really something to his Atlantis research.
Love and Olives is, for the most part, a fun exploration of what it’s like to be a teenage girl reuniting with her dad under strange circumstances, in a beautiful, foreign country, with a fair amount of handsome guys, stunning scenery, and laughs. It’s definitely humorous and sweet.
It comes out November 10, 2020.
Of course, one cannot mention Love & Olives without also mentioning its slightly related predecessors Love & Gelato and Love & Luck.
Love & Gelato
Like Love & Olives, Love & Gelato has a main character who travels to a far distant place to meet her father. Each of the three Love and… books has a different main character, and their stories don’t follow or precede each other’s, but the characters all know each other somehow. Love & Gelato is both fun and cute, with rejoinders on almost every page and a sweet romance. As I mentioned here, it’s a good book for teen girls and women who want fun, easy reads.
Kind of a Big Deal by Shannon Hale
Josie, the main character, is an 18-year-old girl who was kind of a big deal in high school, but who finds herself, after a failed Broadway audition, a dropout with no idea what to do next. She seeks refuge in books and gets sucked into them a bit too much. Although I, as a self-admitted helicopter mom, had a bit of a hard time connecting with Josie, who seems a tad more self-absorbed and immature than your average 18-year-old girl, other moms who have 18-year-old daughters might find this a good exercise in getting inside their daughters’ heads. And 18-year-old girls might enjoy reading about someone with problems somewhat similar to theirs, as I reference in my full review on GoodReads.
Kind of a Big Deal came out August 25th of this year.
If I Stay by Gayle Forman
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Anyone who likes emotional reads like The Fault In Our Stars by John Green, Beyond by Catina Haverlock and Angela Larkin, or Between Shades of Gray by Rutya Sepetys, will like this book. If you want a book that will sweep you away, this one definitely will.
Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky by Kwame Mbalia
I’ve also mentioned this book before. Part of the Rick Riordan Presents series/small publishing imprint, it’s a modern tale incorporating African American folklore figures like Br’er Rabbit and Anansi the Spider. Although it felt a little more “middle-grade” than “young adult,” it would be a good read for a teen girl whose tastes tend to be more adventurous and who doesn’t care if the protagonist is a girl or a boy, a good, fun way to expand their awareness of other cultures.
Instead of providing a quote, I’d like to recommend this pin, which provides a bundle of educational resources to go along with the book. If you’re doing home school with your teen this year, this could be a bona fide assignment!
So there you go: five books to add to your teen girl’s or your own TBR list! Have fun!