The end of a school year means a lot of things -- more writing, more reading, more parenting and preventing my son from destroying the house.
For the first time ever, I'm putting together a summer reading list. These are books I am planning to read rather than suggestions for you, the reader, but if you have read/will read any of the below mentioned works feel free to comment.
1) MADE YOU UP by Francesca Zappia
I actually just finished this one, so I guess I'm cheating a little, but I'm including it since I technically read it during the "season" of summer. It's a nice companion book to both of Mark Vonnegut's memoirs (EDEN EXPRESS and JUST LIKE SOMEONE WITHOUT MENTAL ILLNESS ONLY MORE SO) in that it discusses schizophrenia in very real terms.
Schizophrenia awareness has been almost destroyed by Hollywood. My biggest gripe with the film "What About Bob?" is the joke "I'm a schizophrenic, and so am I." Most people equate it to multiple personalities, even though that's not even slightly accurate.
Zappia does something amazing in that she gets you to understand in concrete terms how it feels to be in the middle of an episode. Then, she shows you how frightening it is to not even know if and when you will travel down the rabbit hole again. There's an ongoing guessing game as to what is and isn't real, and its intent is not to be heady or psychedelic so much as representative of how awful and uncontrollable schizophrenia can be.
2) THE SOUND OF LIFE AND EVERYTHING by Krista Van Dolzer
Also just finished this one. Its concept sounds bananas, but it's pretty impressive in practice. And there's a lot of subtext within the culture shock and prejudice that's crystal clear on the page.
By the end of the book, it's kind of impossible not to love the character, Takuma.
3) THE WATER AND THE WILD by K.E. Ormsbee
This is my current read at the moment. I've been meaning to read this one ever since it hit shelves. Besides being the nicest writer on the planet, Kathryn writes wonderful fantasy prose. I've been sorely falling behind in reading middle grade fantasy lately -- this has been a nice return to it.
Trees, magic, and realistic portrayals of panic attacks. Yay for Kathryn!
4) FUZZY MUD by Louis Sachar
I started this one right before report cards, edits, and lots of huge projects got in the way. The opening was pretty good -- I think readers will like this one as long as they aren't expecting HOLES 2.
5) NONE OF THE ABOVE by I.W. Gregorio
I've had this one on my to-read shelf since ALA Midwinter. Ilene was extremely friendly when I met her in person and I can't wait to finally dig into this one! If you pay attention to her Twitter feed you'll see this subject is right up her alley.
6) DENTON LITTLE'S DEATHDATE by Lance Rubin
This book has an amazing cover. Google it if you haven't seen it yet, because I'm writing too fast to do that for you and paste it here. Another book with a neat concept and a lot of great prose behind it.
7) THE SACRED LIES OF MINNOW BLY by Stephanie Oakes
I think books with books on their cover are neat. Yeah, I'm a dork.
I also love the idea of this book, and look forward to dipping into its dark, dark story that requires a comma to separate its double-darkness. I'm not entirely familiar with the whole story of THE HANDLESS MAIDEN, but I find the story's hook fascinating all the same.
Some other books I want to read this summer:
ZEROBOXER by Fonda Lee (because Fonda is cool and zero gravity fighting is all-around awesome)
TROPIC OF SERPENTS by Marie Brennan
BLACKBIRD FLY by Erin Entrada Kelly (because how can I not read a book named after my favorite Beatles song)
VALIANT by Sarah McGuire (because I'm so happy Lerner is supporting her!)
THE ISLAND OF DR. LIBRIS by Chris Grabenstein
There are so many more -- perhaps I will add to this list in the coming weeks.