You know when you read a book and it just stays with you for days, weeks, months on end? The two YA books I write about below are great examples. I read them this summer, along with many other books, and they are just stubbornly refusing to leave my brain. And my heart. Such great books. Read them now, you must.
The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner
Every once and a while, I read a book that feels like something more. All of my favorite reading boxes are checked: the urge to know what will happen next, an emotional attachment to the characters and, finally, a sense of wonder that transcends the action in the story. The Serpent King did all of those things for me. It tells the story of three teenage outcasts living in small town Tennessee: Dill, the son of a Pentecostal minister in prison for possessing child pornography; Lydia, a budding fashion designer and successful blogger with dreams of escaping small town life; and sweet Travis, obsessed with a Game of Thrones-like series of books and its fandom. All three lean on each other as they make their way through their final year of high school.
I listened to the amazing audio version of this book on my headphones while doing a host of mundane things in my life: the dishes, the cleaning, packing my kids’ lunches for camp, washing their clothes, etc. As is the case with all great audio books, I didn’t mind doing these things while I had this story to keep me going. I felt like my heart was being squeezed right out of my chest. And I definitely paused to weep a few times!
Prescription: A gorgeous book full of memorable characters an ideal read for those times when you just want to have your heart broken wide open by a book. A cathartic experience.
Midnight at the Electric by Jodi Lynn Anderson
When the world feels like a loud and frightening place, sometimes the best refuge is a quiet book. I picked up Midnight at the Electric this summer during a particularly hectic week in the news and at work. Friends, it was a relief. A quiet but satisfying tale of three distinct times and places: Adri lives in Kansas in 2065, after leaving an underwater Miami; Katherine lives in Kansas in the 1930s, during the height of the dust bowl storms; and Lenore lives in England in 1919, following World War I. As she is preparing to leave with a group of Mars settlers (yes Planet Mars), Adri finds a trove of letters written from Lenore to Beth, Katherine’s mother. How is everyone related? What are the stories about? You will have to read to find out…
Prescription: Ideal for anyone who loves a quiet story and an intriguing plot. No fireworks here, no heart stopping action. Just a fascinating, peaceful, well-told tale that works like a balm for a trouble soul.