My Summer TBR List

I’m one of those people who feed off of sunshine, so spring and summer are my favorite seasons. I especially love to read in the summer. Back when I was in school summer was pretty much the only time I could read for fun, and now the longer days make me more productive so I have more time to read. So since yesterday was the first official day of summer I thought I’d share what’s on my Summer To Be Read (TBR) List.

  • The Shadow Children Series by Margaret Peterson Haddix
    I read the first book of this series, Among the Hidden, in May for my Favorite Book Feature, so of course I now have to go read the whole series again. These books were some of my favorites back in middle school/early high school. Haddix was my favorite author at the time, and her books made me want to write too.
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The Shadow Children series by Margaret Peterson Haddix and the Skinjacker Trilogy by Neal Shusterman
  • The Skinjacker Trilogy by Neal Shusterman
    I also read the first book of this series, Everlost, for a Favorite Book Feature, and I now want to read the other two books as well. Shusterman is one of my current favorite authors because of his incredible writing style. His voice is so distinct, and he is one of the best storytellers I’ve ever read. Look for my post on Everlost next Friday for June’s Favorite Book Feature.
  • Legend by Marie Lu
    I was hooked on this series as soon as I read the book jacket and saw that it is a dystopia inspired by Les Misérables. I’ll be writing about this amazing book for July’s Favorite Book Feature.
  • Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis
    August’s Favorite Book Feature is going to be this eerie dystopia about a water shortage.
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Legend by Marie Lu and Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis
  • The Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGee
    I’ve been meaning to get to this on for a while. Set in future Manhattan in a skyscraper that’s a thousand stories tall, this book sounds so glamorous and thrilling.
  • The Reader by Traci Chee
    This book is about a world without reading, which I find really interesting. It’s a fantasy, which I don’t tend to enjoy very often, so I’m not sure I’ll like it. But I think it will help inspire me and my current project.
  • Metaltown by Kristen Simmons
    I won the audiobook version of Metaltown a while back from a giveaway by the author, and I’m finally getting around to listening to it. This one is another dystopia inspired by Les Misérables, so I was hooked as soon as I heard Simmons describe it at a signing I went to.
Metaltown
I won an audiobook of Metaltown from a giveaway Kristen Simmons had on Instagram. I got these awesome Press Back buttons from her signing I went to.
  • The Selection Series by Kiera Cass
    I think this will be the forth time I’ve read the original trilogy, but I like these books more each time I read them. I want to go through them again to help me as I work on a similar book.
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The Selection series by Kiera Cass
  • The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins
    While these are some of my favorite movies, I haven’t actually read the books except for the first one when it was a new book nine years ago. I also think this series will help me with my current project, so I finally want to read them.

Of course, all but two of these books I already own, so my library stack that’s already as tall as me isn’t getting any shorter any time soon. But I still can’t wait to get to read all of these stories this summer.

Favorite Book Feature: Among the Hidden by Margaret Peterson Haddix

Last weekend I got to return to the town where I lived when I was in middle and high school for a family friend’s graduation party, and I was feeling nostalgic as my husband and I drove around the town where I grew up. So when I was looking through my favorite book shelf for May’s featured book, I picked Among the Hidden by Margaret Peterson Haddix. I first read this novel when I was in eighth grade after Haddix came to speak at my school, and Haddix was my favorite author at the time.

Among the Hidden is about Luke, a twelve year old boy who has never left his family’s property, never gone to school, never met another person outside his family, and spends his days reading in his attic bedroom because he is an illegal third child in hiding from the Population Police. When the government buys the land behind his family’s farm and builds a new housing development, he’s no longer even allowed to go outside.

Then Luke sees a child’s face in the window of one of the new houses where he knows two other children already live, and he finally meets a fellow shadow child. But Jen has a dangerous plan to be able to come out of hiding, and wants Luke to join her. Among the Hidden is the first of the seven-book Shadow Children series.

 

Among the Hidden was the first dystopian book I’ve ever read, though I didn’t have the name for it at the time. It was still a while before young adult dystopian novels gained their popularity that they still have today. But even ten years ago I knew that I was holding something special when I read the Shadow Children books.

Haddix is so skilled at making her books suspenseful, quick reads that are appealing to all ages. I like her books now just as much as I did when I was in middle school. As I’ve talked about here, Haddix made me want to be a writer.

I love Among the Hidden because the book immediately grabs you with its premise. You’re instantly invested in Luke’s story when you learn he can no longer go outside because he’s an illegal third child. Haddix does an amazing job of showing his parents’ worry and, sometimes, overprotection. And then when Luke meets Jen, his world is shaken at its foundation, and you get to watch Luke’s journey as he goes from wondering what he should fill his day with to wondering whether he should risk his life to help shadow children like himself. This book is compelling and thrilling, and is an impressive start to the series.

Margaret Peterson Haddix at Books & Co

Last night I got the chance to see one of my favorite writers. Margaret Peterson Haddix was at Books & Co in Dayton last night to launch her new book, Children of Exile, which is the first in a new trilogy and her 38th book.

Children of Exile sounded so interesting as she described how she got the idea for it and read the first chapter. She said the idea came to her when she was at a publishing conference at a Disney property and there was a contrast between the very happy workers saying “Have a magical day!” and impatient hotel guests and a very sad book she had been reading at the time. The book is about a group of children that have been raised in an idyllic community, but not by their real parents. They are just told that it wasn’t safe for them with their parents. But now that the two oldest children have turned twelve, they’re all going back home. I can’t wait to get a chance to read this.

Haddix was my first favorite author. Her first novel, Running Out of Time, was the first book I remember truly loving and reading over and over. When I was in eighth grade, she came and spoke at my school and talked about how cool it is that she gets to tell stories for a job. And that was when I decided that that’s what I wanted to do with my life too. I walked up to her after her presentation and shyly told her that she was my favorite author and asked her to sign my books.

And last night I got to go up to her and I asked her to sign the dozen other of her books I’ve collected since then. And I got to tell her that she made me want to write, and now, ten years later, my first novel is about to come out.

Haddix is one of the friendliest authors I’ve met, and I highly recommend all of her books! Also, her advice for writers: read a lot because it’s like cheating to become a better writer, don’t put too much pressure on yourself, and make time in your day just to think.

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I loved getting to see Margaret Peterson Haddix again!