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The Ultimate Reading List (For Summer or Whenever)

Sadly, summer is starting to come to a close... but we still have one more month! This week I wanted to share some of my favorite titles to read in this last week of summer and going into the start of school. Even though I write about YA books, I wanted to share some of my favorite Elementary and MG titles as well. For those age groups, these are my favorite titles of all time, and for my YA picks they are the winners of the summer thus far. Hopefully everyone can find a book they love. This is kind of a part two to my article: "Unpopular Opinion: Summer Reading Does More Harm Than Good" (http://www.readingwritingandme.com/2017/07/unpopular-opinion-summer-reading-does.html) I would definitely put all of these books on summer reading lists (and I've even seen some of these featured which made me so happy) or use them in schools. For more recommendations, check out our other articles and follow us on social media (Twitter: @readwriteandme Instagram: @readingwritingandme and Facebook) for update on my weekly reviews and other special posts. Enjoy!


Elementary School

  • The Chronicles of Narnia- This series is fun and exciting. It makes a great bedtime story to read with or to your kids that will leave everyone wanting more.
  • Classic fairy tales and Greek mythology- I have always loved and been fascinated by these tales. They are great stories to expose your kids or siblings to because there are so many allusions in our culture to these stories. 
  • Catmagic by Holly Webb- This series probably takes the cake as my favorite elementary school book. I can't tell you how many times I read these books. The first book starts when Lottie moves in with her Uncle Jack who owns a magic pet shop where the animals can actually talk and starts going on adventures with the adorable, talking dachshund, Sophie.  
Older Elementary School/ Middle School (MG)

  • The Mixed Up Files of Ms. Baisl E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg - This is one of my favorite books of all time. When two siblings run away from home and into New York to hide out in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
  • The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart- These are fun (and lengthy) chapter books about a group of hand selected kids brought together by a mysterious aptitude test. 
  • Escape From Mr. Lemoncello's Library Series by Chris Grabenstien - This is a great series about a library themed adventure that unfolds when famous boardgame maker Mr. Lemoncello comes back to town with a new game.
  • The Candymakers by Wendy Mass- This was my favorite book for a long time. It is about a group of kids selected to try to create the most delicious candy in an intriguing competition. 
  •  The Land of Stories by Chris Colfer- This is a great series for fairy tale lovers bringing all your favorite characters together with a fresh spin.
  • Eleven Birthdays by Wendy Mass (and all the other books in the series)- Have you figured out my favorite Middle Grade author yet? Well, these books are great ones about growing up. This book takes on a bit of a Groundhog Day feel as Amanda is forced to repeat her disaster of a birthday over and over until she can get it right. 
  • Anything by Stuart Gibbs- These are some of my favorite Middle Grade books. From Spy School to Funjugle to Moon Base Alpha, these series never disappoint. Each of these books feature male protagonists, which can sometimes be hard to find in kids books, but also have strong female characters that are very important to the success of the adventure.
  • A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith- I read this in sixth grade and loved it. It's a good challenge for readers who aren't ready for YA but need a harder book. It's also a great, accessible classic. 
Older Middle School (Intro to YA)
  • Anything by Ally Carter- She's probably best known for her Gallagher Girls series about an all girls spy school, but while those were good, I liked her Heist Society books a bit better. These are fun, fast paced, and a good intro to the world of young adult.
  • Everland by Wendy Spinale- If you loved the characters from Neverland, look no farther than Everland, a fresh twist on the beloved Peter, Wendy, and Captain Hook that's very different than the Disney movie. 
High School (YA) 
*Full Reviews of these books can be found here http://www.readingwritingandme.com/search/label/Standout%20Book*
  • Misquitoland by David Arnold- This book has a captivating plot told through one of the most unique voices in YA. 
  • The Thousandth Floor by Katherine McGee- The world building in this book is phenomenal and makes it a worthy read.
  • Anything by John Green (especially Looking For Alaska) His books are truly amazing. Each is great for its own reason. The voices of the characters and the writing in general makes these books irresistible. 
  • American Girls by Alison Umminger- This was a great read about a teenage girl escaping her crazy family to spend the summer in LA with her older sister. With a gripping plot and plenty of twists and turns this book has depth and entertainment value. 
  • Under The Rose Tainted Skies by Louise Gornall- This book captures a compelling and accurate picture of mental illness. Readers get to see Norah cope with her OCD and agoraphobia as well as navigate first love. 
  • Girl In Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow- Beyond being an amazing person, Kathleen Glasgow is an amazing author. The storytelling in the story of Charlie is like none other.
  • My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Wanga- What started off as a plan to end their lives together grows into a romance that might save them. This emotional story is beautifully written. 
  • Everything Beautiful is Not Ruined by Danielle Younge-Ullman- This was an amazing story of personal growth and coping with the past through an unusual set of circumstances, wilderness camp. 
  • We Are Okay by Nina LaCour- This short read stuns with beautiful storytelling that is a great reminder about how even the simplest things can be so complex.
  • Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King is a great portrait of an evolving friendship that comes to an abrupt end when Vera's best friend Charlie dies. Told in the past and present it shows both the aftermath and how it ultimately happened. 
  • When We Collided by Emery Lord- Probably tied for my second favorite book of all time (with Looking For Alaska). I found the portrayal of bipolar disorder in this book quite well done. The relationship between Vivi and Jonah is also wonderful. I would definitely read this title a second time. 
  • All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven- This is, and probably always will be my favorite book ever. It really introduced me to the emotional depth and amazing storytelling of the world of YA and also books that address mental health. I will also probably always have a crush on Theodore Finch. 
  • Dream Things True by Marie Marquardt- If there is one book that encapsulates everything reading a book should make you feel, it is this one. It is a compelling story about a bright, young undocumented woman who was brought to the states when she was two having to face the harsh realities of the ICE crackdown on undocumented immigrates. As her country club boyfriend and nephew of a conservative senator learns more about her realities, so do the reads. This book humanizes an issue so often reduced to numbers and stats in the news and creates deeper empathy and understanding. 

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