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Summer Reading Recommendations from the Howe Library

Jun 20, 2024 02:36PM ● By Elise Renaud

Just because it’s summer doesn’t mean the learning and reading has to end. Whether you’re a kid or a kid at heart, here’s some fun reading recommendations from the Howe Library for your summer break.

The Three of Us

For a short novel, try The Three of Us by Ore Agbaje-Williams.

“The wife has it all. A big house in a nice neighborhood, a ride-or-die snarky best friend, Temi, with whom to laugh about facile men, and a devoted husband who loves her above all else--even his distaste for Temi. 

“On a seemingly normal day, Temi comes over to spend a lazy afternoon with the wife: drinking wine, eating snacks, and laughing caustically about the husband's shortcomings. But when the husband comes home and a series of confessions are made, the wife's two confidants are suddenly forced to jockey for their positions, throwing everyone's integrity into question--and their long-drawn-out territorial dance, carefully constructed over years, into utter chaos. 

“Told in three taut, mesmerizing parts--the wife, the husband, the best friend--over the course of one day, The Three of Us is a subversively comical, wildly astute, and painfully compulsive triptych of domestic life that explores cultural truths, what it means to defy them, and the fine line between compromise and betrayal when it comes to ourselves and the people we're meant to love,” the library’s website said.

Lie with Me

Another short read is Lie with Me by Philippe Besson.

“We drive at high speed along back roads, through woods, vineyards, and oat fields. The bike smells like gasoline and makes a lot of noise, and sometimes I'm frightened when the wheels slip on the gravel on the dirt road, but the only thing that matters is that I'm holding on to him, that I'm holding on to him outside.

“Just outside a hotel in Bordeaux, Philippe chances upon a young man who bears a striking resemblance to his first love. What follows is a look back at the relationship he's never forgotten, a hidden affair with a gorgeous boy named Thomas during their last year of high school. Without ever acknowledging they know each other in the halls, they steal time to meet in secret, carrying on a passionate, world-altering affair. 

“Dazzlingly rendered in English by Ringwald in her first-ever translation, Besson's powerfully moving coming-of-age story captures the eroticism and tenderness of first love--and the heartbreaking passage of time,” the library’s website said.

This Strange Eventful History

Take a trip back in time with This Strange Eventful History by Claire Messud.

“Over seven decades, from 1940 to 2010, the pieds-noirs Cassars live in an itinerant state--separated in the chaos of World War II, running from a complicated colonial homeland, and, after Algerian independence, without a homeland at all. This Strange Eventful History, told with historical sweep, is above all a family story: of patriarch Gaston and his wife Lucienne, whose myth of perfect love sustains them and stifles their children; of François and Denise, devoted siblings connected by their family's strangeness; of François's union with Barbara, a woman so culturally different they can barely comprehend one another; of Chloe, the result of that union, who believes that telling these buried stories will bring them all peace.

“Inspired in part by long-ago stories from her own family's history, Claire Messud animates her characters' rich interior lives amid the social and political upheaval of the recent past. As profoundly intimate as it is expansive, This Strange Eventful History is "a tour de of those rare novels that a reader doesn't merely read but lives through with the characters" (Yiyun Li),” the library’s website said.

The Tenth Mistake of Hank Hooperman

For the kids, try The Tenth Mistake of Hank Hooperman by Gennifer Choldenko. 

“When eleven-year-old Hank's mom doesn't come home, he takes care of his toddler sister, Boo, like he always does. But it's been a week now. They are out of food and mom has never stayed away this long... Hank knows he needs help, so he and Boo seek out the stranger listed as their emergency contact. 

“But asking for help has consequences. It means social workers, and a new school, and having to answer questions about his mom that he's been trying to keep secret. And if they can't find his mom soon, Hank and Boo may end up in different foster homes--he could lose everything. 

“Gennifer Choldenko has written a heart-wrenching, healing, and ultimately hopeful story about how complicated family can be. About how you can love someone, even when you can't rely on them. And about the transformative power of second chances,” the library’s website said.

The New Girl: A Graphic Novel (the New Girl #1)

For kids who like graphic novels, try The New Girl: A Graphic Novel (the New Girl #1) by Cassandra Calin. 

“Goodbye, old life...

“Lia and her family are waiting to board a flight across the Atlantic, leaving behind family, friends, and Romania -- the only home Lia has ever known. But Lia's heartache is overshadowed by the discomfort of her first period. As if things weren't difficult enough! Now Lia is thrust into a world where everything is different: her home, her language, and even her body. With so many changes happening at once, Lia struggles with schoolwork, has trouble communicating with classmates, and has no idea how to manage her unpleasant periods. Will she ever feel like herself again?

“Inspired by the author's own immigration experience, The New Girl is a comically charming story about change and acceptance,” the library’s website said.

To view more book recommendations and explore what the library has to offer, click here.

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