Summer Reads with Substance

Posted June 16, 2016 by Cristina (Girl in the Pages) in Book Recommendations & Lists / 22 Comments


As summer is upon us, many bloggers and readers will gravitate toward certain types of books to keep in their beach bag. Personally, summer usually leads me to craving contemporary reads with a summer or warm weather setting. While summer is the perfect season to get lost in a fluffy, feel-good novel, there’s also some amazing summer reads out there that contain plot lines and themes with a lot of substance. Below are four of my recommendations of both newer and back list titles that will satisfy your summer reading cravings while also bringing more substance to your reading experience.

Summer Reads with Substance(1)Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson | The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler | Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz | Two Summers by Aimee Friedman

Let’s Discuss!

Do you like completely fluffy reads in your beach bag, or do you prefer something that has more substance? Do you find summer themed reads to be competitive? Do you have any recommendations for me for summer reads (especially ones with heavier themes, or New Adult summer reads)? What is your favorite type of summer book? Let me know in the comments!

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22 responses to “Summer Reads with Substance

    • I love books set in the summer, and I think that just because they’re in a summer setting doesn’t mean that they can’t have deeper themes that they deal with. Especially in the teen years, summer is such a formative time of self-discovery!

  1. I read and loved Aristotle and Dante but the rest I own and plan on getting to this summer. I do like light and fluffy sometimes but I liked a little substance as well. Really excited to read the rest of these!! Great recs!

    • Thank you, Grace! I appreciate light and fluffy too at times (I just finished Isla and the Happily Ever After, for example, and LOVED it) but it’s also nice to see authors that don’t limit themselves just because they are writing in a summer setting!

  2. I do love a contemporary, but I do really appreciate them when they have more “substance” or a deeper theme to them. I am currently reading Second Chance Summer and really enjoying it so far! Also, it sounds very shallow but I never wanted to read The Summer of Chasing Mermaids because I thought it sounded too light and fluffy, I will have to check that one out because I am very interested in the MC with a disability aspect of it.
    -Monica @ Tomes Project

    • The Summer of Chasing Mermaids definitely gives off a deceptive feel with its cover and title! It’s actually one of the more diverse YA reads I read last year, and if you haven’t read anything by Sarah Ockler I think it’s a good starting point!

    • Aristotle and Dante is really an amazing read! I read it when I first started blogging and it was one of the first LGBTQ+ YA books I read as well as one that focused a lot on the hispanic culture. It has so much to offer in terms of diversity but also quality writing, I really recommend it!

  3. It’s funny because my reading tastes don’t really change with the seasons. If I’m going to bring a book to the beach, it’ll still be my usual SFF-fare. I might get something lighter because sometimes it’s hard to focus at the beach but that’s about the only difference hehe! Great recs nonetheless 🙂

    • Thank you, Micheline! I’m usually a seasonal reader, and I definitely have enough books on my physical TBR that I can choose with the seasons 😉 However, sometimes a highly anticipated release will have me reading outside of my usual “seasonal” genre (such as ACOMAF in Spring, as I gravitate more toward fantasy in winter).

  4. I haven’t read any of these (yet) but I do want to! Aristotle and Dante have been on my tbr for so long now, but the copy they have at my bookstore is just really ugly so I keep spending money on other books haha

  5. GREAT RECS (even though it’s winter here, lol). Aristotle and Dante is one of my favourite books of all time. Same with anything by Morgan Matson – she is the QUEEN of summery books with substance.

  6. I LOVED Second Chance Summer. Really any Morgan Matson book words for a fun beach read (for me). When I think of beach reads, it has to be something I can put down and pick up easily, since it is pretty easy to get interrupted. So any light contemporary works for me in that regard.

    • I’ve never thought of beach reads that way, but you’re right, they do need to be easy to put down and come back too, since I’m usually reading them on vacations and weekends when I have a lot of other things going on too!

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