Eight Books to Add to Your Summer Reading List

Rachel Sandell Book Publishing, Team

Now that the sun is shining and the air is warm, you’re no doubt ready to indulge in a bookworm’s favorite pastime: summer reading. But what should you read?

Fear not! The Scribe Source can help you flesh out that book list. Our team of book lovers has no shortage of recommendations, and we’re excited to share some of our favorites. Here are eight summer reads that would perfectly complement your vacation.


Girl Waits with Gun, by Amy Stewart; recommended by Sheralee Cochran (historical fiction)

In 1914, Constance Kopp has lived in near isolation since her sisters went into hiding to escape a family secret. But when a small dispute explodes into all-out war, Constance finds herself protecting her family’s farm from a dangerous gang. And what’s more, the sheriff asks for her help to convict the gang members, forcing Constance to come face-to-face with her past to defend her loved ones.

Based on the true story of the Kopp sisters, Girl Waits with Gun is a fictionalized historical account of the sisters and their crime-fighting adventures. If you need a good dose of “attawoman” this summer, this book is an exciting read. And if you finish it before fall rolls around, no worries—there are currently three more books in the series, with a fourth on the way.



The Refugees, by Viet Thanh Nguyen; recommended by Rachel Sandell (short stories/literary fiction)

A ghost writer is confronted with the real-life ghost of her dead brother. A young refugee suffers culture shock when he comes to the United States to live with two gay men. An aging man suffering from dementia starts referring to his wife as his former lover. A girl from Vietnam meets her half sister from America, who isn’t everything she appears to be.

This collection shows the single story of being a refugee from different perspectives, creating a string of coherent stories brimming with raw emotion. If you’re looking to spread out your reading over the summer, each of these stories is great for one sitting, and they’ll inspire deep thinking. 




Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World, by Cal Newport; recommended by Lori Baxter (nonfiction/productivity/self-help)

Social media and the digital universe have greatly improved many aspects of modern society. However, we now find ourselves needing to escape the addictive qualities of the digital in order to maintain focus, enhance concentration, and live a fuller, more content life. This book walks you through a way to unplug and still feel connected to the rest of the world.

Digital Minimalism explores the philosophy of minimalism in a digitized world and how deeper connections can be forged using less addictive processes. Unplugging from the online universe could help you create longer-lasting connections in real life. If you find yourself glued to your phone this summer, this book is a worthwhile read.




Olivia Twist, by Lorie Langdon; recommended by Sheralee Cochran (young adult/retelling)

Born and raised among thieves on the streets of London, Olivia Twist lives as a boy for her own safety until her uncle takes her in. Suddenly her life goes from being quick and clever on the thieving streets to being prim and proper among members of high society. Meanwhile, Jack MacCarron is busy carrying out cons until he meets Olivia—and begins to fall for her.

A gender-bending retelling of Charles Dickens’s classic Oliver Twist, this spirited and imaginative book explores new ideas through an old framework. If you want fast-paced historical fiction that suits your YA needs, Olivia Twist might be perfect for you.




Virgil Wander, by Leif Enger; recommended by Hannah Comerford (contemporary literary fiction)

Following a car crash into Minnesota’s frigid Lake Superior, Virgil Wander wakes with his language and memories altered. Now in an unfamiliar world, Virgil must piece together his past and discover the history of his town. A mother questions the disappearance of her son, a journalist calls himself Virgil’s best friend, the Pea family struggles through their tragedies—and Virgil might just be the catalyst to solving each of their problems.

With its strong focus on biological and chosen family and its whimsical, witty humor, Virgil Wander is the newest book from award-winning author Leif Enger. If you’re looking for a quirky exploration of character and intertwining subplots that keep your attention this summer, this book hits all the important points.




The Cruel Prince, by Holly Black; recommended by Karly White (young adult/fantasy)

When a seven-year-old girl, Jude, witnesses her parents’ murder and is stolen away along with her sisters to the land of the fey, her life is changed forever. Ten years later, Jude wants to earn her place among the High Court of Faerie—but the fey hate humans, and none more than the wicked Prince Cardan, who does not tolerate defiance. As Jude fights to prove her worth, she realizes her own strength and willingness for deception and bloodshed.

Inspired by magical tales of folklore, The Cruel Prince explores mature themes by introducing a heroine who doesn’t shy away from morally ambiguous decisions. The cruelty of the fey, as well as their beauty, shines through the pages and offers unique and thought-provoking situations. If you need your daily dose of magic and treachery, this is the read you’re looking for!



Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide for Creating Ridiculously Good Content, by Ann Handley; recommended by Rachel Sandell (business/writing)

If you are a beginner in website publishing, social media marketing, or overall writing for the internet, this how-to book may meet all your content-creating needs. Full of marketing strategies and concentrated on making every word count, Everybody Writes is a helpful starting point for businesses who are looking to thrive in the digital world.

This book will make an engaging reference guide as you kick off your business plans this summer.





Calypso, by David Sedaris; recommended by Zach Wolfe Martin (memoir/humor)

In Calypso, Grammy-nominated American humorist David Sedaris tells the story of his observations of middle age, mortality, and self-realization through darkly witty, snort-inducing humor. When Sedaris buys a beach house on the Carolina coast, he goes down a road of revelations about life, family, and himself.

With Sedaris’s trademark oddball humor, Calypso is “beach reading for people who detest beaches.”





Whatever your plans are for the summer, make sure you have a good read—or several. We hope some of these books will be the perfect addition to your fun in the sun.


About the Author

Rachel is an avid editor and self-published author. When she isn’t knee-deep in her own stories of the mythical and magical, she can be found blogging about her favorite books, beta reading for other writers, or composing her own music. She joined the Scribe Source team in 2018.