9 Books for Your Summer 2021 Reading List

Rachel Sandell Book Publishing, Team

As the COVID-19 vaccine makes its circulation and masks start coming off, it seems like daily life is starting to recover its sense of normalcy—and just in time for summer! What better way to celebrate than to grab a good book, sit outside in the shade, and dig in? If you don’t have any books on your mind, our Scribe Source team has prepared a list of nine titles to get you started!

The Broken Kingdoms, by N. K. Jemisin; recommended by Emily Fahey (fiction)

In a world full of magic and godlings, artist Oree Shoth takes in a homeless man who seems to glow despite her blindness. But even one little act of kindness can lead to dark places. Soon, Oree finds herself tangled in a dangerous plot as a murderer targets her and her visitor, leaving Oree to wonder who it is they’re really after. The Broken Kingdoms is book two of N. K. Jemisin’s Inheritance Trilogy, an enrapturing series that you won’t forget.





The Other, by David Guterson; recommended by Jordan Watson (fiction)

Friendship can be a strange thing, as Neil and John soon discover. When the two meet at a 800 m race one day, Neil, a public high school student, and John, a private academy student, learn that despite their monetary differences, they share a love for the wilderness and exploration. As they grow together, life leads them down different roads: one becomes a recluse and the other accepts a conventional way of life. Their similarities and differences continue to develop as they begin to realize the complicated nature of friendship and understanding. The Other explores what it means to be friends and how it impacts our lives and each other’s.





Miss Alma Learns to Fight, by Stuart Rose; recommended by Rachel Sandell (novella)

If you’re looking for a read that you can enjoy in one sitting, Miss Alma May Learns to Fight is a short but satisfying novella full of humor and heart. Following a shattering betrayal, Miss Alma May struggles to control the anger inside her, leading to dangerous confrontations. To better understand and channel her feelings, Alma decides to learn martial arts, which proves to be much more difficult than she thought. A story of perseverance and self-discovery, Miss Alma May Learns to Fight will bring a little sunshine to your summer reading.





Why Fish Don’t Exist, by Lulu Miller; recommended by Karly White (nonfiction)

Why Fish Don’t Exist: A Story of Love, Loss, and the Hidden Order of Life examines the life of David Starr Jordan, a persevering taxonomist, and his relentless optimism in the face of chaos and negativity. Inspired by Jordan’s never-ending hopefulness, author Lulu Miller examines her own dismantled life to find hope in dark times, despite the chaos that makes up the world. As a memoir-biography, Lulu Miller’s work blends genres beautifully to create an unforgettable tale.





Talking to Strangers, by Malcolm Gladwell; recommended by Hannah Comerford (nonfiction)

Though a seemingly simple concept at first glance, talking to strangers can easily invite misunderstandings and conflict. Journalist Malcolm Gladwell takes a deep dive into the psychology behind talking to those we don’t know and how it affects our society, using case studies involving people such as Amanda Knox and Fidel Castro. By examining our misunderstandings and biases, Gladwell helps his readers take one important step closer to a more understanding world. (Bonus: the audiobook includes special music as well as narration from the very people interviewed.)





Want, by Cindy Pon; recommended by Emily Fahey (fiction)

In Want’s futuristic society, the difference between rich and poor means the difference between life and death. While the wealthy buy suits that protect them from the deadly pollution in the city, the less fortunate die young. When Jason Zhou’s mother becomes a victim of the city’s corruption, he decides to destroy the system from within, only to realize that rebellion isn’t as simple as he planned—especially when he begins to have feelings for the daughter of his enemy. This blend of sci-fi and romance makes for an unendingly fun summer read!





Everygirl, by Angela Dribben; recommended by Rachel Sandell (poetry)

In this bold poetry book debut, Angela Dribben paints vivid pictures of her experiences growing up in Virginia, surviving military school, and exploring what it’s like to be female, from girlhood to womanhood. Each poem is full of musings on struggle and overcoming obstacles in an unfair world. This collection is unique and full of vivid imagery, making it the perfect poetry book to sit down and experience this summer.






All Systems Red, by Martha Wells; recommended by Karly White (novella)

In the future, corporations dominate space travel, using robot technology that’s all under their control. Or so they think. One of the androids manages to hack its own governor module and give itself personal choice, renaming itself Murderbot. Carrying its distrust of humanity with it, Murderbot embarks on a journey of self-discovery when it’s thrown into danger with a team of scientists it has been ordered to protect. All Systems Red is the first novella in The Murderbot Diaries, a series featuring a very relatable introverted android that does not want to be a human.





Rebel Ideas, by Matthew Syed; recommended by Hannah Comerford (nonfiction)

Author and high-performance speaker Matthew Syed brings a unique perspective on thought and perception. In this book, Syed explores the topic of cognitive diversity, or the ability to think differently about the world, drawing from several real-life examples to show how a variety of perspectives can enrich an individual, an organization, and the world. Using stories of both catastrophic mistakes and powerful shifts away from harmful ideologies, Syed helps the reader recognize the crucial importance of listening to and gaining insight from others.





It will take a while for things to truly start feeling like normal again, but it’s important to celebrate the little steps on the way to the light at the end of the tunnel. Hopefully these books will make your summer just a little bit brighter!


About the Author

Rachel is an avid editor and writer. When she isn’t knee-deep in her own fantasy short stories and novels, she can be found reading, blogging, and composing music. She joined the Scribe Source in 2018.