School’s over, but we all know the importance of reading over the summer. Whether you’re participating in the library’s Summer Reading Program or you’re just an avid reader looking for your next novel, here are some teen-friendly books we recommend for your summer reading list.
This week, we’ll look at Emma’s picks:
The Amulet of Samarkand by Jonathan Stroud
The first book in The Bartimaeus Trilogy, this novel takes place in London, in a world divided into magicians and commoners. Nathaniel, a young magician’s apprentice, accidentally summons the powerful djinn (magical spirit) named Bartimaeus. Though Bartimaeus is infinitely more powerful than Nathaniel, he follows his master’s orders—including stealing a sacred amulet from a fellow magician. As the stolen amulet reveals plans of murder, power, espionage, and of course, magic, Nathaniel and his djinn become caught up in the supernatural power struggle taking place between the most powerful magicians in London. Told from the cunning and witty perspective of Bartimaeus, The Amulet of Samarkand is an engaging and adventurous fantasy read.
The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
Immigration is a vital topic in the present day, and The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri thoroughly covers the subject through three generations of a Bengali family. Upon arriving in the United States from India, a married couple struggles to adjust to their surroundings while trying to start a family. In the midst of the chaos of settling down, they are gifted with their first child who they name Gogol, after the father’s favorite Russian writer. The majority of the novel follows Gogol’s life and his struggles with accepting his peculiar name and fusing his native culture into his American lifestyle. Though The Namesake is not jam-packed with action and adventure, the extraordinary writing and description combine in the realistic obstacles that Gogol faces. Due to the mature concepts and situations described in The Namesake, this would be an appropriate novel for teens age 15 and up.
Polar Dream by Helen Thayer
If the summer is getting to be too hot, Polar Dream by Helen Thayer is a refreshing read in which one can lose oneself among the blissfully freezing ice and snow. On a journey to become the first lone woman to travel by foot to the magnetic North Pole (364 miles), Thayer writes about her own trials and tribulations. During the 27 day journey, her only company comes in the form of Charlie, a 100-pound Inuit dog trained to alert his companion of polar bears. As the journey wears on, Thayer tells of the many near-death catastrophes that she endures, including starvation, brutal storms, thin ice—and yes, polar bears, in order to accomplish her goal as a strong and independent woman. Filled with real pictures from the journey and maps of her course, Polar Dream is certainly an engaging non-fiction read.
Review by Emma, teen blogger