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Front covers of the books, "We Were Liars," "Lake Lore," "Daisy Jones and the Six" and "The Alchemist." Images courtesy of Amazon.

Opinion: Summer reads that helped me love reading again

For those of you who might also reminisce on days spent reading in middle school entranced by some make-believe world but haven't been able to fall head over heels for a paperback since – this is a list of four books that I feel will help you take the jump.

I’ve spent the past six months attempting to get back into reading fiction – never able to convince myself to open a book, much less finish one. Halfway through the year, I’ve compiled a list of four of my favorite summer reads – ones I’ve felt have been a good reintroduction to reading for pleasure.

Lake Lore

By: Anna-Marie McLemore

What I love most about this book is how it blended both the mystical and ordinary. The book handles neurodivergence, Queerness and identity in an honest, straightforward way. The mystic elements do not detract from or infantilize these topics, but rather strengthen the plot and allow for a more nuanced discussion of how culture, race and tradition also impact them.

This book was the perfect introduction back to reading fiction. Being a young adult novel, the style of writing is pretty easy to digest but nothing in the plot is lost because of it. The magical elements of the book do this perfectly by adding layers to the action while also being easy to follow. The pacing and plot of the book also moved at a good pace with no part dragging on for too long. I have long loved to be swept up into a mystical world, and “Lake Lore” welcomed me right in.

Daisy Jones and the Six

By: Taylor Jenkins Reid

Much like “Lake Lore,” once I started reading “Daisy Jones and the Six,” I could not put it down. When starting to read again, it is of the utmost importance that you don’t force yourself to read something you hate. The book is written as if it were dialogue from an interview the author was having with members of a band. This might take a moment to get the hang of, but the reader is never confused by who’s speaking, even with an extensive amount of characters.

This book is like being a fly on the wall as the drama goes down. Watching all of the dynamics play out between the six band members, Jones and all of their various friends and love interests is messy, but told in a way that makes you care for and become invested in the growth of the characters.

Content warning: this book handles topics of addiction and abuse.

We Were Liars

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By: E. Lockhart

With a prequel now on the shelves, I figured I should start with the first. Out of all the books on the list, this would probably be my least favorite, but it was the thriller-mystery I needed to keep reading. The book is the most confusing - There is a long list of characters that took me a while to keep sorted in my head, but I do think that each one added to the plot and was worth getting to know.

Unlike the other books on this list that are hard to put down, this one keeps you reading because you are left wondering how it will end until it finally does. This was exactly what I needed in a book when I wasn’t really in the mood to read. It kept me guessing and interested.

Content warning: this book handles topics of trauma and chronic illness. 

The Alchemist 

By: Paulo Coelho

This book is the most unlike the others, but my favorite read from the summer by far. This book has made its mark in history as life-changing, as the reviews on the back cover insisted as well as an inscription on the inner cover from a past reader. I scoffed but read nonetheless.

The book tells a hero’s journey and is written in very simple, elegant prose for roughly 200 pages. It might deter you at first as it doesn’t follow a typical speech pattern, but I beg you to keep reading. While the story is distant and fabled, I’ve never reflected or sat with a book and my thoughts as long as I have with this one.

As the summer comes to a close, I hope you can find a book that might provide an oasis or moment to think and reflect, as the chaos of fall comes to approach.

Maddie Pukite is the editor-in-chief at the Daily Lobo. They can be contacted at on Twitter @maddogpukite

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