It’s really weird to think about how summer vacation has changed since I was in school. When I was in elementary school and high school, there was a very clear summer break starting at the end of June until the first week of September. When I went to university and then college, it was a bit of a shock to get an even longer break — school ended around the end of April, and unless you had summer school (which I didn’t), you were off until September! It was such a long break that it was hard in the beginning to figure out what to do. I had a job for at least two of those summers, but after some terrible office politics, it didn’t work out for the following year. Summer vacations for me at that point meant some volunteering, some online summer classes, and luckily enough some kind of trip somewhere.
Once I started my full-time job, it was a shock again to have to redefine summer vacation, because in reality, there isn’t one. The program that I work for runs year-round. For the first few years that I worked there, we shut down for only two weeks in July, so that is when I would take a vacation if possible, or sometimes just stay home. It changed again this past year to allow staff to take their vacation time any time they want, with no real “summer break” for everyone. I guess I haven’t been able to get out of that mindset, since I’ve taken off the next two weeks for my vacation and I’m looking forward to it! Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love my job but I definitely need a couple of weeks to refresh.
I decided to look for a nice summer-themed tag to kick off my vacation, and managed to find something perfect: the Summer Vacation Book Tag, which was originated by Em, whose post can be found here.
1) First Day of Summer – A new book you have been waiting to read
Does it count if I’m already in the middle of the book? I’m currently in the middle of Leah on the Offbeat, which only came out at the end of April this year! Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda was one of my favourites when I read it two years ago. I don’t remember specifics from that book about Leah at all, so I was a little worried going into this that I would need to know more, but so far so good. I’d been waiting for this one for a while — even though I originally wasn’t even sure I’d be able to squeeze it in this year.
2) Beach Day – A book that leaves you wanting more
I have to say, a beach is definitely not something that leaves me wanting more. I actually hate going to the beach — I overheat very easily, and I’m not a strong enough swimmer to be comfortable swimming in the water. On the other hand, I finished Dear Martin just last night, and it definitely left me wanting more! The book was just over 200 pages, and it touched on so many interesting and relevant topics, but I think the story could have been even stronger if there was room to develop some of the plot points a bit more. Still a 5 star read for sure, but it definitely left me wanting more.
3) Portable Fan – A book where the romance is on point
I’m a little confused about what a fan has to do with romance, but oh well. I’ll have to go with another recent read, and pick Autoboyography. This book is about a noy named Tanner, who is bisexual and has feelings for Sebastian, who is Mormon and struggling with his sexuality. I absolutely loved how this book handled all the complexities of the relationship between the boys, while giving a balanced depiction of the Mormon faith and how it affected both boys. This book very quickly has become one of my favourites of the year so far. I waited a long time for the library to purchase a copy, and I’m so glad that I finally got to read it! I was expecting to love it, and it was even better than I expected.
4) Slip & Slide – A book you were excited for but didn’t live up to your expectations
This may be a controversial pick, but I have to go with Tyler Johnson Was Here. I expected this to be along the same lines as The Hate U Give, which I absolutely loved, and unfortunately it fell a little flat for me. I didn’t hate it or anything, and still ultimately rated it 4 stars. I just was disappointed that I couldn’t get into it as much as I would have liked because I wasn’t a huge fan of the writing style. I found the characters underdeveloped, and there were certain plot points (ie. the romance) that did not add much to the story. There were some great insights raised by the characters, but I just didn’t connect with this one as strongly as I hoped.
5) Theme Park – A fantastical book that transported you to another world
I mean, Harry Potter is still the obvious and strongest example of this one for me, but it seems only fair to pick something else. I have started quite a few fantasy series in the past year or so, and several of them have very intriguing world-building. I think if I had to narrow it down, I would have to go with either A Court of Thorns and Roses or Daughter of Smoke and Bone. Both of these books had very interesting settings that I got absorbed by almost intermediately. I can’t wait to continue both of these series and find out what happens next!
6) Thunderstorm – A dark book that was lit up with streaks of beauty
This is a tough one. I’ve actually read quite a few books that could be considered dark, but it’s hard to remember specifics of some of them. I think I will go with The Madman’s Daughter trilogy, which was a very good mix of dark themes and some beautiful writing and character development. It was a series that I was hesitant to even start in the first place, and kept putting off the first book the year I chose it as part of one of my reading challenges. As soon as I finally picked it up, I was completely captivated and couldn’t wait to read the rest.
7) A book or series that you can’t get enough of
It’s kind of hard to say when I have only read one book so far from many of the series that I have in progress, but so far I would have to go with The Raven Cycle. When I read the first book last year, it almost had the same feeling for me as reading Harry Potter for the first time. From what I have heard, the rest of the series carries on along the same lines, so I’m hoping it will be just as strong. I just need to find the time where I can read this one uninterrupted!