I had to read Heart of Darkness the summer before my junior year. You want to know what I loved most about it? The length. Thankfully, the days of tortuous school summer reading lists are long behind me. Now, I hear the words “summer reading” and my heart pitter patters a little bit louder. I picture camping trips where I smuggle a stack of books in the car, sitting by the campfire in the fading light pulling at every word until the darkness takes over, and reading the classics I’ve actually always wanted to read. (No, Heart of Darkness was never on that list). Wherever you may find yourself this summer, and if you’re like me and your lake days are in very short supply, you still need some good summer reads.

To celebrate joyful summer reading, I’m giving away one of the below books. To win: 1.) Leave a comment sharing which book you want to win and 2.) Make sure you like my Facebook page here.

Here’s my list of must reads for summer 2014:

Paper Towns by John Green
If you haven’t heard of John Green, you might be living under a rock. His other book is in theaters right now. You could start with that book, but I suggest your John Green cherry should be popped with Paper Towns. I read it in one day in India. There is a lot I could say about it but really when I opened her up I had no idea what it was about or what to expect. It is refreshing to read a book with little preconceptions, so I recommend you do the same and then message me as soon as you finish so we can talk about it over wine.

Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
A few years ago, I was helping my Grandmother sort through and simplify her office. I stumbled upon my aunt’s childhood copy of Gone With the Wind. Her name is written in it in the unformed hand of a child. I’ve held onto it for three years, biding my time to embark into the world of the infamous Scarlet O’Hara and Rhett Butler. I’m 100 pages in and all I can think, is why did I wait so long?

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
This is definitely destined to be read on a day spent loafing by the water. Every summer the equally wealth and equally dysfunctional Sinclair family vacations on their own private island off Martha’s Vineyard. It’s a bit Wuthering Heights-esque until it takes you down a rabbit hole of unexpected. The writing style is a bit annoying but the mystery and fast read still get my vote for a summer read.

Looking for Alaska by John Green
Yes, I’m basically telling you to make this the summer of John Green, he’s just that good. Looking for Alaska is the high school experience most kids dream of, I certainly did. It has the independence only boarding school can give, soft rebellion through drinking and smoking, fierce friendships and excelling intellectually. Again Green’s characters grab you, his writing feels so real and open, and you’re quickly sucked into the swamps of Alabama and the world of Culver Creek Preparatory High School. (Note: There are some tough life questions in this book, so be prepared.)
The All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness
In exactly 13 days the conclusion to this trilogy is released. You bet I’ve had that preordered since it was first announced. That means if you haven’t met Diana Bishop and Matthew Clairmont yet, you have 13 days to catch up in time for the third release. This is witches, vampires and daemons written with intellect and real imagination. Harkness blends history, science and viticulture with her magic and what you get is a sophisticated pager turner in a fantastical world you’ll wish was real. You bet I do.

Happy Reading!