I am fortunate to have gotten plenty of reading done this summer! I had a hard time choosing just a few books to feature, but these are the ones with life-changing writing, jaw-cracking plots, and characters I'm dying to visit again.
Diana Peterfreund - Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins
So, imagine a Jane Austen novel. Persuasion, if you know it. Okay? Now set it in a science fiction, post-post-apocalyptic environment with Luddites and genetic manipulation. Now throw in an aching tale of love lost and gorgeous, lush prose. I soaked up every page of this beautiful book, and I can't wait to see what Diana writes next.
Lev Grossman - Viking Adult/Penguin
I enjoyed Grossman's first entry into this series, The Magicians, which is kind of a grown-up, self-deprecating version of Harry Potter and the Narnia books, but didn't really felt it needed a sequel. I WAS SO WRONG. This sequel is the sequel to end all sequels. This book is a master class in brilliantly continuing and expanding on a world, weaving in new characters, enriching your writing, and so much more. Julia, a self-taught witch--a very minor character in the first book--completely steals the show here, chronicling her descent into underground witchery and the rabbit hole that Internet forums can often become, while the magical world of Fillory grows more sinister by the second. I cannot wait for the third book.
Gina Rosati - Roaring Brook Press/Macmillan
Okay, astral projection stories may not be your thing, but there is so much more to this book than your typical paranormal adventure. When Anna's body is taken over by her freshly-dead classmate, Anna has to rely on her wits and brains (and her helpful, hunktacular aikido master BFF) to get her body back. Auracle deftly and cleverly handles death and other dark subject matter with a light touch, and has loads of fun while doing so.