Column: Four must-read books for summer 2017

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Emma McCabe
Oxford Stories

Literature is a way to expand our minds, and it offers hours of relaxation. We grow through literature and often learn values from our favorite characters.

During the summer, more time is spent relaxing at the beach or pool, or during a quiet afternoon than any other time of year. Here are the four best books to read this summer according to category: romance, young adult, non-fiction, and science fiction.

Young Adult

Then & Now by Emma Mills is a relatively undiscovered YA book. It is a modern crossover between Pride and Prejudice and the show “Friday Night Lights.”

Then & Now follows the life of Devon Tennyson through the mountains and valleys of her senior year. She lacks motivation or interest in college and extra curricular events. She is trying to adjust to her younger cousin, Foster, who has moved in and begun going to high school with her. She struggles with her boy best friend and a moody quarterback.

This book has all the elements of a teen drama, but it doesn’t feel silly or trivial. It feels very real. It’s a great timeless story to read on the beach.

Photo of the book “Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen. Photo by Emma McCabe.


Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen is a classic romance novel depicting the social concepts of marriage and finally finding one person to spend your life with. This book would be great for a weekend-long trip when you can delve into the world Austen has created of balls, damsels, and a fight for true love.

Elizabeth Bennet, the main character, struggles with either deciding to marry for love or for her ideals. In comes the handsome and wealthy Mr. Darcy, and her life gets a lot more complicated. The characters grapple with issues of morality, love and social consequences.

Novel Quote: “I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading. How much sooner one tires of any thing than of a book! …When I have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library.”


This year, tragedy struck when Star Wars actress and mental health advocate Carrie Fisher passed away. Her book, The Princess Diarist, is a great way to remember the spitfire she was, but also the legacy she will be known as.

Fisher writes about her time filming “Star Wars,” her relationship with her cast members, and also about her mental health issues and family problems. She pulls quotes from her diaries at the time, giving insight into one of the most iconic films in history.

She has no shame about sharing the mistakes she made or about navigating Hollywood in her early 20s with no help. It’s funny, smart, and exciting. This is a great non-fiction book to read when you have the time.

Novel Quote: “I had also never realized before that I loved him, but I did. And his pain was my pain, and it hurt, but it also felt good in a strange way, knowing that we could share in it together.”

Science Fiction

Red Queen, by Victoria Aveyard, is a science fiction book – the first in a series that is sweeping the country. It has strong, interesting characters and a surprising plot on every single page.

The main story involves two groups of people separated by blood type, the silvers and the reds. The reds are a group of people lacking special powers forced into labor by the silvers.

The main character, Mare, 18, changes the entire society. Many scenarios of separated groups of people feel extremely relevant today. Read this book now before its popularity grows.

The book is refreshing, and the characters are not typical and predictable. There are three books in the series, and the author is writing the fourth.

Novel Quote: “Some say those are just stories, but I don’t believe that. The gods rule us still. They have come down from the stars. And they are no longer kind.”

Books are a way to escape into another world, a form of entertainment, and a classic pastime. Many people, although they still enjoy reading, no longer have time to sit and pick out a book.

I hope you take some of these books into consideration. They led me to more books I love. What may start off as something small might have a much bigger chain reaction.

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