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Updated by Jen Blair on Nov 25, 2023
Headline for Summer Reading 2018 - Truth Hurts
Jen Blair Jen Blair
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Summer Reading 2018 - Truth Hurts

Here is a list of realistic reads - lots of angst! Lots of tears! Lots of bad decision-making. It's what we love, right?

Stick by Andrew Smith

You might have heard of this book… Stick and his brother, Bosten, need to leave their home. Their parents are abusive and when they find out that Bosten is gay, Stick doesn’t think they will make it out alive.

The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan

Leigh’s mother has recently committed suicide. Leigh is convinced that her mother (in the form of a bird) is trying to communicate with her. To find her mother, Leigh travels to Taiwan to stay with her maternal grandparents and ends up uncovering many family secrets. But will she ever be able to forgive herself for not being there when her mother needed her most?

The Beauty That Remains by Ashley Woodfolk

Three teens are struggling to cope with death: Autumn lost her best friend in a car accident. Shay’s twin sister has died of leukemia. Logan’s boyfriend has committed suicide. Even though they are all VERY different people, their grief and their love of music (especially the band Unraveling Lovely) tie them together with a bond that won't break.

Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi

Penny and Sam are barely acquainted, but after a medical emergency, become each other’s emergency contact. With this exchange of cell phone numbers, they embark on a text-only relationship, sharing their deepest secrets with each other. Soon their late night text sessions lead to spending time together in “real life.” Penny is one of my favorite characters. Ever.

I Have Lost My Way by Gayle Forman

Three teens meet by chance one day in New York City. Each is struggling with great loss in their lives. Against all odds, they become friends with each other in the space of this one day. Friends who are truly there for together. No matter what.

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After the Shot Drops by Randy Ribay

Bunny is one of the best high school basketball players in the nation. He is offered a scholarship to a local private school where he has a better chance for college scouts to see him play. Perfect, right? Not for his best friend, Nasir. Nasir feels forgotten and abandoned by Bunny. He starts to hang out with his cousin, Wallace, who wouldn’t know a good decision if it hit him in the face. These three young men struggle with loyalty, friendship, and life choices and you won’t be able to put this book down until you find out what happens.

The Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora by Pablo Cartaya

The Zamora family owns the local Miami restaurant where the entire neighborhood gathers for all important events and celebrations. Everyone feels like they are part of the family here. When a land developer comes to town to build a fancy new apartment building, the neighbors are snowed by his seeming generosity and grandiose plans...until they realize that the Zamora’s restaurant will have to be torn down to make way for this new building. What else will they lose when these neighborhood institutions are torn down?

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Saints and Misfits by S.K. Ali

Everyone in Janna’s life fits into a category: a saint or a misfit. But what if the one person in her life that she determines is a monster is someone everyone else in her mosque thinks of as a saint? How can she be strong enough to voice what she knows is true, that he is a monster who tried to assault her?

Little & Lion by Brandy Colbert

Little and Lion are brother and sister by marriage, but are SUPER close. When Lion’s mental illness manifests in violent episodes, Little is sent away to a boarding school back East. Will they ever be able to trust each other enough to be close again?

Picture Us in the Light by Kelly Loy Gilbert

Daniel knows how lucky he is. He goes to a great school, has amazing friends, and has just been accepted to Rhode Island School of Design. But when he discovers a secret that his overprotective parents have been keeping his “perfect” life starts to completely unravel.

The Stars Beneath Our Feet by David Barclay Moore

Lolly and his mother can’t get over the death of his older brother who has been shot. He spends most afternoons in the safety of the community center creating new worlds with Lego. It’s the only way out.

The Strange Fascinations of Noah Hypnotik by David Arnold

Noah notices things. Tiny things that no one else notices. He obsesses about them. But after he has been hypnotized these tiny things, these “fascinations” have all changed. What does this mean? Can he go back to the way things were? Is he losing his mind? Witty, real, and, dare I say, fascinating, this is one of the best books that I have read this year.

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