There's nothing like a good summer read — especially one that allows you to escape to an exciting new world. Like Trollhunters, for example, based on the amazing world created by Guillermo del Toro for his DreamWorks animated series by the same name. If you love fantasy stories, and haven't checked it out, you totally should. If you've already read the series, there are plenty of books just like Trollhunters that'll help you fill that troll-sized hole in your heart.
For the uninitiated, Trollhunters starts like most typical coming-of-age adventure stories. A relatively normal suburban kid, Jim Sturges, discovers that the world is not what it seems... and neither is he. He goes on amazing adventures with a crew of unlikely sidekicks, mysteries to solve, and monsters to vanquish. Ultimately, your hero learns that they are capable of so much more than they ever thought — even saving the world.
If this type of story is your favorite way to escape the summer heat or monotony of mom life, you are in luck. Turns out, there are a ton of other great books to add to your e-reader, or order from Amazon, including new finds like The Lie Tree, by Frances Hardinge, and old favorites like A Wrinkle In Time, by Madeleine L'Engle, for you to read and even share with your kids. Here are just a few:
'The Lie Tree'
In the critically acclaimed young adult novel, The Lie Tree, Faith Sunderly is proper and lady-like on the outside, but a total badass on the inside. She discovers a magical tree which reveals hidden truths, many she totally didn't want to know and add layers of complexity to the mystery of who she is and who killed her father. Publisher's Weekly called it, "alternately excoriating, haunting, and darkly funny."
If you liked J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series — but are also a big fan of sex, violence, and shots of tequila — you'll love The Magicians by Lev Grossman. According to the New Yorker, “This gripping novel draws on the conventions of contemporary and classic fantasy novels in order to upend them.”
While the book series does contain adult themes and violence that might not be appropriate for young or sensitive readers, it's engaging, sweet, sad, scary, and oh-so satisfying. As an added bonus, after you are done reading about protagonist Quentin Coldwater's adventures at magic college, and in the world from his own favorite childhood fantasy stories, you can watch the books come to life in the SYFY series based on the series. You're welcome.
The Newberry Award-winning novel The Giver, by Lois Lowry, centers around 12-year-old Jonas, who lives in a seemingly perfect futuristic society where everything is decided for you. When he receives an important job, as a Receiver of Memory, he learns that everything he knows about the world is a horrible lie. As he struggles with keeping this a secret, he is faced with a choice that will change his life forever.
As one five-star Amazon reviewer writes, "The lessons these books teach are poignant, important, and extraordinarily relevant to today's political climate."
'The Darkest Path'
The Darkest Path, by Jeff Hirsch, is set in a Dystopian future where a new religion has declared war on the U.S. and taken prisoners, including 15-year-old Callum Roe and his little brother. When Callum befriends a stray dog, and accidentally kills one of the commanders in charge, he is forced to run with his new canine friend. This dark, gritty coming-of-age story of loyalty and friendship is a must-read for adults and teens alike, especially on summer break.
'A Wrinkle In Time'
If you saw directors Ava DuVernay and John Kent Harrison's beautiful film adaptation of A Wrinkle in Time, you simply have to read the Newbery Medal-winning book by Madeleine L'Engle — a story of science, magic, adventure, and girl power that has showed generations of little girls that they can do anything they put their mind to.
Being a teenage girl is hard enough without finding out that ghosts are real. In the novel The Summoning, by Kelley Armstrong (author of the popular urban fantasy series Women of the Otherworld), 15-year-old Chloe Saunders starts seeing ghosts, thinks she is losing her mind, and ends up in a home for troubled youth where nothing is what it seems.
As one Amazon reviewer wrote, this series is both appropriate for teens and pre-teens, and engaging for adults:
As an adult I still had absolutely no problem staying invested in the story and characters. This trilogy has become one of my absolute favorites. Ms. Armstrong has weaved a story that was impossible not to vividly “see” and experience the adventure with the characters. I highly recommend this book and trilogy to teens and adults alike. You will not be disappointed!