Beach Reading Recap
I read a handful of books while at the beach last week. They were all light books but dealt with heavier subject matter. Weirdly enough, each of these three books all had a theme of loss and grief running through them. That was not at all intentional, but it did lend some weight to my beach reading. And if I cried through some parts, well that is fine, right? I was at the beach, so it evened out.
Also, I stopped in Sundog Books in Seaside, Florida and picked up four books. If you ever get down to 30A, you have to check out Sundog. It is my absolute favorite bookstore.
My Oxford Year by Julia Whelan
I studied abroad at Oxford one summer in college and absolutely fell in love with the city. I was only there for six weeks, but it was enough to become my favorite place in the world. So when I heard there was a book about an American girl who studies at Oxford and falls for her teacher, I was immediately on board with My Oxford Year. Ella is a Rhodes scholar who on the day she lands in Oxford, gets her dream job as an education consultant for a dark-horse presidential candidate. On her first day, she also almost gets hit by a car, then runs into the same guy at a deli. And of course he ends up being her (extremely attractive) teacher for one of her courses. Once they get past their rough first impressions, they cannot deny the chemistry between them. As Ella and Jamie embark on a casual relationship, they promise they will be honest and very forthcoming about any feelings they may or may not develop. But when Ella finds Jamie has been keeping a pretty big secret, will she decide to stay with Jamie or flee back to her dream job in the US? As much I loved Ella and Jamie, my favorite characters were Ella’s friends. They were extremely entertaining. Plus, I loved reading about Ella's discovery of Oxford, punting, the Bodleian Library, Moo Moo's, everything. I am dying to go back. If you enjoyed The Royal We, My Oxford Year will be right up your alley.
Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson
My next read was Morgan Matson’s Second Chance Summer. I absolutely adored Matson’s The Unexpected Everything, so I was excited to give this one a try. Taylor’s family has not been back to their lake house in Lake Phoenix, Pennsylvania in five years. And Taylor’s last summer there did not end well. She alienated both her first boyfriend Henry and her best friend Lucy. Her family decides to spend one last summer at the lake house because her dad has pancreatic cancer and the doctors only gave him about three months to live. When Taylor runs into Henry and Lucy within her first few days back, all of her memories of that last summer come flooding back. While trying to apologize to Henry and Lucy, she and her family all try to come to terms with her dad’s cancer. At first, Taylor kind of annoyed me because she seemed pretty down on herself, but as the book goes on, she grew on me. Also Henry is a delight; he is outdoorsy, but he also bakes! Matson writes the male love interest so well. I had the biggest crush on Clark from The Unexpected Everything, and Henry is now a close second. If you like cute YA rom-com, definitely pick up Second Chance Summer. But you should know that Matson's books are pretty hefty, over four hundred pages.
Forever, Interrupted by Taylor Jenkins Reid
I have read several of Taylor Jenkins Reid’s books and thoroughly enjoy her writing. Forever, Interrupted was her debut novel. Elsie Porter and Ben Ross met on New Year’s Day, had a whirlwind courtship, and eloped by May. But nine days into their marriage, Ben is killed by a car while out running an errand for Elsie. Elsie is understandably devastated, but when she gets to the hospital, she meets Ben’s mom Susan, who doesn’t even know that they were married, let alone that they were dating. The book alternates between Elsie and Susan’s grieving process and Elsie and Ben’s courtship. I like how Taylor Jenkins Reid plays with typical romance structures, and Forever, Interrupted is no different. Plus, Mr. Callahan is the cutest and sweetest side character.
If you are making one last summer trip, definitely pick up one (or all three) of these books! What were your beach reads this summer?