Summer Lovin' Books

I can't believe the summer has almost come to an end! *Insert crying* Yesterday, the weather was positively autumn-ish. Not that there's anything wrong with autumn-ish weather---it's divine, really!---but man, I'm going to miss summer. The hot days, the lounging about, the watermelon-eating, and the roller coaster-riding. Don't leave us just yet, summer!

As I reminisce about the last few months (lemonade! dresses! So You Think You Can Dance!), I have to say I was lucky enough to read some really great books. A few of my faves:

Legend by Marie Lu

I started Legend with a bit of apprehension. See, I looooove dystopian fiction but I've been disappointed by a few of the Big Dystopian Novels that have come out in the last couple years. My brain has witnessed too many shadowy government figures and bad boy love interests who are secretly as cuddly as kittens once you get to know them. (We need more Peeta's, I tell you! Nice boys!)

But Legend was refreshing. The characterization was spot-on---especially the whip-smart heroine, June---and the plot was fast-paced yet satisfying. I also enjoyed the worldbuilding, which was subtle but made sense. Sometimes, dystopian worldbuilding makes me scratch my head ("Why don't these people escape to Russia?! They don't have to be bred to become organ donors!" Extra points if you know what book I'm talking about!) but Legend didn't suffer from this problem.

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Okay, I think I might be the last person on Earth to read this novel but better late than never, right?

Man, I seriously inhaled this book! Jay Asher mentioned in an interview that he intended Thirteen Reasons Why to be a thriller---and boy is that true. I couldn't stop turning the pages, even though I knew what the outcome would be.

Interestingly enough, my little sister read this book when I finished and she gave it a "meh" rating of a B-. Her complaint? She thought Clay, the narrator, was too perfect. She wanted him to have a flaw of some sort, which I found interesting. If you've read this novel, do you think the book would have been stronger if Clay was more flawed?

Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua

Oh dear, this book has stirred a lot of controversy. Basically, it's a memoir written by a Yale Law professor who raised her children the Chinese way. In other words, her two daughters were groomed to become music prodigies/math geniuses who weren't allowed to have play-dates and sleepovers.

You know what though? I loved it! I know, that's sort of weird, right? Amy Chua has a self-deprecating sense of humor---she's not afraid to make fun of her craziness---and, at the end of the day, this book is about how she learned to chill out as a Tiger Mother and let her daughters explore their own interests.

And I could relate so much to this book since I'm a child of Chinese parents: the forced piano lessons, the forced evening math classes, the forced Chinese school attendance. Ah, memories! Both my sister and I were giggling at some of the anecdotes shared, although to be fair we were allowed to have sleepovers and to participate in activities beyond playing instruments and learning math.

So what have been your favorite summer reads?