Summer Anytime Reads
If you liked The Penderwicks, try: Entwined (for the sweet sisterly relationships) or The Summer of Cotton Candy (for a lighthearted contemporary story set in summertime).
Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones. Howl is, of course, a good book to read at any time of the year. But it does feel like a very summertime book to me: lighthearted, amusing, classic. Pick it up on a sunshine-y morning and enjoy meeting Sophie, Howl, Calcifer, and the rest (whether for the first or hundred and first time), or save it for a rainy day and let Howl's antics and Sophie's misadventures in dealing with him make you forget all about the gloomy weather.
If you like Howl's Moving Castle, try: Jackaby (for the, how shall we say, eccentric? male lead and amusingly bickering main pair), The Chrestomanci Chronicles (for more Diana Wynne Jones and the closest character to Howl I've found so far), or The Hollow Kingdom (for the feel of the book).
The Stormlight Archive by Brandon Sanderson. Sometimes, though, you don't want something lighthearted. Summer's the most free time any of us have, usually, and we might as well make the most of it by tackling something big. And The Stormlight Archive contains two of the biggest and best books I've ever read in my life- and if you're reading it for the first time, you'd better make it during the summer. Try it during the school year and you'll need a great deal of self-discipline to keep it from taking over your life. Summertime, though? No worries- you won't need to put it down, which is good, because you won't want to.
If you like The Stormlight Archive, try: The Blood of Kings trilogy (for epic adventures and a pretty awesome world), The Wheel of Time series* (for massive books and lore-rich worldbuilding), or the Queen's Thief series (for incredibly twisty plots).
Going Postal by Terry Pratchett. Basically, anything Discworld is probably a good choice for the summer- they're hilarious, if not quite lighthearted, but still fairly substantial. (Not as substantial as The Stormlight Archive, no, but what is?) But if I'm going to pick just one book to recommend from the series for the summer, Going Postal is the obvious choice. It's a bit less outright weird than some of them, while maintaining all the Discworld charm, and Moist van Lipwig is definitely a summertime sort of character.
If you like Going Postal, try: The League of Princes series (for unlikely heroes and fantasy send-ups) or The Tough Guide to Fantasyland (for fun fantasy send-up; read it straight through or flip around at will).
The Books of Bayern by Shannon Hale. These books are neither lighthearted nor especially substantial, but they still feel like a quiet summer afternoon, especially The Goose Girl and River Secrets (first and third, respectively, in the series). The romance is sweet, the stories are both classic and original, and the writing style is the sort you want to take the time to savor.
If you like The Books of Bayern, try: Wildwood Dancing or Five Glass Slippers (for fairy-tale retellings), The Merchant's Daughter (for a romance without too much fluff), or Orphan's Song (for fairly short books worth reading slowly).
What are some of your favorite summer reads? Please tell me in the comments!
Thanks for reading!
-Sarah (Leilani Sunblade)
*Note: I have only read the first three Wheel of Time books. Those three books, I can recommend as being good, especially the third one- mostly because Rand ceases to be an idiot and Mat gets to be awesome. I can't vouch for the rest, but I have a friend with excellent taste in reading material who says they're good.