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The Nest

The Student News Site of Brentwood High School

The Nest

The Student News Site of Brentwood High School

The Nest

Brentwood’s “book club’s” top picks for summer reading

Brentwoods+make-shift++book+club%2C+Lilly+Lancaster%2C+Eloise+Ayotte%2C+Elizabeth+Gray%2C+Natalie+Forman%2C+and+Ms.+Wilson%2C+meet+to+read+their+favorite+books.
Brentwood’s make-shift ” book club”, Lilly Lancaster, Eloise Ayotte, Elizabeth Gray, Natalie Forman, and Ms. Wilson, meet to read their favorite books.

As we transition from spring into summer, avid book readers are assembling their customary summer reading lists. I construct my summer reading list every spring, religiously. As I was doing this earlier in the week, I remembered that I used to not like reading. There were so many books and categories to choose from, it was overwhelming. I didn’t know what I would like or where to start. Whenever I see someone similar to how I used to be, I recommend a series to them that I think of as a required non-required read. 

Most book enthusiasts have their own required non-required book or series that they recommend to everyone they know. The book that they couldn’t stop thinking about; the book that changed the trajectory of their life; the book they will never forget. For me, it was the Shatter Me series written by Taherah Mafi. This young adult series kicked off my love for reading, and I bring it up at every chance I get. Whenever I see someone reading a YA book I immediately recommend this series to them. 

Lilly Lancaster reads Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi

With a lot of YA books, there are moments where I can’t help but cringe and have to set the book down. A lot of people refuse to read YA due to the mediocre and predictable plot twists that feel like a Wattpad story written by a 14-year-old. I never felt this way when reading the Shatter Me series. This series is clearly written by someone that’s been writing for a while and knows how to create a good story. 

The Shatter Me series is nine books, including the novellas, and mainly focuses on the supernatural with an enemies-to-lovers romance, but there’s also a bit more to the story. The narrator switches between different character’s perspectives as the series goes on and we’re given a deep background on almost all of them. 

Something I have a problem with is finishing a book and feeling like I’m still missing something, but with this series, that wasn’t the case. I finished this series feeling content and pleased with where all the characters ended up.

The author, dialogue, plot, characters, and order of events all come together to make a captivating book series that will have you glued to the pages. 

If you’re not a fan of fiction, Senior Eloise Ayotte has a recommendation for you! The book Men Explain Things To Me by Rebecca Solnit is a nonfiction collection of essays about how men casually undermine and belittle women.

I feel like being belittled or feeling less than or incompetent is kind of a universal experience upon women. Reading this book made me feel like I wasn’t the only one that feels belittled when men explain things to me.

— Eloise Ayotte

Eloise Ayotte reading Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit

The Men Explain Things to Me is nine chapters (159 pages) and details real encounters Solnit’s had with men. She uses a hint of humor while getting real about the harmful and scary things women have to deal with on a daily basis. When asked why this book is so important for more people to read, Ayotte said, “I think it can help people understand that what they say impacts the people around them. It made me more conscious of what I say and how I speak to people.”

A good book can also be about something as simple as a man and his car, and Junior Elizabeth Gray’s favorite book is just that! Gray grew up in a Stephen King household and has been reading his books since she was eight. When she was eleven, Gray’s dad gifted her the book Christine, this book would unknowingly become her favorite. Gray has read Christine around ten times, and with each read the plot unravels a little bit more. 

Elizabeth Gray is holding Christine by Stephen King

It’s a decent size, but not much compared to King’s other books. Placed in the late 80s, the life of seventeen-year-old Arnie Cunningham changes trajectory when his car comes to life. “For one it’s pretty captivating in a way. Instead of involving people, it’s literally just a car and it’s just not what you’d expect,” said Gray.

This horror genre thriller will have you on the edge of your seat.

As Brentwood’s middle school and high school librarian, Mrs.Wilson has many favorite books, so picking just one to recommend felt like a complicated decision. After a while of thinking, she chose, I’ll Give You The Sun written by Jandy Nelson. I’ll Give You The Sun is an LGBTQ YA novel that came out in 2014. 

Ms. Wilson is holding I’ll Give you the Sun by Jandy Nelson

The story starts with a brother and sister in eighth grade and then skips to their junior year of high school. This jump in time is when the plot starts to pick up. “When you meet them in 8th grade, you think they’ll turn out a certain way, but then when you meet them again as juniors you get surprised. Their lives take a 180 and it’s a mystery. It’s about the bond you can have with your sibling,” said Mrs.Wilson. 

 

It reminds me of my brother and the bond we have.

— Ms. Wilson

Another great book written by the same author, Jandy Nelson, is The Sky is Everywhere. Sophomore Natalie Forman read this book a few years ago and hasn’t forgotten it. The Sky is Everywhere is a captivating YA novel written about a fifteen-year-old girl grieving the death of her older sister. 

Natalie Forman is holding The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson

“It’s just a really accurate description of grief and trying to fit in,” said Forman. 

Not only does this book deal with heavy topics, but it also involves a bit of romance and possibly a love triangle. Another cool element is the poems and notes the main character leaves behind wherever she goes. The Sky is Everywhere is about three hundred pages with 37 chapters, but don’t let the length intimidate you. It’s actually a quick and easy read and has an interesting yet happy ending. Plus, it’s available in our school library! Don’t be afraid to pick up this book if you’re in need of a little escape and want a bitter-sweet story to dive into. 

Even if you haven’t read a book you’ve loved since childhood, don’t turn your back on reading! Try one of these out, and if you have your own recommendation, let us know in the comments!

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About the Contributor
Lilly Lancaster
Lilly Lancaster, Staff Reporter
Lilly Lancaster is a senior at Brentwood High School. She loves to read, write, and hang out with her cats, Binx, Stink, and Reba. She is involved in FCC, STUCO, and sadly retired from cheerleading. This is her third year on the journalism staff.

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