This week’s topic is:
Ten Eleven Books When You Need
Something Light & Fun
(in no particular order)
I love reading books that make me think, especially books that deal with tough subjects and make me feel all the feels. But sometimes you just need to settle down with a light, fun book and take your mind off of things. For me, these books usually end up being romance novels or fluffy, contemporary Young Adult fiction.
1. Scribbler of Dreams, Mary E. Pearson
Kaitlin Malone knows what it’s like to date the enemy. She was raised to hate the Crutchfields, and absolutely does — until she meets Bram Crutchfield. It turns out he’s a great guy — one she could talk to, share things with… even love. But when Kaitlin gives her heart to Bram, her world spins out of control. Soon the Crutchfields are her friends and she’s a traitor to her own family.
To make things worse, Bram was raised to hate the Malones, especially Kaitlin’s father, who murdered Bram’s dad. Bram doesn’t know Kaitlin is a Malone. If he did he would hate her, too.
What’s a star-crossed lover to do?
Though it isn’t the best Mary E. Pearson novel, Scribbler of Dreams will always have a special place in my heart because it made me fall in love with Young Adult fiction again at a time when I was the pickiest reader imaginable (I used to attend book fairs and buy absolutely nothing because nothing would interest me at all). I’m not the biggest fan of “forbidden romances” anymore, since that plot has been done to death in young adult literature, but there’s something about Bram and Kaitlin’s story that I absolutely adore. I love the way they connected, I loved all of Kaitlin’s gorgeous, lyrical journal entries and Bram’s beautiful artwork (well, the descriptions of that artwork, since there are no images in this book), and the general theme of getting to know a person beyond their reputation or rumors or even their background. The book is also quite short, so it makes the perfect “light read”.
2. This Lullaby, Sarah Dessen
When it comes to relationships, Remy doesn’t mess around. After all, she’s learned all there is to know from her mother, who’s currently working on husband number five. But there’s something about Dexter that seems to defy all of Remy’s rules. He certainly doesn’t seem like Mr. Right. For some reason, however, Remy just can’t seem to shake him. Could it be that Remy’s starting to understand what those love songs are all about?
All of Sarah Dessen’s books would probably fall into this category, though some of them pull at my emotions more than others. The one book of hers that I always grab when I need something fun and cute is This Lullaby. When you have adorkable goofy boys singing songs about potatoes (of all things), and some very cute antics and all the flirtation, it isn’t difficult coming up with a book that will make you laugh and swoon all at once. (Confession: I sometimes randomly start ‘singing’ (even though I have no idea what the melody would sound like) some variation of The Potato Opus — yeah, I still know all the words.)
3. The Mediator Series, Meg Cabot
Suze is a mediator — a liaison between the living and the dead. In other words, she sees dead people. And they won’t leave her alone until she helps them resolve their unfinished business with the living. But Jesse, the hot ghost haunting her bedroom, doesn’t seem to need her help. Which is a relief, because Suze has just moved to sunny California and plans to start fresh, with trips to the mall instead of the cemetery, and surfing instead of spectral visitations.
But the very first day at her new school, Suze realizes it’s not that easy. There’s a ghost with revenge on her mind… and Suze happens to be in the way.
Every book by Meg Cabot tends to fall into this category for me because they’re usually cute, hilarious, and very quick reads. My personal favorite to revisit is the entire Mediator series. Jesse De Silva’s gentlemanly ways, Suze’s kickass-ness, and the light humor always come to mind when I think “light” and “fun”.
4. Audrey, Wait!, Robin Benway
|California high school student Audrey Cuttler dumps self-involved Evan, the lead singer of a little band called The Do-Gooders. Evan writes, “Audrey, Wait!” a break-up song that’s so good it rockets up the billboard charts. And Audrey is suddenly famous!
Now rabid fans are invading her school. People is running articles about her arm-warmers. The lead singer of the Lolitas wants her as his muse. (And the Internet is documenting her every move!) Audrey can’t hang out with her best friend or get with her new crush without being mobbed by fans and paparazzi.
Take a wild ride with Audrey as she makes headlines, has outrageous amounts of fun, confronts her ex on MTV, and gets the chance to show the world who she really is.
The antics of the main characters, the dialogue, and the fictional song the novel is titled after made me laugh hard.
5. The Bridgerton Series, Julia Quinn
|Penelope Featherington has secretly adored her best friend’s brother for… well, it feels like forever. After half a lifetime of watching Colin Bridgerton from afar, she thinks she knows everything about him, until she stumbles across his deepest secret… and fears she doesn’t know him at all.
Colin Bridgerton is tired of being thought nothing but an empty-headed charmer, tired of everyone’s preoccupation with the notorious gossip columnist Lady Whistledown, who can’t seem to publish an edition without mentioning him in the first paragraph. But when Colin returns to London from a trip aboard he discovers nothing in his life is quite the same — especially Penelope Featherington! The girl haunting his dreams. But when he discovers that Penelope has secrets of her own, this elusive bachelor must decide… is she his biggest threat—or his promise of a happy ending?
Regency romance novels are my ultimate go-to books whenever I just want to read something that will distract me from real life, or take my mind off of things. Julia Quinn was my introduction to this genre, and I can’t resist the lovely world of the Bridgertons. (The Viscount Who Loved Me, and Romancing Mister Bridgerton are my favorites, mostly because I loved Anthony and Kate’s battle of the wits and their… unconventional courtship, and I fall for the unrequited-love-that-eventually-becomes-requited every time. My favorite Bridgerton will always be Colin. I think it’s because he’s so amiable and handsome and funny, and fits into my “James Potter Syndrome” quite nicely. (Yes, I am aware I have a problem. Shhh.)
6. Past Perfect, Leila Sales
|All Chelsea wants to do this summer is hang out with her best friend, hone her talents as an ice cream connoisseur, and finally get over Ezra, the boy who broke her heart. But when Chelsea shows up for her summer job at Essex Historical Colonial Village (yes, really), it turns out Ezra’s working there too. Which makes moving on and forgetting Ezra a lot more complicated… even when Chelsea starts falling for someone new.
Maybe Chelsea should have known better than to think that a historical reenactment village could help her escape her past. But with Ezra all too present, and her new crush seeming all too off-limits, all Chelsea knows is that she’s got a lot to figure out about love. Because those who don’t learn from the past are doomed to repeat it…
Past Perfect was adorable prank wars, trampoline jumping, period costumes, and ice cream — is it any wonder that I’d look to it when I need a fun read?
7. U.S. Attorney/FBI Series, Julie James
|Though Rylann Pierce tried to fight the sparks she felt for billionaire heir Kyle Rhodes the night they met, their sizzling chemistry was undeniable. But after being stood up on their first date, Rylann never expected to see him again. So when she finds herself face-to-face with Kyle in a courthouse nine years later, she’s stunned. More troubling to the beautiful assistant U.S. attorney is that she’s still wildly attracted to him.
Just released from prison, Kyle Rhodes isn’t thrilled to be the star witness in a high-profile criminal case — but when Rylann comes knocking at his door, he finds she may be the one lawyer he can’t say no to. Still as gorgeous and sharp-tongued as ever, she lays down the law: she doesn’t mix business with pleasure. But Kyle won’t give up on something he wants — and what he wants is the one woman he’s never forgotten.
This entire series helped me out when I was going insane from stress. I love court dramas and FBI thrillers, so throwing them in a romance novel with all the sexual tension was enough for me to finish this entire series as quickly as possible. About That Night is my favorite because Kyle Rhodes, like Colin Bridgerton, is a hilarious, adorable, ridiculously pretty (he has “shampoo commercial hair”, according to Rylann) dork. I couldn’t resist. (“James Potter Syndrome” — it’s a real thing, I swear!)
8. Heist Society, Ally Carter
For as long as she can remember, Katarina has been a part of the family business—thieving. When Kat tries to leave “the life” for a normal life, her old friend Hale conspires to bring her back into the fold. Why? A mobster’s art collection has been stolen, and Kat’s father is the only suspect. Caught between Interpol and a far more deadly enemy, Kat’s dad needs her help.
The only solution is to find the paintings and steal them back. Kat’s got two weeks, a teenage crew, and hopefully enough talent to pull off the biggest heist in her family’s history — and, with any luck, steal her life back along the way.
I actually reread Ally Carter’s books all the time (which is probably why they seem to find their way to all of my Top Ten Tuesday posts), but when I need a light book, I specifically grab the Heist Society series. (The Gallagher Girls books make me think too much, and freak out, and wonder what will happen next.) Kat and Hale’s hijinks, plotting, and romantic interludes never cease to carry me away and make me wonder what it would be like to do any of the things they do (not that I’d ever try).
9. Books by Stephanie Perkins
Budding designer Lola Nolan doesn’t believe in fashion… she believes in costume. The more expressive the outfit — more sparkly, more fun, more wild — the better. But even though Lola’s style is outrageous, she’s a devoted daughter and friend with some big plans for the future. And everything is pretty perfect (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the dreaded Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the neighborhood.
When Cricket — a gifted inventor — steps out from his twin sister’s shadow and back into Lola’s life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door.
Although both of Stephanie Perkins’ novels have some romantic tension and angst, the overall cuteness of the stories, the gorgeous settings, and the fact that I’d automatically get transported into Lola and Anna’s lives, make me have to reread them all the time. I have no doubt Isla and the Happily Ever After will end up on my “fun, light, always reread” list as well.
10. Ella Enchanted, Gail Carson Levine
|At birth, Ella is inadvertently cursed by an imprudent fairy named Lucinda, who bestows on her the “gift” of obedience. Anything anyone tells her to do, Ella must obey. Another girl might have been cowed by this affliction, but not feisty Ella: “Instead of making me docile, Lucinda’s curse made a rebel of me. Or perhaps I was that way naturally.”
When her beloved mother dies, leaving her in the care of a mostly absent and avaricious father, and later, a loathsome stepmother and two treacherous stepsisters, Ella’s life and well-being seem in grave peril. But her intelligence and saucy nature keep her in good stead as she sets out on a quest for freedom and self-discovery, trying to track down Lucinda to undo the curse, fending off ogres, befriending elves, and falling in love with a prince along the way.
Ella Enchanted was one of the first fairy tale retellings I had ever read, and is my favorite novel written by Gail Carson Levine. I’ve never really liked Cinderella, but I ended up adoring Ella and Char and the way their paths reunited countless times throughout the novel. Its fantasy elements and the romance are what make it the perfect book for this list.
11. Hana Kimi, Hisaya Nakajo
|Mizuki Ashiya is no slouch when it comes to a challenge. She’s a star of track and field at her high school, after all. So when she falls for fellow athlete Izumi Sano, she figures out an ingenious plan to get close to him.
Now she’s moved to Japan, enrolled in the all-male high school Sano goes to, and become his roommate! How? She’s disguised herself as a boy! Whatever happens next, things are about to get seriously complicated!
I wanted to put Sailor Moon and Skip Beat! on this list because I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve reread those manga (Sailor Moon especially), but I would never call either of them ‘light’ reads (fun, definitely, but they also drag you into the pits of emotional hell, so I don’t think they can be listed regardless). Hana Kimi, however, is the one manga that has made me laugh all the way through, even when one of the characters was questioning his sexuality because he was attracted to a girl-masquerading-as-a-guy. It’s just a lot of hilarity, insanity, and awkward randomness, and it’s one of the best completed manga I have ever read.
Which books do you turn to when you need something light and fun?