I thought it would be a fun idea for some of us, Color Online contributors to name a few summer read picks.
Ari's Summer Selections
Monsoon Summer by Mitali Perkins -I'm late on reading this one but I'm very glad I saved it for summer. Jazz travels to India for the summer with her family and it's the classic tale of discovering yourself in a foreign country. What makes this book really stand out is that I learned a lot about India both directly and indirectly, through conversations Jazz had with girls at her school (I know attending school in the summer, the horror!) and through her observations. While I hated her attitude towards helping others, I admired her entrepreneurial spirit and she did change :)
Saving Maddie by Varian Johnson -Joshua is the narrator, he wants to "save" his old childhood friend (and crush), Maddie who has moved away from the church. Maddie challenges Joshua on his beliefs and the author challenges readers to ask themselves if everyone needs to be saved (not just in the religious sense of the word, mind you). The relationship Joshua has with his parents is rare in that his parents are a known presence in his life who both frustrate him and make him happy. His parents also grow as characters. Plus there's a sly side to the novel, it's not always clear if Maddie and Joshua are going to be romantically involved, it's tastefully portrayed. I only wish a sequel would be in the works and that the cover was more guy-friendly (although I love that lipstick shade and pretty cross!)
Bleeding Violet by Dia Reeves The only reason I have for making this a summer read is because it's set in Texas. Texas is hot. Therefore it's a summer read. Wonderfully bizarre, not for the faint of heart (well actually it is because I scare so easily but I was able to handle this book. Then again it's not paranormal/fantasy that scares me). Hanna is the main character and she's so bold, confident and yet vulnerable at the same time, aching for her mother's love. I adore her.
The Great Call of China by Cynthea Liu - A summer in China leads to observations and knowledge being imparted on the one-child policy, surprisngly deep. A bonus is one of the minor characters being the complete opposite of the 'submissive Asian girl stereotype' and I really liked the romance (I'm a sucker for cross-cultural love yes but I also like when love interests bond over their shared ethnic culture, it's cute).
Born Confused by Tanuja Desai Hidier -Probably one of the slowest-moving books I've ever read, but this contemporary YA is well worth a read if you ever wanted an All-You-Need-To-Know-About-South-Asian-American-Culture guide (which is both good and bad). Dimple is one of the funniest main characters I've ever come across, definitely a laugh out loud worthy book. I could really relate to Dimple for feeling left out because she didn't come from a broken home. Because her personal issues were less obvious, her best friend Gwyn dismissed her as having a perfect life and not understanding pain. But Dimple did understand pain and she wanted to be there for her friend. And Karsh actually made me think omg when I read this one scene that was about pictures of Dimple and Gwyn. Haha
Fury of the Phoenix by Cindy Pon - A sequel to Silver Phoenix that could be read as a stand-alone but I would really recommend reading Silver Phoenix first. Less action, more character development but it's a wonderful trade-off. I'm still in awe that the author made me understand the villain. And there's some smoldering sexual tension, essential for a summer read ;)