With university in far off September, the lack of deadlines and exams makes summer the perfect opportunity to read for fun. Perhaps you remember those summer reading challenges at the local library and fancy reading again, or you’ve got space in your suitcase for a beach read. Whatever the occasion or mood, Impact’s summer reads scrapbook has something for every reader.
In search of a summery read to savour? Try Holly Ringland’s The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart:
Holly Ringland’s debut novel transports the reader to the landscapes of Australia and follows the life of Alice Hart. This bildungsroman intertwines the language of flowers with complex familial and romantic relationships.
The depth and honesty of Ringland’s characterisation creates a moving collection of character backstories within the main narrative. It’s also a story that doesn’t shy away from depicting the psychological and interpersonal impact of domestic violence within relationships.
The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart captivates the reader with its multifaceted characters- particularly Alice Hart’s development from childhood to a young woman and the trauma, heartbreak and journeys that she goes through.
“as much a love letter to the beauty of Australia’s nature and wildlife as it is testimony to the importance of friendship and self-actualisation”
But the novel is just as much a love letter to the beauty of Australia’s nature and wildlife as it is testimony to the importance of friendship and self-actualisation. Every character and location, from the Thornfield flower gardens to Kililpitjara National Park, are as evocative as the plants that are embedded into the narrative.
Each chapter is named after an Australian flower, giving an insight into Alice’s worldview and her language of flowers whilst offering a floral geography of Australia.
Upon reading the book it becomes apparent how heartfelt and emotive Ringland’s writing is, with such a passion for the characters and story making it an engaging and engrossing read.
Within a couple days I’d finished the novel and couldn’t put it down!
Whether you’re at the beach or in your back garden, The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart makes the perfect accompaniment to unwinding in the sun.
After something short and sweet (or scary?) to peruse? Give Stephen King’s short story collection Skeleton Crew a go:
Being an English student means one thing. Reading. Lots of reading.
But not the ‘curling up on a sofa on a rainy day’ kind of reading. No. This is the rapid-fire obliteration of texts at a frenetic pace. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not complaining – but it’s been a while since I’ve been able to enjoy a real page-turner without the thought of deadlines prickling at the back of my mind.
I’d almost resigned myself to a summer of purely course-based reading when it happened. The big event. I walked into a National Trust bookshop and for £1.50 bought my salvation. Why hadn’t I thought about it before?
Stephen King’s Skeleton Crew. A proper lightbulb moment.
Skeleton Crew – at a little more than 500 pages – contains 22 short stories written by King himself. No longer will I have to start a book, only to have to bury it under a pile of work when life gets hectic. No more guilt at unfinished novels.
I could literally devour one short story at a time guilt-free. And I will. For me, the era of reading short-stories has begun. A perfect compromise for someone who has to read non-stop as a requirement of their course.
It also helps that Stephen King is one hell of a writer.
Summer, it seems, is looking up.
Enjoy Young Adult books? Try The Paper and Hearts Society:
The Paper and Hearts Society is the debut Young Adult novel of author and booktuber Lucy Powrie. We follow the story of Tabby, a teenage girl living with her Grandmother over the summer holidays as she grows in confidence and makes life-long friends.
When first moving in with her Nan, Tabby feels incredibly isolated, made worse by the online bullying she receives from her old “friend”, Jess.
When Tabby finds a slip of paper inside a library book inviting her to attend a book club session, she hesitates at first due to her self-consciousness; a product of the bullying that she is subjected to.
However, she overcomes the negative thoughts engrained into her daily life and decides to attend…
The Paper and Hearts Society is a heart-warming tale and a wonderful novel to read in summer. Although the novel is Young Adult in genre, it is a story that people of all ages can enjoy!
The main thing that I enjoyed about this book is the character development: Tabby slowly becomes more confident around other people, her book club friends in particular.
“Powrie has written a novel that is both non-cringeworthy and representative of the mechanics of real-life relationships.”
There is also LGBT+ representation in this novel, which is written in a successful and poignant way (something which other YA authors seem to struggle with!).
Lastly, I am not usually a fan of romance, but Powrie has written a novel that is both non-cringeworthy and representative of the mechanics of real-life relationships. I would thoroughly recommend this read- especially if you are new to the genre!
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