If you have others you'd recommend, I'd love to hear about them!
Let's start with Wanterlove by Kirsten Hubbard. This is one of my favorite books so far this year. If you want to hear more of my thoughts on this one, I recently posted over on The Contemps site about it. Here's a little excerpt of my thoughts...I guarantee this book will make you want to jump on a airplane without a plan. It'll make you fall in love with more than just the hot young man. Besides the writing that makes you feel like you are enveloped in her setting, Kirsten Hubbard also shares her drawing talents, which are incredible.
And here's the summary from GoodReads...
It all begins with a stupid question:
Are you a Global Vagabond?
No, but 18-year-old Bria Sandoval wants to be. In a quest for independence, her neglected art, and no-strings-attached hookups, she signs up for a guided tour of Central America—the wrong one. Middle-aged tourists with fanny packs are hardly the key to self-rediscovery. When Bria meets Rowan, devoted backpacker and dive instructor, and his outspokenly humanitarian sister Starling, she seizes the chance to ditch her group and join them off the beaten path.
Bria's a good girl trying to go bad. Rowan's a bad boy trying to stay good. As they travel across a panorama of Mayan villages, remote Belizean islands, and hostels plagued with jungle beasties, they discover what they've got in common: both seek to leave behind the old versions of themselves. And the secret to escaping the past, Rowan’s found, is to keep moving forward.
But Bria comes to realize she can't run forever, no matter what Rowan says. If she ever wants the courage to fall for someone worthwhile, she has to start looking back.
Kirsten Hubbard lends her artistry to this ultimate backpacker novel, weaving her drawings into the text. Her career as a travel writer and her experiences as a real-life vagabond backpacking Central America are deeply seeded in this inspiring story.
I'm not alone in loving this book. It gutted me and made me think of life in a new way. Even though I knew early on what would happen in this book, it didn't prepare me for the heartache I would feel. It most definitely changed me...in a very good way.
Here's the summary from GoodReads...
Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 12, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumours in her lungs... for now.
Two years post-miracle, sixteen-year-old Hazel is post-everything else, too; post-high school, post-friends and post-normalcy. And even though she could live for a long time (whatever that means), Hazel lives tethered to an oxygen tank, the tumours tenuously kept at bay with a constant chemical assault.
Enter Augustus Waters. A match made at cancer kid support group, Augustus is gorgeous, in remission, and shockingly to her, interested in Hazel. Being with Augustus is both an unexpected destination and a long-needed journey, pushing Hazel to re-examine how sickness and health, life and death, will define her and the legacy that everyone leaves behind.
Wow, I loved this book. The narrator is self-deprecating, which can be difficult to pull off without making the main character unlikeable, but I was in Amanda's (aka Zero's) court the whole way through this one. She had such a natural, loveable, and unique voice, plus I loved experiencing her journey as a growing artist.
Here's the summary from GoodReads:
For aspiring artist Amanda Walsh, who only half-jokingly goes by the nickname Zero, the summer before college was supposed to be fun—plain and simple. Hanging out with her best friend Jenn, going to clubs, painting, and counting down the days until her escape. But when must-have scholarship money doesn't materialize, and she has a falling out with Jenn that can only be described as majorly awkward, and Zero's parents relationship goes from tense to relentless fighting, her prospects start looking as bleak and surreal as a painting by her idol Salvador Dali. Will life truly imitate art? Will her new, unexpected relationship with a punk skater boy who seems too good to be real and support from the unlikeliest of sources show Zero that she's so much more than a name.
Unbreak My Heart was interesting in its structure, told between the past that wrecked Clem's life and the present day trying to get over it. Melissa Walker did a masterful job of drawing me into both stories, and the setting, living on a boat, was so incredibly interesting to me.
Here's the summary from GoodReads...
Sophomore year broke Clementine Williams’ heart. She fell for her best friend’s boyfriend and long story short: he’s excused, but Clem is vilified and she heads into summer with zero social life. Enter her parents’ plan to spend the summer on their sailboat. Normally the idea of being stuck on a tiny boat with her parents and little sister would make Clem break out in hives, but floating away sounds pretty good right now. Then she meets James at one of their first stops along the river. He and his dad are sailing for the summer and he’s just the distraction Clem needs. Can he break down Clem’s walls and heal her broken heart? Told in alternating chapters that chronicle the year that broke Clem’s heart and the summer that healed it, Unbreak My Heart is a wonderful dual love story that fans of Sarah Dessen, Deb Caletti, and Susane Colasanti will flock to.There are so many other great books I've read lately too, but I just wanted to pick a few of my absolute favorites today. I'm always on the lookout for awesome reads, so I'd love to hear of any books that you can't stop talking about.