I got a jump start on my summer reading when we went on our Alaskan cruise in May. Before leaving I downloaded a bunch of books onto my Kindle. I wanted to mix it up, not too serious, but not mind junk either. Some of the themes-- postapocalyptic heroine, leprosy in Hawaii, modern Greek mythology, mentally challenged lottery winner... Okay, it doesn't sound very exciting, but they are all VERY good reads and I highly recommend all of them.
In fact, I'm now hooked on two Teen Lit series-- Hunger Games Trilogy and Percy Jackson and the Olympians. Finally, something to fill the void left by Harry Potter and Twilight. I can't decide what book in which series to read next!
Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins
The book's summary sounds so depressing and violent that I put off reading it for a while. But then I figured there was probably good reason why it was highly rated. I picked up the book and quickly got sucked-in after the first few pages. Intense, brutal storyline but it's also a compelling story about humanity and "what could be" if we're not careful. The plot is something we've seen before, but Suzanne Collins is an amazing storyteller and knows how to catch the reader hook, line and sinker. I'm sure this will be made into a movie.
Molokai by Alan Brennert
I read Honolulu by Alan Brennert earlier this year, but this book far surpasses it. It's another book with a rather sad and depressing storyline-- leprosy in the late 19th Century Hawaii. The way the afflicted are treated is despicable-- separated from family into forced exile, labeled as "dirty", humiliated by medical staff that treat them like human guinea pigs... to name just a few of the indignities. As depressing as the subject matter may be, it's an inspiring and uplifting book filled with vividly real and colorful characters that you won't soon forget.
Percy Jackson and the Olympians Series by Rick Riordan
This series melds Greek mythology with modern teenage times. It's a fun read filled with action, humor and a little teenage angst thrown in. I loved Greek mythology when I was a kid, so it's a nice brush-up on all those gods, goddesses and monsters that I remembered reading about (and many, many more that I don't recall at all!). I may have to break out The Iliad and The Odyssey after I'm done with this series. Remember those?
Lottery by Patricia Wood
This is another uplifting book that makes you realize that although the main character is slow (He's quick to tell you that he's slow, not retarded. An IQ of 75 is retarded and his is 76) he knows what is important in life. Sure he just won $12 million dollars and his deceitful, money grubbing relatives will stop at nothing to get their hands on it, but with the help of his true friends, his Gran's voice who steers him in the right direction, and his own gumption, he always does the right thing and comes out gold. A great read.