url-1Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
J.K. Rowling
2003, Bloomsbury

I have read each of the Harry Potter books enough times to know the various types of broomsticks there are and which books they all appear in. But my absolute favorite book of the series is the fifth one. I return to it every summer, and it never fails to transport me, just like it did when I first read it in elementary school. The fifth book, in my opinion, represents a seismic shift in the characters’ lives and the tone of the series. The gang moves away from the tedious regularities of school life in a way they don’t in the preceding books. Order of the Phoenix follows Harry during his most isolated year: He’s being discredited by the wizarding community and struggling to keep above it all and maintain his sense of self. I am prone to developing very real anxieties when reading about tense situations in books, so I like to read this in the summer when it’s nice out and the living is easy. —Tova

AD.REMAKE3XTRA.CVR.72-1Remake 3xtra
Lamar Abrams
2012, AdHouse Books

Remake 3xtra’s first story of 3 opens with a pixelated hippo popping out of a video game screen and asking the series’ regular protagonist, boy robot Max Guy, to come into the game with him. Max says, “Sorry, this one isn’t about our wacky adventures.” Instead, we follow Max’s friend—the grown up, fashionable, sweater-wearing robot Cardigan and his friends. Lamar’s female characters embody a fun, confident sexiness that makes me feel powerful. One of Max’s friends Sybil enters the story by sliding into the room, eyes closed and smiling like a queen, as a big POW sound effect explodes behind her. Charlene follows Sybil by using her drill hands to break through the floor. Together, they go to a club and as galaxies drift onto the dance floor Charlene says, “Is this a SPACE jam?” Lamar mixes the fantastical and the mundane, a skill he makes wonderful use of as a storyboard artist on Cartoon Network’s Steven Universe. Light falls from closed shop windows on Cardigan, Sybil, and Charlene, and the trio walk around the city at night, goofing on each other and laughing. —Annie

22456909The Bargaining
Carly Anne West
2015, Simon Pulse

Ever since Penny’s best friend/worst enemy died, Penny has been troubled, and quite literally haunted—seeing, hearing, and unable to escape the memories of Rae. After being bounced between her mother and father, Penny finds herself spending the summer in the North Woods of Washington where her stepmother, April, is rehabilitating the old Carver house. April thinks the abandoned property will make an adorable bed-and-breakfast, but the house has a history that locals won’t discuss, involving missing children. In addition to being haunted by Rae, Penny hears tapping at the second story windows, sees old paintings change, and is lured out into the woods by ghoulish visions. The Bargaining is lushly written, atmospheric horror at its finest. If you are looking for something to give you serious goosebumps with a twisty mystery and a nuanced exploration of the destructive side of friendships, this is your book. Just maybe don’t take it with you if you go camping in the woods. —Stephanie

51yTZd+toIL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_The Complete Poems, 1927-1979
Elizabeth Bishop
1983, Farrar, Straus and Giroux

I began reading Elizabeth Bishop’s poetry in college where, instead of just reading the assigned poems, I tore through the entire book. This fascination with Bishop’s work led to my learning about her life, which involved a ton of travel, including an extended stay in Brazil during the ’50s and ’60s. Not all of her works are explicitly based on those adventures abroad, but it’s interesting to think about how the routes and landscapes she traveled may have influenced the way she crafted her intricate and subtly intense poetry. Each of these poems, especially “Questions of Travel,” is a thread that takes the reader on a vacation—minus the physical obligations. So, take a day and find an open space to read some Bishop; maybe you’ll be inspired to write some poetry of your own. —Chanel

The Theory of Light Cover (new)The Theory of Light and Matter
Andrew Porter
2009, Vintage

Books that make it possible to become someone else for a little while, or to become part of some other world where you don’t have to worry about your own, are the perfect getaway. In Andrew Porter’s collection of short stories, The Theory of Light and Matter (which, do not worry, actually has nothing to do with scientific theories of light and matter), the characters and settings are so vivid that that type of getaway is too easy. Reading this collection is an endless cycle of diving headfirst into an interesting and intricately complex world, stuffing your face with it, and then dealing with that post-binge sadness once you realize the rich taste of one of these tales is over. But do not fret—Porter lays down 10 stories in this collection, all for your binge-reading pleasure. —Alyson

imgresAn Education
Lynn Barber
2009, Atlas & Co.

I discovered An Education, a memoir by Lynn Barber, one summer while browsing a bookstore near my house. I had never seen the motion picture starring Carey Mulligan, but the book’s cover really attracted me. An Education is a page-turner. It’s the story of Lynn as a 16-year-old student who falls for a (so-called) businessman she meets one day after school. He offers her a ride home, and she accepts, which still freaks me out: Why would you accept a ride from a stranger? But I guess it was the 1950s?! This beautifully rendered memoir taught me a lot about trust…and that running away with someone you’ve just met is maybe not the best choice. —Dana

41+NnWJZ0aL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_On the Island
Tracey Garvis Graves
2011, Penguin

Anna and T.J. are just minding their own business one summer when BAM, their plane crashes on a deserted island in the Maldives, where they remain for what seems like forever. T.J. is a 16-year-old bro who has just survived cancer, while Anna is a 30-something teacher tasked with getting T.J. caught up with school work (because yes, everyone gets tutored on a tropical vacation). But after the crash, their plans change somewhat and they eventually confront their mutual attraction. Although I was slightly thrown off by the plot (and the ending is weird!), this book adds a new dimension to the question: What would you do if you were on a deserted island? Summer vibes aside, this novel had me re-evaluate my longing for escape, and what it means to act on one’s desires. —Chanel

Carnival-at-BrayThe Carnival at Bray
Jessie Ann Foley
2014, Elephant Rock Books

It’s 1993 and 16-year-old Maggie is pretty happy in Chicago, especially with her musician uncle Kevin exposing her to all kinds of great music. Then her mom remarries and Maggie is whisked off to a small town by the sea in Ireland. At first, the only things keeping Maggie going are Uncle Kevin’s care packages and her unlikely and delightful friendship with Dan Sean, the oldest man in town. Then she meets Eoin, the boy who will travel across Europe with her to fulfill an important musical quest after life throws Maggie another curveball. This is a compelling and evocative tale of firsts—first loss, first love, first big adventures—fueled by the power of music. The Carnival at Bray transports you to Ireland right alongside Maggie making it the perfect read to escape into on a rainy summer day. —Stephanie ♦