Although most Pacific Northwesterners are happy for sunnier days, the arrival of summer is a double-edged sword. It can mean clear skies and lazy days that last forever or sweltering, stifling heat that sets whole towns and cities on edge. These five books capture both ends of that spectrum and every shade in between. Start at the top for languid, easy summer days; the stories get darker and the heat more oppressive as you go down the list.
A series of loosely connected vignettes follow an energetic six-year-old girl and her occasionally cranky grandmother through the long days of a single summer on an island in the Gulf of Finland. Filled with detail about the natural world and gentle meditations on topics from island bugs to life and death, this elegant, evocative book perfectly captures the endless, aimless feeling of childhood summers.
Nearly twenty years after the end of her closest friendship, Laura returns to her hometown for a scavenger hunt designed by her former best friend Casey's mom. The story moves back and forth between the girls' adolescence and the present, unraveling the mystery of what tore them apart as the scavenger hunt encourages them to recreate memories of summers past.
Mia can hardly believe it when she's hired as a "seasonaire" for influential clothing brand Lyndon Wyld. The job, after all, is to spend the summer on Nantucket, looking good in the brand's clothes and posting lots of selfies. The $20,000 paycheck doesn't hurt either. But as the summer rolls on, the fun turns dangerous – first with forbidden friendships, drugs, and illicit sex – and then deadly. Intense, sexy, and unputdownable.
In this atmospheric coming-of-age thriller, 16-year-old Livy and her best friend Nelson are planning on a long, slow summer. The heat makes their already sleepy hometown feel even sleepier – until the power goes out. The outage is no accident, and soon the entire town is on lockdown as the FBI hunt a fugitive in the surrounding countryside. As the lockdown drags on, the town becomes increasingly restless and secrets begin to surface.
Two teenage girls float a raft out on the East Bay one sultry Brooklyn night; only one returns. The mystery of what happened to June echoes through the Red Hook neighborhood in this gritty mystery that touches on issues of race, class, ambition and more.