Conversations about books happen all the time in the Colorado Academy community, and it is one of the things we treasure about the school. There’s nothing better than hearing about someone’s favorite book and sharing your own! So, the library team was excited to come back to school and hear about the books our colleagues read this summer. Also, we’ve enjoyed hearing about the books our students liked. We appreciate conversations that make our to-read piles grow taller and the library book orders get bigger!
You should know that, throughout the school year, the library team spends lots of time reading books in the Lower School Library and Raether collections because we love children’s and teen literature, and because the best way to connect with our student readers is to know the books they are going to want to read next. However, over the summer when we are on vacation, our reading looks a little different. It’s a time when we indulge in the adult titles that we’ve been hearing about from friends and colleagues all year.
Here’s a little bit about each of our favorites from Summer Break.
Allison Peters Jensen, Director of Libraries and Lower School Librarian
This summer I was looking for page-turning titles that would make me laugh while providing a window into the life of someone different from myself. I was not prepared for the amount of laughing I would do while reading Jesse Q. Sutanto’s, Dial A for Aunties.
The story is about Meddelin Chan, an immigrant Chinese-Indonesian woman whose mom and aunties are dying for her to meet “the one.” As much as Meddy loves her family of strong women, she has kept some secrets from them, including an ex-boyfriend that she has missed since they broke up. You would have secrets too, if your mom was the type to create a fake dating profile in your name to help attract the right kind of person for you!
What’s not a secret? When Meddy goes on a blind date with a horrible man and then accidentally murders him! Her mom and aunties are the first people she tells about this tragic turn of events, and they go to hilarious hijinks to dispose of the body and protect their darling Meddy. Of course, nothing goes as planned.
What will go as planned, I hope? A sequel. I can’t wait to read Four Aunties and a Wedding, due to be published in March 2022.
I was about a year late to the game on reading Such a Fun Age, as it got a ton of hype last summer, but I’m so glad I took it with me on a short vacation without my toddler this summer!
Such a Fun Age is a satisfying hybrid of polished literary fiction and contemporary “fun read.” Featuring two very different protagonists—a forty-something, upper-middle class white woman named Alix and the mid-twenties Black female babysitter, Emira, she has hired to care for her two young daughters—the novel tackles the heavy topics of race and privilege in an approachable yet nuanced way.
It’s difficult to find an adult novel that is both thoughtful and fun, and Such a Fun Age makes that rare fusion happen with effortless writing and complex characters. I read this one in two sittings—I imagine you will, too!
That was the thrill of youth, the idea that you could be anyone. -The Vanishing Half, Brit Bennett
While most of my summer was filled with running after little humans and reading their favorite books, (Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site, The Pout Pout Fish, Grumpy Monkey), I was finally able to read The Vanishing Half. And if you are like me and haven’t gotten around to reading it yet—it’s definitely worth the wait.
The Vignes twins, once inseparable, eventually decide to live in two very different worlds. One twin moves back to their hometown with her Black daughter and lives her life as a light-skinned Black woman, while the other decides to pass for white hundreds of miles away. A story about race, identity, family, and so much more—you won’t be able to put this book down. The Vignes sisters and their families will stay with you long after you finish this beautiful book.
Imagine going from 18 to 51! Oona Out of Order is a quirky, heartfelt novel about a young woman who travels through time. In 1982 Oona is going to turn 19. Instead, she faints and wakes up 32 years in her future…in her 51-year-old body. What happened to her boyfriend? Where did she go to college? What is Facebook?
Oona Out of Order feels like a perfect summer read. It is both light-hearted and thought-provoking, bittersweet and surprising. I enjoyed reading about the various pop culture fads of the 80s, 90s, and 2000s, as well as placing myself in Oona’s shoes. The novel craftily explores themes of love, family, and what it means to be fully present in life, even if it is rearranged.
Rebecca Hardiman’s debut novel about a mischievous but good-hearted, multi-generational Dublin family hit all the right notes for me this summer. It’s light, slap-sticky, with the best 83-year-old female main character my heart was needing. Millie Gogarty is a widow with sticky fingers. When her small town in Dublin has finally had enough of her petty theft, they make a deal with her family to assign her a caretaker. This is when Millie loses all control over her life and the things she says, which leads her to some pretty bizarre situations and adventures.
The rest of Millie’s family is hilarious, with great banter, but also troubled in their own way. What really kept me reading was Millie—she’s one good egg! This book is perfect for anyone with aging and quirky parents. Millie is a great reminder to us all that it’s never too late to start living!