Best Summer Books / Beach Reads / Young Adult Novels 2014: Recommendations

Underdog Literature May 2014

Here are 17 books that caught my interest lately.

Fresh, off-beat, quirky or curious titles that might deserve more attention…

Young Adult. dystopias. middle grade fiction. beach reads.


01: PAUL ACAMPORA, „I Kill The Mockingbird“, 176 pages, May 2014. [Middle Grade]

I Kill the Mockingbird

02: E. LOCKHART, „We were Liars“, 240 pages, May 2014.

We Were Liars

03: MARIKO TAMAKI, „This one Summer“, 320 pages, May 2014. [YA Graphic Novel]

This One Summer

04: JASON REYNOLDS, „When I was the Greatest“, 240 pages, January 2014.

When I Was the Greatest

05: N.D. Wilson, „Boys of Blur“, 208 pages, January 2014. [Middle Grade Fantasy]

Boys of Blur

06: NON PRATT, „Trouble“, 384 pages, February 2014.


07: KATE RACCULIA, „Bellweather Rhapsody“, 340 pages, January 2014. [YA Mystery]

Bellweather Rhapsody

08: LAURA MARX FITZGERALD, „Under the Egg“, 247 pages, March 2014. [Middle Grade]

Under the Egg

09: MELISSA KANTOR, „Maybe One Day“, 384 pages, February 2014.

Maybe One Day

10: EMERY LORD, „Open Road Summer“, 342 pages, April 2014.

Open Road Summer

11: ANNIE CARDI, „The Chance you won’t return“, 352 pages, April 2014.

The Chance You Won't Return

12: ROBERT DINSDALE, „Gingerbread“, 421 pages, February 2014.


13: SARAH BETH DURST, „The Lost“, 352 pages, May 2014. [Dystopian YA, Book 1 of 3]

The Lost (The Lost, #1)

14: MATT HAIG, „Echo Boy“, 400 pages, February 2014. [Dystopian YA]

Echo Boy

15: MIKE CAREY, „The Girl with all the Gifts“, 416 pages, January 2014. [Dystopian YA]

The Girl with All the Gifts

16: CHARLES SWIFT, „The Newman Resident“, 337 pages, 2014. [Dystopian YA]

The Newman Resident

17: CLAIRE NORTH (Catherine Webb), „The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August“, 416 pages, January 2014.

The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August


More? Here are three new YA books that feature disabled main characters:

01: KIMBERLY ELKINS, „What is visible“, 320 pages, June 2014.

What Is Visible: A Novel

02: GAIL GILES, „Girls Like Us“, 224 pages, May 2014.

Girls Like Us

03: CAMMIE McGOVERN, „Say what you will“, 352 pages, March 2014.

Say What You Will


related Posts:


Underdog Literature, October 2013: 15 fresh or suprising, off-the-wall titles

Underdog Literature WordPress October 2013.

Here are 15 books that caught my interest lately.

Fresh, off-beat, quirky or curious titles that might deserve more attention:


01: JHUMPA LAHIRI, „The Lowland“, 352 pages, September 2013.

02: JESMYN WARD, „Men we reaped. A Memoir“, 272 pages, September 2013.

03: LARRY WATSON, „Let him go“, 256 pages, September 2013. [Thriller]

04: GAVIN EXTENSE, „The Universe vs. Alex Woods“, 407 pages, June 2013. [Young Adult]

05: DONAL RYAN, „The Spinning Heart“, 160 pages, 2012. [Ireland]

06: KA HANCOCK, „Dancing on broken Glass“, 416 pages, 2012. [Chick Lit?]

07: MAX BLECHER, „Scarred Hearts“, 240 pages, 1937. [Romania]

08: IRENE RATHBONE, „We that were young“, 528 pages, 1932. [British]

09: MÁRIO DE SÁ-CARNEIRO, „Lucio’s Confession“ / „A Confissao de Lucio“, 128 pages, 1914. [Portugese]

10: CHARLES JACKSON, „The Lost Weekend“, 244 pages, 1944. [Novel about Alcoholism]

11: IRA LEVIN, „This Perfect Day“, 368 pages, 1970. [Science Fiction]

12: MARY DOWNING HAHN, „The the Wind blows backward“, 272 pages, 1992. [Young Adult]

13: CAMERON CROWE, „Fast Times at Richmond High“, 253 pages, 1981. [Journalism! I had no idea!!]

14: JOHN ROBERT LEWIS, ANDREW AYDIN, „March“, 128 pages, August 2013. [Graphic Novel]

15: KEIICHI SIGSAWA, „Kino’s Journey: The Beautiful World“, 205 pages, 2000. [Graphic Novel / Manga series]


Here are five books that made me curious enough to buy them:

01: SOURIS HONG-PORETTA, „Outside the Lines: An Artist’s Coloring Book for giant Imaginations“, 256 pages, September 2013. [Coloring Book / Art]

02: MICHELLE NEVIUS, „Inside the Apple: A Streetwise History of New York City“, 384 pages, 2009. [City Guide / History]

03: JOE DAVID BROWN, „Paper Moon“, 320 pages, 1971.

04: RUSSELL HOBAN, „Turtle Diary“, 182 pages, 1978.

05: ROBERT C. SHERRIFF, „A Fortnight in September“, 326 pages, 1931.


…and finally, here are three books that I read – and that were really good:

4 of 5 stars: JONATHAN CARROLL, „The Land of Laughs“, 256 pages, 1980. [literary Fantasy]

4 of 5 stars: BARBARA PYM, „Excellent Women“, 231 pages, 1952.

4 of 5 stars: ALEXANDER RAMATI, „And the Violins stopped playing. A Story of the Gypsy Holocaust“, 200 (?) pages, 1985.


related Posts:


Eating out in Toronto: Cheap Snacks, Sushi, Ethnic & Vegetarian Cuisine [quick list]


Last week, I asked Reddit’s Toronto experts [Link] to give me recommendations for cheap, tasty food in downtown Toronto:


I love sushi – preferably all-you-can-eat. My favourite places?


Other favorites?


Here’s what the Reddit crowd had to add / recommend:


  • Aji Sai [Link], Queen & Spadina [all-you-can-eat sushi lunch]
  • Sushi Xtra [Link], Queen & Spadina [„On Saturdays and Sundays, has 1/2 price sushi between 12pm and 4pm. Love the black dragon roll.“]

Chinese, Korean & Vietnamese:


Pub Food, Burgers & Sandwiches:

  • WVRST [Link], King & Portland [„you gotta try their duck fat fries, and they’ve got some exotic sausages as well (Kangaroo, Elk, Wild Boar)“. Plus: „Sometimes WVRST carries Dieu Du Ciel’s beer, I highly recommend it.“]
  • Belly Buster Submarines [Link], Yonge & Glen Echo Road / Yonge & Lawrence [„simple, but great subs“]
  • The Burger’s Priest [Link], Queen East & Coxwell
  • Five Guys Burgers & Fries [Link], Warden & Eglington, Scarborough [„Best part is that there are a ton of things to try on the menu. First time I went there I think I planned out what I was going to try on my next three visits.“]
  • Uncle Betty’s [Link], Yonge & Albertus, north of Eglington [„the grilled cheese is pretty effing good“]
  • Jim’s Restaurant [Link], Queen East & Logan, Leslieville [„Ask for the Westen special for 7.00. A 2inch western with homefries and a coffee.“]

Shawarmas & Vietnamese Sandwiches:

Breakfast & Brunch:

  • Caplansky’s [Link], Clinton & Henderson, Little Italy [Jewish / Deli / brunch]
  • Maggie’s [Link], Lippincott & College, [breakfast and pub food, „cheap big breakfast, great garlic fries“]


  • Banjara [Link], Bloor & Crawford / Christie Pitts
  • Little India [Link], Queen & Duncan [buffet]
  • RaviSoups [Link], Adelaide & Widmer [„you can get a gourmet wrap and soup combo and they’re always amazing – you’ve got to try the curried apricot & red lentil soup.“]


Other recommendations? Leave them in the comments!


Related Links:

2010 / 2011: My personal Soundtrack [14, quick list]


I started keeping a diary on October 26th, 1997. I was 14 and in 9th grade. I kept up until 2004, and every year, I made a ‚personal soundtrack‘ with songs that reflected last years‘ themes and storylines.

Here are 20 songs for ‚Season 14‘, October 2010 to October 2011.

For part one, 1997 to 1998, please go here (Link).

For part two, 1998 to 1999, please go here (Link).

For a complete list of all 14 years, go here (Link tba).


  • Frightened Rabbit: Poke
  • Say hi: Take you Dancing
  • Jesse Payne: The Manhattan Project
  • The Extra Lens: Cruiserweights
  • REM: ÜBerlin
  • Perry Keyes: In ancient Rome
  • Bill Callahan: The Breeze (my Baby cries)
  • Fanfarlo: The Walls are coming down
  • Sufjan Stevens: Chicago
  • Pete Yorn: Lose you
  • The Mountain Goats: You were cool
  • The Irrepressibles: In his Shirt
  • Young Republic: Girl from the Northern States
  • Matt Nathanson: Bent / Such Great Heights (Live version)
  • My Morning Jacket: Phone went west
  • Boy: Drive Darlin‘
  • Beirut: A Candle’s Fire
  • Pickering Pick: Egypt
  • Xiroi: Goodbye Goodbye
  • The Gaslight Anthem: We did it when we were young

Some of these songs are on Youtube. Let’s see how long it takes before they are taken down. Here are the videos: Watch them while the links still work!


Frightened Rabbit – Poke:


Say hi – Take ya‘ dancing‘ (awesome video!):


Jesse Payne – The Manhattan Project:


The Extra Lens – Cruiserweights (another band of Josh Darnell, singer of ‚The Mountain Goats‘):


REM – ÜBerlin:


Perry Keyes – In Ancient Rome (‚Californication‘ OST):

I bought it here. It’s awesome!


Bill Callahan – The Breeze (My Baby cries):


Fanfarlo – The Walls are coming down:


Sufjan Stevens – Chicago (I know: I’m a little late to the party…):


Pete Yorn – Lose you (good album version is geoblocked):


The Mountain Goats – You were cool (saw this live in Toronto in April. There’s no album version yet):


The Irrepressibles – In his Shirt (What a video!):


The Young Republic – Girl from the Northern States (album version is better!):


Matt Nathanson – Bent / Such Great Heights (sorry for the bad quality):


My Morning Jacket – Phone went west:


Boy – Drive Daling:


Beirut – A Candle’s Fire:


Pickering Pick – Egypt (unplugged version):


Xiroi – Goodbye Goodbye:


The Gaslight Anthem – We did it when we were young:


related Links:

  • 1997 / 1998: My personal Soundtrack (Link)
  • Helden meiner Kindheit (Link)
  • My Video Game Biography (Link)
  • My favorite Movies (Link)