What Topeka is Reading this Summer

Want inspiration on what to read next? Try one of these community-recommended titles submitted by grownups participating in our summer reading program. Summer readers have watched the weeks fly by as they’ve flown through some great books. (Boy, are we having fun reading all your reviews!)

There’s still time to sign up for summer reading. Two weekly prize drawings are still up for grabs for adults, and kids can win all kinds of prizes, including a chance at an ereader. Last day to sign up is July 22. Last day to read and win is July 31.

friday societyThe Friday Society by Adrienne Kress. Oh, what a perfect mix of steampunk, magic, and high flying samurai stunts. The author manages to combine three very different worlds into one very interesting story. This tale of three sharp-witted girls is guaranteed to make even the stodgiest old man crack a smile. It’s so perfect you could even read it to your grandchildren. – Reviewed by Marissa

nos4a2NOS4A2 by Joe Hill. This book is phenomenal. If you want a book that will keep you up at night, make you shower with your eyes open, and keeps you critically thinking… then this is the book for you. Joe Hill has made his daddy Stephen King very proud, I am sure, with this haunting novel.– Reviewed by Lara

The Last Runaway by Tracy Chevalier. This is historical fiction about a Quaker woman’s life in the 1850s, immigrating to the United States from England. She finds herself in the middle of the Underground Railroad, and chooses to help slaves escape. It’s definitely “lightweight,” but is enjoyable to read, especially if you like the history part. It’s also quite “sanitized” in that the really bad parts of living day-to-day in the 1850s are not described (like infrequent bathing, privies, heavy work for women). – Reviewed by Sally

And Then You Die by Iris Johansen. Good story. The plot starts out in Mexico and ends up in the USA with flashbacks to Croatia. It has a little bit of drama, mystery and thriller. Pretty strong characters and different from her usual characters. The main character is a photographer who gets herself mixed up in a terrorist plot. If you’re a fan of Iris Johansen’s you won’t be disappointed. – Reviewed by Sandy

korytaSorrow’s Anthem by Michael Koryta. Much like Michael Connelly, Koryta offers a smart read that is very detailed and insightful. Both authors share a journalist background. I enjoyed his writing and the twisting plot. In the book, Lincoln Perry is a private investigator who didn’t make it in the police department despite his ability as a great detective. He was not a rule follower or politically minded. When a friend is killed, he questions his death as a murder and not an accident as it was intended to look. Family secrets, arson, multiple bad guys, a likeable sidekick and a lot of action make for a great read. Definitely an author I will continue to read.

banishedBanished by Lauren Drain with Lisa Pulitzer. Very interesting and informational. It made me feel some empathy for the Westboro Baptist church and their twisted views and ideas that they associate their religion with. – Reviewed by Karen

divergent book jacketDivergent by Veronica Roth. In this dystopian novel, society has been divided into factions determined by what people value:  selflessness, education, etc. Beatrice has been raised in the Abnegation faction, where you think of others before yourself.  When she turns 16, she has to choose which faction she will devote the rest of her life to.  When she chooses her faction, she must go through challenges she never expected and learns things about her society she never could have imagined. First book in the trilogy. – Reviewed by Kim