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My Jag News

The Student News Site of Claudia Taylor Johnson High School

My Jag News

The Student News Site of Claudia Taylor Johnson High School

My Jag News

Pride picks for poolside reading

The Lying Game by Sara Shepard.

Madeline Kempf  |  Staff Writer


We all know that the key to looking classy at poolside is holding a book, but it doesn’t have to be that dreaded assigned reading from English. This summer, we have a list of recommendations for those who still enjoy reading for the sake of- well, reading. Be it the guilty pleasures of stereotypical teenage romance novels or a fantasy book full of unattractive monsters and brutal war, we all have one form of literature we prefer. Here’s some to check out while keeping cool during summer 2011.

The Lying Game by Sara Shepard

Genre: Mystery, Drama, Crime, Social Issues

From the author of the best selling series Pretty Little Liars, Sara Shepard’s The Lying Game is a compelling read. The main character, Emma Paxton, is your average teenage outcast- with the minor exception of a long-lost sister who disappeared on the day they were supposed to meet. Yeah: completely normal. In the book, Paxton moves to Arizona to start a new life with this sister, but realizes the life she’s about to inherit is the one her sister left behind.

“I loved the mystery and suspense in The Lying Game. It was almost like Gossip Girl-meets-NCIS,” sophomore Katie Hodde said. “It was almost like I could feel myself in the story as the girl. I honestly like adding mystery to my books, so I like Sara’s stories.”

That Summer, by Sarah Dessen

Genre: Romance, Family, Social Issues

In Sarah Dessen’s first novel, That Summer, a fifteen-year-old girl named Haven struggles with her new life. Dealing with her parents’ divorce, her older sister’s wedding, and a negative mental change within her best friend, Haven has to adjust to her unfavorable surroundings all while uncontrollably reminiscing over a summer romance with ex-boyfriend Sumner. When he makes a reappearance in her life, she can’t help but feel that he’s the key to fix it all. And by the end of the crazy summer, she’s learned much more about herself and all the things she never did before.

“That Summer is one of my favorite books. I love Sarah Dessen; she is such a great author,” junior Jaclyn Jordan said. “It really is a ‘summer’ novel. It keeps you on the edge of your seat, never wanting to put it down. It’s perfect for when you’re trying to live your real summer to the fullest; tanning on the beach or relaxing at home.”

The Summer I Turned Pretty, by Jenny Han

Genre: Romance, Family, Social Issues

Summer: the timeline in which the main character Belly (Isabel) relays her experience. She’s always spent it at Cousin’s Beach with her mom’s best friend and the friend’s sons, Conrad and Jeremiah. Despite her admiration of both for their roles as her mentors, brothers, and sometimes-crushes, they’ve never recognized her as anything more than a friend and even younger sister- until now. So begins a terrible and wonderful summer that’s bound to change everything to the way it was meant to be.

The Summer I Turned Pretty is such a great book! It has the perfect amount of drama that a girl can relate to! Belly’s love life crisis won’t let you put the book down; it’s a real page turner!” Jordan said.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Genera: Adventure, Action, Sci-fi, Romance, Mystery

Collins’ New York bestselling series depicts the story of Katniss and Peeta, two randomly selected teenagers forced to fight to the death in a government-run event called the Hunger Games. Set in a post-apocalyptic world, the story follows the two as they challenge the rules of the games and create drama through half-real/half-posed affections for each other. The novel appeals to both guys and girls, and is a must-read for any fan of Ray Bradbury, awkward teenage love stories, or generally worthwhile reading. There’s a reason that this book comes so highly recommended.

“I love it because it has a little bit of every genre,” freshman Navya Kartha said. “It has action, it has romance, it has a little bit of sci-fi; it has everything, so anyone who likes books will probably enjoy it.”

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

Genre: Drama, Action, Mystery, Romance, Horror

City of Bones is the first book in the Mortal Instruments series. We meet Clary Fray, a girl who lives in New York with a best friend named Simon. When the two go to the Pandemonium Club, Clary not only witnesses a murder, but sees Jace, a Shadowhunter. If only she wasn’t the only one who could see them. Soon, she returns home to find her mother missing. Coincidence? Quickly she realizes it must be more than that, and sets out to find the truth.

City of Bones and the Mortal Instruments series are all amazing. They get you hooked, and Clary leaves cliffhangers after all four books. I can’t wait for the fifth!” freshman Caileigh Reed said.

I Am Number Four, by Pittacus Lore

Genre: Sci-fi, Action, Adventure

Summary: Now a blockbuster hit, I Am Number Four is a thrilling book that encompasses an out-of-this-world theme tied into reality. Originally in a group of nine, Number Four left his home planet to come to Earth for refuge from the attack of evil monsters. As the nine scatter the Earth, the first three are found and killed. But the fourth- known as John Smith- knows he is next, and a wild adventure ensues.

“The book was so good! The first few words were what pulled me in and I literally had to pry the book out of my own hands!” Reed said.

The Maze Runner, by James Dashner

Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama, Health, Social Issues

Imagine waking up in an elevator. You don’t know anything about your past life; in fact, you only know your name. That’s how it is for the Gladers, a group of only teenage boys who don’t know how they came to be trapped in a place they call the Glade. But when a girl comes up through the elevator with a cryptic message, it turns their world upside down. What does the message mean? More importantly, how can they escape the horrors of the Maze that lies just outside their perfect safe haven?

“I wanted to read it because critics said it had the thrill of Hunger Games, which is one of my favorite books. This book keeps you on the edge of your seat wondering what’s going to happen next,” junior Jordan Wyckoff said.

Bewitching Season, by Marissa Doyle

Genre: Romance, Fantasy, Historical Fiction

The year is 1837 and England is bustling with balls and parties. The social scene would appear to be a perfect place for twins Persephone and Penelope to find their true love. There is just one little problem: they have been “gifted” with magic powers. How are they supposed to find their perfect match while harboring such a massive secret? And could the perfect man be the one who teased them when they were just little girls?

“I read this book because I love historical fiction novels with fantasy laced through it. Every time I re-read it, I am still filled with suspense and wonder for what will happen next,” Wyckoff said.

You can buy any of these books* online or in-store at the following retailers: (

-Barnes & Noble Booksellers (

-Half Price Books (

-Borders ( (

*Book availability and price range may vary from store to store.

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  • J

    JazmineAug 27, 2011 at 11:26 pm

    All great books to read for school projects or not! XD

  • L

    LMoharebAug 26, 2011 at 2:51 pm

    Summer reading can be a bummer when you have to read some book about ‘The History Of French The French Revolution.” On the other hand, reading a mysterious novel by the pool side with an ice tea while getting your tan on is fun stuff! I have not read all of these but lemme tell ya, I am a fan of Sara Shepard!

  • M

    Monica R.Aug 26, 2011 at 2:45 pm

    Great suggestions! The Hunger Games & The Maze Runner books are my favorite 🙂

  • C

    Caileigh ReedAug 1, 2011 at 1:00 am

    So good! 😀

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