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****I am THRILLED that my sister, Charli, is here today to share a post with you! I just know that you are going to love her post dedicated to clean summer reads because who doesn’t love a good book recommendation?! Take it away Charli.****

Must read book list

I can’t tell you how many times I have found a book that I was dying to read, started it and been so disappointed to find horribly vulgar language or graphic descriptions. That’s when I weigh how much that unwanted content bothers me against how far in I am and how badly I want to know what happens. Sometimes I abandon the book altogether and other times I read on, cringing all the way. Maybe you’re nodding your head now cause you know how I feel or maybe you’re rolling your eyes and thinking I’m a prude. Either way, you should check out the books on this list. They aren’t books that were written solely to avoid offending anyone. They are excellent books from a variety of genres that pleasantly surprised me with their lack of cringe-worthy material. They include some adult topics like death and suffering, but not in a graphic or explicit way.


The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman took “The Jungle Book” and replaced Baloo and Bagheera with ghosts and Shere Khan with a man named Jack. “The Graveyard Book” is the magical result. The family of little “Nobody Owens” is murdered one night. He manages to escape unharmed and toddles his way to a nearby cemetery where he is adopted by its ghostly inhabitants. The events of the first chapter are upsetting, but not at all graphic. The rest of the book is intriguing and delightful. Overall it is a thoroughly enjoyable read.


Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet  by Jamie Ford

This is a glimpse at life for Japanese and Chinese Americans living in Seattle during World War II. The story is told through the eyes of an old man, Henry Lee, reminiscing on his life during that time. It’s a touching story of friendship and love in adversity that will transport you to a different era. I love historical fiction that leaves you hungry to learn more about the time period it covers. This one led me straight to google and two more books on similar topics.


The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo

When I finish reading a book and someone asks me, “What’s it about?” I find that the more I learned from and enjoyed a book, the harder it is for me to answer that question. It seems like a description of the plot just won’t do it justice. This book is like that. It details the journey of a shepherd boy named Santiago as he travels from his homeland in Spain to the Egyptian desert in search of a treasure buried in the Pyramids. He meets several people along the way who direct his quest. I found this book meaningful and thought provoking. But seriously, don’t ask me what it’s about.


The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom

Corrie ten Boom and her family were incredible people. They were leaders in the Dutch underground who hid Jewish people in their home during the Nazi occupation. The courageous things they did are the things each of us would like to think we’d have done in the same situation. Her autobiography covers some tough subject matter, including her time spent in a concentration camp. Her optimism, forgiveness, and faith are inspiring.


Uglies  by Scott Westerfeld

Tally lives in a world where turning 16 brings an operation that turns you from an “ugly” into a perfectly sculpted “pretty.” At that point you join a society of leisure where your focus in life is having a good time. Tally meets Shay, another ugly who isn’t so sure she wants to be pretty. This is the first book in a series of four. It’s a quick, entertaining read in the same vein as “Divergent” and “The Hunger Games.”


Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson

If you enjoy British Literature, this is a great book for you. It’s reminiscent of Jane Austen’s works, but less formally written. It has all the elements of a good romance, with a few twists along the way. The setting is pleasant and the story is charming. I don’t read a lot of romance novels, but I enjoyed this one.


The Kaleidoscope Season by Sharon Downing Jarvis

This is a really simple, but beautiful coming of age story about a young girl, Emily Jean Knowles,  being raised in the South by her Granna (her mother’s mother.) She knows very little about her father, other than the fact that Granna did not think highly of him. She is allowed to visit her other grandmother–whose existence she was previously unaware of– and learns a lot more about him as well as herself. There is also a storyline involving a young Mormon missionary and Emily Jean’s Uncle who is studying to become a minister. This is LDS fiction of the highest quality. It is well written and there’s just something really lovely about it. I have some preconceived notions about many books in this genre, so I don’t often choose them, but this one is definitely worth reading.


Which books would you add to the list?

***If you are interested in reading all of these books and would like to print off a checklist to make sure you don’t forget one, you are in luck!  Click the link below to access the free printable 8X10 book checklist.  If you would like to share it in a book club, we have a smaller version available as well that has 4 checklists per page. Both can be printed on your home printer. To access the printables, you must be SUBSCRIBED to Just Between Friends.

Clean Summer Reads 8X10 Checklist

Clean Summer Reads Handout

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