The 5 Best Adventure Stories to Read This Summer
Summer is the time for adventures—long days and warm nights just seem to be filled with wonder and possibilities. A walk in a park might lead you to a breathtaking new view. Smelling the scent of ripe peaches could stop you in your tracks and bring you back to childhood. A wandering bike ride could literally take you down roads less traveled (by you). In summer, anything is possible.
This might be the 10 year old in me, but, when I'm not on my own real-life adventures, I'm often imagining what it would be like to suddenly find myself swept up inside the plot of a book—usually somewhere exotic, like off in the mountains, sailing across the ocean, or being magically zapped to another place or time. A great story can fuel your imagination and infuse your whole life with a little more magic and wonder—and you don't even have to leave home to experience it! So grab a cozy armchair (or beach towel or window seat) and enjoy one of these five titles guaranteed to whisk you off on your own adventure.
1. The Wanderer, by Sharon Creech
One of my all-time favorite books! Thirteen-year-old Sophie sets off on a voyage across the ocean with her three uncles and two cousins to visit her grandpa in England, but the trip ends up revealing secrets about her past and her family that she never anticipated. Sharon Creech's beautiful, lyrical writing makes me feel like I'm right there with Sophie—sailing out on the water, visiting ports and islands, and discovering new things about all the people on the boat. I also love how the point of view switches from Sophie to her cousin Cody so we get a fuller picture of what is happening on the journey. This book is short, sweet, and so good. It's a great read anytime, all the time.
2. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, by Arthur Conan Doyle
Okay, these stories are SO great. They feel to me like the nineteenth-century version of a well-written episodic series: one-off adventures with intriguing mysteries, fun twists, and a great set of lead characters. The writing is so good that I feel more intelligent and cultured after reading them (even though they are super entertaining!) and I'm always motivated to be more observant. These are a great read for those times when you just have a few minutes, but want to get through a whole story. Read them while waiting in line or before falling asleep at night (just make sure you don't read "The Adventure of the Speckled Band" alone in the dark—I made that mistake once and was too scared to sleep!) BONUS: If you love any of the modern adaptations of Sherlock Homes, you'll find fun parallels in the original stories.
3. Life of Pi, by Yann Martel
This is a story of adventure mixed with philosophy, psychology, and interesting commentary on India, animals, zoos, food, and (especially) religion. I really enjoyed how the story is told from the narrator's perspective, then Pi's perspective, and back again—it felt to me like the story was unfolding rather than following a straight line, which I thought was quite beautiful. Even though the book includes a shipwreck, a tiger, and a fight for survival, it is not fast-paced. Take it with you to the beach or read it on a leisurely Saturday afternoon when you have some time to ponder thought-provoking questions about your own outlook on life.
4. Percy Jackson and the Olympians Series, by Rick Riordan
Oh, you say you wanted a fast-paced read? Then this is the series for you! These books were recommended to me by multiple twelve-year-olds (from America and France), so I finally promised to read them. I was pleasantly surprised to find that they were super fun, clever, and action-packed! Greek gods and myths are ingeniously tied into the present day, including great explanations for everything from Neo-Classical architecture to fast-food restaurants. The teenage narrator gives funny descriptions and sarcastic asides, and the plot is interesting enough to keep you guessing, but just safe enough that you always feel like it will end happily. These books are definitely geared toward middle-schoolers, but, if you are looking for something that is way easy to read and endlessly entertaining, I also recommend them to you!
5. The Hiding Place, by Corrie ten Boom
On the other hand, if you're looking for a beautiful and mature story of grace and courage, this inspiring book is the one for you. Corrie and her sister Betsie helped hide and smuggle Jewish people out of Holland during the Nazi invasion until they were discovered and sent to a concentration camp. They faced their truly horrible circumstances with an incredible amount of fortitude and faith. It's not the kind of adventure that anyone would wish to embark on, but it was one that they found a way to not just endure, but to grow from. It is a wonderful, heartbreaking, but, ultimately, uplifting book that I would recommend reading with a box of tissues.
There you have it—my five best adventure stories to read this summer! Have you read any of these books? I would love to hear your thoughts about them!
Whether you are staying close to home for these next few months or traveling far and wide, I hope your days are filled with explorations both big and small, and that these books set your imagination on fire with all the wonder, excitement, and inspiration you could wish for. Have a wonderful summer, friends, and happy reading!
♥︎ ♥︎ ♥︎ / Kathryn