It’s 100 degrees F outside today (38 C) and all I want to do is flop on the sofa with a big glass of ice water and read. I just finished a novel downloaded from NetGalley.com called Elza’s Kitchen (look for a review next week) and I’ll be moving on to The Tenants of the Hotel Biron soon. (There’s nothing nicer than a big virtual stack of galleys to read and review!)

Even with all the literary goodies I’ve got in the hopper, the reading “assignment” I’m most looking forward to is one that I’ll be doing with the two young sisters — 16 and 18 — who I tutor in English. Since we’re about to stop classes for vacation, I asked them if they’d be willing to read a book together over the summer, and then comment on it via email. They agreed and last week we chose our novel together. It’s a young adult book called Please Ignore Vera Dietz.

In looking for books we could share, I had a few criteria. No vampires. (That eliminated about 50% of what is out there.) No distopias — we’re headed to a real one of our own in Spain and don’t need to spend the summer reading about it. Female protagonist, intelligent, not overly romantic, no secret powers. (That knocked another 35% out.) Thank goodness for Vera Dietz! We’re going to enjoy getting to know her, I’m sure.

No matter how much I end up enjoying Vera, or not, my favorite YA heroine is and always will be Harriet the Spy. I love her adventures so much that I’m going to read the book again this summer and let myself be transported back to 6th grade. That was 1973 for me — not a great year, as I recall.  But, oh, did I love Harriet’s clever subversiveness! (I’m relieved that I don’t also have to go back to the seriously bad haircut or polyester disco wear I was sporting that year. There have to be some advantages to time travel, right?)

What’s the book from your youth that you’d happily re-read this summer?

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