July Reads

It seems that I only have two books to share with you from my July reading. How is that possible? Oh, yeah. I was finishing writing the rough draft of my current novel. I did read one unpublished novel for a writer friend. (It’s really, really great, but I can’t talk about it yet!) And I read two Celtic mythology books for research, but those are likely not going to be of general interest to you all.

So on with the show . . . the two books I’ll share with you here were wonderfully engaging stories. The first was a non-fiction book by an author who was gracious enough to talk about her fiction novel (A Mistake of Consequence). But long before that book came out, Terri Karsten wrote Snags and Sawyers: 2000 Miles Down the Arkansas River.  I love the introduction to this book.

Three young men. 
Two cedar canoes. 
Two untamed rivers. 
A journey over 2000 miles. 
No one had done it. Could they?


Sounds like fiction, right? NOPE! This is a true story, and what makes it even better is that this story is about the author’s father and his two buddies who lived this epic adventure in 1949. The story alternates between the author’s narrative, diary pages, news accounts from the time, and commentary from the men who made the trip. Loved, loved, loved this story! 

The second book I’m recommending this month could not be more different. Lost in the Sun by Lisa Graff is a stunning, heart-wrenching middle grade novel. Gah!! I cried until my face was puffy. I picked this book up at bedtime for a little reading until I fell asleep. I couldn’t go to bed once I started and finished at about 3 a.m.! The lack of sleep was completely worth it.

The story follows 6th grader Trent who has a tough start to middle school but not for any of the normal reasons. Months prior, Trent was responsible for a terrible sporting accident that has left a layer of guilt and post-traumatic stress behind. Another middle schooler—a girl with a large scar across her face—becomes his friend. Together, they forge their path through the perils of middle school and their own personal tragedies.

Lisa Graff is a highly acclaimed and award-winning author. You really can’t go wrong reading any of her novels for young readers and teens. In fact, I highly recommend her books for team reading with parents and their kids. Gorgeous writing!

Has anyone else read Lisa Graff’s other books. I am curious which was your favorite, so I know which one to pick up next. 

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