The Crossover’s Must-Read Books for Summer Break (2022)


The cover of Joanna Klink’s poetry book, Raptus.

Haley Seymour, Editor in Chief – I Killed Zoe Spanos by Kit Frick is a young adult mystery that will have you getting whiplash from the amount of plot twists. I pride myself in often being able to guess the endings of books, TV shows, or movies, but this one was simply impossible to guess. The book switches between flashbacks and current time, allowing you to piece together what’s happening at the same time as main character Anna Cicconi. Anna is an unreliable narrator, having difficulty understanding what’s happening on her own. I had to put this book down multiple times in order to calm myself down, yet everytime I picked it right back up. I don’t want to spoil anything, but trust me, I Killed Zoe Spanos is worth a read this summer.


Danni Petrilak, Content Editor – Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo is a high stakes thriller following six teenagers destined to do the impossible: break into the most protected and guarded prison in Djerholm; the Ice Court. In this novel, readers flip seamlessly between character perspectives and delve deep into the lore and mystery of the ever expanding Grishaverse. Main character Kaz Breker is a 17-year old crippled gang member who always has a trick up his sleeve, but when he’s brought in the loop of a conspiracy regarding parem, a mind-altering drug used to enhance the powers of the Grisha, he has no other choice but to go along with it. Besides, who could say no to 30 million bucks? Take a leap of faith and trust the master in his process with Six of Crows and its sequel, Crooked Kingdom.


Eric Banks, Staff Writer – The Long Halloween: In honor of The Batman coming out this year, I recommend checking out one of it’s chief inspirations, Jeph Loeb’s masterpiece The Long Halloween. Instrumental in establishing the Batman mythos, this limited series follows the caped crusader early in his crime-fighting career. Batman finds himself in the middle of a manhunt for the mysterious “Holiday Killer,” a vigilante responsible for numerous mob hits through the city. It’s a gripping narrative, packed with brilliant twists and several unforgettable renditions of Batman’s most famous foes, all brought to life with Tim Sale’s stunning artwork. Free from Frank Miller’s pretentious noir trappings, Sale embraces vibrant pop-art, reminiscent of classic comics. His visuals and ingenious use of color provides the story with a beautifully surreal aesthetic. Gotham has never looked better than it does in this book.      


Elizabeth Marando, Staff Writer – The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky, which you may recognize from its 2012 movie adaptation, is a mental health YA novel that came out in 1999. 15 year old Charlie is uniquely awkward, heavily introverted and troubled in a way that I found deeply relatable when I first read it in high school. The book is written as a series of letters addressed from Charlie to a friend, an open-ended way of saying that perhaps this novel is aimed towards the reader directly. As Charlie progresses through high school alongside two older friends, he gradually encounters more troubling events and finds his childhood trauma unfold in unexpected ways. It is a heartbreaking read, but I found other aspects of his development to be as heartfelt and perceptive as the book’s title. Critics argue that Charlie’s depiction was offensive to mental health causes and that the sheer amount of sensitive topics (sexual abuse, suicide, drug use, etc.) was far too much to be realistic or even tolerable to read. This dark nature has led it to be widely banned. However, I would argue that it may be aimed towards an audience who also feels the world on their shoulders and lives life in a similar whirlwind of melancholy, or are interested in what that experience entails. In an age when men’s mental health still faces disregard and stigma, it definitely provides valuable insight on what that experience may be like for many depressed adolescent boys, or anyone who has endured similar hardships as Charlie. As someone who faces seasonal depression in the summer and isn’t fond of seeing schools depicted in entertainment while attending school, I highly suggest this book as a summer read.


Katherine Townsend, Staff Writer – A recent favorite is On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong. This novel is the fictionalization of Vuong’s real life experiences as the son of a Vietnamese immigrant single mother, as well as his experiences coming into his sexuality as a member of the LGBTQ+ community. The story reads beautifully, and Vuong’s talent for poetry shines through in his storytelling. The peaks and valleys of Vuong’s experiences provide for a narrative that is captivating and truly hard to put down. I’m someone who needs to have just the right book to find the motivation to read at the end of a busy day, and this book is the perfect find in that situation.


Warren Baker, Advisor – I recommend poetry by Joanna Klink. I just learned about her when a person in my writing group shared a poem she wrote titled, “Some Feel Rain.” The language in the poem, the enjambment, the grasp of the human experience: I was taken in. She has five books out; I ordered “Raptus” (where “Some Feel Rain” appeared) and The Nightfields.I also recommend poetry by Yusef Komunyakka. Sound, imagery, metaphor, subtlety, precision. My, oh my. Such good work.

Going off-script here, I recommend a subscription to Foreign Affairs, a monthly mag produced and published by the Council on Foreign Relations, “a nonprofit, nonpartisan, membership organization and think tank specializing in U.S. foreign policy and international affairs.” I like to stay informed and get all sides of the issues. It’s not a pleasure read, but if you want to follow the journalism and opinions of some intelligent, forward-thinking individuals who cover what no one else is covering, then subscribe. It has opened my national and world views immensely.

This summer, I’m going to try Joseph Conrad’s Lord Jim just because I’m up for something dark and dense. I’ll also be reading a lot of drama, and going into my home library to read some of the books I’ve always wanted to read, but never got to. Happy reading to you!!