Summer Read-Alikes: Alternates to Current Hot Titles

Here is a list of great summer reads, along with read-alikes

How many of you are in the following situation? You read about a fantastic item on Amazon or another summer book list. You go to the library to check it out, only to find that everyone else had the same idea and the line is now endlessly long. You get your beach read right about the time the leaves begin to fall. Fear not, I have a solution.

Here is a list of great summer reads, along with read-alikes. If the blockbuster is not available, I hope that the read-alike item will be (or at least, you’ll have less wait time). Enjoy the sun and happy reading!


The Duckling Gets a Cookie!? Words and Pictures by Mo Willems. (Available at & ) Ever since the Pigeon first tried to drive the bus, kids (and adults) have been giggling over his many picture books. This is the latest book with these characters. The Pigeon is very angry because the Duckling has a cookie and he doesn’t. He discovers that in order to get a cookie, he must ask politely – which is tough for the Pigeon to do!

You may also enjoy:

I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen. (Gig Harbor & Key Center) Bear has lost his hat and he asks all the creatures of the forest to help him in his search. Kids and adults will appreciate the fun illustrations and the sly humor. Here is another great picture book with an animal narrator who needs a little help to figure things out.

Warriors: Enter the Clans by Erin Hunter. (Gig Harbor & Key Center) Over the years, Erin Hunter has gained tons of fans by writing her Warrior series. The series follows Clans of feral cats who have adventures and fight for their lives in a giant forest. These books are excellent anthropomorphic (talking animals) fantasy. This particular book is not a story. Rather, it is an in-depth guide to the world of these warrior cats. It includes how they train and the history of the many Clans. If you want to start at the very beginning, read Into the Wild by Erin Hunter.

You may also enjoy:

Lone Wolf by Kathryn Lasky. (Gig Harbor) A young wolf is abandoned by his pack after it is discovered that he has a misshapen paw. A lonely mother bear discovers him and raises him to be strong. Now the grown up wolf, named Faolan, must decide whether or not to save the wolf pack that left him to die. This is another anthropomorphic fantasy series from the author who wrote the Guardians of Ga’Hoole books.

The Extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict by Trenton Lee Stewart; illustrated by Diana Sudyka. (Gig Harbor & Key Center) In the first book of the Mysterious Benedict Society, we meet Mr. Benedict; genius, fighter for good and enigmatic leader of a group of extraordinary children. This book takes the reader back into the childhood of this interesting man and shows us the many adventures he had and mysteries he solved when he was young.

You may also enjoy:

The Name of this Book is Secret by Pseudonymous Bosch; illustrated by Gilbert Ford. (Gig Harbor) Two eleven year old friends must stop an evil pair of villains from discovering a magician’s secret and gaining immortality. This book is a great match for the humorous, thrilling adventures of the Mysterious Benedict Society series. The reader also gets to help the heroes of the story by solving the many word puzzles in the book. 


The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan (Heroes of Olympus, Book 3). (Gig Harbor & Key Center) Demigod Percy Jackson (the hero of the Olympian book series) has now joined forces with demigod kids descended from the Roman gods of mythology. Familiar characters team up with an all new cast to battle even more ferocious monsters and fulfill a dangerous prophecy. Anyone acquainted with Riordan’s work will enjoy this newest adventure.

You might also enjoy:

The Warrior Heir by Cinda Williams Chima. (University Place) Sixteen-year-old Jack discovers that he is part of a race of people with magic coursing through their veins. He must decide which side to take in a civil war that will determine the outcome of his people’s world as well as ours. Readers who enjoy Rick Riordan’s Olympian series will also enjoy the first book in this trilogy, which includes “normal” kids with unexpected magical inheritances who have the power to save the world.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. (Gig Harbor & Key Center) I already referred to this book for my graduation book list. It’s the incredible story of a young girl who has terminal cancer and the boy she meets who makes her look at living and dying in a different way. This book is by turns wise, funny and unbelievably heartbreaking. The story is popular for excellent reasons. It’s very, very difficult to find a book to match this one.

You might also enjoy:

The Truth about Forever by Sarah Dessen. Teenager Macy works for a catering company during the summer following her father’s death. She discovers new friends, a new love and also finally finds a way to grieve for her dad. Both of these books feature interesting, deep characters who struggle with grief while also coping with the joys and pain of growing up.


Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed. (Gig Harbor) After a brutal divorce and the loss of her mother, author Cheryl Strayed decided to hike the Pacific Crest Trail. Strayed bluntly talks about how she had no experience, no training and almost no idea of what she was doing when she began the journey. Readers will laugh and cry with Strayed as she marches along the trail, accompanied by her over-packed bag Monster and her own demons. Ultimately, the experience on the trail helps Strayed heal some of her past hurts.

You may also enjoy:

A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail by Bill Bryson. While Bryson does not have the demons that Strayed has chasing his tail, he matches her by having almost no idea of what he is really getting into. Bryson recounts the informative and hilarious experience of setting out on the Appalachian Trail with only an overweight, grouchy friend for company.

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain. If you have an introverted child, friend, spouse or are in fact one yourself, this book is a must read. Cain explains how introverts function in today’s extrovert-loving society. This book is empowering, interesting and incredibly well researched. Cain pens a compulsively readable book that will help people to better understand introverts, from the basic brain chemistry to the environmental factors.

You may also enjoy:

Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman. This book won a large amount of awards when it came out in 2011 and is still popular. Kahneman examines the difference between two types of thinking; “fast” and “slow”. He discusses how these ways of thinking affect people in our society, particularly in the workplace. Like Quiet, this read also explores the psychology and the science behind how human beings think and act.

How We Decide by Jonah Lehrer. (Gig Harbor & Key Center) Lehrer has also recently written a book on creativity called Imagine which is as interesting (and as popular) as Quiet. However, How We Decide is one of his earlier books. Lehrer examines the neuroscience behind our decision making process. Much like the book Quiet, you will never think about the way humans operate in quite the same way again.


Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. (Gig Harbor) How well do you know your spouse? Golden boy Nick and lovely, perfect Amy Dunne are the ultimate couple. However, on the night of their fifth wedding anniversary, Amy disappears. In spite of Nick’s protestations of innocence, he quickly becomes the prime suspect. As the mystery deepens, both Nick and Amy’s terrible secrets are slowly revealed. Flynn writes a dark, psychological thriller that is getting rave reviews on all fronts.

You may also enjoy:

In the Woods by Tana French. (Gig Harbor) Irish police detective Rob Ryan and his partner are put on the case of a murdered child. However, as Ryan gets involved in the mystery, he discovers disturbing ties to a haunting case of two missing children who disappeared into the woods years before. French’s Dublin Murder Squad novels are excellently written, darkly thrilling mysteries that are good matches for Gone Girl.   

Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness. (Gig Harbor & Key Center) Budding witch Diana Bishop and her vampire love Matthew Clairmont have escaped to Elizabethan England. The intention of their journey is to help Diana rediscover her powers. However, it is ghosts from Matthew’s past that dog their footsteps. This story has something for everyone, including a sensual love story, interesting fantasy elements and well researched history. This is the second book in a trilogy, so if you have not read A Discovery of Witches, check it out!

You may also enjoy:

The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe. (Gig Harbor) Modern day scholar Connie Goodwin discovers her family connection to the Salem Witch Trials. The reader follows the women of Connie’s family through history by way of an extraordinary book kept by the “witch” Deliverance Dane. This book matches the incredible historical detail and the fantasy/magic elements of Shadow of Night.

Petty Magic: Being the Memoirs and Confessions of Miss Evelyn Harbinger, Temptress and Troublemaker by Camille DeAngelis. (Gig Harbor) When witch Evelyn Harbinger meets a man she believes to be the reincarnation of the lover she lost during World War II, she breaks the code of her coven to appear young and beautiful. This book also jumps around in history and features a love story that transcends time.


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