Doubled Booked- Reviews from our Summer Reading Lists

If there’s one thing English Majors love more than reading, it’s summer reading! No worries, or other class assignments. Only you, a list of books you have been dying to dive into, and all the time in the world! With all of our summer reads fresh on our minds, it only makes sense to share your favorite! Check out BYU English Society’s Book Review Officer’s TOP PICKS from their summer reading list! Check back weekly to see more book reviews and submit to us suggestions for books you want review or share your own recommendations and have your review posted on this blog!

Wonder, by R.J Palacio

-Written by: Eliza Howard

Most of you have seen it: the baby blue cover with a black and white face almost filling the entire frame. Yet the shape can hardly be called a face, for the only feature to interrupt the vastness is a single eye on the left. Above it, the word Wonder rests like an eyebrow. 
Given a rare facial deformity from birth, August Pullman is used to the “looks” strangers pretend not to give him. “Whatever you’re thinking, it’s probably worse,” is how he describes himself. With ears comparable to cauliflower, eyes too low on his face, and a mouth that doesn’t seem to work properly, Auggie’s ability to even breathe is the work of 27 surgeries. Yet, on the inside, he assures you he’s nothing special, just an average kid. 
In a demonstration of innate bravery, Auggie leaves the comfort of homeschooling and his beyond-perfect family to enter fifth grade. Just as cruelty and blatant honesty color Auggie’s school year, as do true friendship and loyalty. He is quickly made the target of a bully and is shunned school-wide for carrying the “Plague.” Yet at the cost of also becoming “infected,” true friends come to his aid, demonstrating a quality that makes everyone proud to be human: kindness. 
Wonder explores the basic traits that make us human: the desire to belong, the potential to love and protect family and friends, and the affinity to change. R. J. Palacio creates a story that is anything but cliche in moments such as the school system being challenged by anxious parents, opportunities to defend kindness in an overnight field trip, and the internal conflict between worry and resentment held by his older sister Via. Told from the perspectives of bold fifth graders, protective teenagers, and Auggie himself, the narrative has a raw feeling of truth. 
Wonder is a book I won’t forget. I would recommend it to both children and young adults. Beyond the characters that I swear are real somewhere in the universe and a storyline to match, Wonder pulls at my heart. Expect to laugh and cry with Auggie. I could not help but rediscover what kindness is, and how we as individuals can determine how humanity is defined. 

An Assembly Such as This: A Novel of Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman, by Pamela Aidan

-Written by: Marissa Brown


Have you ever wondered what Darcy was thinking during his varying interactions with Elizabeth? Maybe you want some insight as to why he acted the way he did? I know I did. Do you want an excuse to fall in love with him all over again? Do I even need to ask? In An Assembly Such as This: A Novel of Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman, Pamela Aidan does a masterful job in recreating Jane Austen’s world of Pride and Prejudice but from Mr. Darcy’s point of view. Aidan helps readers relive those awful and beautiful moments from the classic but with a new perspective. She clarifies the structure of Regency England for readers to better understand the situations characters find themselves in. An Assembly Such as This is the first book in the trilogy and unlike a lot of other spinoffs, follows the original storyline instead of trying to create Elizabeth’s and Darcy’s future, and although its three books reinterpreting the one it still doesn’t seem like enough. Aidan intertwines conversations from the original novel and furthers their importance by adding what Darcy thought and felt. What I most respected Aidan for was being able to write in a style similar to Jane Austen yet maintain her own wit and personality throughout the novel. I have a hard enough time doing impersonations for five minutes, I can’t even imagine maintaining another person’s writing style for multiple novels. By far, this book was my favorite summer read, it had all the right parts: romance, intrigue, flowery language, and Mr. Darcy. I give it five stars and two definite thumbs up!

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