Golden Hawk Summer Reads

We reached out to our Golden Hawks on Instagram to ask what you were looking forward to reading once exams wrapped up, and share some of your favourite books. Most appropriate for the end-of-term, atop many of your lists was "anything that isn't on the course textbook list."

According to the Washington Post in 2020, people are flocking to dystopian stories, fantasy, and science fiction, along with romance and books about social justice; we noticed those trends as well.

Looking for some book-spiration? Keep reading below to build yourself a stellar summer reading list, then grab your SPF and head outside to enjoy the warmer weather. 

Spoiler alert! One of our submitted choices is by a Laurier alum. 

Unless otherwise noted, most of the descriptions were modified from Goodreads.

Young Adult Reads

Throne of Glass book cover

Throne of Glass Series

By Sarah J. Maas

Throne of Glass follows the journey of Celaena Sardothien, a teenage assassin in a corrupt kingdom with a tyrannical ruler, The King of Adarlan. After a year of suffering for her crimes in a slave camp, she accepts the offer of Crown Prince Dorian, the King's son, to compete with other assassins and thieves for a chance to serve as the King's Champion. The series includes seven books and a collection of short stories.

Image credit: Bloomsbury

Shadow and Bone book cover

Shadow and Bones Series

By Leigh Bardugo

Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka, modelled after nineteenth-century Russia, has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters. In Book one, Shadow and Bone, the fate of Ravka may rest on the shoulders of one lonely orphan, Alina Starkov.

Check out the new Netflix show!

Image credit: MacMillan Publishers

Perks of Being a Wallflower book cover

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

By Stephen Chbosky

Set in the early 1990s, the novel follows Charlie, an introverted and observant teenager, through his freshman year of high school. The novel details Charlie's unconventional style of thinking (and writing) as he navigates between the worlds of adolescence and adulthood.

Image credit: Simon & Schuster

Harry Potter book cover

Harry Potter Series

By J.K. Rowling

This definitely needs no introduction. This seven-book series has become a cultural phenomenon and follows Harry from age 11 to age 17 as he navigates the wizarding world, good versus evil, friendships, relationships, and occasionally, school.

Can you believe it's been almost 25 years since the first book came out?!

Image credit: Bloomsbury

Percy Jackson book cover

Percy Jackson Series

By Rick Riordan

Beginning with The Lightning Thief, regular teen Percy discovers he is actually a demigod and is sent to Camp Half Blood. He then sets out on a quest across the United States to reach the gates of the Underworld.

Another much beloved, classic series in the YA genre.

Image credit: Penguin Books

The Summoning book cover

Darkest Powers Series

By Kelley Armstrong (who is Canadian!)

The Darkest Powers revolves around The Edison Group, a team of supernatural scientists, and the subjects they have experimented on. Book one opens with Chloe Saunders, whose life is finally settling down after her mother’s death, until she starts seeing ghosts and is admitted to Lyle House, a highly recommended group home, which isn’t as it seems.

If you like being creeped out, this is the book for you!

Image credit: Harper Collins Publishers

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Normal People book cover

Normal People

By Sally Rooney

If you watched the series, you’d know Connell’s chain has ignited a social media frenzy – from twitter handles, hashtags, and memes. Set in Ireland, Sally Rooney’s book tells the story of two damaged teenagers, Connell and Marianne, who develop an intense relationship through high school and university.

Image credit: Penguin Random House

Adventures of Flash Jackson book cover

The Adventures of Flash Jackson

By William Kowalski

The Adventures of Flash Jackson is the story of seventeen-year-old, tomboyish Haley Bombauer and her ambition to bust out of the confines of her small-town upbringing!

Also a Canadian author!

Image credit: Harper Collins Publishers

Kane and Abel book cover

Kane and Abel

By Jeffrey Archer

Born on the same day near the turn of the century on opposite sides of the world, both men are brought together by fate and the quest of a dream. The story spans 60 years and three generations.

Image credit: Macmillan Publishers

War and Peace book cover

War and Peace

By Leo Tolstoy

Focused on Napoleon's invasion of Russia in 1812, this story follows three main characters: Pierre Bezukhov, the illegitimate son of a count who is fighting for his inheritance and yearning for spiritual fulfilment; Prince Andrei Bolkonsky, who leaves his family behind to fight in the war against Napoleon; and Natasha Rostov, the beautiful young daughter of a nobleman who intrigues both men. (Random House)

Image credit: Penguin Random House

The Great Gatsby book cover

The Great Gatsby

By F. Scott Fitzgerald

The novel focuses on narrator Nick Carraway’s interactions with mysterious millionaire Jay Gatsby and Gatsby’s obsession with reuniting with his former lover, Daisy Buchanan. Considered to be one of the great American novels, this story of the American dream is set in the jazz age of the 1920s.

Image credit: Simon & Schuster

Pride and Prejudice book cover

Pride and Prejudice

By Jane Austen

This book needs little introduction! First published in 1813, and arguably Austen’s most famous work, the story follows the main character, Elizabeth Bennet, as she deals with issues of manners, upbringing, morality, love, education, family and marriage; set in British Regency society.

If you love this book, check out the BBC series! Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy, enough said.

Image credit: Simon & Schuster

To Kill a Mockingbird book cover

To Kill a Mockingbird

By Harper Lee

Get to know the small town of Maycomb and the Depression-era South through the eyes of young tomboy Scout Finch. It's a great story about hate and cruelty, but also about kindness and compassion. An unforgettable classic! Even if you’ve read it before, this book may be one that you revisit often. 

"Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing."

Image credit: Harper Collins Publishers

The Color Purple book cover

The Color Purple

By Alice Walker

A powerful cultural touchstone of modern American literature, The Color Purple depicts the lives of African American women in early twentieth-century rural Georgia. Separated as girls, sisters Celie and Nettie sustain their loyalty to and hope in each other across time, distance and silence.

Image credit: Penguin Random House

The Midnight Library book cover

The Midnight Library

By Matt Haig

Between life and death, there is a library. When Nora Seed finds herself in the Midnight Library, she has a chance to make things right. Up until now, her life has been full of misery and regret. She feels she has let everyone down, including herself. But things are about to change.

Image credit: Penguin Random House

Americanah book cover


By Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Ifemelu and Obinze are young and in love when they depart military-ruled Nigeria for the West. One ends up in America, the other in London, England. Fifteen years later, they reunite in a newly democratic Nigeria, and reignite their passion—for each other and for their homeland.

Image credit: Penguin Random House

Dear Edward book cover

Dear Edward

By Ann Napolitano

A twelve-year-old boy struggles with the worst kind of fame—as the sole survivor of a notorious plane crash. Edward's story captures the attention of the nation, but he struggles to find a place for himself in a world without his family.

Image credit: Penguin Random House

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Historical Fiction

The Mirror and the Light book cover

The Mirror and the Light

By Hilary Mantel

With The Mirror and the Light, Mantel brings to a close the trilogy she began with Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies. The book is set in 1536, and the novel traces the final years of Thomas Cromwell, the boy from nowhere who climbs to the heights of power.

Image credit: Harper Collins Publishers

The Kite Runner book cover

The Kite Runner

By Khaled Hosseini

The heartbreaking story of the unlikely friendship between a wealthy boy and the son of his father’s servant, set during a tumultuous time in Afghanistan history. 

Image credit: Penguin Random House

Daisy Jones and the Six

Daisy Jones and the Six

By Taylor Jenkins Reid

A gripping novel about the whirlwind rise of an iconic 1970s rock group and their beautiful lead singer, revealing the mystery behind their infamous break up.

Image credit: Penguin Random House

The Huntress book cover

The Huntress

By Kate Quinn

The Huntress is told from three different POVs and is set just after the Second World War. The novel is a fascinating historical tale about a battle-haunted English journalist and a Russian female bomber pilot who join forces to track the Huntress, a Nazi war criminal gone to ground in America. Kate Quinn also wrote The Alice Network and The Rose Code, both worth checking out.

Image credit: Harper Collins Publishers

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Science-Fiction and Mystery

Contact book cover


By Carl Sagan

Published in 1985, Contact deals with the theme of contact between humanity and a more technologically advanced, extraterrestrial life form.

Image credit: Simon & Schuster

Then She Was Gone book cover

Then She Was Gone

By Lisa Jewell

Psychological thriller about the disappearance of 15-year-old Ellie Mack. Now, her mother, Laurel Mack, is trying to put her life back together, until she meets a charming stranger with a daughter who is the spitting image of Ellie.

This editor believes you can't go wrong with any of Lisa Jewell's books and suggest them all!

Image credit: Simon & Schuster

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Older Sister Not Necessarily Related book cover

Older Sister. Not Necessarily Related.

By Jenny Heijun Wills (Memoir)

Jenny Heijun Wills, adopted as a baby by a family in Southern Ontario, writes about reconnecting with her biological South Korean family in a haunting but beautiful story.

Fun fact: Wills is a former Golden Hawk!

Image credit: Penguin Random House Canada

Elon Musk book cover

Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future

By Ashlee Vance (Biography)

Ashlee Vance captures the full spectacle and arc of Elon Musk’s life and work, from his tumultuous upbringing in South Africa and flight to the United States to his dramatic technical innovations and entrepreneurial pursuits.

Image credit: Harper Collins Publishing

Educated book cover


By Tara Westover (Memoir)

Educated is a memoir and a coming-of-age story by Tara Westover. Westover recounts overcoming her survivalist Mormon family in order to go to college and emphasizes the importance of education in expanding her world and viewpoints.

Image credit: Penguin Random House

Think Like a Monk

Think Like a Monk

By Jay Shetty (Self-Help)

Jay Shetty, social media superstar and host of the podcast "On Purpose," distills the timeless wisdom he learned as a monk into practical steps anyone can take every day to live a less anxious, more meaningful life.

Image credit: Simon & Schuster

This Book Will Make You Happy book cover

This Book Will Make You Happy

By Jessamy Hibberd and Jo Usmar (Self-Help)

Dr. Jessamy Hibberd and Jo Usmar draw on the very latest research in cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and modern psychology to give you practical, proven techniques and exercises to combat low mood and, more importantly, increase your happiness, making you healthier and more fulfilled.

Image credit: Quercus

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