Books to read before classes start

Deadly Design

Leah Landrum

Before you find yourself knee deep in homework, enjoy the rest of your summer break with some great books. These summer releases range from thrillers and mystery to comedy and romance. 

1. Deadly Design – By Debra Dockter – A young adult novel about identical twins, Kyle and Connor McAdams, who were genetically engineered. The twins were born two years apart to increase the likelihood for survival. 

Connor, born first, was the perfect son- star quarterback, valedictorian and more. Kyle feels it is impossible to live up to the image of his brother. But then Connor dies of a heart attack on his 18th birthday. 

Kyle learns that this has happened to other genetically modified children, and he is faced with the reality that he may not have much time left.

He begins searching for answers from the laboratory where he was created and from Dr. Mueller, who conducted experiments on them. Kyle is determined to find out what the doctor did to cause the premature deaths of the genetically engineered children. 

Can Kyle find the answers he needs before his perfect, blue-eyed body is added to the corpse list?

Book overview found at

2. The Leveller – By Julia Durango – A Science Fiction thriller about a virtual reality gaming world: MEEP. Nixy Bauer is a bounty hunter in the MEEP, who is hired by parents to pull users out of the mazelike virtual world. 

When the game’s billionaire developer loses his son within the MEEP, Nixy is faced with the hardest bounty hunting challenge yet. Wyn Salvador doesn’t want to be found and he has left behind a suicide note to prove it. 

As Nixy searches for Wyn, she quickly realizes that he isn’t really hiding, but is being held against his will within the game. She has to find out who is holding him captive and why. 

Nixy and Wyn try to fight their way out of the game, and romantic feelings are kindled. But with their surroundings completely virtual, how can Nixy decide if what she is feeling for Wyn is real?

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3. The Escape – by Hannah Jayne – A psychological thriller full of mystery and suspense. Fletcher and Adam plan to take a short hike into the woods to kill time, but when neither boy returns home, their town begins to panic. 

Search teams scour the woods and a body is found. Fletcher lies disoriented, beaten, and bloody on the forest ground. He has no recollection of what happened or where Adam is. 

As the town continues their search for Adam, danger and suspicion grow and the town realizes one thing: there is no way to escape the truth.

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4. Truth or Die – by James Patterson and Howard Roughan – A suspenseful thriller. Attorney Trevor Mann has found happiness with his girlfriend Claire Parker, an ambitious journalist constantly looking for a big story. But when her latest scoop leads to a violent confrontation, Trevor has to figure out why. 

He chases Claire’s leads and discovers a secret that every government and terrorist group would kill to know. Now it’s up to Trevor and a teenage genius to make sure no one gets their hands on it. But Trevor learns that it isn’t always easy to tell the difference between good and evil and that truth isn’t just black and white.

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5. Suicide Notes from Beautiful Girls – by Lynn Weingarten – A mystery thriller about friendship. Rumor has it Delia burned herself to death in the shed in her back yard. Her death is labeled a suicide, but June refuses to accept that as the truth. 

Delia had been her best friend and she came before everything else in June’s life, including family.  They shared a billion secrets, but everything changed a year before Delia’s death. 

While the girls and June’s boyfriend Ryan were out having a good time, things got out of hand. June knew nothing would ever be the same again…and a year later, Delia is dead. 

June believes she has been murdered, and she feels like she owes it to Delia to reveal the truth about her death. Suicide Notes from Beautiful Girls will keep you guessing until the very end.

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6. The Knockoff – by Lucy Sykes – A stylish and funny fashion novel. Imogen Tate is the editor in chief of Glossy magazine. She discovers that Eve Morton, her former assistant, is plotting to take her job and turn her magazine, which is famous for its 768-page September issue, into an app. 

Imogen is away for six months and returns to a completely different magazine. The “gray hairs” have been fired, the managing editor has been placed in a supply closet, their landline phones are gone, and tons of manicured underlings in questionable clothing, who text and tweet constantly, have been hired. 

Imogen may be big in the fashion world, but she doesn’t know a thing about digital technology. Her magazine is going south, and she is faced with a choice: quit or take on Eve to save her career and the magazine she loves.

The Knockoff is a hilarious and charming look into the changing world of fashion and our addiction to the Internet. 

Book overview found at

7. Finders Keepers – by Stephen King – A suspense novel about a fan that becomes dangerously obsessed with the writer whose books they read. After the author stops writing, fails to create any new books for decades and leaves his famous character, Jimmy Gold, as a sellout for a career in advertising, one of his fans becomes outraged. The obsessed fan, Morris Ballamy, murders the author. 

Bellamy then finds cash and notebooks containing one more book from the unfinished series in the author’s safe. Bellamy is arrested and put in prison for a separate crime, and decades later, a boy, Pete Saubers, finds the treasure of cash and notebooks. 

Bill Hodges, Holly Gibner and Jerome Robinson, a trio of heroes first introduced by King in Mr. Mercedes, must protect Pete and his family from the newly released Bellamy. 

Finders Keepers is full of heart-pounding suspense, and within it, King writes about how literature can shape our lives for good or for bad.

Book overview found at 

8. The Girl on the Train – by Paula Hawkins – A psychological thriller about a girl named Rachel, who takes the same train every single day. She sees the same scenes, the same neighborhoods and this one same couple breakfasting together outside their home every day. She even starts to feel like she knows them. 

She has named them “Jess and Jason” and imagines that their life is perfect. But one day, during her ride on the train, everything changes. Rachel witnesses something so shocking that she cannot keep it to herself. 

She goes to the police and becomes trapped in the enfolding events as well as the lives of the people involved. Rachel begins to wonder if she has done more harm than good. 

The Girl on the Train, Hawkins’ debut novel, has been described as similar to Hitckcockian thrillers and as emotional and electrifying. 

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9. Go Set a Watchman – by Harper Lee – is of historic literary importance. This novel was newly discovered and is the earliest known work by the beloved author of To Kill a Mockingbird. It was written in the mid-1950s and was assumed to have been lost. The manuscript was found in late 2014. 

Go Set a Watchman is set some twenty years after To Kill a Mockingbird and features many of the same characters. Jean Louise Finch, or Scout, travels home to visit her father and struggles with personal and political issues, which involve Atticus, the town of Maycomb, and society as a whole. 

This book explores how the characters are adjusting to the mid-1950s transforming of America. While Go Set a Watchman is an excellent addition to To Kill a Mockingbird, it is also magnificent on its own.

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10. Oblivion – by Kelly Creagh – The last book in the Nevermore trilogy. In this final book, the fates of Isobel and Varen will be revealed as they return to the dream world of the master of horror and the macabre, Edgar Allan Poe. 

After Isobel’s deadly encounter with Varen in the dream world, she is afraid to ever go back. But when her nightmares return and it becomes harder to tell dream from reality, Isobel starts fearing for both her own sanity and Varen’s. And on top of everything else, the ghostly demon Lilith will do anything to keep Varen in her evil clutches. 

Will Isobel get her happy ending? And will Varen be a part of it? Reality and dreams collide and fates are revealed in this stunning finale.

Book overview found at