Guest Post: Erica O'Rourke

The Larks are excited to welcome Erica O'Rourke to Reading Lark today.

(Photo Credit: Anja Photography)

Top Ten Summer Reads by Erica O'Rourke

 Lots of people talk about summer reading as a guilty pleasure – but of all the things in the world I could feel guilty about, reading doesn’t even come close to making the list. I read what I like, and in summer what I like runs the gamut: romance, fantasy, mystery, middle grade, classics, cookbooks and more. I’m also a big re-reader, so summer is the perfect time to revisit old favorites and long-anticipated new titles. 

 1. RUIN AND RISING, by Leigh Bardugo (Book Three of the Grisha Trilogy): Rare is the book I tear into at midnight on its release day, but Ruin and Rising is the glorious exception to the rule. I finished it in one night, and the conclusion to Alina’s journey is as brilliant and satisfying and inventive as I expected. Leigh’s series starts out with Shadow and Bone, one of the best books I’ve read in years, and it improves with each subsequent story. I’ll be rereading it again immediately. 

2. AN UNTAMED STATE, by Roxane Gay: I am continually blown away by Roxane Gay’s intelligence and humor. The novel doesn’t sound like the lightest of reads, (a Haitian woman survives her kidnapping and assault by remembering happier times) but I’m certain it will be deeply satisfying and thought-provoking and beautifully crafted. 

 3. THE GREAT GREENE HEIST, by Varian Johnson: I am a sucker for middle grade mysteries. This one, about a group of middle school kids who must pull off a con to defeat the corrupt bully running for student council president -- sounds utterly delightful. 

4. THE CARE AND MANAGEMENT OF LIES, by Jacqueline Winspear. I love the author’s Maisie Dobbs series, and this stand-alone novel, set in England during World War 1, is equally appealing. 

 5. THE SUMMER PRINCE, by Alaya Dawn Johnson: First, it has summer in the title. Second, it’s Brazilian-set cyberpunk that deals with class differences, which…yes, please. Third, I put it on my kid’s Christmas List last year and nobody bought it, to my chagrin. So I will just buy it for myself, thankyouverymuch. 

6. OTHERBOUND, by Corrine Duyvis: The four starred reviews are a pretty compelling argument, but more importantly -- everyone I know is raving about this book, which follows a boy and girl from different worlds (literally) who share a mysterious connection. Nothing convinces me like word of mouth. 

7. ASK THE PASSENGERS, by A.S. King: I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: ASK THE PASSENGERS is a perfect book. The prose, the characters, the plot, the emotion….it’s like a master class in storytelling. Astrid’s questions – and the answers she finds – are beautifully rendered and achingly true. 

8. The Lord Peter Wimsey Mysteries, by Dorothy L Sayers: One of my two favorite detectives! The second son of a British dukedom who suffers from PTSD after World War I, Lord Peter is a gentleman, a sleuth, a rare-book collector…and thanks to his delightful valet Bunter, always dressed for the occasion. Start with WHOSE BODY? and keep reading for dry British humor and clever twists. 

9. DELANCEY: A MAN, A WOMAN, A RESTAURANT AND A MARRIAGE, by Molly Wizenberg: I’ve reached the point in my cooking where I’m more interested in essays than recipes. There are only so many things you can do to a chicken or a bunch of kale, after all. These days, I like to read about how people approach cooking and food – the process they go through to develop a recipe, or how food factors into the rest of their lives. This book, about newlyweds opening a pizza restaurant in Seattle, looks fascinating. The fact that the heroine of DISSONANCE shares a name with the restaurant (Delancey!) doesn’t hurt, either. 

10. WHEN I WAS THE GREATEST, by Jason Reynolds. Oh, this book. I love everything about it: Ali, the protagonist, a boy who boxes but is afraid to fight. His best friends, Noodles and Needles – Noodles is hot-tempered and frustrating, Needles suffers from Tourette’s – and knits on the front stoop of his home in Brooklyn to manage the tics and outbursts. Ali’s mom, Doris, as tough and complex and fascinating as her kids, and his little sister Jazz, who is precocious but totally believable. I love this story about friendship and community and family, and mostly I love Jason’s voice, which grabs you with its beauty and honesty. I can’t get it out of my head, which means it’s the book I’m pressing into everyone’s hands this summer.

Release Date: July 22, 2014

Delancy Sullivan has always known there’s more to reality than what people see. Every time someone makes a choice, a new, parallel world branches off from the existing one. Eating breakfast or skipping it, turning left instead of right, sneaking out instead of staying in bed ~ all of these choices create an alternate universe in which an echo self takes the road not travelled and makes the opposite decision. As a Walker, someone who can navigate between these worlds, Del’s job is to keep all of the dimensions in harmony.

Normally, Del can hear the dissonant frequency that each world emits as clear as a bell. But when a training session in an off-key world goes horribly wrong, she is forbidden from Walking by the Council. But Del’s not big on following the rules and she secretly starts to investigate these other worlds. Something strange is connecting them and it’s not just her random encounters with echo versions of the guy she likes, Simon Lane.

But Del’s decisions have unimaginable consequences and, as she begins to fall for the Echo Simons in each world, she draws closer to a truth that the Council of Walkers is trying to hide ~ a secret that threatens the fate of the entire multiverse.

Preorder a Copy of Dissonance

About the Author

Author of the TORN (available now), TANGLED (Feb 2012) and BOUND (Fall 2012), from KTeen/Kensington Books. Mob, magic, murder. And cute boys. Always with the cute boys.


  1. Thanks for the recommendations! Running to Goodreads to add to my tbr.

  2. Thanks for having me! I love summer reading, don't you? Nothing like a list to make me feel organized!


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