Summer is here! Take full advantage of the longer days and warmer temperatures by lounging on the beach, in the backyard, or at the park with a good book. We’ve compiled a list of 18 books to add to your summer reading list so even if your summer adventures take you no further than your backyard, these books will take you around the world and back again. While you're at it, shop our favorite boutique clothing pairs to go along with each book!
For a Love Letter to the Influence of Female Celebrities
This is a must-read to add to your summer reading list. All The Lives I Want is a raw and honest collection of essays that examine the lives of the woman celebrities who have shaped a generation of women–from Scarlett Johansson to Amber Rose, Lana Del Rey, Anna Nicole Smith and more. Massey is personal without being confessional in a way that invites and allows readers to connect with the words they’re reading in an extremely personal way. Massey’s whole goal is to teach us new ways of looking at ourselves by examining these women’s legacies.
Inspired by the first essay in Massey's collection, we're channeling our favorite looks from Winona Ryder circa 1990. We're talking that grungy, effortlessly cool look and a classic denim jacket. Nobody can deny that Ryder is a style icon, except maybe Winona herself.
For an “In It For The Long Haul” Kind of Day
Ask anyone who has read this book; it's not full of twists, turns, and excitement like your typical novel. This quirk of The Idiot is also its biggest strength. Set in 1995, this novel explores the mind of an 18-year-old Harvard student in her Freshman year. Email is new, Discmans preface the modern day iPod, and mixtapes are the current form of love letters. We watch Selin, the female protagonist gain confidence, experience college, travel to another country and use email to almost become involved in a doomed relationship. It’s not your typical college experience, but it’s one you’ve been waiting to experience.
A heathered gray dress matches the speckled look of the rock on The Idiot cover perfectly. Grab this book, throw on a grey dress, and find the perfect place to hunker down for a solid summer reading day.
For Those Who Love the Netflix Series
Summer means two things; time to read new books and catch up on our favorite shows or start new series -- alright, we really mean binge watch on Netflix. 13 Reasons Why is the perfect summer reading book; after you read the book you can binge two seasons of it on Netflix (it has 26 episodes in case you were wondering). 13 Reasons Why follows Clay Jensen and his journey through 12 cassette tapes recorded by and detailing the 13 reasons why his crush, Hannah Baker, who committed suicide two weeks previously. This book will stay with you long after you turn the last page.
In the popular Netflix series, Hannah is constantly wearing pretty floral dresses and tops. Now is the perfect time to bring back those delicate floral prints like the skirt on slide two. You'll be looking innocent and ethereal in Hannah's signature look.
For The Coming Of Age Story On Your Summer Reading List
What is a summer reading list without a coming to age story that leaves a sweet-bitter taste in your mouth -- see what I did there? Sweetbitter follows 22-year old Tess and her new life in New York City as a waitress-in-training at one of the most famed restaurants in the city. She’s developing her fine-dining palate and expanding her horizons. She comes to age the hard way through bad decisions and a toxic environment. All in all, Sweetbitter is a well-written story of a smart but troubled woman establishing a new life, making connections, and failing a lot.
Sweetbitterwas recently picked up by STARZ and turned into six-30 minute episodes. Once you finish the novel, give the show a try and enjoy this Tess inspired waitress top! Tess somehow maintains her feminine beauty in a simple white button up -- something we all hope to achieve.
For Sharing With Your Girl Friends
All Grown Up is the story of single, 39-year old Andrea who still seems to be figuring out her life as many people she knows fall into ordinary life conventions of marriage, kids, and jobs. This is a summer reading list must for you or anyone who has asked themselves the question, “Who am I, really?” This witty book looks at the cultural signifies that come with adulthood and acknowledges the importance of carving out your own path, no matter what it looks like. Read it yourself then share it with your friends or make it a book club suggestion.
There's just something about a woman in a jumpsuit that screams "grown-up and mature!" If you haven't embraced the trend yet, what are you waiting for? Women's jumpsuits are so trendy right now, try one out for yourself!
For a Gripping Meditation on Grief & The New Generation of Hardy Women
Ariel Levy was always told that she was too much. As a young woman, she realized that becoming a writer would be the perfect way to channel her strength and desires, so she followed her passion for the love and not the money. She moved to Manhattan to pursue her career, met her spouse, bought a house and became pregnant - but all in the most unconventional way. Levy followed no rules and had a seemingly perfect life until over the course of just a few months, she lost her son, her spouse, and her house. You can’t help but feel Ariel's fierce independence as she refuses to conform even after she has lost everything and is forced to build a new life for herself. This gripping memoir is just what you need to balance out your summer reading list.
We couldn't help but fall in love with the beautiful colors on the cover of The Rules Do Not Apply. Check out the striking coral skirt and dress that match the cover perfectly!
For A Story Of Self-Examination & Opportunities Lost
The Kite Runneris a beautifully written story of friendship, betrayal, guilt, and redemption through sacrifice. This unforgettable story transports readers to Afghanistan during a tense moment of history. The narrator, Amir, is not a likable character and displays several less-desirable attributes of a self-conscious boy and man, but it is this self-loathing and doubt that makes the story so powerful and so relatable as readers can easily relate to this flawed character. If you’re looking for one of those summer reads that will stick with you for many months to come, this is it.
Grab your copy of The Kite Runner, and head to the park for an afternoon of reading! While you're there, keep an eye out for kites flying in the blue sky or take a small reading break to shop the blue colors to match the clear skies.
For Those Who, Like Me, Devour Period Romances
Attention all Hamilton fans! If you loved Hamilton you’re going to love Alex & Eliza. Cruz’s new release is a historical fiction romance novel based on an imagined courtship between Elizabeth Schuyler and Alexander Hamilton, centering on Elizabeth's home life and her budding romance with General Hamilton. Hamilton lover or not, if historical romances are your thing, this is just the summer read you’ve been looking for.
Our outfit picks for Alex & Eliza come straight from the blue military coats General Hamilton himself wore.
For A Look At The Sweetness In Life’s Bitter Moments
If you loved Shel Silverstein as a kid, you'll enjoy Milk and Honey as an adult. Rupi divides each chapter according to the stages of emotional development of a person in a way that anyone can relate to. If you're not one for poetry, give this book a try - it has illustrations to accompany each poem to help visually transport you into the poem. Everyone should have at least one poetry book on their summer reading list to get through the occasional summer storm.
This honey-colored skirt with white flowers is the equivalent of Milk and Honey. Maybe you'll attract some bumbling honey bees while you sit down with this read.
For A Reminder To Seize The Day
Alice is 29-years old, pregnant with her first child, and madly in love with her husband. Or at least that’s what she remembers after coming to on the floor of a gym (she hate the gym by the way). That’s when the bubble bursts - Alice is really 39 years old, has three children, and is going through a divorce. Alice must discover if forgetting the last 10 years is a blessing or a curse and whether it’s possible for her to have a do-over. You’re sure to fall in love with the rich, complex characters and this summer read will leave you a little sadder, a little wiser, and a little more appreciative of the things you have.
Match the book by donning blues and yellows! Nothing says summer like the colors you see in the sky every day.
For Those Obsessed With the Netflix Series
Thank goodness for book series! If you're sick of always looking for new books to read, you need a good series. Recently turned into a STARZ original series, The White Queen follows the story of how a commoner rose up to become the queen of England and how her sons become pawns in a famous unsolved mystery. Once you've finished this read, grab the other two books in the series and add the tv series to your binge list.
What's more appropriate than to read The White Queen in a beautiful white sundress? There's just something about wearing white in the summertime that's so refreshing!
For The Thriller On Your Summer Reading List
What is a summer reading list without a novel full of suspense, mystery, and family tension? If you have the bandwidth to follow two tales at the same time, you'll love the story told in Come Sundown -we promise, the author does a really good job of telling both stories without confusing you! This book has everything from kidnapping to escapes and will make you want to finish the book in one sitting.
Set on a ranch/resort in Montana, what more fitting outfit pairing than a denim dress or a stylish suede tank top to match the feel.
For A Vicarious Europe Trip
You know it's a good book when Amazon has a 4.9/5 star rating! This coming of age novel is the perfect read if you don't have any plans to travel this summer. Follow 17-year old Artist Nora on her all-expenses-paid summer trip to Europe. While her mother doesn't approve at first, after saying goodbye at the airport Nora hears a voice call out, "Wait! Stop! I'm coming with you!" and the two are off!
We've pulled together the perfect wardrobe for a European trip that allows you to express yourself while avoiding looking like a tourist. Even if you can't travel to Europe, you can still dress like you are.
For A Thought-Provoking Dystopian Society
If you watched the Hulu series but haven't read the book yet, now is a perfect time - season two is out now! Piece together the story of Offred and how she came to be a handmaid in a new republic that was once America. The whole story is centered around procreation - why you ask? Because of the serious decline in birth rates. Offred frequently slips into flashbacks of what appears to be present day with her husband and daughter, which only makes the story more real.
Handmaids are required to wear red robes in the novel so we thought it only appropriate to pair this nook with red tees, red earrings, and pretty much anything red.
For The Power Of One Person's Voice To Inspire Change
If you keep up with world happenings then you've probably heard of Malala, the girl who was shot in the head at the age of 15 - and survived - for speaking up and fighting for her right to an education. I Am Malala is the remarkable story of a family uprooted by global terrorism and the fight for girl’s education in a society that prizes sons and suppresses daughters. If you’re looking for a life-changing summer read, this is it.
The beautiful rich colors of Malala's headscarf made us immediately think of this striking magenta dress.
For A Light Summer Read
Among The Lemon Trees is a simple, easy to read book that makes for the perfect summer read by the pool, on the beach, or out in the backyard. There’s a touch of romance, but it mostly focuses on the story of unleashed family secrets that have been kept hidden for sixty years starting in Greece in the 1900’s and ending in Naples at the end of WWII. Don't worry though, this book is set in the present day!
There's no better way to read Among The Lemon Trees than while wearing lemons! Bonus points if you actually find a lemon tree to pop up a chair under to read this novel.
For Getting Over Your Ex
The only thing worse than having to go to your ex’s wedding is having to go to your ex’s wedding alone. Luckily for Drew, a power outage strands him in an elevator with the perfect candidate for a fake girlfriend - Alexa. Agreeing to go to a wedding with a guy she doesn’t know isn’t normally something she would do, but Drew is hard to resist. This easy summer read follows the chemistry of these two high-powered professionals as they part ways and attempt to return to normal. You can try your hardest, but you’re sure to fall for one of the amazing, role-model like characters in this book. All in all, two attractive, likable, accomplished people meet, fall for each other, and that’s The Wedding Date.
We thought the only appropriate outfit to match this book is what you would wear to a wedding! We all know the rules; don't wear white and don't outshine the bride. Don't worry - these cute dresses follow both rules.
For The Perfect Close
The best part of Matchmaking For Beginners is that you get the complete story. This isn’t a book series and there’s no cliffhanger ending - that’s hard to come by these days. Marnie is about to marry the man of her dreams and start her perfect life. Then Marnie meets her fiance’s dying match-making aunt Blix and everything changes - just like Blix said it would. Marnie’s marriage ends after two short weeks, but she’s even more surprised that she’s inherited Blix’s Brooklyn brownstone and her unfinished projects - people who need matches. Marnie doesn’t think she’s anything special, but Blix knows she is the perfect person to take over the matchmaking.
Instead of matching an outfit from the book or the cover, we decided to dig a little deeper for this one. Match Blix’s Brooklyn brownstone with a perfectly paired brown suede tank! It’s just the thing to get you in the mood for reading Matchmaking For Beginners.
Sierra is Bella Ella Boutique’s fashion and lifestyle blogger. Along with fashion, she has a love for succulents, graphic design, and fitness. On the weekends, you can find Sierra playing with dogs, hiking in the mountains or trying a new place to eat.
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