Summer reading is the best time for some people to catch up on popular titles. They peruse book stores and libraries to pick up those books that they’ve been meaning to read, like Divergent, Unbroken, The Hunger Games and other current bestsellers. But the hidden gems and older works sometimes get left out of the book clubs or the list of the average reader.

Here are five novels that have had great critical success, loyal followings or have won prestigious awards. Regardless of when they were published, these great pieces of literature have left their readers spellbound. Whether you’ve been trying to find a new book to read or you’re not sure what to read next, here’s some great suggestions to spruce up your summer reading.

1) The Writing Class by Jincy Willett:

Amy Gallup has had writers block for years. So instead, she teaches an evening writing class at a university extension. But then, someone in the class is murdered. By investigating the student’s writing, Amy tries to identify the killer. With sharp humor, rich characters and a relatable protagonist, this book will open your eyes to a great layered story.

(Richard Campos/ The Signpost)
The Writing Class by Jincy Willett (Photo illustration by Richard Campos/ The Signpost)

2) The Alchemist by Paul Coelho:

Nearly everyone has heard about the Philosopher’s Stone or the craft of alchemy. The roots of those ideas are perfectly captured in this powerful, allegorical novel. First published in Portuguese in 1988, it has gone on to be published in more than 50 languages. The book tells of a young shepherd named Santiago, who has a recurring dream about finding treasure in Egypt. It’s one beautiful ride to enrich your summer reading. As the book famously states, “To realize one’s destiny is a person’s only obligation.”

(Richard Campos/ The Signpost)
The Alchemist by Paul Coelho (Photo illustration by Richard Campos/ The Signpost)

3) The Way of Kings (Stormlight Archive #1) by Brandon Sanderson:

In 2010, Utah author Brandon Sanderson introduced audiences to a sweeping epic fantasy story that’s been more than a decade in the making. Kaladin is a soldier who’s about to give up on life. Kingdoms are fighting for dominance and have forgotten why they fight. A young girl named Shallan sets out to steal a precious object to secure her family’s safety. But none of these characters know how much they will affect one another. With two books currently published, Sanderson weaves an intricate and unforgettable fantasy tale. If you’re ready for a grand adventure, look no further than this large novel.

(Richard Campos/ The Signpost)
The Way of Kings (Stormlight Archive #1) by Brandon Sanderson (Photo illustration by Richard Campos/ The Signpost)

4) The Merchant of Death (Pendragon #1) D.J. MacHale:

Bobby Pendragon is a junior high school boy who’s popular, good at basketball and likes Courtney Chetwynde. But when his Uncle Press shows up, he’s taken through space and time to help stop a civil war on the territory of Denduron. Throughout the ten book saga, Bobby learns the meaning of sacrifice in this brilliant, coming-of-age teen series. Time travel, romance, humor and thrilling territories await; just watch out for Saint Dane.

(Richard Campos/ The Signpost)
The Merchant of Death (Pendragon #1) by D.J. MacHale (Photo illustration by Richard Campos/ The Signpost)

5) Sabriel by Garth Nix:

Australian author Garth Nix published this book in the Old Kingdom series in 1995. Winner of the Aurealis Award for Excellence in Australian Science Fiction, it has grown more popular over the years. Sabriel is a young girl living in the civilized city of Ancelstierre. But when her father, the Abhorsen, turns up missing, she must travel into the Land of the Dead to rescue him. With a unique setting and characters, this story will take any reader on a great adventure. The audio book by Tim Curry makes the story even better.

(Richard Campos/ The Signpost)
Sabriel by Garth Nix (Photo illustration by Richard Campos/ The Signpost)

Whether you want another fantasy, to try a new author or are seeking a new genre, these books are for everyone. Spruce up your summer reading, and dive into the amazing and unforgettable adventures that these literary works offer.

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