Summer is the perfect time to read a book. With less pressure from work and school, it’s a great time to catch up on reading some prominent and important books you may have neglected to see during the stressful times of the year. Whether you’re relaxing by the pool, on a long plane ride or just sitting at home, a book is a great way to unwind and keep your brain refreshed this summer. Here are the top 10 books to read on your off-season: 

Call Me By Your Name by André Aciman

Call Me By Your Name is the perfect romance novel to read this summer. Set in 1980s Italy, the novel revolves around a blossoming romance between 17-year-old Elio Perlman, an intelligent American-Italian boy who is very curious, and 24-year-old Oliver, a visiting American scholar who comes to stay at Elio’s family home in Italy. Originally published in 2007, Call Me By Your Name is a sensational story about forbidden love and a true testament to the boundaries love can push. Plus, the book has a film adaptation starring Timothée Chalamet and Armie Hammer. 

Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy

Dumplin’ is an empowering, body-positivity-filled novel that will have you feeling more confident than ever. The young adult novel follows Willowdean, an overweight teenager who has always been very comfortable in her own skin, even with all of the pressure from her beauty queen mother and bullies at school. However, when Bo, a boy her age who works with her, expresses interest in dating her, she suddenly feels uncomfortable with the way she looks. In order to prove her self worth, she enters a beauty pageant. However, things get complicated when her best friend, Ellen, joins the pageant, and Willowdean is seen as an inspiration to all the girls around her who feel uncomfortable with themselves. Similar to Call Me By Your Name, the 2015 novel also has a film adaptation available to watch on Netflix. 

Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

Many people would love to be able to travel but never have the opportunity. Elizabeth Gilbert takes her readers on a journey through Italy, India and Indonesia in a memoir that chronicles her journey of discovering who she is post-divorce, and what she finds is not just an incredible spiritual journey, but it’s also a new beginning. Also having its own film featuring Julia Roberts, Eat Pray Love is a piece of self discovery and love that will take you on a journey through exciting destinations — but also a journey to finding yourself. 

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Eleanor & Park is another young adult novel, but it’s incredibly well-written and a nice story about young love and a mutual connection. The novel follows the narratives of two misfits from Nebraska. Eleanor, a 16-year-old girl with curly red hair, and Park, a 16-year-old half-Korean boy, meet on the school bus on the way to Eleanor’s first day at their high school. Throughout the novel, the two connect over comic books, mixtapes of ‘80s music and a mutual love for each other. The novel covers heavy topics like domestic abuse, bullying and body image, while also remaining a lovely story of romance. Eleanor & Park is a heavier fiction novel, but nonetheless, it will have you endlessly turning the pages.  

#Girlboss by Sophia Amoruso

Though Eat Pray Love is a great read for female and emotional empowerment, #Girlboss is a witty, thoughtful memoir and advice book that follows the story of Sophia Amoruso, a 35-year-old self-made woman who founded Nasty Gal, a women’s fashion retailer. Though Amoruso is wildly successful now, nothing about her journey was easy. #Girlboss follows Amoruso’s journey into creating who she is and her company, while also providing helpful advice to empower women to pursue what they love and to endlessly be a #Girlboss. The book will surely inspire and empower you this summer, and it is definitely one to read. 

Humans of New York: Stories by Brandon Stanton

What began as a photoblog in 2010, Humans of New York sees Brandon Stanton’s collection of street portraits and interviews with people on the streets of New York City. The blog turned into one of the largest followings through social media and gained massive readership. In 2013, Stanton released the Humans of New York: Stories novel that contains portraits and stories of people from the streets of New York City. The book and social media movement is one of the most fascinating concepts, providing a voice to many different people and creating a true work of art. 

Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography

You may know him as Doogie Howser, the youngest doctor, Barney Stinson on How I Met Your Mother or from his incredible Tony Awards opening numbers. Neil Patrick Harris has done a number of great roles and activities throughout his long career, but one of his best works is his autobiography, Choose Your Own Autobiography. The reader is encouraged to make some decisions about certain things and choose how to read the book in whatever way they want. The writing is witty and creative, to absolutely no one’s surprise, but it’s also a great way to learn more about one of television’s greatest actors and life’s greatest people. 

Room by Emma Donoghue

Taking a turn into a more serious story, Room follows the lives of a 5-year-old boy, Jack, and his mother, who are being held captive in a small room. The story is told from Jack’s perspective, as his mother does everything in her power to make his life as fulfilling as she can, all while also training him to escape. Room was also turned into a 2015 film starring Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay. The novel is extremely heart-wrenching and is a definite must-read for the summer. 

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Another book that has a more serious tone, The Hate U Give is a novel about race and gun violence and acts as a way to provide a shared experience among some people, while opening the eyes of others who may not have experienced the same things. The book is narrated by Starr, a 16-year-old African American girl from a poor neighborhood who attends a private school in a white city. Starr becomes involved in a national news story after her childhood friend, Khalil, who is also African American, is shot and unjustly killed by a police officer. After the grand jury decides not to indict the police officer for the shooting, the social tensions turn into wild riots of people demanding justice. The novel, and its 2018 film, are extremely powerful, heartbreaking and eye-opening to today’s social and political climate.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

The coming-of-age story with the most intimate writing, The Perks of Being a Wallflower is written through the perspective of Charlie, an introverted freshman in high school who is struggling to make friends after the death of his closest friend and his aunt. However, Charlie falls into a group of misfit seniors who are passionate and wild. The novel also has an adaptation starring Logan Lermon and Ezra Miller that is a modern-day cult classic. Set in early 1990s Pittsburgh, The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a nostalgic and heart-wrenching work of art that will be a quick read and a perfect one to occupy your summer free time.