by Jessica Cunsolo, Author of Best Vacation Ever
I love reading. The only thing I love more than reading, is guilt free reading, which is when I have no work piling up or no to-do list waiting to be checked off, just unlimited down time dedicated to reading because I want to read. And to me, the best guilt free reading is on vacation, sitting by a pool or beach, with a good summer book.
Good Summer Book
But what makes a good summer book? That may be different for everyone, but to me, a good summer book is one that (obviously) takes place during the summer. It also has a light, easy, fun vibe to it. This is a book that lets me unwind and switch off my brain for a bit, allowing me to be completely immersed in the lives and problems of the characters. I prefer romance, so in my summer reads, I love getting caught up in a whirlwind beachside romance with a flirty summer love where anything seems possible.
My book, Best Vacation Ever, was inspired from when I went on vacation with my friend and her brother and his friends. Nothing quite as fun and dramatic happened to me on my trip like it does in the story, but it still made me think about a story where a girl and her best friend go on a trip with a hot older brother and his friends. Setting it at an all inclusive resort in Cuba, where all these different personalities are trapped together for the week away from their regular schedules and constraints, allowed for an endless possibility for things to go wrong (or right!). It sets the scene for a light, summertime feel with beaches, pools, parties, and unlimited alcohol, but throw in secret flings, love triangles, jealousy schemes, and we’ve got a great read!
With Best Vacation Ever in particular, I ended up writing about a lot of things that actually happened to me on the trip. For example, when I went to Cuba, I got a concussion (I know, what are the odds of that happening?), but I gave one of the characters in the book a concussion in the exact same way I got it (but of course it happens at a very inconvenient and drama filled moment). I also drew upon locations and activities, like the nightclub in a cave with actual stalactites, as well as the snorkeling excursion where you feed fish bread. But since my main character, Lori, is such an awkward character, I drew upon some of my most awkward moments and wrote them into the book too – like the time a boy kind of saved my life the same way Dean, Lori’s crush, saves her in the beginning… except I was so embarrassed I never talked to him again even though we went to school together for the next 6 years.
While summer reads are usually fast paced and light hearted, they still have emotional depth, thoughtful themes, and character development. Best Vacation Ever isn’t just a fun, wild, drama and romance filled ride (though it totally is). It’s also about friendship, family, self growth, self love, and finding yourself. It’s very character driven, and Lori and Faye’s flaws and character growth are a huge driving factor for the story. Lori can’t speak up for herself, is a people pleaser, and hates disappointing people. Faye does whatever she wants, whenever she wants, and often goes after her goals without thinking about how her actions affect other people. These character flaws are challenged throughout the novel through fun parties, crazy dilemmas, and emotional turning points, and by the end, we get to see Lori and Faye each grow into better versions of themselves.
Overall, a good summer book is one that you read simply because you want to. It’s fun, it’s light-hearted, it’s engaging, and it’s an overall good time that transports you to sunny skies or tropical paradises. That’s what I wanted to achieve when I set out writing Best Vacation Ever. I wanted the perfect summer escape, where readers can forget their worries and enjoy a world of hilarious mishaps, unraveling secrets, entertaining drama, sizzling romance, and a captivating plot.
About The Author
Jessica Cunsolo’s young adult series, With Me, has amassed over 215 million reads on Wattpad since she posted her first story, She’s With Me, on the platform in 2015. The novel has since won a 2016 Watty Award for Best Teen Fiction and has been published in French, Spanish, and English. The story is also in development for TV with Sony Pictures Television. You can find her on Twitter @AvaViolet, on Instagram @jesscunsolo, or on Wattpad @AvaViolet.