Summer Reads for a Summer Staycation

Summer is here! And so is vacation for thousands of currently stressed but lucky students who will soon be done with finals and off on a 3 month vacation. Some of us, though, will be sticking it out this summer in good ol’ Eugene. Here at the Duck Store, academic vacations simply mean more time to prep for the next peak season (I see you looming around the corner there, fall term). So I, along with summer students and Duck Store employees, will be looking for imaginary vacations wherever we can. Here are some reads that will pop you right out of Eugene—and maybe even 2014—into an alternate timeline.


Split Second
By: Kasie West

The sequel to the imaginative Pivot Point picks up almost right where book 1 left off. Best friendspivot point Addie and Laila are struggling to cope with the aftermath of the timeline Addie chose in Pivot Point, wondering why on earth she would have chosen such a bad series of events. What could possibly have been worse than finding out your best friend kissed your boyfriend, your boyfriend was just using you anyway, and then almost being murdered by a psycho? (Oh, I should warn you—this blog might contain spoilers…)

Both are struggling with a whirlwind of emotions, and while I am usually reluctant to read books with alternating point of views, I’m glad this one switched between our two leading ladies. It truly would have been half a book if we were to follow only one of them on their vacations. Addie decides to take a break and visit her father while Laila spends her vacation in the Compound frantically trying to figure out a way to mend her and Addie’s relationship. That’s what I loved most about this book—yes, there was romance, but it was more about the love and friendship between two girls who are at a crossroads. Can they learn to trust each other or themselves again?

Along the way the girls also grow and stretch in their abilities and build into a pretty ferocious teamSplit Second when they put their minds to it. And as it turns out, there’s also what appears to be dystopia-like plot lines developing. What started out as a Sky High type of book with a school for super-humans is evolving into something else, something sinister, and since Kasie West has done such an amazing job making me care for her characters I can’t wait to find out what they do and where they go next!

Except…there is no next. Split Second was the end of this series—and while it was GREAT, I wish there was more! Maybe I should send our beloved author a letter that describes a timeline in which she doesn’t write another book in the series and a better one in which she does.


By: Rysa Walker

Ever had that feeling, that terrible unexplained feeling that something is wrong, or you feel you forgot to do something really important, but you can’t remember what? Chances are, your timeline has been drastically altered. The events that led you to where you are right now at this moment might never have happened. The events that led you to meet that special person and fall in love will now never happen, and because you don’t have a time key you won’t even remember any of it. You will only be left with that terrible feeling.Timebound

With her life in tatters, Kate turns to her grandmother and her time keys. As it turns out, the only reason Kate still exists is because she was wearing the medallion her grandmother gave her at the exact moment of the latest time change, which caused Kate’s parents to never even meet. The key protects the wearer from the effects of the time change leaving them and their memories intact, but if she takes it off…well, Kate just doesn’t take it off.

This slow-building but totally worth it book includes a trip to the Chicago’s World Fair and an encounter with the infamous killer H. H. Holmes, as well as a love triangle with Kate’s forgotten love who certainly hasn’t forgotten her, and her current love who, if she succeeds in her mission, will definitely forget her. Caught between the past and the present, Kate is determined to get her life back and protect her grandmother, who is the real target behind these changes, and she begins to unravel her grandmother’s time-traveling past in order to save their present.

The Diviners

By: Libba BrayThe Diviners

I wanted to give a little “blast from the past!” segment to one of my all-time favorite reads, The Diviners! If you haven’t read this 2012 publication then where on earth have you been? Instead of copying and pasting the synopsis, my synopsis goes like this: Flapper era! Psychic people! Murders! Haunted House! Good vs. Evil! Museum of Creepy Things! Spooooooky!

Did that convince you to read this yet? No? Don’t worry, this should do it: the brilliant book trailer.

Eerie, right? Good, and it finally came out in paperback, by the way! If you have read it, I’m sureLair of Dreams you know a second book by the name of The Lair of Dreams was due to come out in April 2014. Did you catch my “was” in that sentence? Yes, sadly The Lair of Dreams has been postponed until, oh god, 2015. I won’t lie to you and say I didn’t freak out a little when I learned this. I already waited so long! And now I have to wait another year? Woe is I! (which, by the way, is the grammatically correct way to say that phrase.)

So I did a little research and found the author’s website and read her beautifully written blog entry, and I finally came to terms with the fact that this is really happening—or not happening, as it may be. But I get it now, and I’ll share my train of thought for fellow broken-hearted Diviners fans:

Some of you may remember my excitement for Allegiant by Veronica Roth—I mentioned it in an earlier blog. You might have also noticed that I haven’t blogged about it since then. I admit I didn’t like it as well as others, but not for the reason you would think. I think the story-line was great; I was already so invested in the story and characters from the first two books that I wouldn’t change a thing—no, not even THAT thing. (If you haven’t read the last book, this must be rather cryptic, but anyway.) What I found to be most disappointing was how rushed it felt, and as a result, it left me feeling unfulfilled. I think Allegiant could easily have been split in two, to give us a chance to understand the new circumstances, why they were so important to Tris, and why Four was acting so not Four-ish (in my opinion). But Veronica Roth plowed right through it. She had this thought in her head, and she went for it. And some loved it and cried and ranted and raved! But when I finished, I quietly closed the book, shook my head a little, and moved on. It just wasn’t real to me; I wasn’t absorbed in the characters anymore. I think that if the book were split in two, and Veronica Roth had taken her time with us we could have been shown more of Tris’ mom’s background, more of the outside world, more of Chicago’s political uprising, just…more.

I know Veronica Roth and Libba Bray might not be encountering the same personal circumstances, but their books struck a chord with me, and I want the best for them and their literary babies. So with that in mind, Libba Bray, you keep doing your thing. Don’t rush it and don’t worry about us. Don’t let the hype sweep the floor out from under you and don’t let the world get you down. I’ll be right here, waiting patiently in good ol’ allergen-filled Eugene, Oregon. Ready when you are.