Summer's End is a New Beginning
It's a back-to-school post! Instead of mourning the end of the summer, this year let's enjoy the fresh beginning of back-to-school season with some good reads.
"Summer’s almost over and I’m crying but I don’t know why, sentimental old fool, weeping from the blue, blue sky…” ~Cheryl Wheeler
I have a sad song playlist for August. As much as I love the cool mornings and evenings of the fall, the brightly colored leaves, the golden light—I hate to see summer go. Already the days feel like they are shrinking too fast, just as my calendar is filling up again with all the obligations that resume with the academic year.
I’ve been a teacher for my entire career, so my whole life has followed the cycle of school year and summer vacation, the long nine months of classes and three too-short months of leisure. Honestly, I don’t know how regular professionals manage to work all year round. As much as I enjoy teaching, I need the time to pause and recharge. It’s a perk of my profession that my mental health and creativity depend on.
That said, by late August, I am usually ready to return to the structured routines of school. As sad as I am to say goodbye to long mornings in my PJs with my coffee, there is something magical about back to school, too. Being a teacher means I get two new years every year! And who doesn’t love a fresh start?
My friends who are parents tell me that back to school can feel like a new year for them, too. As their children embark on new challenges at school, the parents’ routines also must change to accommodate their kids’ schedules, and this is a chance for new goals and resolutions for the whole family.
“I have a dream it blows the autumn through my head. It felt like the first day of school but I was going to the moon instead…” ~Dar Williams
I suppose it all comes down to that old chestnut, “Every ending is a new beginning.” I can simultaneously be sad about summer giving way to fall and excited for the possibilities of the blank slate of the school year before me.
And I can be nostalgic, too. This morning in my Facebook feed an ad popped up for dorm room essentials, and I was immediately transported back to the summer before my first year of college, shopping for a new comforter for my room, emailing my roommate to coordinate. Email was new and exciting back then!
Even though I went to Catholic school from first through twelfth grade, I still managed to feel excited about my first day of school “outfits,” with new shoes, knee socks (yep, knee socks), and hair accessories. The joy of brand-new, unspoiled notebooks! It’s enough to make me swoon.
“Summer days are gone too soon. You shoot the moon and miss completely…” ~Norah Jones
So this August, I’m savoring that nostalgia for the back-to-school days of my youth and feeling the excitement of a fresh start instead of throwing a pity party. I’ll still be listening to my playlist, though. I’m one of those weirdos who think sad songs can make you happy.
If you’re looking for an end-of-summer read full of back-to-school hope and nostalgia, allow me to make some recommendations! These are a list I consider oldies but goodies. If you somehow missed these when they were new, now’s a great time to check them out, and if you did read them in the way back, they might be your next great re-reads.
When this book came out (way too many years ago now), I couldn’t put it down. I read it straight through in two days. I didn’t go to boarding school, but I still related to the narrator and her high school drama.
So much college nostalgia. Four college friends reunite for a wedding and their history unfolds through flashbacks as their adult loves move forward.
I do not read a lot of YA. It’s all a little too YA for me, if you know what I mean. But every now and then a book crosses over into mainstream fiction, and for me, this is one of them. All the angst of high school, but with the additional challenges of racism and poverty on an Indian reservation.
I believe this is the most recent title in my list, another YA novel. A Black Canadian teenager and his mother relocate to Texas. What could possibly go wrong?
I can’t leave our Adele authors off the school nostalgia list! Let Steph’s second novel take you back to first loves and high school heartache. If you were ever in love with the hot guy with the guitar, this one is for you.
Diane’s first novel asks what it would be like to have to start over at a new high school for senior year. This one is for all the outsiders who actually did their summer reading while other kids were at keg parties. You know who you are.
What are your favorite back-to-school stories? Share in the comments!
Spreading a little joy is part of Adele’s mission. So if you’re like us—afraid to read the news to see what fresh hell the day has brought—we invite you to skip the doom scrolling and settle in with one of our stories. Because you know there’s gonna be a happy ending. And if you enjoy our books, please take a moment to leave a rating or review on Amazon. It really helps us out!