The best books about lakes

1 authors have picked their favorite books about lake and why they recommend each book.

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The Poison Season

By Mara Rutherford,

Book cover of The Poison Season

The forest is hungry and the lake is thirsty and only outsiders can satiate them. Nature is its own intricate, brutal character in this artfully drawn novel about a girl who lives in an insular society protected by a seemingly vicious habitat. Outfits inspired by seasons and folklore enchant the mind’s eye, along with questions about whether the monsters in ourselves are scarier than those found in the forest deep or the lake’s depths. 

Who am I?

While supporting myself as I got my MFA, I worked as a bridal stylist at an upscale Beverly Hills wedding salon. Just like most of the main characters in these books, I was thrust into a new world that was full of couture, decadence, and wealth. It was also full of backstabbing, competition, and elitism and I endured my share of it. As a girl from a blue-collar family who grew up with no fashion sense whatsoever, it was an experience that fed my fascination with glittering societies that have dark sides and inspired my first young adult novel, A Dress for the Wicked.   

I wrote...

A Dress for the Wicked

By Autumn Krause,

Book cover of A Dress for the Wicked

What is my book about?

A Dress for the Wicked is about a fashion-obsessed Victorian society. Every few years, there is a cutthroat competition to gain entry to the prestigious Fashion House and, for the first time ever, a girl from the country, Emmy, is admitted as a contestant. Emmy thinks her dreams have come true only to realize that the Fashion House is using her as a political pawn and that sabotage is always in style. Stolen kisses, midnight galas, and backstabbing unfold, and Emmy learns that ambition has a dark side—and that she might too. 

The Last Thing You Said

By Sara Biren,

Book cover of The Last Thing You Said

The Last Thing You Said is one of those romances for which a happy ending feels utterly impossible—until its final pages. Main characters Lucy and Ben are struggling to cope with their sorrow after Trixie, Lucy’s best friend and Ben’s sister, suddenly passes. Further complicating Lucy and Ben’s grief are their romantic feelings for each other, feelings they were only just beginning to acknowledge the day Trixie died. This story is gorgeous and intense; it broke my heart a hundred times before slowly and satisfyingly piecing it back together. 

Who am I?

I’ve been reading YA since I was a young adult myself, and I’ve always favored stories with a strong romantic angle. As a kid, I loved The Baby-Sitters Club’s starry-eyed Stacey and Sweet Valley High’s boy-crazy Jessica; as an adult, I flock to the romance section of bookstores and libraries. When the urge to try my hand at writing struck, I drafted young adult romances without even considering other categories or genres. I will always choose a meet-cute, witty banter, and sizzling chemistry over fast-paced action, clever twists, and high-concepts plots. When it comes to reading and writing, I love love! 

I wrote...

Kissing Max Holden

By Katy Upperman,

Book cover of Kissing Max Holden

What is my book about?

After his father’s life-altering stroke, Max isn't himself; his long-time friend Jillian doesn’t know how to help. When Max climbs through her window one night, Jill knows she should send him away, but when he leans in for a kiss, she can’t resist. Caught in the act by her dad, Jill swears it'll never happen again. 

But with her parents fighting constantly and her dream of culinary school up in the air, Jill starts spending a lot of time with bad-boy Max. And though he has a girlfriend and her dad disapproves, not kissing Max is easier said than done. Will Jill follow her heart and let their friendship blossom into more, or will she stop kissing Max Holden once and for all?

Wonder Walkers

By Micha Archer,

Book cover of Wonder Walkers

Wonder Walkers is an inquisitive book that explores the natural world from morning to night. Two siblings walk past mountains, a lake, a grove of trees, and ask questions: “Are trees the sky’s legs?” “Are rivers the earth’s veins?” Coupled with lush collage and ink illustrations, this book explores the outdoors in a unique and playful way.

Who am I?

I love the outdoors, and there are so many benefits to playing, imagining, and being outside. I grew up on a fruit farm in Southern Ontario, so I spent much of my growing years playing outdoors and enjoying the natural world. When I became a professional educator, I read the research about the very concrete benefits being outside every day has on young learners. Bring on the recess! Books have a way of sparking action. When we read about how someone else enjoys the outdoors, it makes us want to do the same. Books are inspiring.

I wrote...

Salad Pie

By Wendy BooydeGraaff, Bryan Langdo (illustrator),

Book cover of Salad Pie

What is my book about?

Maggie is determined to make Salad Pie at the playground—alone. But then Herbert appears. He wants to play. Maggie resists. Herbert watches and waits. Maggie’s imagination flourishes with the attention. Then, Salad Pie tumbles down, Herbert saves the day, and an unexpected friendship begins.

North of Highway Eight

By Dan Woll,

Book cover of North of Highway Eight

Dan Woll is an exceptional author who writes about outdoor life in Northern Wisconsin. He’s an avid runner, cyclist, and climber. This collection features an account of the Barneveld tornado that blew through Wisconsin back in 1984. Woll’s work is filled with both humor and wisdom. This is a great book for anyone with a passion for the outdoors.

Who am I?

I’ve been working professionally as a writer for twenty-five years. I’m nothing close to a household name, but a number of my articles have gone viral throughout the years. I’ve had educators reach out to mention they’ve taught my work at both the high school and college levels. Writing is an occupation of passion, and the authors I’ve mentioned are all talented and passionate about their craft. It’s rare to find people who speak the truth anywhere in our society. These writers don’t just speak the truth, they make it sing.

I wrote...

The Reader of Acheron

By Walter Rhein,

Book cover of The Reader of Acheron

What is my book about?

The Reader of Acheron is a thoughtful dystopian/fantasy about a world where reading is prohibited. The book wrestles with the concept of willful ignorance, and the way an established power system can spread misinformation in the interest of servitude. The book has many parallels in our current political environment.

Hello from Renn Lake

By Michele Weber Hurwitz,

Book cover of Hello from Renn Lake

Aside from the fun coincidence that I share my surname with the lake in this book, I fell in love on page one because one of the narrators is actually the lake! Chapters alternate between Renn Lake and 12-year-old Annalise, whose family owns lakeside cabins. Annalise has always felt a special connection to this water. When a toxic algae bloom threatens Renn Lake, she and her friends fight to save it. I grew up on a lake in Washington State that became clogged with Eurasian Milfoil, a highly invasive plant affecting water quality, fish, and other things. Remembering what it felt like to see my local lake transform, and how powerless I felt to help it, I rooted for Annalise and her friends and felt hope for this new generation of activists.

Who am I?

I live in a town near a wildlife refuge. I frequently encounter wildlife, including turtles, in my neighborhood. Trouble at Turtle Pond was inspired by volunteer work my son and I did with a local conservation group, fostering endangered Blanding’s turtles. Although my previous books were mysteries set in other countries, I have become interested in the mysteries we can find in our own back yards and in other community spaces we share with nature. I love eco-fiction about kids who love animals, who are “nature detectives,” who have strong opinions, and who are working for the environment, recognizing that every small step makes a difference.

I wrote...

Trouble at Turtle Pond

By Diana Renn,

Book cover of Trouble at Turtle Pond

What is my book about?

Eleven-year-old Miles has moved to a neighborhood near a wildlife refuge, where nesting turtles are on the move. His neighbor, Pia, convinces him to join the Backyard Rangers, who are working to protect them. Miles and Pia discover clues to crimes against endangered Blanding’s turtles. Worse, a pair of foster turtle hatchlings in Pia’s care go missing at a town event. Suspecting poachers, the Backyard Rangers investigate suspects in town. But when Miles becomes a suspect himself, he has to convince his new friends he’s not who they think he is and stop the turtle crimes before more turtles – and people – get hurt.

Trouble at Turtle Pond is a friendship-centered eco-mystery about community science, activist kids, and the power of paying attention.

Into the Sublime

By Kate A. Boorman,

Book cover of Into the Sublime

I love books that keep me guessing and leave me unsettled about character motivation and story truth, and Into the Sublime gets the gold on all of those requirements and more! Amelie, a member of a thrill-seeking group, heads out with three other girls—H, Gia, and Devon—to find a lake called “The Sublime,” that’s said to reveal your deepest fears. Much like the underground cave system the girls find themselves in, Into the Sublime takes readers on a twisting tale full of tension and changing alliances, and an ever-tightening noose of dread and unease. What happened in those caves? Why did four girls go in but only three come out—and whose blood is Amelie covered in? This is the kind of book you stay up late to finish...then spend the next few days sleeping with the lights on. Lovers of psychological suspense and horror won't be disappointed.

Who am I?

I grew up in the 1980s when there wasn’t consideration for representation or diversity in literature or media. If I wanted to read about a Girl of Color, inevitably, she was a slave. If I wanted to watch a TV show featuring women (of any color), they were inevitably rescued in the climactic moment by a man. As such, I grew into a reader who loves kickbutt girls of all stripes. Give me a chance to cheer on a female who’s looking for her happy ending and not about to let the world dictate how she finds that happiness (and with whom), and boy, you got me!

I wrote...

The Signs and Wonders of Tuna Rashad

By Natasha Deen,

Book cover of The Signs and Wonders of Tuna Rashad

What is my book about?

No matter what her older brother, Robby, says, aspiring screenwriter Tuna Rashad is not “stupidstitious.” She is, however, cool with her Caribbean heritage, meaning she's always on the lookout for messages from loved ones who have passed on. But ever since Robby became a widower, all he does is hang out at the house, mock Tuna for following in their ancestors’ traditions, and meddle in her life.

Tuna needs to break free from her brother’s loving but over-bearing ways and get him a life (or at least, get him out of hers!). Based on the signs, her ancestors are on board. They also seem to be on board with helping Tuna win over her crush, Tristan Dangerfield. The only hiccup? She has to do it before leaving for college in the fall. 

Best Day Ever

By Kaira Rouda,

Book cover of Best Day Ever

The story of a flamingly narcissistic man plotting to betray his wife shouldn’t be funny at all, but Kaira Rouda definitely pulls it off with impressive skill and verve. Husband Paul is so insanely self-centered that I couldn’t stop laughing at the stream of inanities flying around in his egotistical brain as he drives his wife Mia to their lake house for what’s supposed to be the most memorable day of their lives. And is it ever, thanks to Mia’s moxie. You go, girl!

Who am I?

I was raised in a loving but strict Catholic family in the 1970s, when girls like me were still expected to grow up to become traditional wives and mothers, rather than go to college and pursue a career. In a Pre-Cana class intended to prepare me and my fiancé for marriage (it didn’t work so well, as evidenced by our rancorous divorce twelve years later), I learned the concept of “family of origin,” and the profound impact a person’s upbringing has on them as an adult. I became fascinated by the psychic baggage each of us carries around, and how it affects our personal relationships and life choices.

I wrote...


By Regina Buttner,

Book cover of Absolution

What is my book about?

When small-town Jeanie goes off to college, a predatory professor takes advantage of her naivete by drugging and date-raping her. Believing she was to blame for the assault, Jeanie conceals the resulting pregnancy from her old-school Catholic parents. She drops out of college, moves away, and marries the first nice guy she meets, in the desperate hope that devoting herself to marriage and motherhood will somehow absolve her from her sins.

But evidence of Jeanie’s previous pregnancy eventually surfaces, and her new husband’s pristine image of her is blown. As Greg’s shock deepens into violence and emotional abuse, Jeanie realizes she must finally confront the trauma in her past in order to save herself from a marriage that threatens to destroy her.

The July Guy

By Natasha Moore,

Book cover of The July Guy

This was the first book in Natasha’s Men of Lakeside series. Most people don’t realize that this book was one of the launch titles for an entire line of romances geared to readers who are looking for “older” characters. Personally, I loved The July Guy for the heroine. Anita is an independent, sexually-confident woman who makes no apologies for her life choices. In other words, she is like many of the women I know. And Noah is not your typical romance hero. He is a widower whose only experience had been with his wife. I love how skillfully Natasha flipped the near-virgin widow(er) trope.

Who am I?

Reading and writing romance about characters who are beyond the first blush of youth is important to me because these characters represent who I am and the people I know. We live in an unapologetically youth-centric culture. When I wrote my first book, I wrote about a 40-year-old heroine, not realizing that in traditional romance publishing, no one over 30, maybe 35, gets to fall in love. Well, I had news for them. I joined forces with some other like-minded readers and writers and we created a group on Facebook called Seasoned Romance, where we say you’re never too old to fall in love.  

I wrote...

Love Game

By Maggie Wells,

Book cover of Love Game

What is my book about?

Kate Snyder is at the top of her game. A former Wolcott University player, the WNBA star and Olympic gold medalist is now a coaching legend at the helm of the #1 college women's basketball team. But the university hires a football coach trying to escape scandal―paying him a lot more than she earns.

Danny McMillan had hoped for a smooth transition at Wolcott, but the fiery Coach Snyder made that impossible. Every time he and Kate are in a room together, snark and sparks fly. Danny gets her frustration, but her pay isn't his problem, right? When Kate and Danny finally see eye to eye, their sparks turn into something even hotter...and they need to figure out if this is more than just a game.

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