Nothing says summer like an amusement park

Looking for something great to read this summer? Although these don’t all take place this time of year, I think the setting is incredibly versatile – amusement parks can be scary, strange, or just good plain fun.

JoylandJoyland by Stephen King

Set in a small-town North Carolina amusement park in 1973, Joyland tells the story of the summer in which college student Devin Jones comes to work as a carny and confronts the legacy of a vicious murder, the fate of a dying child, and the ways both will change his life forever.

You’ll have to get on hold for this one because it’s new and popular, but it’s definitely worth the wait!

PalisadesParkPalisades Park by Alan Brennert

Sharing a family life in the 1930s near the legendary Palisades Amusement Park, a family of dreamers explores ambitions and cultural boundaries that are challenged by the realities of the Great Depression, multiple wars, and the park’s eventual closing in 1971.

This latest from the author of Moloka’i and Honolulu is sure to be just as wonderful as his previous books.

DreamlandSocialClubDreamland Social Club by Tara Altebrando

Jane has traveled the world with her father and brother, but it’s not until her fractured family-still silently suffering from the loss of Jane’s mother many years before-inherits a house and a history in Coney Island that she finally begins to find a home. With the help of a new community of friends, a mermaid’s secrets, and a tattooed love interest with traffic-stopping good looks, the once plain Jane begins to blossom and gains the courage to explore the secrets of her mother’s past.

GeekLoveGeek Love by Katherine Dunn

A carny family called the Binewskis set out–with the help of amphetamine, arsenic, and radioisotopes–to breed their own exhibit of human oddities. As they take their act across the backwaters of the U.S., inspiring fanatical devotion and murderous revulsion; as its members conduct their own Machiavellian version of sibling rivalry, Geek Love throws its sulfurous light on our notions of the freakish and the normal, the beautiful and the ugly, the holy and the obscene.

I won’t lie, this book is bizarre and dark. I loved it. It’s a carnival, not an amusement park, but it’s too good to leave off the list.

Are there other amusement park books that you love? Tell us about them in the comments!

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