What have you been reading lately? I’ve been stuck in a rut of Regency romance novels. Which is FINE. Whatever you’re reading is fine! It’s always just fine to read whatever you enjoy or whatever you need, but especially so when the world–your world–is so challenging. Some readers lean into their hard situations with dramatic books–scary situations, dysfunctional families, etc. Others look for something dramatically different from their realities–fantasy, science fiction, or even love stories of London peers in the 1800s. Whatever your preference, it’s okay.

Personally, I’m finally feeling ready for something SLIGHTLY more realistic–but still not ready for anything heavy. Which, if I’m honest (and, if you know me, you’re already aware), is where I land most the time. But particularly right now–when we’re months into this pandemic and unsure of what the future will bring, when I’m diving into the many issues surrounding race in our country even to the point of reading non-fiction books about race and racism (and you know my non-fiction intentions normally outpace my actual reading by miles, but this time I’m really doing it because it’s that important), when I’m faced with daily decisions that are frequently, actually life and death–light with some substance feels vital.

Enter this summer’s newest YA (young adult) novels. I’ve added several to my to-read list and am starting to bring them home to my actual to-read pile, and I’m getting so excited about these books! So I thought I’d share my list with you, in case you’re finding yourself in the same reading space (for the same reasons I have or your own).

Some of these books are already out; some will be released a little bit later this summer (and into September). All of them look good enough to be on my “read sooner rather than later” list. (And, yes, all of them are linked with affiliate links. So if you click and buy, I might earn a small commission–always at no extra cost to you.) Here are the YA books you’ll want to read this summer!

10 Things I Hate About Pinky by Sandhya Menon: Two Indian-American teens pretend to date for the summer. (July 21)

By the Book by Amanda Sellet: Book nerd gives literature-based advice about avoiding bad boys to classmates, but then falls for a bad boy.

Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo: Teens from separate families find out they had the same dad when he dies in a plane crash. Written in verse.

The Con Code by Shana Silver: Teen thief forms a crew of her high school friends to perform heists and look for her missing mother. (August 25)

Don’t Ask Me Where I’m From by Jennifer De Leon: Liliana Cruz tries to fit in at her almost all-white school and also deals with family secrets. (August 18)

Girl from Nowhere by Tiffany Rosenhan: International teen spy tries to live “normal” life in Montana. (July 21)

The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes: A billionaire dies and leaves his fortune to a teen girl who’s never heard of him. Mysterious hijinks ensue… (September 1)

I’ll Be the One by Lyla Lee: A plus-sized teen enters TV competition to become a K-Pop star.

Keep My Heart in San Francisco by Amelia Diane Coombs: Two ex-best friends are forced to work together to save a family business.

The Life and (Medieval) Times of Kit Sweetly by Jamie Pacton: Teen girl fights sexism to become a knight at the medieval-themed restaurant where she works.

Love, Jacaranda by Alex Flinn: Talented foster child gets chance to study at prestigious boarding school. Epistolary novel.

Meet Me at Midnight by Jessica Pennington: Two frenemies join forces to prank their neighbor at the lake.

More Than Just a Pretty Face by Syed M. Masood: Pretty boy and aspiring chef tries to impress his crush’s family by participating in an academic contest with another girl. (August 4)

The Princess Will Save You by Sarah Henning: A princess must rescue her true love, a stable boy, in this Princess Bride-inspired fantasy adventure.

You Say it First by Katie Cotugno: A voter registration call turns into a long-distance relationship for two very different teens.

What books are you looking forward to reading this summer?

What should you watch next?


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