Summer 2019’s Can’t-Miss Young Adult Books

Summer 2019’s Can’t-Miss Young Adult Books

must-read young adult

It’s the best time of the year, readers! The arrival of summer means it’s time to bring our favorite reads to the beach, the park, and on all of our other seasonal adventures. We’ve rounded up 10 of summer’s must-read young adult books, and you’ll want to read them all. With so many great novels hitting shelves, this summer is sure to be one for the books!

Craving some fantasy and sci-fi YA books as well? We’ve got you covered right here.

Like A Love Story by Abdi Nazemian

Abdi Nazemian’s latest transports readers to New York City during the AIDS epidemic. Reza, an Iranian teen who just moved to the Big Apple from Toronto, knows he’s attracted to other men but he’s terrified by the version of them painted in the media. He soon becomes friends with Judy, a girl who dreams of being a fashion designer, and Art, an openly gay student using his photography skills to document what’s happening in his community. Despite Reza’s growing feelings for Art, he begins to date Judy. But their friendship, and a connection with Judy’s activist uncle, help Reza learn to accept himself for who he is. Now all he has to do is come clean. This affecting novel will stay with readers long after they’ve turned the last page.

On shelves: June 4

This Time Will Be Different by Misa Sugiura

CJ Katsuyama doesn’t know if she’ll ever live up to her mom’s high expectations, especially when all she really wants to do is work with her aunt in her family’s flower shop, Heart’s Desire. But the business is struggling to stay afloat and CJ’s mom is considering selling it to McAllister Venture Capital, a company that built its fortune during WWII by taking the property of Japanese-Americans sent to internment camps. Heart’s Desire was one of the shops bought and eventually sold back to CJ’s grandfather and she’s determined to not give it up without a fight. Misa Sugiura’s sophomore novel is a captivating tale about a heroine rallying against injustice and finding her voice.

(Psst: Enter to win a copy here between now and June 19!)

On shelves: June 4

All Eyes on Us by Kit Frick

Looking for some thrills this summer? Kit Frick has you covered. Narrators Amanda Kelly and Rosalie Bell have two things in common: They’re both dating Carter Shaw and someone is stalking them. Amanda receives an anonymous text informing her of Carter’s adultery, while Rosalie receives a threatening one from a source who may or may know that she’s using Carter to hide her relationship with her girlfriend from her Christian fundamentalist parents. We won’t spoil the fun twists and turns by saying any more. Prepare to be hooked by this gripping thriller.

On shelves: June 4

The Grief Keeper by Alexandra Villasante

After her father goes missing and her brother is murdered, 17-year-old Marisol Morales flees El Salvador with her 12-year-old sister Gabi and seeks asylum in the United States. When the sisters are discovered by a U.S. government official, Marisol agrees to participate in a medical trial in exchange for asylum approval. Scientists believe they’ve found a way of transferring emotions such as grief from one person to another, and Marisol is tasked with becoming a grief keeper for participants experiencing PTSD. She’s paired with a girl named Rey who is mourning the death of her twin brother. As feelings of love start to develop between them, it forces Marisol to confront her past in El Salvador.

On shelves: June 11

Tell Me How You Really Feel by Aminah Mae Safi

Rachel Recht is a Jewish-Mexican scholarship student with dreams of becoming a movie director. Her senior project could give her the boost she needs to start making a name for herself, but she worries her shot will be blown by Sana Khan, a South Asian–Persian Muslim cheerleader Rachel’s teacher forced her to cast in the film. Sana also happens to be Rachel’s arch-nemesis. She’s hated her ever since Sana asked Rachel out as a prank freshman year. But what Rachel doesn’t know is that Sana wasn’t trying to trick her, she had a real crush on Rachel. If reading about enemies falling in love gives you heart eyes, you’ll want to bump this book up to the top of your summer TBR pile!

On shelves: June 11

Patron Saints of Nothing by Randy Ribay

There’s only one semester standing between Jay Reguero and high school graduation. He expects to spend it goofing off and playing video games, but that’s before he learns that Jun, his cousin in the Philippines, was killed. Jay’s family refuses to talk about what happened to Jun, and when Jay reads online that some think there’s something fishy about Jun’s death, he decides to leave Michigan and fly to the Philippines to investigate. Upon returning to the country he was born in, Jay finds it is nothing like he remembers. Once there he learns more about President Rodrigo Duterte’s violent war on drugs, while struggling to balance both parts of his identity when reconnecting with his family. This is a powerful novel led by a protagonist readers won’t soon forget.

On shelves: June 18

The Downstairs Girl by Stacey Lee

Historical fiction fans won’t want to miss Stacey Lee’s latest novel. Set in 1890 Atlanta, the book follows 17-year-old Jo Kuan, who works as a lady’s maid to support herself and her adoptive father Old Gin. The two secretly live in an abandoned abolitionists’ hideout beneath the offices of a local newspaper. When Jo overhears that the paper is looking for an advice columnist, she anonymously applies for the position. Soon her Miss Sweetie column becomes a sensation—known for its sharp commentary about society. But the more popular Miss Sweetie grows, the more interested people become in her true identity.

On shelves: August 13

The Revolution of Birdie Randolph by Brandy Colbert

Birdie Randolph’s parents can be strict. She knows they want the best for her, but that doesn’t mean she’s looking forward to an entire summer of following their rules—especially when it means staying away from Booker, a boy she knows her parents wouldn’t approve of. Thankfully her parents are distracted by the arrival of her aunt Carlene, who moves into their Chicago apartment. After years in and out of rehab, Carlene’s relationship with Birdie’s mom is strained, but as the summer goes on she and Birdie start to grow close. Brandy Colbert’s latest is a moving coming-of-age story—plus it features one of our favorite covers of the season.

On shelves: August 20

As Many Nows as I Can Get by Shana Youngdahl

Shana Youngdahl explores themes of love, loss, and addiction through a non-chronological first-person narrative in As Many Nows as I Can Get. The novel kicks off with college freshman Scarlett and her roommate Mina on a road trip from Maine to California. As they rack up miles, Scarlett’s narration jumps between her past and present. She slowly introduces readers to her ex David and all of the highs and lows of their brief and tumultuous relationship. Readers who love unconventional and experimental storytelling will love this tale of the connections between our past and present and how we move forward.

On shelves: August 20

Pumpkinheads by Rainbow Rowell, illustrated by Faith Erin Hicks

It may be summer, but this upcoming graphic novel from Rainbow Rowell and Faith Erin Hicks has us dreaming of crisp fall days and pumpkin spice everything. Every September 1 to October 31 for the last few years, Deja and Josiah have been work BFFs at a pumpkin patch in Omaha, Nebraska. Now that they’re seniors and preparing for the next phase in their lives, this Halloween marks their last shift together and Deja is determined to make it the best one ever. Prepare for warm and fuzzy feelings and hilarious moments captured through stunning, expressive art.

On shelves: August 27

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