Summer vacation doesn’t last forever, and most of us try to fit in as many adventures as we can in the short time we have. Thankfully, there are some amazing books coming out this season that can help take us to places we never dreamed of. Attend a terrifying underground rave with Survive the Night, infiltrate a closed-society in Devoted, and explore the artistic side of Caribbean magic with Shadowshaper. Or perhaps you’d rather revisit old friends like Rhiannon in David Levithan’s companion novel to Every Day or see Cinderella get a steampunk makeover. So what are you waiting for? Summer isn’t going to last forever. Pick up these twelve amazing titles as soon as you can. And if you still want more, check out our Beachy Fiction list for six other young adult summer titles we love.
Past the point of no return
Some secrets are meant to stay hidden; some secrets are too dangerous once uncovered. Claire’s dad died of a heart attack when she was six, at least that’s what her mother told her. But then Claire finds a letter in her stepfather’s desk that reveals more: He was a member of the yakuza, the Japanese mafia. In search of answers, Claire and her best friend Forrest continue to snoop, but they’re beginning to attract the attention of someone who wants these secrets to stay buried, and will do anything to keep them so.
On shelves: June 1
Too many kids and counting
Are you familiar with the Quiverfull movement? Think TLC’s Duggars and you’ve got the general idea: conservative, Christian families who don’t believe in birth control and see each new child as a gift from God. Inspired by the stories of real women who have left such families, Jennifer Mathieu’s captivating new book tells the story of Rachel, a girl who finds her restrictive environment to be too controlling. After discovering the blog of a former church member named Lauren, she begins to think about leaving the only world she’s ever known. At a time when more and more families such as these are popping up in mainstream media, it’s a fascinating and respectful look at this complex culture.
On shelves: June 2
Finding dignity in death
Japanese teenager Sora becomes aware of his own mortality when he is diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS). It’s something he sees all around him: in the changing leaves, in the stars, but mostly in the steady deterioration of his own body. He’s also conscious of the burden his condition puts on his mom. Looking to the future can seem bleak, but Mai and Kaito help. After meeting in an online chatroom, Sora invites them to his home for dinner. Initially awkward, the three soon become thick as thieves. Few can understand Sora’s journey, though he appreciates their support and finds his own peace through the wisdom of samurai poetry. He doesn’t have much time left, but Sora’s determined to make it his own.
On shelves: June 2
Meet me in Montauk
There are a lot of things Aaron Soto wishes he could forget: growing up in poverty, the death of his friends, his father’s suicide. But then there’s Thomas. In Thomas, Aaron finally finds a friend he can open up to about his love of comic books and fantasy, and about his past. Their relationship is free of judgement, until Aaron reveals to Thomas that he thinks he’s gay. When Thomas doesn’t return his feelings, Aaron begins considering a new medical procedure that promises to erase his painful memories. Perfect for fans of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, this title has been praised by Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, and just about every reader under the sun. Don’t miss it.
On shelves: June 2
Coming out of her shell
Shopaholic’s Sophie Kinsella is back with a new tale that mixes humor with heart. School bullies and their ruthless brand of verbal abuse have left 14-year-old Audrey with an anxiety disorder. With the help of Dr. Sarah, Audrey slowly begins to make videos of her ever-dramatic family as a way of stepping out of her comfort zone and back into the world. Progress is slow, but steady, before she meets her brother’s friend Linus. Suddenly, Audrey has found someone with whom she feels she can honestly connect. Maintaining eye contact, leaving her home, and other anxieties start to lessen the closer she gets to Linus. Both funny and sensitive, Audrey’s story of finding her own brand of bravery is sure to inspire readers.
On shelves: June 9
A picture’s worth
Sierra Santiago’s summer is off to a promising start. The season kicks off with a killer party, but an undead and unwanted guest crashes the celebration and throws Sierra into a supernatural world of Caribbean magic. Sierra learns that she comes from a long line of Shadowshapers, artists who connect with spirits through their art. Suddenly her plans of spending her summer painting a mural on an abandoned building take on new meaning. Sierra must uncover secrets from her family’s history to help protect her world from a dangerous new force out to rid the world of Shadowshapers.
On shelves: June 30
Make it out alive
Aside from having one of my favorite covers of the season, Danielle Vega’s latest also has one of the most thrilling plots. After getting out of rehab, Casey sees no better way to celebrate than to attend an all-night rave in New York City with her friend Shana. But Shana is the one who led Casey to a pain medicine addiction in the first place and is far from supportive. She slips Casey a drug that turns the tunnels of the subway into a terrifying maze. But it isn’t just the drugs. After stumbling across the body of a friend, Casey realizes that there’s someone or something else down in the tunnels and it’s hunting them.
On shelves: July 7
Never have I ever…
High school is filled with clichés and best friends Dave and Julia refuse to buy into them. Instead they created a Never List filled with things like never hosting a party when parents are out of town or dyeing their hair unnatural colors to prevent either of them from becoming stereotypical high schoolers. But with mere months left before graduation, Julia suggests that, to celebrate, they complete as many items as they can. Dave, who has been secretly in love with Julia for years (but didn’t admit it lest he break rule number 10: Never date your best friend), quickly agrees. Turns out, being a cliché may not be that bad, in fact, it can often be the most fun there is.
On shelves: August 4
Sticks and stones
Every October, Cara’s mother hides all of the knives in their home. It’s a season her entire family dreads, when they all become extremely accident prone. Sometimes it’s simple bumps and bruises, sometimes it’s worse—like the October Cara’s father died. Those few unexplained dangerous weeks are baffling to Cara, but this year is different and she refuses to continue to be October’s victim. Haunting and magical, this Irish import is perfect reading for those summer nights when it feels like anything could happen.
On shelves: August 18
When you play the game of Fives, you win or you die
Born of a Commoner mother and a father of the elite Patron class, Jessamy’s life revolves around a careful balance. Her desire for freedom must constantly be repressed in favor of falling in line with social expectations. A girl of both mixed race and Commoner background, she has to try harder than anyone to fit in. The only time she feels that she can be herself is when training and competing in the Fives, a challenging game popular with all of the social classes. Through the Fives she meets Kalliarkos, a Patron boy who manages to see her true self. But their budding friendship is frowned upon and when her mother and sisters are taken, can she truly rely on him to help her save them?
On shelves: August 18
A dream is a wish your heart makes
Winter is coming… eventually, but this steampunk retelling of Cinderella is sure to appeal to fans of Marissa Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles. Her passion for inventing is all Nicolette has left of her late mother, and when she discovers a hidden workshop on her 16th birthday, she begins to spend every spare moment practicing her engineering. All the while there is a ball on the horizon, true to the fairy tale form, yet Nicolette couldn’t care less. Instead she’s looking forward to the king’s Cultural Exposition Gala, a chance for her to make a name for herself as an inventor. With a strong focus on making your dreams happen no matter what, this feminist fairy tale breathes new life into an old favorite.
On shelves: August 25
One day more
A companion novel to David Levithan’s captivating Every Day, this book follows Rhiannon, a girl who wakes up knowing each day will be the same as the last. She walks on eggshells around her boyfriend Justin, careful never to upset him and never to expect too much from him in return. As readers of Every Day know, there was one magical day that was different because Justin wasn’t himself. Instead Justin’s body was inhabited by A, a genderless being who travels between different bodies, only staying for a single day. Another Day captures Rhiannon’s struggle to find A again and again, all while the two fall deeper in love.
On shelves: August 25