Books I want to read this summer that happen to be YA.

Books I want to read this summer that happen to be YA.

This year’s summer reading guide has 7 categories—and YA isn’t one of them. I’ve received repeated requests to share some young adult and kid lit titles for your summer reading.

Today I’m sharing a few tween and YA favorites I’ve already read and enjoyed, along with the YA books I want to read this summer.

Books I want to read that happen to be YA books

These titles are aimed at teens, not tweens. My own kids won’t be ready for these for a few more years. That’s okay: adults should be reading YA, too.

• The Sea of Tranquility, Katja Millay. I’ve heard raves about this novel, but have also been warned it’s dark, intense, and un-put-down-able.

• Rules of the Road, Joan Bauer. Sheila recommended it, and that’s good enough for me.

• Cinder, Marissa Meyer. The Lunar Chronicles series has been recommended by lots of bloggers. This is book #1, (just $2.99 for Kindle).

• We Were Liars, E. Lockhart. I’ve heard the less you know about this one before you pick it up, the better. (One word: secrets.)

• The Geography of You and Me, Jennifer E. Smith. Will surprised me by plucking this one from my library stack and reading it in a few days’ time. He says I’ll like it.

Tricking my kids into reading the good stuff

Books I want to read with my kids this summer.

We don’t homeschool year-round, but we read a ton during the summer months, and spend more time than usually talking about the books they’re reading. Jack (age 11), Sarah (age 9), and I made this list of promising (and age-appropriate) titles together.

We’ll probably each read these independently, then come together to chat about them. Except for Harry Potter—we’re listening to the audiobook together.

• A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Betty Smith. My mom has been telling me to read this for forever.

• Rules, Cynthia Lord (already read—a big hit. Jack liked it too.)  A twelve-year-old girl helps her 8-year-old brother navigate life with autism.

• Princess Academy, Shannon Hale. I keep hearing this tween/young teen novel about finding your place in the world has more depth than the title indicates. By the author of Austenland.

• Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, J. K. Rowling. My kids are finally old enough for this modern classic. Hurray!

• The One and Only Ivan, Katherine Applegate. This award-winning novel is inspired by a true story about a captive gorilla—and the power of friendship.

• In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson, Bette Bao Lord. Jack’s already read and enjoyed this historical fiction mash-up of immigrant life and American baseball.

My YA summer reading list | Modern Mrs DarcyMiddle grade and YA books I love and recommend:

• The Age of Miracles, Karen Thompson Walker. Premise: the rotation of the earth slows, wreaking havoc. A little science fiction, a little coming of age.

• When You Reach Me, Rebecca Stead. 1970s Manhattan, with Madeleine L’Engle and time travel.  (Stead’s Liar & Spy is also good and a great conversation starter)

• Wildwood, Colin Meloy. A modern-day Narnia series, set in Portland. (I want to read the rest of the series)

• The Mysterious Benedict Society, Trenton Lee Stewart. “Are you a gifted child looking for special opportunities?” Four kids are tapped to save the world after responding to this newspaper ad.

• Wonder, R. J. Palacio. A story about a ten-year-old with a severe facial deformity who goes to school for the first time, told from six different perspectives. (I just downloaded the bonus seventh: The Julian Chapter. I’ll keep you posted.)

The Age of Miracles

A giveaway

I picked up a gorgeous hardback copy of The Age of Miracles at my library book sale, and I’m giving it away to one lucky reader.

Just leave a comment to enter. (U.S. only, eighteen or older, giveaway ends Friday, June 27 at midnight NY time.)

UPDATE: The giveaway has ended and the winner has been notified.

P.S. 3 kid lit picks for your summer reading list.

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169 comments

  1. Liza Lee Grace says:

    I cannot recommend Princess Academy enough. It it one of my favorites! I love most of Shannon Hale’s books and Princess Academy is probably her best, next to The Goose Girl.

    My sister has been raving about the Cinder series. I haven’t gotten to it yet, but I plan on it! I know I’ll like it because we have very similar taste in books.

  2. Leah says:

    I LOVED The Age of Miracles, though I’m a little hesitant to label it YA. Yes, the main character is a child, but it struck me as more of an Adult novel. Either way I absolutely adored it & have been recommending it (rather forcefully…!) since it came out.

    Wonder, Wildwood, Benedict Society, Cinder…yes.

  3. Kiana says:

    Ooohh! Thanks for the great list! I stole Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater from my daughter….been curious about it for awhile and decided to finally read it! Would love to win a copy of this book!

  4. Hillary says:

    I’ve been working on my summer reading list too! This past school year was my first year of teaching and my first year of grad school. (I don’t do anything by halves, apparently.) I LOVE to read, and I’m looking forward to picking up the habit again with gusto now that summer vacation is here!

  5. Angie C says:

    I just finished Navigating Early, and really enjoyed it. Lots of depth and symbolism, but it’s also a really good, straightforward story about two young men dealing with loss and death.

  6. Amy says:

    We Were Liars is on my list for this summer, too. And I love your list for kids. Mine are a bit littler, so we’re just now jumping into the world of chapter books for the first time. We are slowly working our way through the Magic Treehouse series (I don’t really love them, but the chapters are short enough to hold my kids’ interest.) I’m hoping soon we can move to books like James and the Giant Peach and Charlotte’s Web.

  7. Claire Cecil says:

    As always, I love your recommendations.
    Have you heard of “Tales of Goldstone Wood”? It’s a series of six books (so far), very Narnia-esque, and beautifully told. I recommend them! They’re YA-ish 🙂

  8. Misty says:

    Great list here. I am probably most well read in children and YA right now because venturing out of that section of the library with my kids is still formidable. But it suits me just fine! I have to say that while I can see how “Princess Academy” wouldn’t be loved as well as some of Hale’s other books, I still think it is a great read. I also enjoyed the sequel a lot. All of her stories are easy to get lost in and portray smart, strong young women that I will be glad to let my daughter read when she is a bit older. I thought I would throw a couple of recommendations in myself as two of my favorites this year have been found a little off the beaten path at the old library. They are “Waiting for the Magic” by Patricia MacLachlan and “Protecting Marie” by Kevin Henkes. Both excellent. Love your posts! Thanks!

  9. Leigh Kramer says:

    Hope you like Cinder as much as I do! We Were Liars in sitting in my library stack at home. Hoping to start it this weekend. I really enjoy Jennifer E. Smith’s books but haven’t read her newest one yet. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn was a childhood favorite! I should reread it again soon.

  10. jillian says:

    I just found your site while browsing on Pinterest. I teach high school English, and I’m currently working on my YA summer reading list as well. I’m trying to read books from my classroom library. 🙂 I’ve seen The Age of Miracles at bookstores several times–it looks great! It’s on my to-read list. I hope you’re enjoying your summer reading as much as I am!

  11. Amanda says:

    A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is one of my all-time favorites. Just a heads-up though: there is a little bit of a sexual-abuse-like incident in it. If I recall (it’s been a while), it isn’t real graphic or anything, and it’s basically just one little scene, but it seems like I remember you saying something about stuff like that being extra stressful for you to read about. I don’t mention it to say you shouldn’t read it (it a wonderful book), just so you’re prepared in case it’s a bigger deal to you than it would be to others. And if I’m misremembering what you said about “triggers” for you, then disregard 🙂

    • Alix says:

      I was just scrolling down to comment about this! I read this book at age 10, after a selection from it was in my literature anthology, and I loved it. My parents took the book out of the library for me, and I read it. I remember being a little confused by some of those scenes, but I loved the book; it is still one of my favorites. However, my parents read it after I did, and were upset both by that scene, as well as by the later incident when the boy wants Francie to sleep with him, and her mother later says she should have. I don’t think I was harmed by reading this book at that age, but I don’t think I’d let my preteen read this one alone or too early. Its also interesting to me that you include this with YA, as I wouldn’t consider it that – but maybe that goes back to our tendency to label books about girls YA and boys growing up as regular lit. Either way, enjoy this book, it’s wonderful!

  12. Judy Morrow says:

    Wow. Reading your post, Anne, and then scrolling though all the comments has me wanting to curl up in a corner to read for a long time! A Tree Grows in Brooklyn definitely is coming off the top shelf of the tall bookcase in my living room to be devoured.
    Thank you for your terrific lists. I look at book recommendations as gifts, and you are one of the best gift-givers I know of in that category. Thanks! (And thanks for the giveaway opportunity–fun!)

  13. Judy Morrow says:

    I just have to add that a friend of mine, Jill Osborne, has written her first three books for kids, ages 8-12. It’s called the Good News Shoes series with the delightful main character, Riley Mae.
    The first two came out this spring, with the third to release in September. “Kids” of all ages are gobbling them up; they make a fun read-aloud for families. Check them out on Amazon–the reviews are great!

  14. Miranda says:

    In of my favorite YA novels from growing up was The Giver and I’m curious to see how the movie turns out this summer! Thanks for the new recommendations!

  15. Tee says:

    Your suggestions are great! I loved Wonder, and The Mysterious Benedict Society was fantastic! I’m very curious about We Were Liars and The Age of Miracles.
    My dad read to my brother and me every night while we were growing up. Tuck Everlasting, Charlotte’s Web, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and The Indian in the Cupboard were some of our favorites. 🙂 I’m hoping to do the same with my own kids someday.

  16. Michelle says:

    I agree, more adults should be willing to pick up YA titles. I teach middle school, so I have to read them, but I frequently recommend titles to family and friends because they are so good.

  17. Jo says:

    I read ‘We Were Liars’ based on this recommendation and wow…excellent book! Can’t stop thinking about it, and may have to read it again very soon. Thanks for the rec 🙂

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