11 hot YA novels for your summer reading list

11 hot YA novels for your summer reading list

Every year I try to put a YA category in the summer reading guide, and every year I give up at the last minute. It’s so hard to find 5 titles I can recommend without hesitation. (Although this year I came darn close.)

While I don’t read piles of YA, I do enjoy a good YA novel, and summer is a great time to enjoy this genre. With that in mind, here are 11 of the season’s best YA novels. Some I loved, some were okay (but you might love them), some I have high hopes for but haven’t read yet. (Don’t worry, I tell you which is which.)

I know we have a lot of YA fans here: I’d love to hear what YA novels—new and old—are on your summer reading list. Please tell us in comments!

Series: Your YA summer reading list
Every Exquisite Thing

Every Exquisite Thing

Author:
This brand new release from the author of The Silver Linings Playbook is on my summer reading list. In this coming-of-age story, good girl Nanette is drifting through her quiet suburban life—until her teacher gives her a copy of the cult classic The Bubblegum Reaper . She obsesses over the book, and is challenged to confront the conformist way she's been living. But when she chooses a different path, she realizes every choice has a cost. Critics are praising this for its strong female lead and numerous Catcher in the Rye references. Published May 31, 2016. More info →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
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Finding Audrey

Finding Audrey

Author:
This is Sophie Kinsella's 24th novel but her very first for teens. (Would you believe it's the ONLY Kinsella novel I've read so far?) After a bullying incident at school that's never fully described, 14-year-old Audrey is practically crippled with anxiety. She's been making steady progress, but when her older brother brings home his friend Linus, she's pushed way out of her comfort zone. But maybe that's just what she needs. This engaging novel weaves together family, friendship, mental illness, and video games. Published June 9, 2015. More info →
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Shuffle, Repeat

Shuffle, Repeat

Author:
Think When Harry Met Sally for the YA crowd. I read this in a day. Two teens who seem like total opposites are thrown together, not exactly happily, and each discover there's more to the other than meets the eye. The book unfolds in a series of rides to school, and comes complete with playlist. Perfect for Morgan Matson fans. Published May 3, 2016. More info →
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Suffer Love

Suffer Love

Author:
I enjoyed this, especially the literary references woven into the story. Sam and Hadley meet at high school and fall in love, but Sam soon discovers an unfortunate (think: Romeo and Juliet) connection between their parents. He can't bear to tell Hadley, which simplifies—and complicates—their relationship. This is a smart, well-executed teen romance that also does a good job of exploring the joy and pain of love, and the devastating ripple effect of a single decision. Published May 3, 2016. More info →
Buy from Amazon
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Passenger

Passenger

Part historical romance, part time-travel adventure. 17-year-old Etta is a talented violinist about to make her debut in New York City. But her future changes in a moment when her mentor is killed and she suddenly finds herself aboard a sailing ship ... in 1776. She's soon indoctrinated into a whole new dimension, and a world family secrets. The book ends on a major cliffhanger: there's clearly more to come. (I'll be reading book 2.) Reminiscent of Outlander and Sara Zarr's The Lucy Variations. Published January 5, 2016. More info →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Amazon
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The Last Boy and Girl in the World

The Last Boy and Girl in the World

Author:
I'm looking forward to this new release from the author of the critically acclaimed The List. Keeley's small working class town is literally sliding underwater, and it finally gets so bad that government officials order everyone to pack up and leave. Keeley and her friends decide to go out with a bang: to make the most of the time they have left, before they're all forced to scatter. And for Keeley, that means taking a shot at the boy she's always loved. Published April 26, 2016. More info →
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The First Time She Drowned

The First Time She Drowned

Author:
I read this in the spring. When she was 16, Cassie was wrongly admitted to a psychiatric hospital—by her mother. Now, at age 18, she struggles to find her true self and her independence at college, but her tormented relationship with her mother threatens to pull her under. For fans of R. J. Anderson's Ultraviolet. Published March 15, 2016. More info →
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With Malice

With Malice

Author:
The publisher says this is perfect for fans of We Were Liars and The Girl on the Train, and after reading it myself I can't argue with that. Yale-bound student Jill wakes up in a hospital bed with no memory of the last six weeks, only to discover that her best friend was killed on their Italian Adventures Abroad trip, and Jill is accused of her murder. There are definite echoes of Amanda Knox here. The real interest in this cinematic novel isn't the characters (a little thin) but the twisty plotting and Jill's frustrated attempts to unravel what happened, what people think happened, and what she remembers happening. Publication date June 7, 2016. More info →
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Bellweather Rhapsody

Bellweather Rhapsody

Author:
While not technically a YA book, it sure reads like one. (No wonder it won the Alex Award, which goes to adult books teens will love.) In a remote tumbledown hotel packed with hormone-fueled high school students gathered for a statewide music festival is the backdrop for this whodunit. Fifteen years after a wedding night murder-suicide, a teen prodigy disappears from the same hotel room. Strongly reminiscent of Greenglass House and Clue: The Movie. Essential reading for Rainbow Rowell fans. More info →
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The Unexpected Everything

The Unexpected Everything

Author:
Fans of Morgan Matson books (raises hand) don't want to miss her latest. Andie is a politician's daughter who has her life, and her summer, all planned out: she can't wait to flee town (and the ever-watchful eyes of her father's staff) for her perfect summer internship that's going to help her land her spot at the perfect college. But that was before the scandal. Now her summer plans are off ... and a girl who never does anything unexpected faces a whole summer full of just that. This isn't great literature or anything but Matson does what she does really well. Perfect for fans of Jennifer Smith or Jenny Han. Without giving too much away, I'll just say you writerly types have an extra reason to love this one. Published May 3, 2016. More info →
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Tell Me Three Things

Tell Me Three Things

Author:
I feel like I've been holding out on you on this one because I read and loved this book months ago. (I DID recommend it on this episode of What Should I Read Next with Leigh Kramer.) A girl-next-door type suddenly finds herself in an elite California prep school, and has to figure out how to navigate this new privileged world while still grieving her mother's death. When she gets an email from an unidentified boy who calls himself "Somebody Nobody" offering to be her spirit guide to her new school, she doesn't want to say yes—but she really needs his help. A sweet and fun teen romance, but also a pitch-perfect portrayal of the grieving process. I couldn't stop myself from cheering for Jessie as she put her life together again. Published April 5 2016. More info →
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What’s on YOUR YA summer reading list?

Your YA summer reading list

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60 comments

  1. Kaitlyn says:

    Just finished Passenger. Stumbled upon it in one of those “blind date with a book” things and fell in love. Like it’s probably one of my new favourite books. Sequel out Jan. 3. 🙂

  2. Mary Carver says:

    I just read Shuffle, Repeat and had to come see if you were the one who’d recommended it. Now I realize I’m slacking in my YA summer reading, since I’ve only read three of these. (Tell Me Three Things and The Unexpected Everything are the other two.) Good news, though! All three were fantastic – and summer’s not quite over yet. 😉

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