Summer time: longer days, warmer temperatures, and (hopefully) more time. For me, more time means more reading. Even though I’m in my (gulp) late 30s, I love YA. The genre has come a long way from the paltry offerings of my adolescence, and I’m loving the diversity that it has begun to embrace. In many ways, it feels like YA is ahead of the game in this respect. Here are some of my summer YA picks that are perfect for lounging outside, cooling off in the house, or taking on vacay.
I’ve been reading Sarah Dessen for years now, and her books are the quintessential summer reads for me. They manage to be about love, but not cloyingly so, and Dessen’s attention to detail with setting is excellent. She often includes cameos of characters from past books, and this one is no different. Louna works at her mom’s wedding planning business over the summer, even though she doesn’t believe in love… not after what happened. When her mom hires Ambrose, a cocky womanizer, all bets are off. Dessen is a master at summer reads, and she’s only gotten better over time.
I tend not to pick romance novels or meet-cute kinds of books, but it seemed like almost everyone I knew was talking about this one, so I decided to give it a try. OMG, it’s adorable. When two Indian-American teens whose parents are arranging their marriage go to the same summer program, geekery, humor, and cuteness abound in the best possible ways.
I read this book in a single sitting. Eliza is the creator of an insanely popular webcomic called Monstrous Sea – but no one in her “real life” knows she’s the creator. At school, she’s an outcast – shy, a loner. When a new boy moves to town, she finds out he’s a huge fan of her comic. When her identity is leaked, her life splinters apart, and she’s left to piece it back together. This book will break your heart and glue it back together again.
Matt’s sister was bullied out of school, and Matt is determined to find out how Tariq and his friends did it. Somewhere along the way, Matt stopped eating, and realized how hunger made him feel…and what it allowed him to do. What he wasn’t expecting, on top of all of this, was to actually like Tariq – especially like this. I loved that this was a YA book dealing with themes of self-discovery, love, and family – with a male-identifying narrator.
Billie, the town preacher’s daughter, has never really fit into the expected mold. When her best friend tells her she has a crush on the boy Billie likes, she realizes that she might also like her best friend. More than just a coming of age story, this is a refreshing book about gender roles and expectations, friendship, and what love is and who gets to define that for us. A perfect late summer read that will carry you into fall.