The best YA novels to read this summer
Six youth-oriented tales to add to your TBR list.
This summer's literary lineup is full of exciting debuts, must-read essay collections and nonfiction reported works, and of course, plenty of delightfully frothy beach reads. But the season is also serving up some incredibly important novels in the YA space. Here, EW hand-picks some of our favorites, with stories full of wit, insight, and (this is YA, after all!) love triangles.
We Are Inevitable, by Gayle Forman
The author’s track record of producing beloved (and best-selling) novels continues with her latest release: Protagonist Aaron Stein works in his family’s used bookstore in a small mountain town. He’s lost his brother and mom, leaving him alone to persuade his father to sell the shop. A charming cast of characters — like local lumberjacks — surfaces to talk Adam into keeping the store, and help him cope with loss. —Seija Rankin
Misfit in Love, by S.K. Ali
A story to cure your leftover quarantine woes — or, at least, the woes that have to do with completely missing 2020's wedding season and the potential threats to wedding season 2021. Misfit in Love, which comes after S.K. Ali's critically acclaimed 2017 debut, Saints and Misfits, follows Janna Yusuf, a Muslim American teen on summer break who is tasked with helping with her brother's ill-fated nuptials. —S.R.
Instructions for Dancing, by Nicola Yoon
The best-selling young-adult author once again delivers a charming, wholehearted love story that's sure to make readers swoon. Nicola Yoon's third book follows Evie, a teenager coping with her parents' divorce when she discovers a new ability. Evie can visualize the entirety of people’s relationships: She sees how they meet, their major relationship milestones, and, perhaps most important, how things end. Her new ability then leaves her to wonder if love is worth the risk. —Samantha Highfill
Tokyo Ever After, by Emiko Jean
If The Princess Diaries met Crazy Rich Asians, you would get close to the wonderfully chaotic splendor of Tokyo Ever After. Izumi Tanaka is struggling to fit in in her Northern California town when she discovers that her estranged father is actually the crown prince of Japan — so she travels to meet him and get to know the country, where she encounters sinister family members, a nosy press corps, and potential love. —S.R.
They'll Never Catch Us, by Jessica Goodman
Between the commercial success of her 2020 debut novel, They Wish They Were Us, and its Halsey-starring HBO Max adaptation in the works, Jessica Goodman was already having a very good year. Now the EW alum releases her sophomore work, a fast-paced thriller that centers on two sisters competing for a spot on their high school cross-country team when the top runner disappears during a training run. —S.R.
Hurricane Summer, by Asha Bromfield
The actress (you can catch her on The CW's Riverdale and Netflix's Locke and Key) releases her debut novel, a coming-of-age tale that tackles colorism, classicism, and more. Narrator Tilla is beginning a summer in Jamaica visiting her semi-estranged father when she uncovers powerful family secrets that affect her own life — all while a hurricane threatens to bear down on the island. —S.R.