The Ultimate YA Summer Reading List

by Dena McMurdie

Summer is the perfect excuse to get comfortable with a big stack of young adult books. My teens and I love spending warm, lazy afternoons on our patio with a good book and a pitcher of cold lemonade. Whether it’s feel-good rom-coms or an exciting adventure to escape into, find the best YA books to read this summer.

  • Lying in the Deep

    by Diana Urban

    Available from:

    A jealous ex-girlfriend stalks her former best friend and boyfriend during a semester-long cruise in this spine-tingling thriller. But when her classmates start dropping dead one by one, June must find the real killer before she either takes the blame for the murders or shares the victims’ fate.

    Also available from:
  • Blood at the Root

    by LaDarrion Williams

    Available from:

    Escape into this contemporary fantasy novel filled with family secrets, mystery, and adventure set at a magical university. When he stumbles across a connection to his estranged family, Malik goes to Caiman University to search for answers. He gets pulled further into the magical world and uncovers dark secrets hidden beneath the school’s prestigious facade.

    Also available from:
  • Playing for Keeps

    by Jennifer Dugan

    Available from:

    Baseball and forbidden love — what more could you want in a YA romance novel? June is a pitcher trying to keep her injured shoulder secret, and Ivy is an umpire with professional aspirations. Dating each other is against the rules, but they can’t help their growing attraction. But as the girls grow closer, they must grapple with the reality of June’s injury and the threat of someone exposing their relationship.

    RELATED: 11 New Swoon-Worthy Teen
    Romance Books

    Also available from:
  • Beach Cute

    by Beth Reekles

    Available from:

    No YA summer reading list is complete without a Beth Reekles novel on it. From the bestselling author of The Kissing Booth series comes a charming new beach read that will have you swooning and laughing in equal measure. Three strangers meet at the same vacation resort and experience an unforgettable summer filled with romance, drama, and friendship.

    Also available from:
  • The Encanto's Daughter

    by Melissa de la Cruz

    Available from:

    In Melissa de la Cruz's captivating YA romantic fantasy, a half-encanto named MJ takes on the challenge of claiming the throne in the Filipino-inspired realm of Biringan, following her father's unexpected death. As MJ forges an unexpected alliance with the enigmatic knight Sir Lucas, she must grapple with matters of the heart and the responsibilities that come with being a queen, all while the threat of a deadly curse looms over her kingdom.

    Also available from:
  • Spin of Fate

    by A. A. Vora

    Available from:

    If you’re ready to dive into an original, epic fantasy unlike anything you’ve read before, add this debut novel to your summer reading list. In a world that divides society into “uppers” and “lowers,” Aina is a lower who managed to get promoted and become an upper. But life in the higher realms isn’t the blissful paradise she was promised, and Aina joins a rebel movement to fight against the corrupt system.

    Also available from:
  • Moonstorm

    by Yoon Ha Lee

    Available from:

    Hwa Young wants nothing more than to outrun her reputation as a rebel. So, she jumps at the chance to become an elite warrior pilot for the empire alongside two of her friends. But as the teens enter the training academy, they quickly learn the empire is hiding something — and it will bury anything or anyone who tries to expose it.

    Also available from:
  • Summer Nights and Meteorites

    by Hannah Reynolds

    Available from:

    Jordan expects to spend her summer in Nantucket helping her dad with his research, working for an astronomer, and avoiding boys. But her plans for an uneventful summer turn upside down when she accidentally hooks up with her dad’s research assistant. Her budding romance and a historical mystery make this summer one she will never forget. If you enjoy this novel, check out the author's other titles, The Summer of Lost Letters and Eight Nights of Flirting.

    Also available from:
  • Sunkissed

    by Kasie West

    Available from:

    When you want a feel-good story with cheerful summer vibes, you can’t go wrong with a Kasie West novel. Head to a family summer camp in this rom-com for Dirty Dancing fans. Avery is less than thrilled to be at the camp until she meets the handsome Brooks, an off-limits staff member. For Avery, the summer brings first love, self-discovery, heartache, and beauty.

    Also available from:
  • An Ember in the Ashes

    by Savaa Tahir

    Available from:

    If you enjoy reading long series, pick up this award-winning and bestselling series about a slave and a soldier who fall in love. This ancient Rome-inspired fantasy series will sweep you into a world of spies, traitors, romance, and destiny. There are four books in the series, so if you’re looking for an epic summer adventure you can take from the comfort of your couch, this is it.

    RELATED: 25 Best Fantasy Books for YA Readers

    Also available from:
  • Royal Scandal

    by Aimée Carter

    Available from:

    An American in the UK makes for an irresistible storyline. Add a scandal, secrets, and a splash of mystery, and I’m a goner. In this sequel to Royal Blood, illegitimate royal Evan Bright must navigate a media nightmare that gets worse with every page turn. The threat of a tell-all biography has Evan worried, but an assassination attempt has her wondering how far her royal relatives will go to get rid of her.

    Also available from:
  • Highly Suspicious and Unfairly Cute

    by Talia Hibbert

    Available from:

    A wilderness survival course brings two ex-best friends together in this New York Times bestselling YA rom-com. Bradley and Celine haven’t gotten along in years, but when they get paired up during the survival course, they have no choice but to work together. They may have outgrown their childhood friendship, but as their bickering subsides, they realize they feel something more for each other.

    Also available from:
  • Five Survive

    by Holly Jackson

    Available from:

    Red Kenny and her five friends are ready for the ultimate spring break road trip! Suddenly, their RV breaks down in the middle of nowhere, in the middle of the night, with no cell service available. Eight hours later, one of them is dead. Holly Jackson gives us another nail-biting, gripping, skillfully constructed thriller for true crime and mystery lovers.

    RELATED: 11 Heart-Pounding Young Adult Suspense Novels

    Also available from:
  • I Must Betray You

    by Ruta Sepetys

    Available from:

    Attention history lovers, this one is for you! It’s 1989, and Cristian Florescu lives in Romania, ruled by the tyrant Nicolae Ceaușescu. When Cristian becomes an informer for the government against his will, he joins the revolution and shows the world the oppression in his country. With her masterful storytelling skills, #1 New York Times bestselling author Ruta Sepetys sheds light on the deprivation in communist Europe and the incredible grit and resilience of the Romanian people.

    Also available from:
  • A Scatter of Light

    by Malinda Lo

    Available from:

    This beckoning coming-of-age story of self-discovery follows Aria as she experiences an unexpected change of plans for the summer. Instead of her plan to spend her last summer before college with her friends at Martha's Vineyard, she is sent to spend her time with her artist grandmother. During her stay, Aria finds herself in a charming community that challenges her to reflect on her identity and aspirations. She meets Steph Nicholas, her grandmother's gardener, who changes her perspective on who she is and who she will become forever.

    Also available from:
  • The Counselors

    by Jessica Goodman

    Available from:

    Goldie Easton calls Camp Alpine Lake home. This summer, she and her two besties, Ava and Imogen, are counselors. But then a camper dies by the lake, and it wasn’t an accident. Here’s the twist: Goldie went into the summer with a dark secret — but so did her friends. Can she trust Ava and Imogen? Perfect for fans of Holly Jackson and Karen M. McManus, this thrilling mystery novel needs to find a spot on your TBR list ASAP!

    Also available from:
  • Stranger Danger

    by Maren Stoffels

    Available from:

    It was a good idea at first. Lotus, Nova, and Vin needed a distraction-free place to study for their upcoming exams. They rent an isolated farmhouse without phones, social media, or the Internet. And there is no way to call for help when they realize someone is stalking them, seeking revenge for their past misdeeds. Suddenly, a cabin in the middle of nowhere turns into the worst idea. Fast-paced and full of unexpected twists, this thriller novel will keep you hooked until the end.

    Also available from:

Looking for summer reading ideas for younger kids? Check out our 2024 lists for Kids Ages 3 – 5, Ages 6 – 8, and Ages 9 – 12.