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The 15 biggest (and best) YA books of the summer

The 15 biggest (and best) YA books of the summer

Young at Heart

Balzer + Bray (2); Imprint; HarperTeen; G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers

YA is still going strong, year by year, so trust us when we say there are plenty of great summer teen tales beyond this list. But we picked out the 15 we’re most excited for — that we’re most confident you will love.

Each product we feature has been independently selected and reviewed by our editorial team. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.

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The Rest of the Story, by Sarah Dessen 

The best-selling YA author (Keeping the Moon, Dreamland) presents a setting unlike any she’s conjured up before in her new novel: North Lake, the hometown of protagonist Emma Saylor’s late mother. Emma is suddenly sent to visit over one summer, discovering new love and old ties in the process. Dessen also explores themes of addiction and mental health as she digs deeper into the community, which gradually reveals divisions in class and opportunity. Get a first look. (Available now)

Girls of July, by Alex Flinn 

Best known for her No. 1 best-selling phenomenon Beastly, Flinn returns with an infectiously lovely portrait of four girls who escape to the mountains over one long July, rediscovering their bonds and themselves in the process. (Available now)

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The Haunted, by Danielle Vega

Pitched as “YA’s answer to Stephen King,” Vega brings the young readers’ genre into the realm of the irresistibly horrific, piecing together a small-town paranormal drama that’s rich with family secrets, haunted houses, and terrifying twists. (Available now)

Like a Love Story, by Abdi Nazemian

Get your Pride Month reading on with his heartfelt, heartbreaking depiction of three teens in late ’80s NYC, in which friendships and romances bloom amid a rapidly changing world. (Available now)

Sorry for Your Loss, by Jessie Ann Foley 

In Foley’s moving portrait of grief, the youngest of eight siblings reels from the sudden death of an older brother, finding grace and a place to heal in some unexpected places. (Available now)

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All of Us With Wings, by Michelle Ruiz Keil 

A 17-year-old girl who’s been all but abandoned in her San Francisco hometown finds solace with a rockstar family who live in a stately victorian. In her debut novel, Michelle Ruiz Keil crafts a fantastical ode to the Golden City’s postpunk era. (June 18)

Wicked Fox, by Kat Cho 

G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers

Cho brings K-drama to YA in this imaginative fantasy-romance, which offers and fresh and immersive take on modern-day Seoul. Get a first look. (June 25)

Destroy All Monsters, by Sam J. Miller

Last year, Miller shifted into the adult-fiction space with Blackfish City, a potent sci-fi allegory which emerged as an EW favorite. But now the author (The Art of Starving) returns to the YA field where he made his name, in a mind-bending novel about friendship, trauma, and the power of the mind. (July 2)

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Symptoms of a Heartbreak, by Sona Charaipotra

Charaipotra’s long-awaited solo debut is a tender YA romance set in the thick of the medical world. Symptoms of A Heartbreak centers on 16-year-old Saira Sehga, the youngest MD in America working on the cancer ward, and traces her attempts to navigate adult challenges. “One day I was watching Doogie Howser, M.D. — a ’90s TV dramedy about a teen doctor — and I was like, ‘This character should have been Indian,’” the author told EW last year. “And it just struck like lightning. I’m not a doctor, but I could play with one on the page. And so Saira Sehgal was born.” (July 2)

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Spin the Dawn, by Elizabeth Lim

Knopf Books for Young Readers

Looking for your next big YA fantasy series? We’ve got our eye on this stylist blockbuster from Lim, which has been described as “Project Runway meets Mulan” and kicks off an epic adventure quest about a girl who poses as a boy in her effort of becoming the greatest tailor in the land. (July 9)

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Wilder Girls, by Rory Power

Th buzz on Rory Power’s feminist Lord of the Flies is pretty deafening, but allow us to add to the chorus: This thrilling saga set at a remote boarding school, unfurling the fallout of one girl’s mysterious disappearance, is sure to be one of the season’s most talked-about books, in any genre. (July 9)

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Swipe Right for Murder, by Derek Milman

Published under James Patterson’s YA imprint, Milman’s sophomore YA novel is the kind to stay up with on a hot summer night. It’ll be hard to put down, anyway: The story of a teen hunting for a hookup suddenly on the run from the FBI (oh, and a murderous cult) will keep you guessing. (Aug. 6)

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Vow of Thieves, by Mary E. Pearson 

The Remnant Chronicles mastermind is back with the sequel to her hit fantasy Dance of Thieves, putting imposing new obstacles in the path of lovers Kazi and Jase. (Aug. 6)

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Ziggy, Stardust & Me, by James Brandon 

G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers

Brandon’s period-piece is set in 1973, at the height of the Watergate hearings and Vietnam War, and a time when homosexuality was still considered a mental illness in the U.S. Enter anxiety-ridden Jonathan and fearlessly out Web, two boys who fall in love and defy the odds. (Aug. 6)

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Pumpkinheads, by Rainbow Rowell & Faith Erin Hicks

The perfect transition from summer to fall comes courtesy of one of YA’s greatest talents, Rainbow Rowell, in her graphic-novel debut. She teams with comics superstar Faith Erin Hicks for a rom-com about two high-school coworkers finding love on their last night of working the local pumpkin patch. “I wrote Pumpkinheads during a very difficult time in my life, and maybe because of that struggle, it’s the most joyful and reassuring book I’ve written,” Rowell told EW last fall. (Aug. 27)

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