The Best YA Books Of Summer 2019

Summer is undeniably the season for tearing through books. Now's the time to lounge in freshly cut grass with a book blocking the sun. Or to sit at the beach, turning the pages nearly as quickly as the waves come.

When it comes to binge-able books, nothing can beat the YA genre. Even if you don't typically gravitate toward YA fiction, summer's the season to delve into the genre. Generally speaking, YA books are gripping and cinematic; chapters end in cliff-hangers that encourage turning the page. The books also explore social issues with nuance.

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You'll be in good company, because over half of YA book's readers are over the age of 18. Here are 2019's some of YA books that make for great summer reads.

Wilder Girls, Rory Power



Take Annihilation, add a dash of Contagion, set it at an all-girls' academy, and you'll arrive at Rory Power's occasionally shocking and always gripping Wilder Girls. After a disease called the Tox breaks out, the girls of Rexford Academy are changing. Their bodies are adapting to the world around them — some grow gills, others grow scales...those who survive, that is.

A Dress For the Wicked, Autumn Krause



If you binge Project Runway and gobble down YA dystopias, then A Dress For the Wicked is for you. Emmaline Watkins is plucked from her sleepy rural town and chosen to compete in a design competition in a futuristic London. No one expects she, a girl from the country, will have anything to offer. Forced to adapt to a ruthless environment, Emmaline will surprise them — and surprise herself, too.

The Rest of the Story, Sarah Dessen



It's near impossible to put down a Sarah Dessen book once you get started. Dessen captures the feeling of a teenage summer that is seemingly endless, flopping between boredom and possibility. Saylor goes to visit her dead mother's family for the first time in ages, and finds memories from the past bubbling up.

We Hunt the Flame, Hafsah Faizal



Talk about star-crossed lovers: Zafira defies rules to save her people and Nafir is an assassin sent to kill her on the king's orders. Both are famous in the kingdom of Arawiya. What happens if they want out — and want out together? Hafsah Faizal was inspired by ancient Arabia when creating the vividly rendered world of We Hunt the Flame. We Hunt the Flame is Faizal's first novel, but she's been involved in the book world for some time — first as a blogger, then as the owner of a book merch business.
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Let Me Hear a Rhyme, Tiffany D. Jackson



Is it fraud, or is it the ultimate ode to friendship? In Let Me Hear a Rhyme, three Brooklyn teens celebrate their friend's music legacy after he's killed. They release Steph's tapes and soon, they've taken off. Will Quadir, Jarrell, and Jasmine be able to keep their secret? Jackson conjures up 1998 Brooklyn as only someone who was really there could. Our secret: Tiffany D. Jackson's last book, Monday Isn't Coming, is also a propulsive read.

Aurora Rising, Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff



We don't blame you for wanting to blast off this planet. Fly away to the year 2380, where the graduating cadets of Aurora Academy are heading off on their first missions. The unexpected arrival of Aurora Jie-Lin O'Malley, trapped in cryo-sleep for 200 years, throws off one student's mission, and potentially the fate of the entire galaxy.

Wicked Fox, Kat Cho



Move over, vampires. There's a new mythological creature storming YA. Kat Cho's debut fantasy centers on a gumiho, a nine-tailed fox from Korean folklore that feeds off the souls of men to survive. The only problem? Eighteen-year-old Gu Miyoung feels tortured about taking lives. She wants to find another way, even if it means defying her mother and striking out on her own.

Like a Love Story, Abdi Nazemian



In 1989, three teenagers are motivated to join the AIDs activism movement for different reasons. This is a big-hearted, hopeful book about people getting out of their own lives to enact greater change — and is exactly the kind of spirit we all should be channeling.

Ziggy, Stardust & Me, James Brandon



It's always hard to be a teenager, but it's especially hard to be a teenager when it's 1973 and the U.S. is in absolute turmoil — and being gay is a crime. Jonathan Collins escapes into his overactive imagination, where he can be "normal" and like everyone else, or he can be Ziggy Stardust. Then he meets Web, a boy Web who might be good enough to enter the real world for. Yes, you're allowed to ogle at the cover.
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Something Like Gravity, Amber Smith



Chris and Maia aren't in the right "place" for a relationship. Chris, who recently came out as transgender, is living with his aunt to escape his parents' fighting. Maia is mourning her sister. And yet, they like each other — enough, perhaps, to heal each other too. If you like books that come with a good cry, then get Something Like Gravity already!

All Eyes on Us, Kit Frick



Can you keep track of all the lies in All Eyes on Us? Start with Amanda Kelly and Carter Shaw, their high school's golden couple. Then, add in the fact that Carter is dating Rosalie, a working class girl from one town over, behind Amanda's back. But Rosalie is only using Carter as a beard to dissuade her fundamentalist Christian parents from sending her back to conversion therapy. Woof — what's next?

Sorcery of Thorns, Margaret Rogerson



If being surrounded by magical books stacked stories high is your idea of paradise, then Sorcery of Thorns is the book for you. This whimsical, beautifully written YA novel is set in the kingdom of Austermeer’s Great Libraries, where books can be living things — and can be deadly. It's candy for a book lover!

Wish You All The Best, Mason Deaver



Ben just came out as nonbinary. Ben's parents don't get it — and so, they don't want them around anymore. I Wish You All the Best is an emotional read, yes, but an important one.

Internment, Samira Ahmed



Internment is set in a future only a few leaps away from modern America. Layla Amin is forced into a Muslim internment camp for American citizens.
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Her Royal Highness, Rachel Hawkins



The commoner-royal has been done before, but not quite like this. After seeing her girlfriend kissing someone else, a heartbroken Millie Quint leaves Texas for a boarding school in Scotland, newly opened to girls. Her roommate, Flora, is a princess of Scotland (Hawkins created an alternate royal family for her book series). And she's also really cute.

Love From A to Z, S.K. Ali



The song says it only takes a minute to fall in love – but it takes the characters in Love From A to Z an entire spring break. Love From A to Z goes down like a breezy summer rom-com, but weaves in important perspective about what it's like to be a young Muslim person in America.

This Time Will be Different, Misa Sugiura



The legacy of internment camps in for Americans of Japanese descent during WWII may not be discussed much in history class, but 17-year-old CJ's family is still reverberating with the after-effects of their years in the camps. Things come full-circle when CJ's mother sells her family's flower shop to the very family that sold them out during WWII.

Ordinary Girls, Blair Thornburgh



Ordinary Girls is a sweet YA twist on Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility. Sure, there's romance involved, but the ultimate love story is between two sisters.

With The Fire on High, Elizabeth Acevedo



Sometimes it feels like Emoni Santiago is balancing the world. Emoni, a high school senior, is raising her 2-year-old daughter, going to school, and working at the local burger joint. She wants to turn her innate skills in the kitchen into a career. The award-winning novel in prose, The Poet X, established Elizabeth Acevedo as one of the most stunning YA writers around – this book cements that reputation.
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