Looking for a great book to pick up this summer? There are a number of superlative choices coming our way. You can’t go amiss with the eight below.
One Great Lie by Deb Caletti (Atheneum, June 1): Prolific, acclaimed author Caletti’s latest follows 18-year-old aspiring writer Charlotte, a White American girl who embarks upon the summer of a lifetime: being mentored by the man whose books have shaped her life—in Italy, no less. But the dream turns sour when she realizes that he is an exploitative predator targeting the young women in the program.
Instructions for Dancing by Nicola Yoon (Delacorte, June 1): Following earlier runaway successes, this new romance from Yoon is something to celebrate. Centering Black teens Evie and Xavier and featuring light magical elements, the story includes dance lessons, attraction between opposites, questions of trust and betrayal, and the rewards that come from knowing pain but risking your heart anyway.
All Our Hidden Gifts by Caroline O’Donoghue (Walker US/Candlewick, June 8): An Irish author makes a foray into YA with this atmospheric novel about teenagers in Ireland who experiment with tarot cards. The story, which features diversity in ethnicity, sexual identity, and sexual orientation, weaves together folklore, social conflict, religious tension, and a missing student in a suspenseful paranormal tale that takes on contemporary struggles.
Summer in the City of Roses by Michelle Ruiz Keil (Soho Teen, July 6): Keil’s debut, All of Us With Wings (2019) made a splash, and her sophomore novel, set in Portland, Oregon, is an original, queer blend of magical realism, punk music, Greek mythology, and folklore. Siblings Iph and Orr Santos Velos are separated when their father sends sensitive Orr away to boot camp; Iph sets out in pursuit.
XOXO by Axie Oh (HarperTeen, July 13): Pivoting from her science-fiction Rebel Seoul duology, Oh offers a charming take on romance and family. When Korean American cellist Jenny goes with her mother to Korea for the first time, the last thing she expects is that Jaewoo, the charismatic boy she met and flirted with at home in Los Angeles, not only attends her new school, but is a huge K-pop star.
In the Wild Light by Jeff Zentner (Crown, Aug. 10): Known for his unforgettable, heartbreaking portraits of rural Appalachia, Zentner’s latest follows a boy tragically affected by the opioid crisis and his best friend, a girl with big dreams. When Delaney’s scientific discovery goes viral, she’s offered a New England prep school scholarship. She accepts on the condition that Cash is included, forcing him to make a life-changing decision.
Redemptor by Jordan Ifueko (Amulet/Abrams, Aug. 17): This much-anticipated duology closer follows up on Ifueko’s hit West African–inspired fantasy debut, Raybearer (2020). The rich worldbuilding continues the adventures of Tarisai, who faced a shocking revelation about her origins and purpose in life. Now she has become empress, developing all the powers that go along with her Raybearer status, yet she is haunted by spirits and faces almost unbearable pressure and responsibilities.
Living Beyond Borders: Growing up Mexican in America edited by Margarita Longoria (Philomel, Aug. 17): This remarkable anthology presents the writing and art of Mexican American contributors who offer teen readers honest, heartfelt, and inspiring works in formats including short stories, autobiographical essays, comics, and poetry. These perspectives are woven together to form a tapestry that celebrates a community and its rich heritage.
Laura Simeon is a young readers' editor.