The May long weekend has come and gone, my patio furniture is out, it seems that summer is finally, FINALLY just around the corner! Here are some great YA reads for those summer days, starry nights (*cough* shameless plug)*:
I have been a big fan of E. Lockhart for many, many years. Her books are funny, smart, and sharply written. We Were Liars is a dizzying fever-dream of a book that weaves in and out of reality. The ending will make you flip back to the beginning just to see how she pulled it off. I read this one in two hours and was instantly sorry that I had not taken the time to savour it- but I dare you to try and read it slowly!
You can totally judge this book by it’s gorgeous cover- Unspeakable is a rich, beautiful love story that begins in the midst of one of the greatest maritime tragedies. No, not THAT one- the sinking of the Empress of Ireland claimed more lives than the Titanic disaster in May, 1914. One hundred years later Caroline Pignat has crafted a gorgeous tribute to the victims and survivors of this tragedy, told through the eyes of a young stewardess. This book is just as much about Ellie coming into her own as a young woman as it is about her love for Jim.
If you’ve ever spent time at a cottage you will recognize some part of your experience in this beautifully-crafted graphic novel. The Tamaki cousins return with a book altogether different in tone from Skim, but just as human and unforgettable. Your heart will ache along with Rose’s as she realizes her crush isn’t all she wants him to be and cheer for Windy (great name!) as she blows through the book with her sunny optimism. I want This One Summer wallpaper so I can forever live inside this book.
If you have ever sung along to Taylor Swift (and who hasn’t?) you will want to pick this one up. A road trip story about Reagan, a girl who’s been heading down the wrong road who switches gears to spend the summer on her best friend’s tour bus as she heads out on her first tour. It’s fun to read a story from the perspective of a reformed ‘bad’ girl, particularly one who is BFFs with the motivated, talented and squeaky clean Lilah Montgomery (think Swifty circa Fifteen). This is a great, subtly empowering story about the importance of friends that has a fun, backstage pass vibe.
I love witch books, particularly a well-researched and absorbing psychological thriller from a bona fide Salem Scholar like Katherine Howe. A strange affliction is spreading through the population at a prestigious private girl’s school, one that medical science is having trouble explaining. Could it be related to the afflictions that turned the village of Salem to cry witchcraft in the 1700s? Is history repeating itself? A fascinating look at the pressures we put on our girls, the power of peer pressure and suggestion, with just a hint of X-Files.
Slipping into a Jenny Han book is like putting on your fave slippers and curling up in a cozy chair with a big mug of tea…iced, if it’s summer and you’re at a cottage. She gets the every-girl vibe just right. I expected this to be a YA version of the classic Alanis Morissette song Unsent, but it’s actually quite a sweet story about the differences between our perceptions and the actualities of love and romance. For those of you who are following the #WeNeedDiverseBooks conversation, Jenny Han has always been an expert and including diversity in her narratives, and this one is no exception.
*I have written not once, but TWICE about summer…which I guess makes me an expert? Days That End in Y starts with fireworks and ends in a wedding and Summer Days, Starry Nights is my middle-grade homage (read: no sex or abortions) to Dirty Dancing.
Happy (summer) reading!