Monday, 21 May 2012

Great YA Books To Start Off Your Summer

Here in Canada today is Victoria Day, which is generally seen as the beginning of summer, even if it doesn't officially start until June 20th. With the temperature going up and the length of jeans going down, it's a good time to start reading books that will get you excited for summer.

Road Trip Reading
Whether you want a book to get you psyched for your next road trip or if you rather stay home and read about one instead, these books embody everything people love about road trips, minus you having to actually sit in a car for hours on end.

  • Saving June by Hannah Harrington. After the death of her sister June, Harper is confused and filled with so many questions she might never get the answer to. June had dreamed of going to California after graduation, and when Harper's divorced parents want to split June's ashes she decides to take things into her own hands. With her best friend Laney and a boy named Jake who somehow knew June, Harper takes off from Michigan to San Francisco looking for answers not only about June but about life and how she's supposed to go on after losing her sister. You can read my review here
  • Amy and Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson. Now that her junior year is over, Amy is about to leave Southern California for Connecticut, where her mom is waiting for her in their new home. Some last minute changes result in Amy taking an unexpected road trip instead of flying out, so that the family car can be in Connecticut as well. Amy’s mom has planned the whole trip, including picking the driver. Roger is the son of an old family friend who is spending his summer with his dad in Philadelphia and needs a ride. The route Amy’s mom has planned is supposed to take four days, but Amy and Roger have a different idea. Instead of relying on the well planned out route they never chose, they decide to go on a few detours, completely abandoning the set route and taking much more time than four days. As they get to know each other while they put miles between them and California, they realize that it’s life’s detours that make the moments worth remembering. You can read my review here
  • An Abundance of Katherines by John Green. After graduation, former child prodigy Colin decides to go on a road trip with his best friend. Colin has just been dumped by his nineteenth girlfriend. Everyone has a type and for Colin that type is girls named Katherine. In a relationship there's a dumper and a dumpee, and Colin is definitely the dumpee. He sets out find a way to create a formula that could determine how a relationship will end. But can love really be broken down into a formula? Paper Towns by John Green is also a great novel involving a road trip, and you can check out my review here
  • Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech. Winner of the 1995 Newberry Award, Walk Two Moons is the story of 13 year old Sal, who is going on a road trip with her grandparents to visit her mother. To keep the drive interesting, her grandparents ask her to tell a story, and she decides to tell them about her friend Phoebe. As they pass through different States and the story unfolds, another story- Sal's story- emerges as well. 
Whether you're spending the summer abroad or at home, these books about adventure and love will make you want to hop on a plane and never look back. 
  • Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins. Anna should be spending her senior year of high school with her friends in Atlanta but instead she'd being sent to boarding school in Paris so that her Dad can appear impressive to his rich friends. Anna knows little about France and basically no French, but she soon adapts to life at boarding school. She falls for the gorgeous and unavailable Etienne St. Clair, while getting to know the City of Lights. You can read my review here
  • 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson. Just as summer is starting, Ginny receives a package in the mail from her Aunt Peg instructing her to take a flight to London where she will be lead by a little blue envelope to her next destination. This all isn't that strange for Aunt Peg, but the fact is that Ginny's aunt has been dead for months. Taking her on a trip throughout Europe with her aunt's instructions, Ginny finds herself doing things she never would have done without her aunt's guiding. 
Pool Side Reading
Whether you're spending the day at the pool, the beach or just at home, these summer loving books are the perfect companion for any day you just want to relax with a good book. 
  • The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han. Belly spends every summer at her mom's best friend's summer house in Cousins. Some of the best moments of her life have been spent there, but this summer things are changing. One of the best thing about Cousins is the boys: Jeremiah and Conrad. Belly has been in love with Conrad forever, and Jeremiah is her best friend. While Belly has always been like a little sister to Conrad, this summer things could be different.
  • The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares. I'm sure most people who are likely to read this book already have, but I couldn't write this list on good conscience without including The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. By now you probably know the story: four best friends since birth have to spend the summer apart and find a magical pair of jeans that fits them all perfectly. They send the pants back and forth all summer to keep them together while they're apart. While I didn't like the fifth book (which came out last year and isn't really YA) I love the first four books in the series. 
  • Beauty Queens by Libba Bray. This is a quirky and original book that I'm sure some people will find strange, but I loved it! When the 50 contestants for the annual Miss Teen Dream Pageant set off on a plane ride to Paradise Cove, they expect a few days of tanning, water slides and practicing for the competition. Things do not go as planned when their plane crashes on a deserted island. The fourteen remaining girls have to fight to survive while preparing for the competition. These girls are no strangers to weird diets, but never did they imagine having to eat grubs. Or having to battle vicious snakes and catch fish with hair straighteners. Although the girls appear to be perfect and happy pageant contestants, things are much more complicated than that. Each girl has her secrets. If Miss Hampshire hates beauty pageants so much, then why is she in one? Why does Miss Nebraska wear a purity ring? Does Miss Mississippi love pageants as much as she says she does? Why is Miss Rhode Island so desperate to find her luggage? The girls work together to survive and grow close to one another. As time passes, it becomes clear that the island isn’t as deserted as the girls thought. You can read my review here.
  • Basically anything by Sarah Dessen. Her books are easy to get caught up in and full of romance. Some ones I like include Just Listen, This Lullaby, Someone Like You, That Summer and The Truth About Forever
  • Losing Forever by Gayle Friesen. Summer is here but while that should mean having fun and relaxing, it's hard for Jess to do that with so much changing in her life. Her mother is getting remarried and Jess' soon to be stepsister has come to live with them. Everything in Jess' life that she has been able to depend on so so long is changing, including her relationship with the boy next door. 
  • The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian by Sherman Alexie. This book doesn't seem to fit with the others on this list, since it doesn't take place in summer or have a cover featuring the beach. All the same, I think this book could be a fun summer read that touches on some serious issues at the same time. Junior's spent his whole life living on the Spokane Indian Reservation, but things change when he decides to go to the public school outside of the reservation. Junior might be smart but at the same time things aren't easy for him, since he has epilepsy, a stutter, a lisp and has little money. And it's definitely not easy being the only Native American at his new school, excluding the school maskot. All the same, Junior is a budding cartoonist and through his drawings he looks at his life with humour. It feels like people on the reserve don't get to live their dreams, and Junior wants to change that for himself.
  • Alice, I Think by Susan Juby. Aside from one disastrous day of first grade, Alice McLeod has been home schooled all her life. Now that she's 15 she's going to go to normal high school and hopefully come out unscarred. Alice's one unsuccessful try at public school ended with her having rocks thrown at her when she came to school dressed like Bilbo Baggins, after having read The Hobbit. Although Alice is still strange and doesn't fit in, she's hoping for things to change. 


  1. You have listed some of my favourite books here! Anna and the French Kiss and Amy and Roger's Epic Detour are awesome. I've heard some great things about Saving June, and after reading the Fault In Our Stars I want to read everything by John Green lol.

    1. You definitely should read everything John Green! Looking For Alaska is a good one to read next.

  2. Thanks for this! I've been looking for good books to get into after reading On The Island which was such a super fast and great summer read. This list definitely has a few I want to try as soon as I finish my current read.

  3. I wish I had more time to read. Your reviews make me want to read so many books!



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