One of my favorite things about summer is that it tends to be a glorious season for YA romances, and this year is no exception. Behold a host of new releases emerging between May and August that feature teen romance at their core, with that sweet, sweet happily ever after (or at least for the foreseeable future) and lots of kissing and swoony moments on the way. (And if you need some older titles to keep you busy while you wait, don’t miss our favorite YA rom-coms of 2016 or 15 Contemporary YAs That Make Fabulous Valentines!)
How to Make a Wish, by Ashley Herring Blake (May 2)
Grace is desperate for some independence, especially after her flighty mother, Maggie, moves them without Grace’s knowledge…right into Grace’s ex-boyfriend’s father’s house. But things hit a surprising turning point when Eva moves to town, grief-stricken after the loss of her own mother, and Grace finds in her and their nighttime adventures a kind of respite she no longer thought possible in her town. As their friendship grows, so does the attraction between them, but Grace never imagined the person she’d have to fight hardest for her new girlfriend’s attention is her own mother, who has taken Eva under her wing as a sort of maternal project. Grace knows she has to make Eva understand Maggie isn’t the solution to anyone‘s problems, but if she fails, she just might lose them both. This bi YA is the girl-girl romance of the summer, and while you may ride a few waves of pain through it, you’re in for some seriously magical and soothing balm when you get to that hard-earned happy ending.
A Million Junes, by Emily Henry (May 16)
When Saul Angert returns to Five Fingers, Michigan, June O’Donnell knows she’s gotta be on guard to make sure she doesn’t end up in the same room as anyone from her family’s enemy clan. But as her best friend and Saul’s cousin get closer, their repeated collisions start to seem inevitable, and what’s worse, their chemistry is off the charts. Can they resist the inevitable pull for the sake of family loyalty? Or will succumbing to their feelings lead them down a dark path that uncovers roots to the feud they were never meant to know about? With dreamy, gorgeous, literary prose wrapped around sharp, witty banter, Henry has crafted not only one of my favorite books of the year thus far, but one of my new favorite YA couples, period.
The Love Interest, by Cale Dietrich (May 16)
Like everyone else at the Love Interest Company, Caden has been raised with one mission: be the ideal love interest who steals the heart of a girl deemed important by the company…before his rival does. In Caden’s case, that rival is Dylan, a Bad Boy (in contrast to Caden’s own Nice status) with the requisite hot car, hotter abs, and attitude set to to lure their target. The one who fails to snare the brilliant Juliet, destined to be a world-changer the company will want to manipulate, will be destroyed, which means the guys are literally fighting for their lives. Only problem? Juliet isn’t the one Caden wants, Dylan is. Not only does this book totally live up to its fabulous premise, but the lighthearted meta digs at the ubiquitous YA love triangle scenario and its love interests are delightful for anyone who has spent a lot of time immersed in the genre’s conventions.
In a Perfect World, by Trish Doller (May 23)
After a break into thrillerdom with The Devil You Know, Doller returns to her romantic contemp roots with her fourth novel, her romanciest romance of all, set in Egypt and starring Caroline, a girl whose plans for summer break and senior year are torn away when she has to move across the Atlantic for her mother’s new job. Egypt is unlike anywhere Caroline has ever been, but her terror at the prospect of her new home fades as she discovers a beautiful country rich in culture…and the perfect boy to help her see it. Anyone who has read Doller’s backlist knows she’s no stranger to steam and killer chemistry, and with a setting like that, how could anyone resist? (Spoiler: you can’t. Don’t even try.)
When Dimple Met Rishi, by Sandhya Menon (May 30)
Dimple is shocked when her parents agree to send her to the web development program of her dreams for the summer; she didn’t think they cared about her love for coding, or about anything other than finding her an Ideal Indian Husband. She has no idea their friends are sending their son, Rishi, with the express purpose of courting Dimple. The unpleasant surprise is tempered by one little fact: Rishi…doesn’t suck. Okay, he’s a little surprisingly outspoken sometimes, and a little conservative, and a lot romantic and on board with the whole arranged marriage thing, but he’s also funny, smart, sexy, confident in who he is, and maybe, just maybe, not the worst idea her parents ever had. This is the perfect beach read for making you smile until it hurts, but be warned: it has also been known to cause tears of happiness to spontaneously erupt.
I Believe in a Thing Called Love, by Maurene Goo (May 30)
Sitting pretty at the tippy top of my TBR is this ridiculously cute and hilarious-sounding sophomore novel about an overachieving heroine who’s finally ready to level up her love life. Desi knows the importance of research, so when hot new guy Luca makes her want to up her expertise in the field of romance, she knows exactly where to turn: her widowed father’s beloved K dramas. But not all tropes are meant to be taken offscreen, and Desi will have to learn the hard way that the kind of drama that makes for great TV maybe isn’t the best for a real relationship.
Perfect Ten, by L. Philips (June 6)
It’s been two years since Sam’s last relationship, and prospects don’t look quite that shiny when you’ve already dated the only other gay guy in school to catch your eye. But his best friend, Meg, isn’t giving up. She convinces him a love spell is the way to go, and when it ends up working in a major way, Sam is faced with something he’s never had before: choices. As he explores his options, he has to confront whether the perfection he seeks truly exists, and how long he can play the field before realizing exactly what he risks losing. Not only is this book adorable, but it’s a rarity: a YA romance with a main character who’s conscious that as a teen, he’s not ready to settle down.
Internet Famous, by Danika Stone (June 6)
The All the Feels author returns with a new meditation on internet life, this time leaping out of movie fandom and into a girl’s own high-traffic pop culture blog. Madison’s site has been hot for a while, but nothing compared to the comments section when hot French foreign exchange student Laurent finds his way there. Unfortunately, being in the public eye (and on the public web) leaves their relationship open to unwanted commentary from a troll, and combined with some offline struggles, it’s more than Madi can bear. Can she take her life back before she loses everyone who matters?
Tash Hearts Tolstoy, by Kathryn Ormsbee (June 6)
In the world of vlogging, Tash is a Somebody…or at least now she is, ever since her Anna Karenina–inspired webseries got love from a hugely popular vlogger. But the most coveted attention of all comes from Thom, another celeb vlogger who has become Tash’s guide to navigating her newfound fame…and whose texts light up both her phone and her heart. When they’re both nominated for awards bringing them to the same ceremony, Tash is part excited and part nervous; the only people she has had the “I’m a romantic asexual” conversation with are her best friends, sister-brother pair Jack and Paul, and they don’t really seem to get it, especially in light of her crush. Tash may be on her own for the meeting of her heart, but a little solo time could be exactly what she needs to figure out what she wants. Orsmbee’s latest isn’t just a must for fans of romance set in the internet world, but hugely welcome and wonderful representation in the realm of LGBTQA lit.
Once and For All, by Sarah Dessen (June 6)
YA’s contemporary romance queen is back with lucky number thirteen, starring Louna, a wedding planner’s daughter-slash-assistant whose whole life until now has led her to believe there’s no such thing as a happily ever after…especially not since the only guy she ever loved was tragically taken from her. She has no patience for Ambrose, hot as he may be, or the fact that he’s now working alongside her and in her face constantly. But despite herself, she finds his kindness unignorable, and before she knows it, they’re not only friends but making a bet that could help them both out of their romantic ruts. If only Louna weren’t completely clueless as to the stakes that are actually on the table, and the fact that she’s not only breaking Ambrose’s heart, but playing a dangerous game with her own.
Coming Up for Air, by Miranda Kenneally (July 4)
If it’s a summer without a new YA sports romance from Miranda Kenneally, is it really even a summer? Thankfully, we don’t have to find out! In the latest installment of her Hundred Oaks series, we meet Maggie and Levi, who are best friends, Olympic swimming hopefuls, and total opposites when it comes to…other recreational activities. For Levi, hooking up with girls is an ideal way to blow off steam, but Maggie’s only just realizing how much she’s missed out on in that arena. And it’s not like she’s looking for a relationship now; she just wants to have some fun. But even finding a hookup buddy can be a challenge when you’ve got no game. Thankfully, she knows someone with exactly the right experience to teach her what she needs to know…if Levi’s willing. Can best friends who don’t do much of anything halfway add benefits without it blowing up into something more? Of course not, and that’s the best part.
Lucky in Love, by Kasie West (July 11)
What beach bag would be complete without a light, cute, bantery Kasie West romance? (And if that name is somehow new to you, get thyself to her first one, The Distance Between Us, immediately!) Maddie isn’t the type to rely on luck, but it turns out luck’s got its eye on her anyway. Winning the lottery is a total life-changer, for better or for worse. Sure, she doesn’t have to worry about paying for college now, but it also seems like everyone suddenly wants a piece of her, and there’s no telling whose motives are pure. She knows she can trust her sweet and funny coworker, Seth, though; he has no idea about her big win. But how long can she keep him from finding out, and how long can their relationship last once he does?
Changes in Latitude, by Jen Malone (July 25)
Cassie’s parents’ divorce was a big enough shakeup to her life, so when her mother informs her their down-to-three family will also be leaving their home behind for the summer and sailing down to Mexico instead, she has no idea how to deal. Thankfully, their little fleet changes up the deckhand lineup to include Jonah, who’s cute, mellow, and really excellent at taking Cassie’s mind off her anger and how much she misses her friends and wishes she were back home. He’s also a massive flirt, which means no matter how charming he is, there’s clearly no crossing the friendship line, and certainly not when she’s feeling so raw on relationships and trust as a whole. But the more time she spends with him, the more she sees that taking a chance on the unknown might be worth it, in all areas of life. Jen Malone is quickly becoming a mistress of adorable romances with couples on the move, and while this one won’t be out until July 25, devouring her banterrific Wanderlost is a great way to spend the wait.
Kissing Max Holden, by Katy Upperman (August 1)
Jill knows kissing neighbor Max Holden is a terrible idea. For one thing, he has a girlfriend. For another, her life is a big enough mess as it is. Oh, and Max’s father just had a stroke, which is leading to some seriously uncharacteristic behavior on Max’s part. But the chemistry between them can’t be denied, and how bad can something be that feels so good? Anyone else getting glorious My Life Next Door vibes that cannot be denied??