In short: books! In long: here are 25 YA books hitting shelves next month that you want to get onto your lists and into your hands. Read them, love them, loan them, decorate your air-conditioned bunker with them—no judgments here! From fantasy debuts to sexy sports romance to a taut and eerie cult thriller, you’ll find something here to love. Or 25 somethings. Happy hot-weather reading!
The Disappearances, by Emily Bain Murphy (July 4)
In World War II–era England, following the death of their mother, Juliet, Aila and her prickly younger brother are sent to live in Juliet’s clannish hometown. The town still holds a mysterious grudge against their mother, who may have something to do with the string of supernatural disappearances that plague it: every seven years, something is lost, from scents to reflections. As the time for the next disappearance draws nearer, Aila burrows deeper into the town’s mysteries, and her mother’s secrets.
Coming Up for Air, by Miranda Kenneally (July 4)
Maggie and Levi are best friends, swim team buddies, and fellow Olympic hopefuls, keeping each other together through the long swim practices that crowd out their chances at having a “normal” high school life. After a college visit opens her eyes to what she’s been missing while spending her days in the pool, Maggie is determined to make up for lost time her senior year—starting with juicing up her love life. Levi seems like the perfect no-strings-attached candidate for some harmless making out, until the feelings they never knew they had for each other start coming to the surface.
Words on Bathroom Walls, by Julia Walton (July 4)
Finally the people only Adam can see and hear—a naked guy, a pretty girl, a mobster—have a name: schizophrenia. And with the diagnosis comes a drug trial, one that finally gives him hope of ignoring his hallucinations. He even dares to fall for a girl at his new school, Maya, which makes it that much harder when the drug slowly stops working. He records his journey in a diary, tracking his visions, his love life, and his desperate attempts to hold onto his newly unremarkable life—and, ultimately, to accept that doing so may be impossible.
What to Say Next, by Julie Buxbaum (July 11)
Buxbaum made us happy cry last year with Tell Me Three Things, and now she’s back with the tale of two teens who forge a life-changing friendship. Kit just lost her father, and grief has made her a stranger to herself. David, a teen on the spectrum, has always been different, offering blunt honesty that has alienated him from his peers. Though they feel like misfits, they fit well together—but soon their relationship faces an unexpected, possibly unsurvivable, obstacle.
Who’s That Girl, by Blair Thornburgh (July 11)
Natalie has a brief encounter with local hottie royalty one night at a summer party, and thinks little of it…until the boy in question, Sebastian Delacroix, hits the airwaves with super-hot new single “Natalie.” His star is on the rise, he and Natalie are communicating in cagey texts, and the fact that she just might be the object of his now-legendary desire is seriously throwing a kink into her senior year…especially her shifting relationship with long-time friend Zach.
The Savage Dawn, by Melissa Grey (July 11)
In Grey’s 2015 debut, The Girl at Midnight, an orphaned girl named Echo is drawn into an ancient battle between two supernatural races—the avian Avicen, whose leader, the Ala, made Echo an ally when she was small, and the dragonish Drakharin. Echo uses borrowed Avicen magic to travel between doors around the world, running errands for the Ala. Then she’s sent on a quest to track down the Firebird, a possibly mythical power source prophesied to end the Avicen-Drakharin war. In sequel The Shadow Hour, she deals with an unexpected magical legacy and fights the darkness she unwittingly unleashed. Now the series concludes with The Savage Dawn, in which Echo may be the Avicens’ only hope of defeating the Drakaharin, if only she can channel the power to do so.
This Is How it Happened, by Paula Stokes (July 11)
Genevieve survived a two-car crash, but woke up to a transformed world: her YouTube music star boyfriend is dead, she can’t recall what happened the night of the accident, and the other driver has been mercilessly tried and convicted in the court of public opinion. But as her memories of the night come back, Genevieve realizes she may be to blame. Over the course of a summer spent in escape mode at the home of her estranged father, she wrestles with guilt, grief, and the fear of what may come with public atonement.
Waste of Space, by Gina Damico (July 11)
Waste of Space is the hottest new reality show to hit the airwaves. Ten diverse teens are stuffed into a spaceship and sent into orbit (or so they believe), where they argue, flirt, and face increasingly bizarre challenges for the audience back home. Then disaster strikes: all transmissions from the outside world are cut off, leaving the teens utterly isolated. The book is told in the form of transcripts and other records, Illuminae-style.
Hello, Sunshine, by Leila Howland (July 11)
Becca has the perfect plan B after being turned down by every college she applied for: Hollywood stardom! Except life on the glamorous west coast isn’t all she dreamed. Her college-bound boyfriend dumps her upon arrival, she’s running low on cash and agent options, and her mom hasn’t given up on her daughter’s higher education. But with the help of a cute neighbor and a fellow actress friend, Becca just might be a DIY web series away from winning the mainstream fame she craves.
The Art of Starving, by Sam J. Miller (July 11)
Matt’s sister, Maya, disappeared following a painful bullying campaign, and now Matt is tapping into a dark power on his path to avenging her: the abilities he can harness by no longer eating. He believes starving himself gives him powers including heightened senses and even clairvoyance, and uses his gifts to target a trio of bullies led by Tariq, the boy he desperately wishes he didn’t have a crush on (and who just might like him back). Matt walks a road between enchantment and death in a magical realism–tinged exploration of body dysmorphia, disordered eating, and grief.
Love and Other Alien Experiences, by Kerry Winfrey (July 11)
After her father abandons the family, Mallory is paralyzed by anxiety, trading school days for online courses and unable to leave the house. Her social life shrinks to her brother, her best friend, and the alien-life message board she loves, until an unexpected prank upends it: she’s nominated Homecoming Queen by the classmates she left behind. Instead of hiding from it, she runs with it, planning to win and use the cash prize to track down her dad. But the destruction of her safety bubble may be the key to her healing.
Because You Love to Hate Me, edited by Ameriie (July 11)
This YA anthology pairs up YA authors with prominent booktubers to celebrate a point of view not always seen in fairy tales: that of the villain. These retold tales see Marissa Meyer giving voice to the Sea Witch, Susan Dennard revisiting James Moriarty, Cindy Pon seeing it from Medusa’s side, and more. Alongside each tale are fun musings from booktubers, making this a perfect mashup of great writing and fandom we can relate to.
All the Ways the World Can End, by Hannah Sher (July 11)
Lenny is watching her dad die slowly of cancer, and she feels like she’s coming apart. Making matters worse is her best friend’s imminent move, her MIA mother, and her one-sided crush on one of her dad’s doctors. She starts engaging in compulsive behaviors, including the listing of, yes, all the ways the world can end—and, worse, self-harm. Lenny tries to retain her sanity as her world blows up, in an exploration of all the things grief strips away.
The Library of Fates, by Aditi Khorana (July 18)
Princess Amrita lived an idyllic life in her kingdom of Shalingar until the arrival of the ruthless Emperor Sikander. In an effort to keep the peace, Amrita offers herself up as his bride. She is rejected, and the palace placed under siege by Sikander’s forces. When Amrita escapes, it’s with oracle Thala in tow, who convinces Amrita to seek out the mythical Library of Fates.
The Last Magician, by Lisa Maxwell (July 18)
Magic is nearly extinct in Maxwell’s alt contemporary New York, possessed only by a handful of remaining Mageus. These wielders of magic live hidden lives, held by a barrier known as the Brink that traps them within the island of Manhattan. Esta has the ability to travel through time, stealing magical objects from the creators of the Brink, and she’s about to embark on her most dangerous journey yet: a trip to 1902 Manhattan, to retrieve a magical book before its destruction.
Witchtown, by Cory Putnam Oakes (July 18)
Macie and mom Aubra are seasoned grifters with an unusual target: Havens, designated communities where witches can practice their craft freely. Now they’ve arrived at Witchtown—which, Aubra promises, will be their last grift—and Macie couldn’t be more ready to change their morally questionable lifestyle. The unmagical teen, or “Void,” insinuates herself into this latest Haven, but soon learns Witchtown has secrets that run even deeper than her own.
What Goes Up, by Katie Kennedy (July 18)
The author of Learning to Swear in America looks back to the stars in her latest, centered on two teen applicants to NASA’s mysterious, highly secretive Interworlds Agency. Being accepted promises to change the lives of overachiever Rosa and Eddie, on the run from a bad family situation, but what exactly are they getting into? They’ll navigate fierce competition on their way to taking on an other-dimensional threat.
The Special Ones, by Em Bailey (July 18)
Esther is one of four teens living in a secluded Australian farmhouse under the constant control of a cult leader. He forces them into the roles of the “Special Ones,” serving as spiritual guides to seekers they communicate with via internet. But Esther knows the dangerous truth: none of them are truly Special. And if she can’t keep up the ruse, her life could be forfeit, in this spooky, unpredictable summer thriller.
Daughter of the Burning City, by Amanda Foody (July 25)
Buxbaum’s debut is set in the dark and dangerous Gomorrah Festival, where heroine Sorina has grown up making tangible, humanoid illusions audience members can see and interact with. They’re also her de facto family, so when someone starts killing them off—a seemingly impossible fate for something that wasn’t exactly alive to begin with—she pairs up with a fellow Gomorrah worker to chase down the truth.
The Inevitable Collision of Birdie and Bash, by Candace Ganger (July 25)
Birdie and Bash meet at a party, then are torn away from each other before they can exchange information. Days later, they become embroiled in the same hit-and-run tragedy. As they cross paths again and grow closer, Bash puts off sharing his part in what happened, until it may be too late for them…
The Gallery of Unfinished Girls, by Lauren Karcz (July 25)
This debut explores the magical realistic journey a blocked artist takes back to her creative self. Mercedes’ abuela lies in a coma, her mother is in Puerto Rico tending to her, and her best friend, Victoria, doesn’t know Mercedes is in love with her. But the arrival of an odd new neighbor heralds Mercedes’ entrance into a mystical artists’ enclave at the abandoned Red Mangrove Estate, where suddenly she’s creating more than ever before.
Little Monsters, by Kara Thomas (July 25)
Kacey has just left a messy home life with her mother behind, for a ready-made stepfamily with the father she has never met. There she falls in with two new best friends, as well as a tagalong younger half-sister. On the night when everything goes wrong, one friend goes missing, and her little sister is left distraught, kicking off a mystery that threatens to tear Kacey’s too-good-to-be-true new life apart.
First We Were IV, by Alexandra Sirowy (July 25)
Nothing says summer like a good “secret society gone wrong” tale, which Sirowy’s third novel promises to deliver. Four longtime friends are rebels with a cause, taking down targets and drawing the interest of outsiders, but soon their hunger for justice shades into something more dangerous, culminating in the dark events teased in the book’s opening pages.
Everything All at Once, by Katrina Leno (July 25)
Lottie’s Aunt Helen was larger than life, an internationally famous author of the magical Alvin Hatter series. When she dies, quiet Lottie feels set adrift, but finds purpose in the strange bequest her aunt left to her: a stack of letters containing instructions on how to live a richer, riskier life. But the letters also reveal secrets about Aunt Helen’s life and books—including one that might change Lottie’s own life. This book lover’s book includes excerpts of the Alvin Hatter series for the curious.
Lucky in Love, by Kasie West (July 25)
Maddie’s a high-achieving student whose biggest quandary is which of the colleges she worked her butt off to get into she should choose—until the night she buys a lottery ticket on a whim, and wins. Her newfound financial fame is fun at first—not to mention a boon to her struggling family—but life in the spotlight curdles as gossips take over and opportunistic acquaintances start coming out of the woodwork. The only person who isn’t treating her differently? Seth, her coworker at the zoo job she has held onto. As hanging with him becomes an increasingly necessary haven, she finds herself reluctant to reveal her secret…and scared of what will happen when her new confidante discovers the truth.