June means reading weather, summer vacation feels, and iced coffee rings on all your favorite paperbacks. Here are 25 new young adult books we’re stuffing into the pockets of our giant travel bags, from a gritty-perfect LA-set debut to a wonderfully weird take on the shortest reigning queen in England’s history to a thoughtful sci-fi-inflected coming of age.
American Girls, by Alison Umminger (June 7)
Fleeing a childish mother, a stalled life, and a guilty conscience, 15-year-old Anna runs away to Los Angeles to live with her D-list actress sister. She spends her days chasing down donuts, trailing her sister around town, and hanging out on the set of the universally despised kids’ show where her sister’s boyfriend is a writer. Her outsider’s view of Hollywood’s has-beens and never-weres winds together with her background research on the Manson girls, at the behest of her sister’s creepy director ex. Like Manson’s followers, Anna is hungry, lost, and stuck on the fringes, watching her sister’s life crash while she avoids the wreckage of her own. And her voice is perfect: forthright and earthy, equal parts wistful beauty and teenage truculence.
Rocks Fall Everyone Dies, by Lindsay Ribar (June 7)
Aspen Quick is a thief, able to skim a different kind of valuable from his victims: hidden, intangible things, like memories, secrets, and even emotions. Along with the rest of the Quick family, he’s able to use his magic for good, too, keeping the rocky cliff over their town from collapsing onto the people below. This intriguing paranormal promises to be the coming of age of a boy born to a secret-hoarding family, and possessed of a terrible power he doesn’t fully grasp the consequences of. (Also, irresistible title is irresistible.)
My Lady Jane, by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows (June 7)
Don’t miss this cowritten take on the short life and shorter rule of Lady Jane Grey, which adds shape-shifting and other delightful oddities to the historical record. In 1553, a tangled web of succession led to Grey’s being crowned Queen of England, a title she held for just nine days, all of them spent imprisoned in the Tower of London (she was beheaded for her trouble the following year). But enough about the actual history: My Lady Jane promises to be irreverent, deliciously anachronistic, and not at all beholden to the facts, described as a fantasy “in the tradition of The Princess Bride.” SWOON.
The Leaving, by Tara Altebrando (June 7)
The concept is total catnip, and Altebrando fully delivers. Eleven years after six kindergartners disappeared from school, leaving no clues behind and decimating their community, five of them return. They have almost no memory of where they’ve been, and drift back to families transformed by their loss. Narration alternates among returned teens Lucas and Scarlett and Avery, sister of the boy who didn’t come back. Scarlett picks at the edges of what she remembers, including a bright, unlikely image of a carousel, Lucas deals with intense and disorienting flashbacks, and Avery bears the weight of her mother’s depression as they move closer to the secret at the heart of why the six were taken, and why they came back.
You Know Me Well, by Nina LaCour and David Levithan (June 7)
Taking on the voices of Kate and Mark, respectively, LaCour and Levithan spin a story about two teens who meet in San Francisco during Pride Week, where Kate is finally meeting the girl she’s crazy about from afar, and Mark is trying to get up the courage to tell his best friend he loves him. When the two meet at a bar, they become fast friends, and embark on an emotionally action-packed adventure over the following days. LaCour and Levithan are amazing alone, and we can’t wait to see what they do together.
With Malice, by Eileen Cook (June 7)
When Jill wakes up in the hospital with a broken leg and no memory of what landed her there, she wants to know two things: if she’ll still be allowed to go on her planned trip to Italy, and when her best friend Simone is going to visit. But the trip has already happened, and Simone is dead. Over the following weeks, Jill grieves her bestie while trying to put together the pieces of what exactly happened in Italy, while becoming the object of an Amanda Knox–esque witch hunt. The media circus plays out through transcripts, comments sections, and blog posts, offering a wider perspective on Jill’s story.
The Loose Ends List, by Carrie Firestone (June 7)
After her grandmother’s diagnosis with terminal cancer, Maddie swaps a carefree summer spent with her besties by the pool for eight weeks with her motley family on a “death with dignity” cruise, at her beloved grandma’s command. There’s no shortage of cruise ship decadence (and romance), but as the cruise, and the lives of the dying loved ones on board, near their end, the story grows wistful, its sweet funniness tinged with an aching sadness.
The Long Game (Fixer #2), by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (June 7)
In The Fixer, teenaged Tess followed in the footsteps of big sister Ivy, a powerful “fixer” among D.C.’s political elite, getting drawn into a dangerous conspiracy that started with a classmate but ascended far beyond the confines of her prep school. In The Long Game, she agrees to help out with a student government campaign, as Ivy deals with the fallout of a terrorist attack—but they find their worlds colliding yet again when Tess is targeted by an international terrorist organization.
How It Ends, by Catherine Lo (June 7)
Lo takes an in depth look at the life span of a friendship between two very different girls, outgoing Annie and shy, down to earth Jessie. The two are drawn to each other despite their differences, but it’s those differences that later start to chip away at their bond. The rise and fall of the relationship is told through their alternating perspectives, as betrayal lead them into dark places, the kind anyone who has ever lost a friend might recognize.
Julia Vanishes, by Catherine Egan (June 7)
Sixteen-year-old Julia, a witch’s daughter with the uncanny ability to go unseen, has been embedded by her thieving adoptive family as a spy in the household of a rich eccentric. But there’s more to her new mistress than meets the eye, and soon Julia learns enough about the nature of her work to have serious questions about wanting to complete it. But she’s in too deep in an unpredictable world of magic and betrayal, set against the Victorian-inspired background of a fictional steampunk city where witchcraft is punishable by death.
All the Feels, by Danika Stone (June 7)
After fangirl Liv watches her favorite film series, Starveil, kill off her favorite character, she’s thrown into a tailspin. Depression turns to action as, with the help of best friend Xander, she rallies the troops of her fandom around campaign to bring her beloved Captain Matt Spartan back to life. As her online fight takes off, her real life of disappointing family encounters and zero love life sputters to a near halt—until a DragonCon trip with Xander that just might add some action to her non-internet life.
My Brilliant Idea (and How It Caused My Downfall), by Stuart David (June 7)
Belle and Sebastian frontman and cofounder Stuart David makes his YA debut with the sweet and funny story of Jack, a daydreaming boy who dozes his way to a million-dollar (maybe) app idea: one that stops you from daydreaming in class. Jack seeks out the help of programming genius Elsie, who can’t stand him but is willing to come through for a price. In order to get her what she wants—an inappropriate request regarding her secret crush—Jack sets off on a hilarious and tangled journey of promises made and favors paid, ensuring maximum absurdity.
True Letters from a Fictional Life, by Kenneth Logan (June 7)
Logan’s warmhearted debut centers on a comfortably popular high school athlete with a semi-girlfriend and a decent home life, who’s hiding the truth about himself in the letters he writes but never sends. James is gay, but in a world permeated by homophobia that ranges from casually thrown slurs to a gay-bashing incident at school, he can’t admit the truth outside the unsent letters to his friends, his family, and God. His secret stash is a narrative ticking time bomb, and when someone steals and sends them, just as James is starting tentatively to come out on his own terms, he fears losing everything, including the boy he’s falling for.
The King Slayer (The Witch Hunter #2), by Virginia Boecker (June 14)
In last year’s The Witch Hunter we met Elizabeth Grey, an ace witch hunter who turns sympathizer after almost losing her own life at the stake. The King Slayer finds her on the run from her cruel former boss, Lord Blackwell, surrounding herself with supernatural allies—including her beloved healer witch John—in preparation for the war to come.
The Geek’s Guide to Unrequited Love, by Sarvenaz Tash (June 14)
Graham and Roxy have been friends for years, but it’s only recently that Graham’s feelings have deepened into love. He’s been waiting for the perfect moment to declare his feelings, and now he’s found it: New York Comic Con, where the publicity-shy creator of their favorite comic is making his first public appearance in years. Graham plans the perfect weekend, so of course everything falls apart: other convention-goers bum rush the ticket line, a cute boy attaches himself to Roxy, and secrets come out the exact wrong way during an ill-fated karaoke night. Tash writes another bright, addictive story set against a rich, lived-in backdrop, this time of geek culture and devoted fandom, with references galore.
Ivory and Bone, by Julie Eshbaugh (June 14)
This historical fantasy is set in a prehistoric world of deadly stakes and desperate love. Kol’s life is whittled down to the essentials: feed himself and his family. Survive. Then Mya joins their band, and suddenly his world expands. Attempts to win her backfire, but soon Kol has bigger problems: another clan arrives, including Lo, a boy who carries the key to Mya’s dark history. As the clans speed toward a violent conflict, Kol is forced to question everything, especially his love for a near-stranger.
Change Places with Me, by Lois Metzger (June 14)
Shy, unhappy Rose wakes up one morning subtly different—subtly better. Her clothes are newer, her social life is busier, her outlook on life is brighter. But something is terribly wrong: she’s not the person she used to be, and she can feel past Rose lurking just beneath her skin. There isn’t a lot of information available about this near-future-set story yet, just enough to intrigue.
Cure for the Common Universe, by Christian McKay Heidicker (June 14)
Literally minutes after a real (!) live (!) girl (!!) agrees to let him take her on his very first date, screen-addicted Jaxon’s dad and stepmom drag him off to video game rehab. There, he must earn one million points over the course of four days in order to win his freedom in time to go on his date—which will require interfacing not with pixels but with actual humans.
Autofocus, by Lauren Gibaldi (June 14)
Adopted high schooler Maude uses a school photo project as a lens through which to learn more about her birth mother, Claire, who died in labor. Her search begins at Claire’s former college, now attended by Maude’s distracted best friend, who seems to have no interest in helping with the search. With the help of cute student Bennett, Maude learns more and more about the woman who gave her up, and is forced to rewrite her understanding of both her mother and herself before her journey is through.
Mirror in the Sky, by Aditi Khorana (June 21)
Scholarship student Tara Krishnan’s life at hyper-competitive Brierly Prep was complicated enough without the announcement that casts a shadow over her junior year: light years away from Earth floats Terra Nova, a “mirror planet” to our own. The world abruptly changes, as the social hierarchy at Brierly shifts, people’s priorities go up in flames under the glare of the discovery, and Tara becomes preoccupied imagining how her alternate self is living—whether her choices have made her life bigger and better than Earth Tara’s. It’s a paradigm-shifting revelation that could change nothing or everything, and I can’t wait to see what Khorana does with it.
The Marked Girl, by Lindsay Klingele (June 21)
In Klingele’s time- and realm-hopping debut, a distant world collides with our own in the form of Cedric, prince of Caelum, who escaped an attack on his castle by jumping into a portal (along with his fiancee and a friend) to modern-day Los Angeles. They find themselves on the scrappy movie set of Liv, a foster kid and aspiring filmmaker, with whom he forms a bond that may transcend even their feelings for each other. But while Cedric has fled Caelum, he hasn’t left danger behind, and soon Liv is just as imperiled as he is.
Never Ever, by Sara Saedi (June 21)
Can you resist a promises-to-be-gritty Peter Pan update in which Peter stand-in Phinn carries a girl and her juvie-bound brother away to a tropical island that seems to be a haven of carefree partying but is actually harboring some very dark secrets? Yeah, I didn’t think so. Never ever will I resist a good Pan retelling, and this one sounds especially promising.
And I Darken, by Kiersten White (June 28)
Lada Dragwlya got tough young—being abandoned by your royal father, to be raised in the ruthless Ottoman courts, will do that to you. But the princess has one soft spot: her kid brother, Radu, who maintains his gentle heart despite being raised alongside his sister as a tool and a target for the powerful. All Lada wants is to regain her family crown, until she meets Mehmed. He’s a friend for her brother, a possible soul match for Lada…and the Ottoman sultan’s heir, doomed to one day represent everything Lada hates. She must balance her political aspirations, hunger for vengeance, and two very different kinds of love, in a brutal, high-intrigue world she has spent her whole life learning to navigate.
Never Missing, Never Found, by Amanda Panitch (June 28)
Nine years after her kidnapping by a stranger who forced her to work as a brothel’s maid, and four years after she escaped her tormentors and returned to her family, 17-year-old Scarlett just wants to be normal. Her summer job at a theme park should help—but on her first day, she learns one of her coworkers has disappeared. Things become more tangled and terrifying when eerily familiar girl Katharina attaches herself to Scarlett, dredging up memories of her dark past. Scarlett’s present entwines with flashbacks to her past, creating a twisted page-turner you won’t predict.
Run, by Kody Keplinger (June 28)
Agnes is legally blind, stifled by her protective parents’ attempts to keep her safe. Bo is a daughter of their small town’s most troubled family, painted by gossips as the school slut. Across the natural divide between them, the two build an intense friendship, that’s tested when Bo brings Agnes along on a desperate road trip to track down her father. The two leave their tiny world behind, finding adventure, danger, and disappointments in the larger one beyond.
Winning, by Lara Deloza (June 28)
Small-town girl Alexandra is going places (like the stage of the Miss America pageant, to be exact), but before she does, she has to crush the ultimate popularity coup: being crowned Homecoming Queen. She has always assumed she’d run unopposed, until the arrival of sweet, instantly well-liked Erin puts her win at risk. With faithful bestie Sam by her side (at least to begin with), Alexandra schemes to elevate and then destroy a third contender for the crown. Meanwhile, Erin and an ally work to overturn her plot and bring Alexandra down.