School’s not out for summer just yet, but that doesn’t mean we can’t start dreaming about those life-changing (or, at the very least, loungey) days already. These eight YA reads about summers that shake things up are all you need to countdown to your own stellar summer adventure–whether you’ll be scooping ice cream or solving murders.
Stay Sweet, by Siobhan Vivian
She has spent the past three summers scooping up cones at Meade Creamery, and this year, Amelia’s proud to be promoted to Head Girl and take charge. But then Molly Meade, the ice cream stand’s beloved founder, passes away, and her grandnephew Grady takes over with a major overhaul in mind. Can Amelia convince Grady and the gang to hold on to the ’40s parlor’s storied history? Or will the fact that she’s sort of sweet on Grady lead to a major meltdown?
The Way You Make Me Feel, by Maurene Goo
Goo follows up her utterly swoonworthy I Believe in a Thing Called Love with this charming romcom about Clara Shin, whose dad insists she work in their family food truck as punishment for a prank gone awry. She expects a boring summer slinging Korean fusion fare, but instead she’s surprised by her connection with uptight coworker Rose and a boy named Hamlet. (Yes, Hamlet.) Expect laugh-out-loud funny. After all, that’s Goo’s signature.
White Rabbit, by Caleb Roehrig
This deft thriller from Roehrig centers on Rufus, who should be celebrating the Fourth of July. But instead, he’s unraveling the mysterious murder of his half-sister April’s drug-dealer ex-boyfriend—and the most likely suspect is her. Everyone has their price, including Rufus, who needs the cash April will give him if he can help her untangle the web she’s trapped in. Can Rufus help her clear her name, or will aligning with his heartbreaking ex Sebastian be too much for him to handle?
This Tiny, Perfect World, by Lauren Gibaldi
In her 2015 debut, The Night We Said Yes, Gibaldi established herself as one to watch in YA contemporary, and now her sophomore novel cements it. World follows small-town girl Penny, whose path is set. She’s going to marry her high school sweetheart, go to community college with her BFF, and run her family’s diner, a hometown fave. But then comes a curveball: Penny scores a scholarship to a renowned theater camp, and her whole worldview shifts—and expands. Can she stay on the path that’s been laid out for her, a path she thought she loved just months ago? Or will she defy everyone’s expectations to make a major move?
Everywhere You Want to Be, by Christina June
Summer dance camp in New York City—you know I’m all about that! Good girl Matilda Castillo is ready to give up everything for her shot at dancing again, even Georgetown. But her mother insists: at the end of the summer, she will go off to college. Tilly, though, has other plans—like parlaying her summer dance experience into a full-time career. Will she live up to her mother’s great expectations, or will she follow her own dreams down a more tenuous path?
The Wicked Deep, by Shea Ernshaw
Everyone knows the coastal Oregon town of Sparrow has been cursed for centuries: ever since the Swan sisters were accused of being witches and drowned, they return each summer, possessing the bodies of innocent girls and luring their would-be lovers to their deaths. But when local resident Penny meets summer boy Bo, she wants to protect him—whatever it may cost her. The problem? It could cost her a lot. If you’re thinking Hocus Pocus but way creepier, you’re thinking right.
Royals,by Rachel Hawkins
A royal summer romance? Bring it! The one thing that was so totally not on Daisy Winter’s summer to-do list: spending the season in an actual castle across the pond in Scotland, stalked by paparazzi as her sister plans her wedding to the crown prince. But that’s exactly what happens—and soon Daisy is caught on camera with the younger Prince Sebastian and his charming friend Miles, who’s supposed to turn Daisy into a camera-ready media darling whether she likes it or not.
That Thing We Call a Heart, by Sheba Karim
Karim’s sophomore effort, following her debut Skunk Girl, is part sweet romance (but watch for the aftertaste!), part coming of age, and a whole lot of cultural tug of war. It centers on misfit Shabnam Qureshi during the summer when she experiences her first taste of love (and plenty of pie), a friendship falling apart, a cultural awakening, and lots of good old-fashioned teenage angst. Next up for her is a road trip romcom romp called Mariam Sharma Hits the Road, definitely worth preordering now.