It’s summer, which means the temps are up, swimsuits are on, and school is out—perfectly setting the stage for a little seasonal romance. From hot to steamy, we’ve ranked some of the best YAs that focus on summer loving. So grab something iced, throw in a little umbrella, and check out our picks.
6. The Summer I Found You, by Jolene Perry
Jolene Perry’s warm-weather romance alternates between the perspectives of high school senior Kate, who has just learned she has diabetes and was recently dumped, and Aiden, a 19-year-old disabled Army veteran who is learning to adapt to life with only one arm. At first, the pair seem to be just using each other as a distraction from facing a life neither of them planned for, but then a genuine romance—and intense physical attraction—blossoms between them, leading to something sweetly unexpected.
5. 99 Days, by Katie Cotugno
Molly Barlow has to get through 99 days of summer in Star Lake before heading off to college. Of course, it won’t be easy with everyone in the small town knowing how Molly betrayed her boyfriend, Patrick Donnelly, by hooking up with his brother, Gabe. But as much as Molly may want to lay low until summer is over and she can escape, the pull between her and Gabe is strong, and she finds herself torn between feelings of desire and guilt.
4. Breathe, Annie, Breathe, by Miranda Kenneally
Recent grad Annie loathes running, but she’s planning to run Nashville’s Country Music Marathon in honor of the ex-boyfriend she lost who was training for the marathon. But no matter how hard or fast she runs, she can’t escape the feeling that Kyle might still be alive if she hadn’t broken up with him. Over the months of her intense training, she meets gorgeous adrenaline junkie Jeremiah, with whom she has an immediate attraction (and some pretty hot scenes). But can Annie really move past her guilt over Kyle and allow her lust for Jere to turn to love?
3. The Moon and More, by Sarah Dessen
Sarah Dessen is synonymous with swoonworthy YA romance, and The Moon and More is no exception. Emaline has been with her perfect boyfriend, Luke, since ninth grade, and as the summer before college starts, she thinks her life’s path—heading to state school in the fall with Luke by her side—is set. But after her absentee father, who always encouraged her to apply for Ivy League schools, shows up in her little beach town and Theo, a sophisticated (and hot) documentary film assistant, catches her eye, Emaline begins to wonder if perfect is really good enough.
2. What I Thought Was True, by Huntley Fitzpatrick
Huntley Fitzpatrick has the steamy teen romance thing down, as evidenced by the stellar My Life Next Door and her follow-up What I Thought Was True. In the latter, 17-year-old Gwen Castle feels she’ll never escape her tourist-destination island town, her family’s blue-collar legacy, or her reputation for hooking up with a lot of guys—including Cassidy Somers, whom she regards as her biggest mistake, and who’s now working on the island for the summer. But even though she regrets their one-night stand, Gwen can’t deny the sparks still flying between her and Cass in this believable coming-of-age story about sex, love, and taking responsibility for one’s own choices.
1. Between Us and the Moon, by Rebecca Maizel
Rebecca Maizel’s latest was just released June 30, but it has already shot to the top of my steamy reads list with good reason: It’s a sex-positive book that evokes Judy Blume’s Forever… in a modern way. Almost 16-year-old Sarah, Bean to her family and friends, is analytical and science-minded, but love and relationships aren’t about hard facts and numbers. “You watch the world. I’m not even sure you live in it,” Bean’s boyfriend, Tucker, tells her when dumping her right before her family heads off to summer in Cape Cod. She’s determined to grow up, which to her means becoming more like her older sister, Scarlett, whose larger-than-life personality always commands attention. At the beach she meets college guy Andrew, who is almost 20 and thinks Bean is older too—something she doesn’t clarify. They end up developing a real (and really physical) relationship, but since it’s started with a lie, it might be doomed. Ironically, through losing herself and her preconceived notions about who she should be, she discovers who she is.
What do you think is the steamiest summer romance read?