A summer of YA

As the last days of school slowly tick down, parents and teens alike are wondering: What are we going to do this summer? As a librarian and an author, I'm happy to shout: read YA! 

In case you weren't aware, YA (short for young adult) literature has experienced a massive explosion of popularity in the past few years. Books like Twilight, Divergent and The Hate U Give have led the charge for a superb resurgence of the young adult novel. With about half of YA readers being teens and the other half being adults, it’s never been a better time to dive into YA. Whatever the summer brings, I've got your YA book recommendations covered.

For bright sunny days spent lying on the grass, when it seems like the whole summer is stretching out before you, I recommend: I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson, a story about artistic twins battling for a spot at a prestigious art school, and With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo, a coming-of-age tale about the struggle of being a teen mom, passion and cooking.

For those rare rainy days this summer, when you want to hunker down with movie and a salty bag of popcorn, I recommend these books that are on their way to the small screen: Five Feet Across by Rachel Lippincott, about a couple who are forced to stay five feet away from each other due to their dangerously at-risk immune systems, and All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven, the story of a boy struggling with bi-polar disorder and the girl who loves him. A nearby Kleenex box is highly recommended for these reads.

For those boring days when your brain needs to explore another world, I recommend: The Cruel Prince Series by Holly Black about, well, a very cruel fae prince; Scythe by Neal Shusterman about a future utopian society that has defeated death (yet still needs Scythes to dole it out); and Descendent of the Crane by Joan He, that tells the tale of the very young and newly crowned Queen of an unstable empire.

For snarky days when you are craving some delicious drama, I recommend: Emergency Contact by Mary H. K. Choi, about two awkward young adults connecting through technology; Save the Date by Morgan Matson about the wonderful chaos of family life; and Famous in a Small Town by Emma Mills, about a teen trying to recruit a famous country singer to return to the town she swore she would never visit again.

And finally, for those days spent sunning yourself by the pool, I recommend: Ramona Blue by Julie Murphy, the coming-of-age story of a bi-sexual swimmer struggling to define her place in the world; When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon, an Indian love story about arranged marriage, freedom and family pressure; and Hot Dog Girl by Jennifer Dugan, about teen workers finding love and awkwardness amongst their terrible summer jobs at Magic Castle Playland.

Need more suggestions? The staff at Anythink would be happy to help teens and adults alike find their perfect YA summer read!