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21 YA Books You'll Want To Get Your Hands On This Summer

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1. That Thing We Call a Heart by Sheba Karim

What it's about: When Shabnam has a falling out with her best friend, Farah, she ends up missing her more than she wants to admit. Farah is now wearing hijab, and it's a change for both Farah and Shabnam. Farah is strong-minded, independent, and unafraid of standing up for herself and her religion, and Shabnam is still trying to figure herself out. She told a lie to her classmates about her family history in the partition of India, but slowly begins to learn the true history from her grandfather. But when Shabnam starts falling for the boy who got her a summer job, it's Farah who sees his flaws. Shabnam begins to wonder if she and Farah will continue growing apart, or if they'll have a friendship like they used to. Karim weaves a wonderful story about friendship, family, religion, and the choices we make when it comes to all three.

Buy it here.

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2. I Believe in a Thing Called Love by Maurene Goo

What it's about: Desi Lee has always been a straight-A student and book smart, but she's a complete disaster when it comes to romance. But when Desi decides to take what she's learned from Korean dramas, she creates her own "K Drama Rules for True Love" in hopes of gaining the attention — and heart — of the very attractive Luca Drakos. But these rules to romance aren't all as they seem on television, and applying them in real life doesn't go exactly as Desi imagined. Adorably heartfelt and incredibly fun, this contemporary story will leave you smiling.

Buy it here.

3. The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee

What it's about: In a story set in 18th-century Europe, overconfident Monty, his best friend Percy — whom he has strong feelings for — and Monty's younger sister, Felicity, are attending a grand tour of Europe when Monty's scoundrel ways get the three of them into trouble. Monty has stolen something of great significance. Because of this, the trio happens upon an adventure of a lifetime. This page-turning novel contains a race-against-the-clock plot with incredibly fun characters you'll want to follow to the very end.

Buy it here.

4. When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

What it's about: Dimple Shah is a passionate go-getter who wants to attend a summer program that focuses on building apps. If she wins, she'll have a chance to collaborate with her idol. Her parents have trouble connecting with her passion, and they put a little too much pressure on her to get married. Dimple has no interest — she's 18 and wants to put her education first. Then she meets Rishi Patel at her summer program and realizes that it's not coincidence that he's here. Rishi holds high respect for his Indian heritage and isn't necessarily turned off by the idea of an arranged marriage. While Dimple and Rishi don't exactly see eye to eye, they're forced to work together throughout the course of the program. This adorable romance includes a fresh and honest look at friendship, love, privilege, and finding the ambition to go after your dreams.

Buy it here.

5. Spindle Fire by Lexa Hillyer

What it's about: This Sleeping Beauty retelling follows two sisters, Aurora and Isabelle. After pricking her finger and falling into a deep sleep, Aurora finds herself thrust into an adventure within an otherworldly place. Isabella, loving and loyal, is determined to find the prince who can awaken her sister with true love's kiss. Told in multiple points of view with rich world-building and characters with a deep sisterly bond, this fantasy isn't one to be missed.

Buy it here.

6. It's Not Like It's a Secret by Misa Sugiura

What it's about: After Sana Kiyohara moves to California with her family, she discovers she just might have a crush on a girl — Jamie Ramirez. But navigating being gay and in an interracial relationship proves to be a bit of a challenge among their different friend groups, not to mention their parents. To top it off, Sana is convinced that her father might be having an affair. But Sana soon realizes that when it comes to herself, some secrets aren't meant to be kept. Sugiura crafts a powerful coming-of-age story that expertly addresses sensitive issues.

Buy it here.

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7. A Million Junes by Emily Henry

What it's about: June (Junior) O'Donnell has been told all her life to stay away from the Angerts. June knows there are secrets that have fueled the hate between families, but she isn't sure of the exact reason. When Saul Angert comes back to town, June knows she should avoid him, but their friendship and fun, quick banter seem to evolve naturally. They've both lost people they love in their lives and seek understanding. The more June and Saul are around each other, the more strange, magical things begin to happen — including unearthly happenings showing them windows into the past. It's a beautiful, lyrical, and achingly brilliant story about love, grief, and family. Henry's writing will leave you breathless.

Buy it here.

8. North of Happy by Adi Alsaid

What it's about: After the death of his older brother, Carlos Portillo leaves behind his life in Mexico City and goes to the US in an attempt to process through his grief. He finds work at Provecho — a restaurant his brother highly recommended — and dedicates his time to learning the art of cooking. But escaping to a new city doesn't mean that Carlos can completely escape the ghost of his brother. Alsaid successfully pens a poignantly written contemporary story with a wonderful cast of characters.

Buy it here.

9. Tash Hearts Tolstoy by Kathryn Ormsbee

What it's about: Tash Zelenka loves Tolstoy — so much that she creates a web series with her friends modernizing Anna Karenina. But when an unexpected shout-out from a fellow vlogger launches her and her series into web fame, Tash spends the summer attempting to navigate the ups and downs of it all. Not to mention coming to terms with unexpected news from her parents, dealing with her older sister leaving for college, and trying to figure out her identity as a romantic asexual. Tash knows she's romantically attracted to guys, but not sexually attracted to any gender. And it's something she's worried no one will understand — not even her best friends. This delightful contemporary story is genuine, honest, and makes for a very fun summer read.

Buy it here.

10. Always and Forever Lara Jean by Jenny Han

What it's about: Lara Jean thinks she has it all planned. She's expecting to have a drama-free senior year. She's also expecting get into UVA — her dream school and also the school her serious boyfriend, Peter, is attending. It'll be close to home, and it's familiar. But when things don't exactly go as planned, Lara realizes she's going to have to start accepting that change is inevitable and that, sometimes, the path you think you need to be on isn't the one that's best for you. In this tender, heartfelt, and swoony conclusion to the Lara Jean series, Han captures the anxiety, fun, and uncertainty of growing up and moving forward after high school.

Buy it here.

11. The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli

What it's about: Molly is dealing with several incredibly relatable insecurities at the age of 17: Worrying about her weight, worrying about boys, and worrying about her drifting relationship with her twin sister. When her twin tries to push a new guy on Molly, she's all for it — until she begins to get to know her co-worker Reid. Albertalli's flawless knack for dialogue and talent for capturing the real, raw emotion of her characters make this book a spectacularly enjoyable read.

Buy it here.

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12. Flame in the Mist by Renée Ahdieh

What it's about: En route to her arranged marriage that will help her family, Mariko's carriage is ambushed by a group that calls itself the Black Clan. After the attack, everyone — including Mariko's family — believes her to be dead, but she survives. She then seeks revenge by dressing as a boy and attempting to join the Black Clan. Analytically minded, Mariko wants to unearth the motives behind the group's ambush. She becomes drawn to one member in particular, Okami, and begins to discover that the Black Clan is much different than she expected. Filled with strong female characters, action and adventure, and beautiful storytelling, Flame in the Mist offers a world you'll want to escape into for a long while.

Buy it here.

13. This Is Really Happening by Erin Chack

What it's about: This nonfiction collection of short stories includes funny and heartfelt passages about the ups and downs of writer Erin Chack's life. Her no-filter, no-bullshit way of discussing her cancer diagnosis as a teen and all the exceptionally hard things that come with it — from telling close friends the news to shaving her head — are told in a deeply personal and moving way. Other true stories about her adventures abroad and DivaCup misfortunes will have you laughing out loud. Chack's collection of personal essays are told in a compellingly addicting and honest voice, so much so that it almost feels like a best friend is confiding in you.

Buy it here.

[Editor's note: Erin Chack is a writer at BuzzFeed.]

14. Piecing Me Together by Renée Watson

What it's about: Jade accepts the opportunity to attend a mostly-white private school on the outskirts of her neighborhood. When she makes the decision to join Women to Women, a mentorship program, she at least expects to connect to her mentor, Maxine. She seems to think her personal life is more important that Women to Women, but maybe there are a few things Jade could potentially teach her. A smart story revolving around strong women, Renée's novel brilliantly focuses on topics of race, class, privilege, and friendship.

Buy it here.

15. Ramona Blue by Julie Murphy

What it's about: Set in Eulogy, a southern Mississippi town, Ramona "Blue" Leroux carries the weight of everyone else's stress on her shoulders. She's incredibly close with her older sister, Hattie, who's been knocked up by a guy who's not so responsible. Ramona, her sister, and their father live in a trailer that was supposed to be a temporary situation after they lost everything due to Hurricane Katrina, and Ramona feels the pressure to help be the breadwinner — especially with her sister's baby on the way. She's also struggling from her recent breakup with Grace and identifying as one of the only lesbians in her small town. When a childhood friend, Freddie, returns for their senior year, they both feel a quiet, growing attraction to each other, which leaves Ramona questioning her sexual identity and confusion over how she thought she'd defined herself. Murphy does a phenomenal job creating a gorgeously told coming-of-age story that features a strong sisterly bond, the importance of family, and figuring out how you fit in the world.

Buy it here.

16. Perfect Ten by L. Philips

What it's about: Sam hasn't dated anyone in two years, but definitely wouldn't say no if the perfect guy found him. When his Wiccan best friend, Meg, suggests they perform a love spell to help him get what he wants, he figures it can't hurt his chances. So Sam crafts a list of 10 traits he wants in his ideal guy, and as fate would have it, not one, but potentially four amazing guys end up finding their way into Sam's life. But the more Sam gets to know them, he begins to discover what his heart truly wants. Philips writes a fun, swoony, and romantic novel that honestly expresses the trials and tribulations of finding the right one.

Buy it here.

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17. Public Relations by Katie Heaney and Arianna Rebolini

What it's about: In Public Relations, Rose Reed is an up-and-coming publicist who suddenly finds herself tasked with revamping dreamy British pop star Archie Fox's image. While she stages a fake relationship between him and rising music star Raya, Rose begins to develop feelings for Archie and suspects he might like her back too. A fun, quirky read that's simply perfect for summer.

Buy it here.

[Editor's note: Heaney and Rebolini are both former BuzzFeed employees.]

18. Once and for All by Sarah Dessen

What it's about: Louna knows way too much about weddings. As the daughter of a mother who is a wedding planner, she's been surrounded by them nearly her entire life. So when it comes to love, Louna is very much the skeptic. Her first relationship and first love died tragically, and it's something Louna doesn't often talk about. But when she's forced to spend the summer with Ambrose — a boy who typically has a new girl for each day of the week — she doesn't expect to be fazed by him. Yet the more time they spend together, the more things begin to change. As a whole, Dessen crafts a wonderful, raw, emotional story of love and relationships that will have you savoring each and every page.

Buy it here.

19. Alex & Eliza by Melissa de la Cruz

What it's about: Set in 1777 New York, Elizabeth Schuyler and her sisters are to attend a grand ball thrown by their mother with hopes of finding husbands for them. Eliza has heard rumors of the young colonel Alexander Hamilton, but has never met him in person before. So when he shows up to attend the ball — and also deliver some unfortunate news — Alex and Eliza's love story begins. Hamilton fans will love this fictionalized, and delightfully charming, novel.

Buy it here.

20. Geekerella by Ashley Poston

What it's about: Elle Wittimer has been obsessed with the hit TV show Starfield for as long as she can remember. Before her parents passed, Starfield held a place in their hearts as well. In fact, Elle's dad was one of the founders of ExcelsiCon — a con dedicated to Starfield and other fandoms. Elle dreams of escaping her terrible stepmother and equally horrible stepsisters by entering the ExcelsiCon Cosplay Ball for a chance to win tickets to LA to meet Darien Freeman, who will play Federation Prince Carmindor in the Starfield reboot. Darien Freeman wants to prove to the world that he can fill the shoes of the last Carmindor, and in a twist of fate, we watch both Darien and Elle's worlds collide. This Cinderella-inspired contemporary novel will surely melt your heart and leave you wishing for your own fairy tale.

Buy it here.

21. How to Make a Wish by Ashley Herring Blake

What it's about: Grace hasn't exactly felt comfortable relying on her mom to be responsible. When her mother moves them into a new home with her current boyfriend — whose son happens to be Grace's ex — Grace simply has to endure. She has an important piano audition coming up, and her sights are set on graduation. Grace is confident in herself and her bisexuality, but when she is introduced to Eva, everything seems to change. Eva opens up to Grace about the death of her mother and, also, how she likes girls. Together, Grace and Eva learn the important aspects of trust, change, family, and love. You'll easily want to devour this lovely, heartwarming, and brilliant read.

Buy it here.

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