There are so many amazing Young Adult books hitting shelves this month. We’ve got a little bit of everything, from highly anticipated sequels (like Victoria’s Schwab’s excellent Our Dark Duet) to epic standalone tomes (like Mackenzi Lee’s The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue). My favorite new YA series of the year also debuted this month, and you’ll want to pay attention as Cindy Pon’s Want duology makes waves across the book world.
Let’s dig in.
1. Once and for All by Sarah Dessen
Release Date: June 6th from Viking Books for Young Readers
Why You’ll Love It: Because it’s a Sarah Dessen novel, and her books are like getting a hug from your best friend. Once and for All focuses on the teen daughter of a famous wedding planner, delivering a charming, warm story about love lost and found.
For Fans of: Great YA contemporary romance from writers like Lauren Morrill, Stephanie Perkins and Kasie West.
Description: Louna, daughter of famed wedding planner Natalie Barrett, has seen every sort of wedding: on the beach, at historic mansions, in fancy hotels and clubs. Perhaps that’s why she’s cynical about happily-ever-after endings, especially since her own first love ended tragically. When Louna meets charming, happy-go-lucky serial dater Ambrose, she holds him at arm’s length. But Ambrose isn’t about to be discouraged now that he’s met the one girl he really wants.
2. Tash Hearts Tolstoy by Kathryn Ormsbee
Release Date: June 6th from Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Why You’ll Love It: Look at that cover. Kathryn Ormsbee’s Tash Hearts Tolstoy isn’t just a story that demands to be read, it’s a book that demands to be on your shelf. And don’t worry; the story inside is just as amazing as the gorgeous cover. A novel that explores the joys and frustrations of Internet fame, Tash Hearts Tolstoy is delightfully bookish and even sexy.
For Fans of: The literary joys of Anne Blankman’s Traitor Angels and the social media explosions found in Jilly Gagnon’s #Famous.
Description: After a shout-out from one of the Internet’s superstar vloggers, Natasha “Tash” Zelenka finds herself and her obscure, amateur web series, Unhappy Families, thrust into the limelight. She’s gone viral.
Her show is a modern adaptation of Anna Karenina—written by Tash’s literary love Count Lev Nikolayevich “Leo” Tolstoy. Tash is a fan of the 40,000 new subscribers, their gushing tweets and flashy Tumblr GIFs. Not so much the pressure to deliver the best web series ever. And when Unhappy Families is nominated for a Golden Tuba award, Tash’s cyber-flirtation with Thom Causer, a fellow award nominee, suddenly has the potential to become something IRL—if she can figure out how to tell said crush that she’s a romantic asexual.
3. The Unlikelies by Carrie Firestone
Release Date: June 6th from Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Why You’ll Love It: There are many YA novels about Internet fame starting to surface, and I am all about this trend. Especially when an author like Carrie Firestone takes it in a wild direction. Instead of focusing on one teen gone viral and becoming a hero, she introduces five. The Unlikelies is a story about friendships, romance and doing what’s right… even when the right thing is incredibly challenging.
For Fans of: Books by Emma Mills, Kathryn Holmes and Michelle Andreani.
Description: Sadie is not excited for the summer before her senior year. It will be her first without her college-bound best friend and (now ex-) boyfriend by her side, so Sadie braces herself for a long, lonely and boring season working at a farm stand in the Hamptons. But things take an unexpected turn when Sadie steps in to help rescue a baby in peril and footage of her impromptu good deed goes viral.
As she’s recovering from “the incident” and adjusting to her Internet fame, Sadie receives an invitation to a lunch honoring teen heroes. The five honorees instantly connect and soon decide to spend their time together righting local wrongs. Sadie and her new friends embark on escalating acts of vigilante Good Samaritanism, but might be in over their heads when they try to help a heroin-addicted friend. Are good intentions enough to hold unlikely friendships—and an even unlikelier new romance—together?
4. Be True to Me by Adele Griffin
Release Date: June 13th from Algonquin Young Readers
Why You’ll Love It: There are a handful of authors whose new books I’ll instantly buy, and Adele Griffin is one of them. From her experimental The Unfinished Life of Addison Stone to her National Book Award-finalist Where I Want To Be, her entire catalog is full of amazing reads. And her latest is a YA contemporary novel with a little bit of a historic bent (though it is weird to think of 1976 as historic, but here we are in 2017). Be True to Me is a story of wealthy families, high stakes competitions and plenty of swoons.
For Fans of: The time era of Burn Baby Burn by Meg Medina, the wealth and the drama of Great by Sara Benincasa, and maybe a little bit of the sports splashes from Miranda Kenneally’s Thousand Oaks series.
Description: It’s the summer of 1976 on Fire Island, where feathered hair and the Bicentennial celebration reign. Jean, a sometimes cruel, often insecure and always envious rich girl, is accustomed to living in her glamorous older sister’s shadow. So when Gil Burke, a handsome newcomer with uncertain ties to one of the most powerful families in the exclusive enclave of Sunken Haven, notices Jean—not her sister—Jean is smitten.
Then Fritz, a girl from outside the gilded gates who humiliated Jean in the Island’s tennis championship last year, falls for Gil herself. Soon the girls are competing for much more than a tennis trophy, with higher stakes than either of them can imagine.
5. Obsidian and Stars by Julie Eshbaugh
Release Date: June 13th from HarperTeen
Why You’ll Love It: The sequel to Ivory and Bone, Obsidian and Stars picks up after a massive battle between two warring tribes of prehistoric humans. Yep, Julie Eshbaugh takes readers way back in time, telling a story that’s Pride & Prejudice meets prehistoric fantasy. The world building is spectacular, and I’m anxiously waiting for book three next year.
For Fans of: It’s hard to find a solid comparative title for this one. If you liked the historical romance of Stacey Lee and Nicole Castroman, and maybe have a soft spot for Michael Crichton, this is absolutely for you.
Description: After surviving the chaotic battle that erupted after Lo and the Bosha clan attacked, now Mya is looking ahead to her future with Kol. All the things that once felt so uncertain are finally falling into place. But the same night as Kol and Mya’s betrothal announcement, Mya’s brother Chev reveals his plan to marry his youngest sister Lees to his friend Morsk. The only way to avoid this terrible turn of events, Morsk informs Mya when he corners her later, is for Mya to take Lees’ place and marry him herself.
Refusing to marry anyone other than her beloved, and in an effort to protect her sister, Mya runs away to a secret island with Lees. And though it seems like the safest place to hide until things back home blow over, Mya soon realizes she’s been followed. Lurking deep in the recesses of this dangerous place are rivals from Mya’s past whose thirst for revenge exceeds all reason. With the lives of her loved ones on the line, Mya must make a move before the enemies of her past become the undoing of her future.
6. Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab
Release Date: June 13th from Greenwillow Books
Why You’ll Love It: I adored the first book in Victoria Schwab’s duology, This Savage Song. So much so that it made it onto Paste’s list of the best Young Adult books of 2016.Schwab’s second novel picks up right where the first left off, and fans will find a lot to love thanks to its music and poetry—not to mention the terrifying world that Schwab has crafted and her ongoing quest to answer one major question: Are humans the real monsters in our world?
For Fans of: The powerful friendships and awe-inspiring magic found in Truthwitch by Susan Dennard, blended with the world building and banter of Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo.
Description: Kate Harker is a girl who isn’t afraid of the dark. She’s a girl who hunts monsters. And she’s good at it.
August Flynn is a monster who can never be human, no matter how much he once yearned for it. He’s a monster with a part to play. And he will play it, no matter the cost.
Nearly six months after Kate and August were first thrown together, the war between the monsters and the humans is now a terrifying reality. In Verity, August has become the leader he never wished to be, and in Prosperity, Kate has become the ruthless hunter she always knew she could be. When a new monster emerges from the shadows—one who feeds on chaos and brings out its victim’s inner demons—it lures Kate home, where she finds more than she bargained for. She’ll face a monster she thought she killed, a boy she thought she knew and a demon all of her own making.
7. Want by Cindy Pon
Release Date: June 13th from Simon Pulse
Why You’ll Love It: This is a novel (and a series, since Cindy Pon recently announced a second book) that I will be talking about for the next few years. My absolute favorite novel of 2017 so far, Want takes readers to a futuristic Taipei where the world’s climate has left everyone under a constant fog of smog and disease. The wealthy can live just fine in exo-suits, but not everyone is that well off—including Pon’s bold protagonist. From the Blade-Runner-esque world building to the heart-pounding stakes, Want will stick with you long after you’ve finished it.
For Fans of: The environmental themes found in Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis, Empty by Suzanne Weyn and Breathe by Sarah Crossan, blended with the near-future sci-fi dystopia of Erin Bow (especially in The Prisoners of Peace series).
Description: Jason Zhou survives in a divided society where the elite use their wealth to buy longer lives. The rich wear special suits that protect them from the pollution and viruses that plague the city, while those without them suffer illness and early deaths. Frustrated by his city’s corruption and still grieving the loss of his mother, who died as a result of the pollution, Zhou is determined to change things, no matter the cost.
With the help of his friends, Zhou infiltrates the lives of the wealthy in hopes of destroying the international Jin Corporation from within. Jin Corp not only manufactures the special suits the rich rely on, but they may also be manufacturing the pollution that makes them necessary. Yet the deeper Zhou delves into this new world of excess and wealth, the more muddled his plans become. Against his better judgment, Zhou finds himself falling for Daiyu, the daughter of Jin Corp’s CEO. Can Zhou save his city without compromising who he is or destroying his own heart?
8. The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee
Release Date: June 13th from Katherine Tegen Books
Why You’ll Love It: An exciting, historical YA novel that features teens zipping around Europe and getting into all sorts of trouble? Sounds fun. But throw some romance into it, with two boys trying to figure out whether their friendship is something more, and you’ve got me sold. Adventure and swooning abound in this epic from Mackenzi Lee.
For Fans of: The jet-setting thrills and heavy swoons found in The Conspiracy of Us by Maggie Hall.
Description: Henry “Monty” Montague was born and bred to be a gentleman, but he was never one to be tamed. The finest boarding schools in England and the constant disapproval of his father haven’t been able to curb any of his roguish passions—not for gambling halls, late nights spent with a bottle of spirits or waking up in the arms of strange women or men.
But as Monty embarks on his grand tour of Europe, his quest for a life filled with pleasure and vice is in danger of coming to an end. Not only does his father expect him to take over the family’s estate upon his return, but Monty is also nursing an impossible crush on his best friend and traveling companion, Percy.
Still it isn’t in Monty’s nature to give up. Even with his younger sister, Felicity, in tow, he vows to make this yearlong escapade one last hedonistic hurrah and flirt with Percy from Paris to Rome. But when one of Monty’s reckless decisions turns their trip abroad into a harrowing manhunt that spans across Europe, it calls into question everything he knows, including his relationship with the boy he adores.
9. Girl on the Verge by Pintip Dunn
Release Date: June 27th from Kensington
Why You’ll Love It: The New York Times-bestselling, RITA-award winning author is back with another novel that highlights her expert ability to weave together mystery and romance. Girl on the Verge is a compelling thriller about a teen girl struggling to figure out where she really belongs. It delivers intensity and excitement while tackling race and toxic relationships.
For Fans of:
I Was Here by Gayle Forman and Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver.
Description: In her small Kansas town, at her predominantly white school, Kanchana doesn’t look like anyone else. But at home, her Thai grandmother chides her for being too Westernized. Only through the clothing Kan designs in secret can she find a way to fuse both cultures into something distinctly her own.
When her mother agrees to provide a home for a teenage girl named Shelly, Kan sees a chance to prove herself useful. Making Shelly feel comfortable is easy at first—her new friend is eager to please, embraces the family’s Thai traditions and clearly looks up to Kan. Perhaps too much. Shelly seems to want everything Kanchana has, even the blond, blue-eyed boy she has a crush on. As Kan’s growing discomfort compels her to investigate Shelly’s past, she’s shocked to find how much it intersects with her own—and just how far Shelly will go to belong to Kan’s family.
10. If Birds Fly Back by Carlie Sorosiak
Release Date: June 27th from HarperTeen
Why You’ll Love It: When you drop science geeks into a YA novel and throw in a little mystery, you’re guaranteed to get me totally hooked. There’s plenty to love in Carlie Sorosiaks’ shifting-POV novel about families, friendships and learning to let go.
For Fans of: Books by Jandy Nelson and Emery Lord, as well as Relativity by Cristin Bishara.
Description: Linny has been fascinated by disappearances, ever since her sister Grace ran away in the middle of the night without saying goodbye. Sebastian can tell you how many galaxies there are and knows how much plutonium weighs. But the one thing he can’t figure out is the identity of his birth father. They’ve never met, but Linny and Sebastian have one thing in common: an obsession with famous novelist and filmmaker Alvaro Herrera, who went missing three years ago and has just reappeared. As they learn more about the mystery of Alvaro, Linny and Sebastian uncover the answers they’ve been searching for.
Looking for even more Young Adult novel recommendations? Check out Paste’s lists of the best YA books of 2016 and the most anticipated YA books of 2017.