The best Young Adult books in July range from fantastic standalones to enthralling conclusions to beloved series. And if you haven’t already come to love these series (like Melissa Grey’s The Girl at Midnight and Maggie Hall’s The Conspiracy of Us), now you can pick up every single book to binge-read!
Another highlight this month is Ameriie’s Because You Love to Hate Me, a YA anthology that collects 13 short stories about misunderstood villains from top YA authors, including some Paste favorites like Adam Silvera, Cindy Pon, Susan Dennard and Victoria Schwab. So whether you’re looking for your next great beach read or a stack of books to enjoy in the comfort of air conditioning, July has you covered.
1. Coming Up for Air by Miranda Kenneally
Release Date: July 4th from Sourcebooks Fire
Why You’ll Love It: While you were busy having a family BBQ or watching fireworks on the Fourth of July, Miranda Kenneally was releasing the eigth and final book in her Hundred Oaks. In Coming Up for Air, we meet a swimmer with Olympic dreams who is trying to be a normal high schooler… and sparks fly when she meets a new boy.
For Fans of: YA books about sports and kissing, and for readers of Lauren Morrill (Being Sloane Jacobs), Kody Keplinger (Shut Out) or Caela Carter (Tumbling).
Description: Swim. Eat. Shower. School. Snack. Swim. Swim. Swim. Dinner. Homework. Bed. Repeat.
All of Maggie’s focus and free time is spent swimming. She’s not only striving to earn scholarships—she’s training to qualify for the Olympics. It helps that her best friend, Levi, is also on the team and cheers her on. But Levi’s already earned an Olympic try out, so she feels even more pressure to succeed. And it’s not until Maggie’s away on a college visit that she realizes how much of the “typical” high school experience she’s missed by being in the pool.
Not one to shy away from a challenge, Maggie decides to squeeze the most out of her senior year. First up? Making out with a guy. And Levi could be the perfect candidate. After all, they already spend a lot of time together. But as Maggie slowly starts to uncover new feelings for Levi, how much is she willing to lose to win?
2. Because You Love to Hate Me: 13 Tales of Villainy edited by Ameriie
Release Date: July 11th from Bloomsbury USA
Why You’ll Love It: This is one of the coolest YA anthologies I’ve ever seen. The editor? A Grammy-nominated singer. The contributors? Some of the biggest names in YA paired with some of the most popular BookTubers from around the Internet. With so many amazing people in the mix, you almost forget about the kick-ass stories waiting inside the book! And what are the stories about? Misunderstood villains. Yes. Please.
For Fans of:
anthologies, of course. And if you enjoy reading a lot of short stories from a bunch of writers (like Zombies vs. Unicorns from Holly Black and Slasher Girls and Monsters Boys from April Genevieve Tucholke).
Description: In this unique YA anthology, 13 acclaimed, bestselling authors team up with 13 influential BookTubers to reimagine fairy tales from the oft-misunderstood villains’ points of view.
These fractured, unconventional spins on classics like “Medusa,” Sherlock Holmes and “Jack and the Beanstalk” provide a behind-the-curtain look at villains’ acts of vengeance, defiance and rage—and the pain, heartbreak and sorrow that spurned them on. No fairy tale will ever seem quite the same again!
3. The Lake Effect by Erin McCahan
Release Date: July 11th from Dial Books
Why You’ll Love It: Written by RITA finalist Erin McCahan, this swoon-worthy novel follows a teen working what he thinks is a dream summer job—until he ends up attending funerals galore.
For Fans of: YA novels about summer and first love, like The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen.
Description: lake effect | n. 1. The effect of any lake, especially the Great Lakes, in modifying the weather in nearby areas
2. The effect of elderly ladies, mysterious girls, and countless funerals, in upending your life, one summer at the beach.
It’s the summer after his senior year, and driven, focused Briggs Henry is ready to leave behind his ex-girlfriend, his comically aggressive grandmother, and his parents’ money troubles for Lake Michigan and its miles of sandy beaches. He’s lined up a summer job working as a personal assistant and living in a gorgeous Victorian on the water—exactly the kind of house Briggs plans to buy his parents once he’s a multi-millionaire.
But when he arrives, his boss, the eccentric Mrs. Bosic, tells him to get dressed for her funeral. Uh . . . It’s the first of many funerals they’ll attend this summer—to hilarious and eye-opening effect. Add to this a new set of friends-cum-enemies-cum-friends-again, and Abigail, the mysterious girl next door on whom Briggs’s charms repeatedly fail, and “the lake effect” is beginning to take on a whole new meaning.
4. The Savage Dawn by Melissa Grey
Release Date: July 11th from Delacorte Press
Why You’ll Love It: It’s time to say goodbye, my friends. Echo’s adventures in the magical world that exists alongside ours is coming to an end with the final book in the Girl at Midnight trilogy. Echo quickly discovers that there’s far more to her than her seemingly humble beginnings, and she’s thrust into a war between two mythical races.
For Fans of: Books by Kate Elliot (Court of Fives), Cassandra Clare (City of Bones) or Courtney Alameda (Shutter).
Description: Echo awakened the Firebird. Now she is the only one with the power to face the darkness she unwittingly unleashed . . . right into the waiting hands of Tanith, the new Dragon Prince. Tanith has one goal in mind: destroy her enemies, raze their lands, and reign supreme in a new era where the Drakharin are almighty and the Avicen are nothing but a memory.
The war that has been brewing for centuries is finally imminent. But the scales are tipped. Echo might hold the power to face the darkness within the Dragon Prince, but she has far to go to master its overwhelming force. And now she’s plagued by uncertainty. With Caius no longer by her side, she doesn’t know if she can do it alone. Is she strong enough to save her home and the people she loves?
5. This Is How It Happened by Paula Stokes
Release Date: July 11th from HarperTeen
Why You’ll Love It: Paula Stokes is one of those Young Adult authors who jumps genres, yet she succeeds in being a master of whatever she touches. From thrillers to sci-fi to sunny YA contemporary, her catalogue is a mixed bookshelf of awesome. And with her latest, Stokes adds another to that stack. This Is How It Happened is a moving story about Internet fame and guilt that’s as gripping as it is beautifully written.
For Fans of: Books by Courtney Stevens and Courtney Summers.
Description: When Genevieve Grace wakes up from a coma, she can’t remember the car crash that injured her and killed her boyfriend Dallas, a YouTube star who had just released his first album. Genevieve knows she was there, and that there was another driver, a man named Brad Freeman, who everyone assumes is guilty. But as she slowly pieces together the night of the accident, Genevieve is hit with a sickening sense of dread—that maybe she had something to do with what happened.
As the Internet rages against Brad Freeman, condemning him in a brutal trial by social media, Genevieve escapes to her father’s house, where she can hide from reporters and spend the summer volunteering in beautiful Zion National Park. But she quickly realizes that she can’t run away from the accident, or the terrible aftermath of it all.