The best Young Adult books of June will make you forget about diving into the ocean this summer and will leave you wanting to dive into a captivating novel instead. From new titles in our favorite YA fantasy series to debut novels from future stars, there are many books to get excited about this month.
1. Bruja Born by Zoraida Córdova
Release Date: June 5th from Sourcebooks Fire
Why You’ll Love It: We called Córdova’s Labyrinth Lost the best new series of 2016, and now she’s back with a sequel. If you slept on this diverse, inclusive, stunning fantasy novel about family and friendship, fix that post haste. And be sure to catch Córdova this summer on tour with Dhonielle Clayton for the Belles and Brujas tour.
For Fans of: Diverse fantasy novels by authors like Kendare Blake and Julie C. Dao.
Description: Lula Mortiz feels like an outsider. Her sister’s newfound Encantrix powers have wounded her in ways that Lula’s bruja healing powers can’t fix, and she longs for the comfort her family once brought her. Thank the Deos for Maks, her sweet, steady boyfriend who sees the beauty within her and brings light to her life.
Then a bus crash turns Lula’s world upside down. Her classmates are all dead, including Maks. But Lula was born to heal, to fix. She can bring Maks back, even if it means seeking help from her sisters and defying Death herself. But magic that defies the laws of the Deos is dangerous. Unpredictable. And when the dust settles, Maks isn’t the only one who’s been brought back…
2. Mariam Sharma Hits the Road by Sheba Karim
Release Date: June 5th from HarperTeen
Why You’ll Love It: There are many reasons why I’m excited for another book by Sheba Karim. Her earlier novels, Skunk Girl and last year’s That Thing We Call a Heart, are absolutely fantastic. But I was recently talking to a friend about the lack of road trip novels featuring teens of color, and Mariam Sharma Hits the Road fills that void. A diverse, college road trip novel? Yes!
For Fans of: YA road trip novels by authors like Morgan Matson and David Arnold.
Description: The summer after her freshman year in college, Mariam is looking forward to working and hanging out with her best friends: irrepressible and beautiful Ghazala and religious but closeted Umar. But when a scandalous photo of Ghaz appears on a billboard in Times Square, Mariam and Umar come up with a plan to rescue her from her furious parents. And what better escape than New Orleans?
The friends pile into Umar’s car and start driving south, making all kinds of pit stops along the way—from a college drag party to a Muslim convention, from alarming encounters at roadside diners to honky-tonks and barbeque joints.
Along with the adventures, the fun banter and the gas station junk food, the friends have some hard questions to answer on the road. With her uncle’s address in her pocket, Mariam hopes to learn the truth about her father (and to make sure she didn’t inherit his talent for disappearing). But as each mile of the road trip brings them closer to their own truths, they know they can rely on each other, and laughter, to get them through.
3. Save the Date by Morgan Matson
Release Date: June 5th with Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Why You’ll Love It: There’s something so perfect and summery about a Morgan Matson book, and her latest is no different. Matson writes YA contemporary that feels like a warm hug, so get ready to laugh and swoon while reading Save the Date.
For Fans of: Authors like Lauren Gibaldi, Jenny Han and Stephanie Perkins.
Description: Charlie Grant’s older sister is getting married this weekend at their family home, and Charlie can’t wait. For the first time in years, all four of her older siblings will be under one roof. Charlie is desperate for one last perfect weekend, before the house is sold and everything changes. The house will be filled with jokes and games and laughs again. Making decisions about things like what college to attend and reuniting with longstanding crush Jesse Foster—all that can wait. She wants to focus on making the weekend perfect.
The only problem? The weekend is shaping up to be an absolute disaster.
There’s an unexpected dog with a penchant for howling, a house alarm that won’t stop going off and a papergirl with a grudge.
There are the relatives who aren’t speaking, the (awful) girl her favorite brother brought home unannounced and a missing tuxedo.
Not to mention the neighbor who seems to be bent on sabotage and a storm that is bent on drenching everything. The justice of the peace is missing. The band will only play covers. The guests are all crazy. And the wedding planner’s nephew is unexpectedly, distractingly…cute.
Over the course of three ridiculously chaotic days, Charlie will learn more than she ever expected about the family she thought she knew by heart. And she’ll realize that sometimes, trying to keep everything like it was in the past means missing out on the future.
4. Smoke in the Sun by Renée Ahdieh
Release Date: June 5th from G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Why You’ll Love It: The sequel to Ahdieh’s bestselling Flame in the Mist, Smoke in the Sun delivers another exciting high fantasy sure to keep you enthralled. This novel concludes the duology, and you can inhale both of Ahdieh’s riveting books in a weekend.
For Fans of: Authors like Marie Rutkoski, Rae Carson and Alwyn Hamilton.
Description: After Okami is captured in the Jukai forest, Mariko has no choice—to rescue him, she must return to Inako and face the dangers that have been waiting for her in the Heian Castle. She tricks her brother, Kenshin, and betrothed, Raiden, into thinking she was being held by the Black Clan against her will, playing the part of the dutiful bride-to-be to infiltrate the emperor’s ranks and uncover the truth behind the betrayal that almost left her dead.
With the wedding plans already underway, Mariko pretends to be consumed with her upcoming nuptials, all the while using her royal standing to peel back the layers of lies and deception surrounding the imperial court. But each secret she unfurls gives way to the next, ensnaring Mariko and Okami in a political scheme that threatens their honor, their love and the very safety of the empire
5. Running with Lions by Julian Winters
Release Date: June 7th from Duet Books
Why You’ll Love It: You don’t want to miss out on this indie darling of a YA novel, an LGBTQ+ debut that’s packed full of swoons. Running with Lions is a diverse sports romance that’s sure to capture your heat and deliver one of the most delightful reads this summer.
For Fans of: Authors like Becky Albertalli and Kody Keplinger
Description: Bloomington High School Lions’ star goalie, Sebastian Hughes, should be excited about his senior year: His teammates are amazing and he’s got a coach who doesn’t ask anyone to hide their sexuality. But when his estranged childhood best friend Emir Shah shows up to summer training camp, Sebastian realizes the team’s success may end up in the hands of the one guy who hates him. Determined to reconnect with Emir for the sake of the Lions, he sets out to regain Emir’s trust. But to Sebastian’s surprise, sweaty days on the pitch, wandering the town’s streets and bonding on the weekends sparks more than just friendship between them.
6. A Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa Tahir
Release Date: June 12th from Razorbill
Why You’ll Love It: Because it’s the latest book in Sabaa Tahir’s amazing An Ember in the Ashes series! If you’re unfamiliar with this thrilling fantasy series, you are in for a treat. From the diverse cast to the lush world to the pulse-pounding excitement on every page, there are a million things to love about Tahir’s books.
For Fans of: High stakes fantasy adventures by authors like Renée Ahdieh, Leigh Bardugo and Kendare Blake.
Description: Beyond the Empire and within it, the threat of war looms ever larger.
The Blood Shrike, Helene Aquilla, is assailed on all sides. Emperor Marcus, haunted by his past, grows increasingly unstable, while the Commandant capitalizes on his madness to bolster her own power. As Helene searches for a way to hold back the approaching darkness, her sister’s life and the lives of all those in the Empire hang in the balance.
Far to the east, Laia of Serra knows the fate of the world lies not in the machinations of the Martial court, but in stopping the Nightbringer. But while hunting for a way to bring him down, Laia faces unexpected threats from those she hoped would aid her and is drawn into a battle she never thought she’d have to fight.
And in the land between the living and the dead, Elias Veturius has given up his freedom to serve as Soul Catcher. But in doing so, he has vowed himself to an ancient power that will stop at nothing to ensure Elias’s devotion—even at the cost of his humanity.
7. Chemistry Lessons by Meredith Goldstein
Release Date: June 19th by HMH Books for Young Readers
Why You’ll Love It: If you love Meredith Goldstein’s advice column at The Boston Globe, then you’ll be excited to learn that her first YA novel is here. Chemistry Lessons follows a brilliant teen who’s trying to develop a chemical compound that’ll help her with her love life. There’s science, swooning and a clever love story, making this one a must-read.
For Fans of: Authors like Jenny Han and Katie Cortungo.
Description: For 17-year-old Maya, the equation for happiness is simple: a dream internship at MIT two new science nerd friends a perfect boyfriend = one amazing summer. Then Whit dumps her out of the blue.
Maya is miserable until she discovers that her scientist mother, before she died, was conducting research on manipulating pheromones to enhance human attraction. If Maya can finish her mother’s work, maybe she can get Whit back. But when her experiment creates chaos in her love life, she realizes that maybe love and loss can’t be understood using the scientific method. Can she learn to trust the unmeasurables of love and attraction instead?
8. Not the Girls You’re Looking For by Aminah Mae Safi
Release Date: June 19th from Feiwel & Friends
Why You’ll Love It: Novels about struggles with identity and culture have a big place in my heart, and Safi’s book delivers that in this gripping novel. If you’re eager to read more from this bright new voice, keep an eye out for Lamar Giles’ anthology Fresh Ink, which features a short story from Safi (and celebrated YA authors like Daniel José Older, Jason Reynolds, Nicola Yoon and Malinda Lo).
For Fans of: Authors like Sandhya Menon and Nisha Sharma.
Description: Lulu Saad doesn’t need your advice, thank you very much. She’s got her three best friends, and nothing can stop her from conquering the known world. Sure, for half a minute she thought she’d nearly drowned a cute guy at a party, but he was totally faking it. And fine, yes, she caused a scene during Ramadan. It’s all under control. Ish.
Except maybe this time she’s done a little more damage than she realizes. And if Lulu can’t find her way out of this mess soon, she’ll have to do more than repair friendships, family alliances and wet clothing. She’ll have to go looking for herself.
9. A Thousand Beginnings and Endings edited by Ellen Oh and Elsie Chapman
Release Date: June 26th from Greenwillow Books
Why You’ll Love It: This has been a fantastic year for YA anthologies, and A Thousand Beginnings and Endings is my favorite. Featuring an amazing list of authors (including Aisha Saeed, Cindy Pon and Roshani Chokshi) and two rock-star editors, this book boasts 15 brilliant retellings of Asian myths and legends. Standouts include Preeti Chhibber’s gorgeous short, for which this collection is named.
For Fans of: Anthologies like last year’s Meet Cute.
Description: Star-crossed lovers, meddling immortals, feigned identities, battles of wits and dire warnings. These are the stuff of fairy tale, myth and folklore that have drawn us in for centuries.
Fifteen bestselling and acclaimed authors reimagine the folklore and mythology of East and South Asia in short stories that are by turns enchanting, heartbreaking, romantic and passionate. Compiled by We Need Diverse Books’s Ellen Oh and Elsie Chapman, the authors included in this exquisite collection are: Renee Ahdieh, Sona Charaipotra, Preeti Chhibber, Roshani Chokshi, Aliette de Bodard, Melissa de la Cruz, Julie Kagawa, Rahul Kanakia, Lori M. Lee, E. C. Myers, Cindy Pon, Aisha Saeed, Shveta Thakrar and Alyssa Wong.
A mountain loses her heart. Two sisters transform into birds to escape captivity. A young man learns the true meaning of sacrifice. A young woman takes up her mother’s mantle and leads the dead to their final resting place. From fantasy to science fiction to contemporary, from romance to tales of revenge, these stories will beguile readers from start to finish.
10. Your Destination Is on the Left by Lauren Spieller
Release Date: June 26th from Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Why You’ll Love It: This exciting debut follows a teenager who lives in an RV with her family and dreams of art school. Spieller’s novel is a fantastic take on the “I want out of this small town” trope, because instead of wanting to travel, Spieller’s protagonist wants to stay in one place….maybe. There’s a lot to love in this charming and heartbreaking debut from an author you’ll want to watch.
For Fans of: Authors like Nina LaCour and Lauren Gibaldi.
Description: Dessa Rhodes is a modern day nomad. Her family travels in an RV, their lives defined by state lines, exit signs and the small communal caravan they call home. Among them is Cyrus, her best friend and long-time crush, with whom she knows she can never be. When your families are perpetually linked, it’s too dangerous to take a risk on romance.
Instead, Dessa looks to the future. She wants to be a real artist and going to art school is her ticket to success and a new life. There’s just one problem: she hasn’t been accepted…anywhere. Suddenly her future is wide open, and it looks like she’s going to be stuck traveling forever.
Then an unexpected opportunity presents itself: an internship working with a local artist in Santa Fe. Dessa struggles to prove to her boss—and herself—that she belongs there, but just as she finally hits her stride, her family suffers an unexpected blow. Faced with losing everything that she has worked for, Dessa has a difficult decision to make. Will she say goodbye to her nomadic lifestyle and the boy she loves? Or will she choose to never stop moving?