The Best New YA Books of June 2023

Books Lists young adult
The Best New YA Books of June 2023

Peak Reading Season is upon us, and it’s a truth universally acknowledged that as the summer-y days get longer the natural human urge to sneak outside with a good book gets stronger. Whether that means lounging in the backyard, eating lunch in a park, or spending the day poolside, there’s no genre with more variety right now than YA, which is bursting with stories for literally every kind of young adult reader (whether or not they’re actually young adults themselves).

The mix of YA titles coming to bookstores this month is particularly eclectic, with queer romances, chilling horror tales, timely contemporary stories tackling real-world issues, and a dash of dark fantasy on top. 

Here are our picks for the best YA books arriving at a bookstore near you this June. 


Darkhearts cover YA Book June 2023

Darkhearts by James L. Sutter

Release Date: June 6 from Wednesday Books

Why You’ll Love It: Fantasy author James L. Sutter tries his hand at YA romance with this tale of two former bandmates—one who quit before their group hit it big, and the other, who was part of the biggest pop act in America. But when a mutual friend dies of alcohol poisoning, they’re thrown back together, and may just get another chance at both fame and each other. 

Publisher’s Description: When David quit his band, he missed his shot at fame. For the past two years, he’s been trapped in an ordinary Seattle high school life, working summers for his dad’s construction business while his former best friends Chance and Eli became the hottest teen pop act in America.

Then Eli dies. Suddenly David and Chance are thrown back into contact, forcing David to rediscover all the little things that once made the two of them so close, even as he continues to despise the singer’s posturing and attention-hogging. As old wounds break open, an unexpected kiss leads the boys to trade frenemy status for a confusing, tentative romance—one Chance is desperate to keep out of the spotlight. Though hurt by Chance’s refusal to acknowledge him publicly, David decides their new relationship presents a perfect opportunity for him to rejoin the band and claim the celebrity he’s been denied. But Chance is all too familiar with people trying to use him.

As the mixture of business and pleasure becomes a powder keg, David will have to choose: Is this his second chance at glory? Or his second chance at Chance?


Some Shall Break cover New YA Book June 2023

Some Shall Break by Ellie Marney

Release Date: June 6 from Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Why You’ll Love It: The follow-up to 2020’s underrated teen YA thriller None Shall Sleep, Some Shall Break reunites junior FBI consultants Emma Lewis and Travis Bell on a new case with a chilling connection to Emma’s past. Fast-paced, full of dread, and surprisingly thoughtful in its handling of trauma and PTSD, this sequel may surpass its predecessor.

Publisher’s Description: After a harrowingly close contact with juvenile sociopath Simon Gutmunsson, junior FBI consultants Emma Lewis and Travis Bell went their separate Emma rejected her Quantico offer and Travis stayed to train within a new unit of the FBI Behavioral Science division. But the unit’s latest case is feeling eerily familiar and Kristin Gutmunsson—Simon Gutmunsson’s eccentric twin—reaches out to Travis to send a Emma is in peril.

When Travis and Kristin turn up evidence that points back to Daniel Huxton, the serial killer that Emma had escaped, things become more complicated. With a copycat on the loose, Emma returns to Quantico and is thrown back into her past traumas. Compelled to prevent more tragedy—even if it means putting herself in danger—Emma turns to Simon for help once again. But Simon is keeping secrets that could impact their entire investigation. Will the team be able to stop the Huxton copycat before time runs out for his next victims?


Saint Juniper's Folly cover New YA Book June 2023

Saint Juniper’s Folly by Alex Crespo

Release Date: June 6 from Peachtree Teen

Why You’ll Love It: Any book that’s described as a mix of Cemetery Boys and The Haunting of Bly Manor pretty much immediately has my attention. 

Publisher’s Description: For Jaime, returning to the tiny Vermont town of Saint Juniper means returning to a past he’s spent eight years trying to forget. After shuttling between foster homes, he hopes he can make something out of this fresh start. But every gossip in town already knows his business, and with reminders of his past everywhere, he seeks out solitude into the nearby woods, called Saint Juniper’s Folly, and does not return.

For Theo, Saint Juniper means being stuck. He knows there’s more out there, but he’s scared to go find it. His senior year is going to be like all the rest, dull and claustrophobic. That is until he wanders into the Folly and stumbles on a haunted house with an acerbic yet handsome boy stuck—as in physically stuck—inside.

For Taylor, Saint Juniper is a mystery. The surrounding woods speak to her, while she tries—and fails—to practice the magic her dad banned from the house after her mother died. Taylor can’t seem break out of her spiral of grief, until a wide-eyed teenager barges into her life, rambling on about a haunted house, a trapped boy, and ghosts. He needs a witch.

The Folly and its ghosts will bring these three teenagers together. But they will each have to face their own internal struggles in order to forge a bond strong enough to escape the Folly’s shadows.


The Dos and Donuts of Love Summer 2023 LGBTQ YA Books
The Dos and Donuts of Love by Adiba Jaigirdar

Release Date: June 6 from Feiwel and Friends

Why You’ll Love It: I remain grateful to The Great British Bake-Off for many things – Mary Berry! Victoria sponge! — but especially for the subsequent rise in fiction (in multiple genres!) that is set at baking competitions. This one, a super sweet tale of a Bangladeshi-Irish teen who lands a spot on the Junior Irish Baking Show is full of joy.

Publisher’s Description: Shireen Malik is still reeling from the breakup with her ex-girlfriend, Chris, when she receives news that she’s been accepted as a contestant on a new televised baking competition show. This is Shireen’s dream come true! Because winning will not only mean prize money, but it will also bring some much-needed attention to You Drive Me Glazy, her parents’ beloved donut shop.

Things get complicated, though, because Chris is also a contestant on the show. Then there’s the very outgoing Niamh, a fellow contestant who is becoming fast friends with Shireen. Things are heating up between them, and not just in the kitchen.

As the competition intensifies, Shireen will have to ignore all these factors and more― including potential sabotage―if she wants a sweet victory!


Always Isnt Forever cover New YA Book June 2023
Always Isn’t Forever by J.C. Cervantes

Release Date: June 6 from Razorbill

Why You’ll Love It: A story of young love, death, grief, and second chances, this soulmate bond romance is a summer tearjerker that will appeal to everyone who loved You’ve Reached Sam.

Publisher’s Description: Best friends and soul mates since they were kids, Hart Augusto and Ruby Armenta were poised to take on senior year together when Hart tragically drowns in a boating accident. Absolutely shattered, Ruby struggles to move on from the person she knows was her forever love.

Hart can’t let go of Ruby either…. Due to some divine intervention, he’s offered a second chance. Only it won’t be as simple as bringing him back to life–instead, Hart’s soul is transferred to the body of local bad boy.

When Hart returns to town as Jameson, he realizes that winning Ruby back will be more challenging than he’d imagined. For one, he’s forbidden from telling Ruby the truth. And with each day he spends as Jameson, memories of his life as Hart begin to fade away.

Though Ruby still mourns Hart, she can’t deny that something is drawing her to Jameson. As much as she doesn’t understand the sudden pull, it can’t be ignored. And why does he remind her so much of Hart? Desperate to see if the connection she feels is real, Ruby begins to open her heart to Jameson–but will their love be enough to bridge the distance between them?


Going Bicoastal cover queer YA New June 2023

Going Bicoastal by Dahlia Adler

Release Date: June 13 from Wednesday Books

Why You’ll Love It: This queer Sliding Doors-style rom-com offers some incredibly well-done bisexual representation by showing us the two paths one girl’s life—and romantic future—might take, depending on which coast she decides to spend a summer on. Staying in New York with her dad means a chance to go after the girl she’s always wanted. But going to L.A. to see her estranged mom means will introduce her to a boy she never expected. Dahlia Adler’s alternating timeline romp allows us to have the best of both worlds.

Publisher’s Description: Natalya Fox has twenty-four hours to make the biggest choice of her life: stay home in NYC for the summer with her dad (and finally screw up the courage to talk to the girl she’s been crushing on), or spend it with her basically estranged mom in LA (knowing this is the best chance she has to fix their relationship if she even wants to.) (Does she want to?)

How’s a girl supposed to choose?

She can’t, and so both summers play out in alternating timelines – one in which Natalya explores the city, tries to repair things with her mom, works on figuring out her future, and goes for the girl she’s always wanted. And one in which Natalya explores the city, tries to repair things with her mom, works on figuring out her future, and goes for the guy she never saw coming.


A Crooked Mark cover New YA Book June 2023

A Crooked Mark by Linda Kao

Release Date: June 20 from Razorbill

Why You’ll Love It: A dark coming-of-age story that mixes supernatural thrills with psychological horror, A Crooked Mark is like little else being released this month. When a teenager who is part of a secret organization dedicated to executing those marked by Lucifer starts to fall for one of his targets — a girl who miraculously survived a deadly car accident — he’ll have to reckon with both his own worldview and the bad he has done in its name.

Publisher’s Description: Rae Winter should be dead.

Some say that walking away from the car crash that killed her dad is a miracle, but seventeen-year-old Matthew Watts knows that the forces of Good aren’t the only ones at work. The devil, Lucifer himself, can mark a soul about to pass on, sending it back to the land of the living to carry out his evil will.

Matt has grown up skipping from town to town alongside his father hunting anyone who has this mark. They have one Find these people, and exterminate them.

After helping his father for years, Matt takes on his own Rae Winter, miracle survivor. But when Matt starts to fall for Rae, to make friends for the first time in his life, he’s not sure who or what to believe anymore. How can someone like Rae, someone who is thoughtful and smart and kind, be an agent of the devil? With the lines of reality and fantasy, myth and paranoia blurred, Matt confronts an awful truth….

What if the devil’s mark doesn’t exist?


The Fight For Midnight Cover New June YA Release 2023

The Fight for Midnight by Dan Solomon

Release Date: June 20 from North Star Editions

Why You’ll Love It: Given that this month marks a full year since the overturning of Roe v. Wade and the subsequent gutting of abortion access in much of America, Dan Soloman’s YA story centered on Wendy Davis’s 2013 Texas filibuster feels more timely than ever before. And not simply because of its subject matter, but because of its protagonist: A teenage boy, who learns that the fight for women’s rights is one that everyone needs to be involved in. 

Publisher’s Description: It’s been a rough year for Alex Collins. In the past twelve months, he’s lost his best friend, become the target of the two biggest bullies at school, and been sentenced to community service. But on June 25, 2013, he gets a call for help from Cassie Ramirez, the prettiest girl in school. At last, he feels like his luck might be changing.

Cassie is at the Texas State Capitol to protest Wendy Davis’s historic filibuster of the abortion bill HB2, and she’s rallying everyone she knows to join her. Until today, Alex didn’t know what a filibuster was, and he’d never given a moment’s thought to how he felt about abortion. But at the Capitol, he finds himself in the middle of a tense scene full of pro-life “blueshirts,” pro-choice “orangeshirts,” and blustering politicians playing political games as Wendy Davis tries to run out the clock at midnight.

Alex may have entered the Capitol looking to spend time with Cassie, but the political gets personal when he runs into his ex-friend Shireen in an orange T-shirt and quickly realizes that when it comes to an issue like abortion, neutral isn’t an option. Over the next nineteen hours—as things get increasingly heated both on the Senate floor and between the two sets of protesters—Alex will struggle to figure out what side he’s on, knowing that whatever choice he makes will bring him face-to-face with his past mistakes.


You're Not Supposed to Die Tonight cover Summer 2023 LGBTQ YA Books

You’re Not Supposed to Die Tonight by Kalynn Baron

Release Date: June 20 from Bloomsbury YA

Why You’ll Love It: Kalynn Baron has been a must-read author for me since her fairytale-inspired Cinderella is Dead, and her first foray into YA horror is a classic summer camp thriller, featuring an immersive slasher game that becomes all too real when teens start disappearing.

Publisher’s Description: Charity Curtis has the summer job of her dreams, playing the “final girl” at Camp Mirror Lake. Guests pay to be scared in this full-contact terror game, as Charity and her summer crew recreate scenes from a classic slasher film, Curse of Camp Mirror Lake. The more realistic the fear, the better for business.

But the last weekend of the season, Charity’s co-workers begin disappearing. And when one ends up dead, Charity’s role as the final girl suddenly becomes all too real. If Charity and her girlfriend Bezi hope to survive the night, they’ll need figure out what this killer is after. Is there is more to the story of Mirror Lake and its dangerous past than Charity ever suspected?


An Echo in the City cover New June YA Book 2023

An Echo in the City by K.X. Song

Release Date: June 20 from Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Why You’ll Love It:  Set during the 2019 Hong Kong protests, An Echo in the City touches on themes ranging from class and community to social justice, freedom, and accountability. A novel that unflinchingly embraces difficult and timely truths this story is unlike anything else you’ll read this spring. 

Publisher’s Description: Sixteen-year-old Phoenix knows her parents have invested thousands of dollars to help her leave Hong Kong and get an elite Ivy League education. They think America means big status, big dreams, and big bank accounts. But Phoenix doesn’t want big; she just wants home. The trouble is, she doesn’t know where that is…until the Hong Kong protest movement unfolds, and she learns the city she’s come to love is in danger of disappearing.

Seventeen-year-old Kai sees himself as an artist, not a filial son, and certainly not a cop. But when his mother dies, he’s forced to leave Shanghai to reunite with his estranged father, a respected police officer, who’s already enrolled him in the Hong Kong police academy. Kai wants to hate his job, but instead, he finds himself craving his father’s approval. And when he accidentally swaps phones with Phoenix and discovers she’s part of a protest network, he finds a way to earn by infiltrating the group and reporting their plans back to the police.

As Kai and Phoenix join the struggle for the future of Hong Kong, a spark forms between them, pulling them together even as their two worlds try to force them apart. But when their relationship is built on secrets and deception, will they still love the person left behind when the lies fall away?


Where Echos Die cover Summer 2023 LGBTQ YA Books

Where Echoes Die by Courtney Gould

Release Date: June 20 from Wednesday Books

Why You’ll Love It: Courtney Gould’s debut The Dead and the Dark more than proved her ability to blend spooky twists with compelling teenage emotional drama. Where Echoes Die continues that trend, following the story of a young girl determined to unravel the mystery of her dead mother’s obsession with a small town in Arizona and the many dark secrets it’s hiding. 

Publisher’s Description: Beck Birsching has been adrift since the death of her mother, a brilliant but troubled investigative reporter. She finds herself unable to stop herself from slipping into memories of happier days, clamoring for a time when things were normal. So when a mysterious letter in her mother’s handwriting arrives in the mail with the words Come and find me, pointing to a town called Backravel, Beck hopes that it may hold the answers.

But when Beck and her sister Riley arrive in Backravel, Arizona it’s clear that there’s something off about the town. There are no cars, no cemeteries, no churches. The town is a mix of dilapidated military structures and new, shiny buildings, all overseen by the town’s gleaming treatment center high on a plateau. No one seems to remember when they got there, and the only people who seem to know more than they’re letting on is the town’s enigmatic leader and his daughter, Avery.

As the sisters search for answers about their mother, Beck and Avery become more drawn together, and their unexpected connection brings up emotions Beck has buried since her mother’s death. Beck is desperate to hold onto the way things used to be, and when she starts losing herself in Backravel and its connection to her mother, will there be a way for Beck to pull herself out?


Starlings cover new June YA Book release

Starlings by Amanda Linsmeier

Release Date: June 27 from Delacorte Press

Why You’ll Love It: A deeply creepy, feminist fantasy-tinged horror story is basically a Venn diagram of all my interests and while you may guess some of the answers to what’s going on in the picture-perfect small town of Rosemont, Wisconsin, it won’t mean the story’s delicious twists are any less fun. 

Publisher’s Description: Kit’s father had always told her he had no family, but four months ago his sudden death revealed the truth. Now she has a grandmother she never knew she had–Agatha Starling–and an invitation to visit her father’s hometown, Rosemont.

And Rosemont . . . it’s picture perfect: the famed eternal roses bloom year-round, downtown is straight out of the 1950s . . . there’s even a cute guy to show Kit around.

The longer Kit’s there, though, the stranger it all feels. The Starling family is revered, but there’s something off about how the Starling women seem to be at the center of all the town’s important history. And as welcoming as the locals are, Kit can’t shake the feeling that everyone seems to be hiding something from her.

Agatha is so happy to finally meet her only granddaughter, and the town is truly charming, but Kit can’t help wondering, if everything is so great in Rosemont, why did her father ever leave? And why does it seem like he never wanted her to find it?

Lacy Baugher Milas is the Books Editor at Paste Magazine, but loves nerding out about all sorts of pop culture. You can find her on Twitter @LacyMB.

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