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.
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?
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: Young Adult 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!
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.
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?
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.
Release Date: July 11th from Delacorte Press
Why You’ll Love It: I adore YA novels told in shifting points of view, especially when the voices feel as distinct as What to Say Next’s protagonists. In Julie Buxbaum’s latest, we meet two teenagers dealing with bullies, complicated families, love and loss while finding one another in the midst of all of it.
For Fans of: Books by Sophie Kinsella, Jennifer Niven and Rainbow Rowell.
Description: KIT: I don’t know why I decide not to sit with Annie and Violet at lunch. It feels like no one here gets what I’m going through. How could they? I don’t even understand.
DAVID: In the 622 days I’ve attended Mapleview High, Kit Lowell is the first person to sit at my lunch table. I mean, I’ve never once sat with someone until now. “So your dad is dead,” I say to Kit, because this is a fact I’ve recently learned about her.
When an unlikely friendship is sparked between relatively popular Kit Lowell and socially isolated David Drucker, everyone is surprised, most of all Kit and David. Kit appreciates David’s blunt honesty—in fact, she finds it bizarrely refreshing. David welcomes Kit’s attention and her inquisitive nature. When she asks for his help figuring out the how and why of her dad’s tragic car accident, David is all in. But neither of them can predict what they’ll find. Can their friendship survive the truth?
Release Date: July 18th from G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Why You’ll Love It: I’m not quite ready to say goodbye to Avery and her adventures. But here we are, as the final book in Maggie Hall’s incredibly romantic, thrilling, and action-packed The Conspiracy of Us trilogy hits shelves today. Reading like a YA Da Vinci Code, the series follows a teen caught in a worldwide conspiracy as she travels across the globe… and navigates a swoon-filled love triangle in the process. I highly recommend reading all three books over a single week.
For Fans of: YA thrillers by authors like Meredith Moore (I Am Her Revenge(), Jennifer Lynn Barnes (The Fixer) and Melissa Hurst (The Edge of Forever().
Description: The Circle is hers. But Avery West has lost everything else: her mother, the family she’d just found and the one boy she trusted. In their place are unfathomable power, a staged relationship that makes her question every real feeling she’s ever had and a mission to find the cure to the virus that’s made her own blood a weapon.
Then disaster strikes, turning Avery, Stellan, Jack and Elodie into the most wanted people in the world. To clear their names and the growing rift between the families of the Circle before the world dissolves into World War Three, they’ll have to make a desperate, dangerous final race for Alexander the Great’s tomb. What they will find inside will mean the world’s salvation—or destruction.
Release Date: July 18th from Simon Pulse
Why You’ll Love It: Time travel! Forbidden magic! There’s so much to adore in this new book from Lisa Maxwell, in which she spins a story magicians living in present-day New York City and their fight to survive against an order that seeks their downfall.
For Fans of: Magical stories set in the city, like The Girl at Midnight series by Melissa Grey, The Diviners by Libba Bray and maybe The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig, too (what with the unique time travel).
Description: In modern day New York, magic is all but extinct. The remaining few who have an affinity for magic—the Mageus—live in the shadows, hiding who they are. Any Mageus who enters Manhattan becomes trapped by the Brink, a dark energy barrier that confines them to the island. Crossing it means losing their power—and often their lives.
Esta is a talented thief, and she’s been raised to steal magical artifacts from the sinister Order that created the Brink. With her innate ability to manipulate time, Esta can pilfer from the past, collecting these artifacts before the Order even realizes she’s there. And all of Esta’s training has been for one final job: traveling back to 1902 to steal an ancient book containing the secrets of the Order—and the Brink—before the Magician can destroy it and doom the Mageus to a hopeless future.
But Old New York is a dangerous world ruled by ruthless gangs and secret societies, a world where the very air crackles with magic. Nothing is as it seems, including the Magician himself. And for Esta to save her future, she may have to betray everyone in the past.
Release Date: July 18th from Razorbill
Why You’ll Love It: I adored Aditi Khorana’s Mirror in the Sky, a super underrated YA sci-fi novel. She writes beautiful stories about feeling out of place in fantastic worlds, and with The Library of Fates, she does it again. The book follows two teens on a quest to change their fate with a magic library. There’s romance, magic, betrayal, politics…just so much to adore from a writer you really need to be reading.
For Fans of: YA fantasy novels like Roshani Chokshi’s The Star-Touched Queen and Renee Ahdieh’s The Wrath and the Dawn.
Description: No one is entirely certain what brings the Emperor Sikander to Shalingar. Until now, the idyllic kingdom has been immune to his many violent conquests. To keep the visit friendly, Princess Amrita has offered herself as his bride, sacrificing everything—family, her childhood love and her freedom—to save her people. But her offer isn’t enough.
The unthinkable happens, and Amrita finds herself a fugitive, utterly alone but for an oracle named Thala, who was kept by Sikander as a slave and managed to escape amid the chaos of a palace under siege. With nothing and no one else to turn to, Amrita and Thala are forced to rely on each other. But while Amrita feels responsible for her kingdom and sets out to warn her people, the newly free Thala has no such ties. She encourages Amrita to go on a quest to find the fabled Library of All Things, where it is possible for each of them to reverse their fates. To go back to before Sikander took everything from them.
Stripped of all that she loves, caught between her rosy past and an unknown future, will Amrita be able to restore what was lost, or does another life—and another love—await?
Release Date: July 25th from Harlequin Teen
Why You’ll Love It: There’s something about novels involving magic and traveling festivals that immediately win me over, and Amanda Foody’s debut is no exception. Set in a traveling city of circus folk, her main character has a magical gift: the ability to conjure illusions. It’s a lush, imaginative story set in an awe-inspiring world of magic that’s sure to make you gasp.
For Fans of: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern and The Weight of Feathers by Anna-Marie McLemore.
Description: Sixteen-year-old Sorina has spent most of her life within the smoldering borders of the Gomorrah Festival. Yet even among the many unusual members of the traveling circus-city, Sorina stands apart as the only illusion-worker born in hundreds of years. This rare talent allows her to create illusions that others can see, feel and touch, with personalities all their own. Her creations are her family, and together they make up the cast of the Festival’s Freak Show.
But no matter how lifelike they may seem, her illusions are still just that—illusions, and not truly real. Or so she always believed…until one of them is murdered.
Desperate to protect her family, Sorina must track down the culprit and determine how they killed a person who doesn’t actually exist. Her search for answers leads her to the self-proclaimed gossip-worker Luca, and their investigation sends them through a haze of political turmoil and forbidden romance, and into the most sinister corners of the Festival. But as the killer continues murdering Sorina’s illusions one by one, she must unravel the horrifying truth before all of her loved ones disappear.