Amazing Young Adult novels are hitting shelves in August. From David Bowie-inspired debuts to epic fantasies to breathtaking historical novels to co-written thrill rides, there are so many books to get excited about this month. Check out our picks for August’s 10 must-read YA novels below.
Release Date: August 6th from Disney Lucasfilm Press
Why You’ll Love It: One of the most brilliant voices in Young Adult fiction has written a Star Wars novel! if you’ve ever read a book by Córdova, you know she’s talented at pulling your heartstrings in the middle of mayhem. And she does just that in this sci-fi saga with love and friendship at its heart.
For Fans of: Recent Star Wars novels by Daniel José Older, E.K. Johnston and Claudia Gray.
Description from the Publisher: Izzy and Jules were childhood friends, climbing the spires of Batuu, inventing silly games and dreaming of adventures they would share one day. Then Izzy’s family left abruptly, without even a chance to say goodbye. Now, 13 years after she left, Izzy is returning to Batuu as a smuggler. She’s been hired to deliver a mysterious parcel, and she just wants to finish the job and get gone. But upon arrival at Black Spire Outpost she runs smack into the one person who still means something to her after all this time: Jules. The attraction between them is immediate, yet despite Jules seeming to be everything she’s ever needed, Izzy hesitates. How can she drag this good-hearted farmer into the perilous life she’s chosen?
Release Date: August 6th from Katherine Tegen Books
Why You’ll Love It: What happens when two best friends write a YA novel about two best friends? Magic. Reading like a YA take on Thelma & Louise, Hello Girls is a friendship novel for the ages, tackling complicated families and narrow escapes.
For Fans of: Novels about friendships and road trips (with a splash of the thriller genre), like a mashup of Rainbow Rowell, Caleb Roehrig and Morgan Matson’s latest drafts.
Description from the Publisher: Best friends are forged by fire. For Winona Olsen and Lucille Pryce, that fire happened the night they met outside the police station—both deciding whether to turn their families in. No one knows that Winona’s father locks the pantry door to control her eating and leaves bruises where no one can see them. And Lucille has been suffocating beneath the needs of her mother and her drug-dealing brother, wondering if there’s more out there for her than disappearing waitress tips and generations of barely getting by. Winona and Lucille need out—now. All they need is three grand…and a stolen convertible to take them from Michigan to Las Vegas can’t hurt.
Release Date: August 6th from Sourcebooks Fire
Why You’ll Love It: This co-written novel delivers an explosive story, exploring complicated issues as two girls try to survive a horrifying evening. It’s not to be missed.
For Fans of: Authors like Angie Thomas and Jay Coles.
Description from the Publisher: Lena and Campbell aren’t friends. Lena has her killer style, her awesome boyfriend and a plan. She knows she’s going to make it big. Campbell, on the other hand, is just trying to keep her head down and get through the year at her new school. When both girls attend the Friday-night football game, what neither expects is for everything to descend into mass chaos born from hate. Chaos that unexpectedly throws them together. They hardly understand the other’s point of view. But none of that matters when the city is up in flames, and they only have each other to rely on if they’re going to survive the night.
Release Date: August 6th with Katherine Tegen Books
Why You’ll Love It: A good end-of-the-world novel is captivating, and Henry’s latest is just that. It follows a teen waiting for the end of the world who meets another teen who knows when it will happen. You need to read this novel.
For Fans of: Doomsday novels like No Parking at the End Times by Bryan Bliss.
Description from the Publisher: Ellis Kimball has made note of all possible doomsday scenarios, and she is prepared for each one. What she doesn’t expect is meeting Hannah Marks in her therapist’s waiting room. Hannah calls their meeting fate. After all, Ellis is scared about the end of the world; Hannah knows when it’s going to happen. As Ellis tries to help Hannah decipher the details of her doomsday premonition, she learns there are secrets Hannah isn’t telling her. But with time ticking down, the search for answers only raises questions. How do you prepare for the end of the world when it feels like your life is just getting started?
Release Date: August 6th from G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Why You’ll Love It: This novel boasts a beautiful cover, and the story inside does not disappoint. A historical novel set in the early ‘70s, a time full of turmoil and homophobia, sets the scene for one of the best YA books of the year.
For Fans of: YA historical novels by Stacey Lee (mentioned later in this list) and Robin Talley.
Description from the Publisher: The year is 1973, and homosexuality is still officially considered a mental illness. In the midst of these trying times is 16-year-old Jonathan Collins, a bullied, anxious, asthmatic kid feels completely alone. To cope, Jonathan escapes to the safe haven of his imagination, where his hero David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust and dead relatives guide him through the rough terrain of his life. In his alternate reality, Jonathan can be anything: a superhero, an astronaut, Ziggy Stardust or completely “normal” and not a boy who likes other boys. When he completes his treatments, he will be normal—at least he hopes. But before that can happen, Web, who is not ashamed of being gay, stumbles into his life. Web is a kind of escape Jonathan has never known, and Jonathan may finally feel free enough to love and accept himself as he is.
Release Date: August 13th from G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Why You’ll Love It: All of Lee’s books offer a stunning level of historical accuracy and feel like mini time machines, including her latest. This story about using your voice is one of Lee’s best.
For Fans of: Well-researched historical novels by authors like Anne Blankman.
Description from the Publisher: By day, 17-year-old Jo Kuan works as a lady’s maid for the cruel daughter of one of the wealthiest men in Atlanta. But by night, Jo moonlights as the pseudonymous author of a newspaper advice column for the genteel Southern lady, “Dear Miss Sweetie.” When her column becomes wildly popular, she uses the power of the pen to address some of society’s ills, but she’s not prepared for the backlash that follows when her column challenges fixed ideas about race and gender. While her opponents clamor to uncover the secret identity of Miss Sweetie, a mysterious letter sets Jo off on a search for her the parents who abandoned her as a baby. But when her efforts put her in the crosshairs of Atlanta’s most notorious criminal, Jo must decide whether she is ready to step into the light
Release Date: August 13th from Simon Pulse
Why You’ll Love It: Who doesn’t love a good road trip novel? (Check out Nina LaCour’s The Disenchantments to discover the perfect one.) But a YA novel about a sailing trip? Now that’s unique! Doller is known for her heart-wrenching contemporary YA, and you won’t be able to put this book down.
For Fans of: Authors like Emery Lord and Rebecca Phillips.
Description from the Publisher: Willa and Taylor were supposed to spend the summer after high school sailing from Ohio to Key West with their best friend, Finley. But Finley died before graduation, leaving them with a 25-foot sailboat, a list of clues leading them to destinations along the way and a friendship that’s hanging by a thread. Now, Willa and Taylor have two months and 2,000 miles to discover how life works without Finley—and to decide if their own friendship is worth saving.
Release Date: August 20th from Delacorte Press
Why You’ll Love It: What happens when you don’t fit in at school, at home and with your extended family? Díaz’s debut digs into this complicated question, delivering a relatable novel about a biracial teenager struggling to find her place in the world.
For Fans of: Authors like Shannon Gibney and Gloria Chao who write about identity.
Description from the Publisher: Growing up in an affluent suburb of New York City, Nevaeh Levitz never thought much about her biracial roots. When her Black mom and Jewish dad split up, however, she relocates to her mom’s family home in Harlem and is forced to confront her identity for the first time. Nevaeh wants to get to know her extended family, but one of her cousins can’t stand that Nevaeh, who inadvertently passes as white, is too privileged, pampered and selfish to relate to the injustices they face on a daily basis as African Americans. And in the midst of attempting to blend their families, Nevaeh’s dad decides that she should have a belated bat mitzvah instead of a sweet 16, which guarantees social humiliation at her posh private school. It’s only when Nevaeh stumbles upon a secret from her mom’s past, finds herself falling in love and sees firsthand the prejudice her family faces that she begins to realize she has choices. Will she find power in herself and decide once and for all who and where she is meant to be?
Release Date: August 20th from Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Why You’ll Love It: We’re huge fans of Brandy Colbert at Paste! Her diverse, inclusive novels have won her accolades (including a Stonewall), and her latest is just as award-worthy. It digs into family secrets, addiction and first love. (We also included it in our list of August’s best audiobooks.)
For Fans of: Novels about complex families by authors like Nina LaCour and Nicola Yoon.
Description from the Publisher: Dove “Birdie” Randolph works hard to be the perfect daughter and follow the path her parents have laid out for her: She quit playing her beloved soccer, she keeps her nose buried in textbooks and she’s on track to finish high school at the top of her class. But then Birdie falls hard for Booker, a sweet boy with a troubled past…whom she knows her parents will never approve of. When her estranged aunt Carlene returns to Chicago and moves into the family’s apartment above their hair salon, Birdie notices the tension building at home. Carlene is sweet, friendly and open-minded; she’s also spent decades in and out of treatment facilities for addiction. As Birdie becomes closer to both Booker and Carlene, she yearns to spread her wings. But when long-buried secrets rise to the surface, everything she’s known to be true is turned upside down.
Release Date: August 27th from Inkyard Press
Why You’ll Love It: Give us all the political YA fantasy! We. Want. That. Drama. A novel overflowing with backstabbing in a kingdom on the brink of collapse, Rutherford’s debut is the first in a series to watch.
For Fans of: Politically-charged YA fantasy by authors like Marie Rutkoski and the complex families and world-building found in novels by Kendare Blake.
Description from the Publisher: Nor once dreamed of seeing Ilara, the kingdom that’s ruled her ocean village for as long as anyone can remember. But when a childhood accident left her with a permanent scar, it became clear that her identical twin sister, Zadie, would likely be chosen to marry Ilara’s Crown Prince. Then Zadie is gravely injured, and Nor is sent to Ilara in her place. To Nor’s dismay, Prince Ceren is as forbidding and cold as his home—a castle carved into a mountain and devoid of sunlight. And as she grows closer to Ceren’s brother, the charming Prince Talin, Nor uncovers startling truths about a failing royal bloodline, a murdered queen… and a plot to destroy the home she was once so eager to leave.
Looking for even more reading recommendations? Check out our lists of the best books and the best audiobooks of August.