15 Of The Best YA Books Of Summer 2015 You'll Need To Carry From Beach To Cookout To Bed And Back

Set aside some reading time, because in summer 2015, YA books are better than ever. Authors are giving us a bounty of new stories that we're going to want to take to the beach, read under a tree during a family cookout (not just me, right?) and carry right home to bed because we can't put them down.

Not only are there highly anticipated sequels from some of YA's most prominent authors, there are debut novels that have been buzzing around YA fans and publishers since the beginning of the year. And look, I'll just say it: Sophie Kinsella, insanely famous from her Confessions of a Shopaholic series, will release her first young adult novel ever (and hopefully not her last). Whether you want magic, mystery, action, crime, or a good old fashioned summer romance story, you are in luck. And bonus: You are going to meet some pretty incredible leading ladies this summer, too.

In particular, these 15 new young adult novels are the ones you will get all sticky with melting popsicles and barbecue sauce fingers. Because that’s what summer is all about.

Image: aafromaa/Flickr

'The Summer of Chasing Mermaids' by Sarah Ockler

You’re going to want to read this one by the beach, or you’re going to feel insanely jealous of the book’s postcard-perfect seaside setting. Caribbean-born Elyse dreamed of being a singer — and she had the skills, too — until a boating accident took her voice. Her family relocates to an ocean town in Oregon named after a mythical mermaid. Teenage playboy Christian managers to rope Elyse into being his first mate in the town’s regatta, and as she becomes closer to Christian, his little brother starts to believe Elyse is the mythical mermaid come to life, Ariel-lost-voice style. (Simon Pulse; June 2)

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'Devoted' by Jennifer Mathieu

Jennifer Mathieu put her name on the YA map with last year’s heart-wrenching high school bullying novel The Truth About Alice. This June her sophomore novel is tackling subjects just as difficult: religion and cult, particularly as they relate to young women. Rachel grew up in the Quiverfull movement — one similar to the Duggars’ practices on TLC’s 19 Kids and Counting — but as she finds herself connecting illicitly to the outside world, she starts to wonder if there’s more for her as a woman outside of bearing children. (Roaring Brook Press; June 2)

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'More Happy Than Not' by Adam Silvera

Any fans of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind will again have the chance to meditate on the divisive question: “Would you erase your memories if you could” More Happy Than Not’s Aaron Soto isn’t sure if he wants to get the procedure from the Leteo Institute, but he does know he has some horrible memories. Like of finding his father after he committed suicide. But then Aaron starts to strike up a friendship with Thomas, a teenager from a rival Bronx project, and life doesn’t seem so bad. But when Thomas turns down his romantic advances and he gets pressure from his poor neighborhood, he tries to use a memory-erasing procedure to forget, even forget being gay. (Soho Teen; June 2)

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'Like It Never Happened' by Emily Adrian

Like It Never Happened is full of high school drama, in more ways than one. Rebecca Rivers and her four other cast mates of the high school production of The Crucible call themselves the “Essential Five.” But there’s a reason Rebecca is so good at acting: she has already cast off her former self and transformed into a girl with an entirely new reputation. But we all know that high school gossip will catch up to you, and buzzing about a rocky home life, sexuality, and secrets threaten Rebecca’s new role. But as drama-filled as Like It Never Happened is, it feel realistic, honest, and far from a melodrama. (Dial Books; June 2)

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'The Good Girls' by Sara Shepard

To the Pretty Little Liars fans who already jumped onto Sara Shepard’s newest two-book series The Perfectionists, The Good Girls needs no introduction. To the rest of you, you have time to read book one of the series before its conclusion this summer. (No 16-book series to tear through this time.) The Good Girls has all the secrets, twists and turns, and killer (um, maybe literally) female characters you’ve come to expect from Shepard. (HarperTeen; June 2)

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'Finding Audrey' by Sophie Kinsella

Shopaholic author Sophie Kinsella’s YA novel will have you laughing out loud by page two, guaranteed. It’s part generational family comedy — the matriarch of the family is distraught that her son can’t stop playing video games — part first-love teen romance, and part a meditation on the after-effects of bullying. Audrey rarely speaks and hides behind dark sunglasses after, readers are left to imagine, she suffers bullying at the hands of her peers and former best friend. Finding Audrey is also interspersed with a screenplay of Audrey’s documentary her therapist assigns her to create. I’m serious with the LOLs, too. (Delacorte Books for Young Readers; June 9)

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'Shadowshaper' by Daniel José Older

Shadowshaper’s Sierra Santiago is the type of character we’ve all hoped we could have in YA. Living in Brooklyn, she’s a mural graffiti artist who is incredibly creative, smart, and inventive, but she’s not your heroine prototype. Set in the Brooklyn summer heat, Shadowshaper follows Sierra as she discovers that magic from ancestral spirits is infiltrating graffiti art, music, and stories around her. But someone is killing these shadowshaping spirits one by one, and Sierra has to stand up and find out who and how in a unique fantasy story. (Arthur A. Levine Books; June 30)

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The Heart of Betrayal by Mary E. Pearson

Fans of The Remnant Chronicles better get their pre-orders ready because the second installment of the fantasy series The Heart of Betrayal is coming this summer. No spoilers in case you want to catch up on book one (and you probably should), the book continues the story of Princess Lia who runs away from her arranged marriage with her lady-in-waiting Pauline. Except her betrothed prince and an assassin take off after her. (Henry Holt and Co.; July 7)

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'Never Always Sometimes' by Adi Alsaid

Adi Alsaid made his mark on YA with his 2014 debut roadtrip story Let’s Get Lost. Desperate not to be high school cliches, best friends Dave and Julia make a “Never” list of all the high school tropes they aren’t going to fall into — dyeing your hair a crazy color, hooking up with a teacher, falling for your best friend. Except, whoops, Dave broke the last one. And after doing so he embarks on a mission to check off everything else on the list (except maybe that teacher part) and finding out that maybe cliches are cliches for a reason: because they’re all an essential part of growing up. Is it just me or are you aching to watch Say Anything right now? (Harlequin Teen; Aug 4)

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'Shadows of Sherwood' by Kekla Magoon

OK, so maybe Shadows of Sherwood veers toward middle grade instead of YA, but how could I not mention a killer female Robin Hood series by the incredible Kekla Magoon? Robin of Loxley becomes Robyn Loxley, known as Robyn Hoodlum, and instead of a grown adult man, she’s a 12-year-old girl who’s forced to flee her home when her parents disappear. Her beloved hometown has been taken over by a cruel governor, and Robyn joins up with some mischievous misfit kids to right his wrongs and find her parents. (Bloomsbury USA Childrens; Aug 4)

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'Bright Lights, Dark Nights' by Stephen Emond

Stephen Emond’s stunning black-and-white graphic novel tells a first love story laced with contemporary issues. Walter Wilcox falls hard for Naomi, a clever, witty teenage girl, and she sees the sparks, too. But Walter’s cop father becomes embroiled in a racial profiling scandal that puts his son and his African-American girlfriend in the spotlight. They’re called out by peers and adults everywhere they go, especially on the Internet — Naomi for sticking with a boy with a seemingly racist father and Walter for being portrayed as not sticking by his father, among other things. But Emond doesn’t give readers any easy answers, just like in real life. (Roaring Brook Press; Aug 11)

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'The Accident Season' by Moïra Fowley-Doyle

If you weren’t already pulled in by the beautiful cover, the buzz surrounding Moïra Fowley-Doyle’s debut novel The Accident Season should have more than piqued your interest. For some inexplicable reason, 17-year-old Cara’s family becomes incredibly accident prone toward the end of every October, like a curse. They’ve become accustomed to their fate, hiding knives away and padding down any sharp edges in their home, but they’re still obsessed with finding the reason behind why so many of their family members have fallen from this strange curse. I’m pretty sure you’ll become obsessed, too. (Kathy Dawson Books; Aug 18)

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'The Boy Most Likely To' by Huntley Fitzpatrick

Huntley Fitzpatrick never fails to deliver on the swoony romance with a feminist bent. There’s a bit of The Spectacular Now in The Boy Most Likely To, as top-notch teenager Alice falls for her young brother’s alcohol-swilling, trouble-making best friend Tim. But as we all know from high school yearbooks and beyond, categorizing people into these strict silos never gives the full picture. (Dial Books; Aug 18)

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'Lair of Dreams' by Libba Bray

It’s been three years since Libba Bray gave us the supernatural mystery The Diviners, so we’re itching and ready to return to the universe she created with its sequel Lair of Dreams. Set in quite possibly my favorite place ever, 1920s New York City, we pick up with Evie O’Neill after she’s been outed as a Diviner and has picked up celebrity status as a girl who can “read” objects and see into the past. However, a new mystery illness reveals itself to Evie and her fellow Diviners, and it’s afflicting people as they sleep in their dreams, Inception-style.(Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; Aug 25)

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'Another Day' by David Levithan

Another Day is less sequel and more companion novel to David Levithan’s critically and fandom-ly acclaimed novel Every Day. In the first book, teenager A woke up every morning in a different body, but it wasn’t until he woke up in Justin’s body and met his girlfriend Rhiannon that his life truly changed. Another Day tells Rhiannon’s side of the story, who, in contrast to A, wakes up every morning feeling like all her days are exactly the same. Except for that one day, that one day when Justin woke up (and readers know he’s A) and they spend a beautful, perfect day together that reminds her life doesn’t have to exist in this stale way. But Justin doesn’t remember it when he wakes up the next day, and Rhiannon goes in search of the life she felt at her fingertips for a brief 24 hours. I don’t even have to tell you you’re going to fall in love, too, do I? (Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers; Aug 25)

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