Ah, summer. Post-Memorial Day it's all about being outside in the sunshine, lazy pool days and exciting beach trips, warm weather treats, and — most important of all — tote bags packed to the brim with all of the biggest and best summer reads. Whatever books you love to dive into during the summer, there are ample releases just waiting to be plucked off the shelves and brought along on all of your seasonal adventures. But one of my favorites, and undeniably one of the most popular genres during the steamy months, is a good old fashioned rom-com.
There's just something about the long, balmy days between June and August that beg for books filled with romance, friendship, family, summer scenes, and, of course, a nice healthy dollop of angsty drama. The 16 summer YA books below all fall perfectly into each of the above categories, with characters you'll root for, romances you'll love, and enough references to summer staples to keep you fully immersed in the fleeting season. Pick out your roomiest literary tote and make space for a healthy stack of rom-com reads to carry you through the next three months in reading bliss, wherever your days take you.
'Stay Sweet by Siobhan Vivian (April 24)
Summer in Sand Lake isn’t complete without a trip to Meade Creamery. Seventeen-year-old Amelia and her best friend Cate have worked at the stand every summer for the past three years, and Amelia is “Head Girl” at the stand this summer. But when Molly unexpectedly passes away, Amelia isn’t sure that the stand can go on. That is, until Molly’s grandnephew Grady arrives and asks Amelia to stay on to help continue the business — but Grady’s got some changes in mind.
'The Way You Make Me Feel' by Maurene Goo (May 8)
Clara Shin lives for pranks and disruption. When she takes one joke too far, her dad sentences her to a summer working on his food truck alongside her uptight classmate Rose Carver. So... not exactly the carefree summer Clara had imagined. But maybe Rose isn't so bad. Maybe the boy named Hamlet crushing on her is pretty cute. Maybe Clara actually feels invested in her dad’s business. But what if taking this summer seriously means that Clara has to leave her old self behind?
'My So-Called Bollywood Life' by Nisha Sharma (May 15)
Winnie is shocked to return from her summer at film camp to find her boyfriend of three years hooking up with Jenny Dickens. Worse, Raj is crowned chair of the student film festival, a spot Winnie was counting on. Then there’s Dev, a fellow film geek. Dev is smart charming, and challenges Winnie to look beyond her horoscope to find someone she’d pick for herself. But does falling for Dev mean giving up on her prophecy, and her chance to live happily ever after?
'From Twinkle, With Love' by Sandhya Menon (May 22)
Aspiring filmmaker Twinkle Mehra has stories she wants to tell. So when fellow film geek Sahil Roy approaches her to direct a movie for the upcoming Summer Festival, Twinkle is all over it. And it gets her closer to her longtime crush, Sahil's brother Neil. When mystery man “N” begins emailing her, Twinkle is sure it’s Neil, finally ready to begin their happily-ever-after. The only slightly inconvenient problem is that, in the course of movie-making, she’s fallen for the irresistibly adorkable Sahil.
'Save the Date' by Morgan Matson (June 5)
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 only problem? The weekend is shaping up to be an absolute disaster. Over the course of three chaotic days, Charlie will learn more than she ever expected about the family she thought she knew by heart.
'The Last Summer of the Garrett Girls' by Jessica Spotswood (June 5)
Kat lands the lead in the community theater’s summer play, but her ex and his new girlfriend are cast, too. Bea and her boyfriend are heading off to college together in the fall, but Bea isn’t sure she wants the same things as when she was 13. Vi has a crush on the girl next door, but Cece has a boyfriend. Des shoulders a lot of responsibility for her family's bookstore. But it’s hard to dream big when she’s taking care of everyone else. One summer will challenge everything the Garrett sisters thought they knew about themselves — and each other.
'The Art of French Kissing' by Brianna R. Shrum (June 5)
Seventeen-year-old Carter Lane has wanted to be a chef since she was a kid. And now she has the chance of a lifetime: a prestigious scholarship competition where students compete all summer in Chopped style challenges for a full-ride to culinary school. The only impossible challenge ingredient in her basket: her opponent Reid Yamada. Just as the tension between them reaches its boiling point, Carter and Reid are forced to work together if they want to win, and Carter begins to wonder if Reid's constant presence in her brain is about more than rivalry.
'The Summer of Us' by Cecelia Vinesse (June 5)
Aubrey and Rae have been planning their trip around Europe since primary school. But things are more complicated at 18 than they were at 10. There's Jonah, Aubrey's seemingly perfect boyfriend, and his best friend Gabe, the boy Aubrey may have accidentally kissed. And there's Clara, the friend Rae is crushing on, hard, even though there's no hope because Clara is definitely into guys, not girls. Five friends. Ten days. And a messy, complicated, can-this-really-be happening love story, or two... because how could there not be?
'Sometime After Midnight' by L. Philips (June 12)
In a dingy Los Angeles club, Cameron and Nate meet. But when Nate learns that Cameron is the heir to the record label that destroyed his father's life, he runs away as fast as he can. The only evidence of their meeting is a blurry photo Cameron snaps of Nate's Sharpie-decorated Chuck Taylors as he flees. Cameron sets out to find the owner of the Sharpie'd shoes, breaking the internet with the news of a modern fairy tale as the two become entwined in each other's lives.
'Love Scene, Take Two' by Alex Evansley (June 12)
Teddy Sharpe might actually be on his way to being really famous, especially if he'd nailed an audition for the lead role in a movie. There's just one problem: He totally blew the audition. The weekend isn't exactly looking good until Bennett Caldwell takes pity on him and invites him to her family's lake house. Somehow, he and Bennett just click. But dating is hard enough when you aren't the subject of several dozen fanblogs, and the internet is full of juicy gossip about Teddy and Bennett... gossip that Bennett might not be prepared to handle.
'Almost Impossible' by Nicole Williams (June 19)
When Jade decided to spend the summer with her aunt in California, she thought she knew what she was getting into. But nothing could have prepared her for Quentin. And when Quentin learns Jade plans to spend her first American summer hiding out reading books, he refuses to be ignored. Sneaking out, staying up, and even a midnight swim, Quentin is determined to give Jade days — and nights — worth remembering.
'Your Destination Is on the Left' by Lauren Spieller (June 26)
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, whom she knows she can never be with. Instead, Dessa looks to the future. Then an unexpected opportunity presents itself: an internship working with a local artist in Santa Fe. Will she say goodbye to her nomadic lifestyle and the boy she loves?
'How To Breathe Underwater' by Vicky Skinner (Aug. 14)
Kate’s father has been pressuring her to be perfect for her whole life, pushing her to be the best swimmer she can be. But when Kate finds her dad cheating on her mom, Kate’s perfect world comes crashing down. Now in a new home, new school, and faced with the prospect of starting over, Kate isn't so sure that swimming is what she wants anymore. When Kate gets to know Michael, the cute boy that lives across the hall, she starts to think that starting over might not be so bad.
'Always Never Yours' by Austin Siegemund-Broka and Emily Wibberley (May 22)
Megan Harper's exes all find their one true love right after dating her. So, she focuses on directing theatre and fulfilling her dream school’s acting requirement in the smallest role possible. But when she’s cast as none other than Juliet in her high school’s production, it’s a nightmare. Then she meets Owen Okita, an aspiring playwright. Megan begins to notice Owen — thoughtful, unconventional, and utterly unlike her exes — and wonders: Shouldn’t a girl get to play the lead in her own love story?
'August and Everything After' by Jennifer Salvato Doktorski (May 1)
Graduation can't come soon enough. Desperate for a fresh start, Quinn is eager to escape to her aunt's house on the New Jersey shore for the summer… away from teenage drama and having to answer everyone's questions about "what comes next" after high school. Quinn can't bear to focus on the future. She doesn't even think she deserves one — not after her best friend died in a car accident that Quinn feels responsible for. But when Quinn meets Malcolm, a musician who has been trying to escape his own demons, she starts to believe in second chances.
'Let Me List the Ways' by Sarah White (Aug. 7)
Mackenzie Clark has been best friends with Nolan Walker for as long as she can remember. Now in their senior year of high school, Mackenzie and Nolan are determined to make the most of the time they still have left, so they come up with a list of things they want to do together before graduation. But Mackenzie can’t help feeling that she’s left the most important thing off the list: telling Nolan how she feels. But when confessing her love could jeopardize the incredible relationship they have, is honesty really the best policy?