The 11 Best YA Books Of June — Including The Story Of A Witch Who Resurrects Her Boyfriend

by Caitlin White

I hope there's extra room on your summer TBR list because this collection of the best YA books of June 2018 will definitely require at least few more spots. (You already have space reserved for the third book in Sabaa Tahir's An Ember in the Ashes series, coming this month, right?)

While we're dreaming of long, lazy days reading under our umbrellas at the beach or poolside, it seems the authors also have summer on the brain, too. Morgan Matson, one of the queens of perfect summer YA, has us RSVPing to a hijinks-filled wedding this wedding season. Other books take us to a beloved, family-run summer camp in Maine and an island filled with (literal) magical women the months before sisters head off to college.

Needless to say, these books are going to give you major summer feels.

June also marks the release of cult-favorite author Marisha Pessl's debut YA novel; Zoraida Cordova's anticipated return to her Brooklyn Bruja's universe; the follow-up to Cynthia Hand, Jodi Meadows, and Brodi Ashton's irreverent, hit novel My Lady Jane; and We Need Diverse Books' Ellen Oh and Elsie Chapman's brand new Asian folklore re-telling anthology. And I already mentioned Sabaa Tahir's #Ember3.

With this summer reading list in hand, all you'll need next is your sunscreen. Check out our picks for the best YA novels of June.

'Save the Date' by Morgan Matson (June 5; Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers)

Morgan Matson is the queen of a super-summery YA drop, and this year is no exception with Save the Date. Charlie and her four older siblings will finally all be back together under one roof to celebrate their sister Linnie's wedding. Unfortunately, nothing goes according to plan in this heartfelt comedy of errors.

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'Neverworld Wake' by Marisha Pessl (June 5; Delacorte Press)

Cult-favorite writer of 2006's Special Topics in Calamity Physics, Marisha Pessl, is making her first official foray into young adult lit with the atmospheric, genre-bending Neverworld Wake. Part-high school reunion story, part-thriller, part-science fiction, Neverworld Wake centers on a group of high school friends who return to a seaside estate a year after graduation — and a year after the shocking death of their friend Jim. Beatrice, Jim's former girlfriend, hopes to get answers about his death. But everything changes when a strange person known as the Keeper knocks on the door and tells the friends they are trapped, reliving the same time again and again, until they choose which of them, and only one, can return to the world of the living.

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'Bruja Born' by Zoraida Córdova (June 5; Sourcebooks Fire)

In Bruja Born, Zoraida Cordova returns to and expands the world she created with Labyrinth Lost. Alex Mortiz's older sister Lula takes center stage in this new story as the only survivor (due to magic) of a horrific bus crash that also killed her very-recently ex-boyfriend Maks. Lula and her sister use her powers of healing to cast a canto to resurrect Maks, but defying the deos and death has chaotic consequences. And now it's up to the Mortiz sisters to save the world from their own actions.

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'Summer of Salt' by Katrina Leno (June 5; HarperTeen)

If you love Practical Magic, you're going to need Katrina Leno's Summer of Salt on your bookshelf. Magic is passed down through the women in the Fernweh family, who have always lived on the island of By-the-Sea. Twin sisters Mary, whose power of defying gravity has already been bestowed upon her, and Georgina, who is desperately waiting for her magic to come, are spending their final summer on the island before they leave for college. Then, Mary is accused of killing a sacred, 300-year-old bird by By-the-Sea locals, and the twins try to track down the real culprit. Meanwhile, a relationship between Georgina and Prue, who is traveling with her ornithologist brother, blossoms.

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'A Reaper at the Gates' by Sabaa Tahir (June 12; Razorbill)

Sabaa Tahir's excellent An Ember in the Ashes saga continues with the page-turning A Reaper at the Gates. Everything, and everyone, feels on the cusp of a war in this third installment. Elias has now given up his freedom to be the Soul Catcher. Helene, as the Blood Shrike to Marcus, is facing a war externally and internally against the darkness. Laia is on a hunt for the Nightbringer, and she doesn't have the help she hoped to rely on. Tahir has been teasing us on Twitter about some unhappy endings for Laia, a little something-something between Elias and Helene, and a dragon?? You'll have to get your hands on it to see.

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'Final Draft' by Riley Redgate (June 12; Amulet Books)

Laila Piedra's life is decidedly risk-adverse... except for all the dangers she puts the characters in her epic sci-fi stories into. But that changes when her even-keeled and supportive writing teacher is replaced by Pulitzer Prize–winning Nadiya Nazarenko, who is far more critical both of her work and of the way Laila lives her life. To tell a story well, Dr. Nazarenko believes, you have to go out and gain new experiences. Soon, Laila is pushing herself far, maybe too far, out of her comfort zone. Devoted readers and writers alike will love to follow Laila on her creative journey.

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'All That I Can Fix' by Crystal Chan (June 12; Simon Pulse)

Crystal Chan takes on issues of gun control and mental health in a wildly unique story about the escape of zoo animals in a small town. Teenage Ronney is well-known in his town, but for all the wrong reasons: his drug-addict mother, his father who suffers from mental illness and attempted suicide, and his genius little sister. So he had his own concerns before a local eccentric decided to let loose all the local zoo animals and take his life with a gun. Now, as Ronney's town is roaming with literal lions, tigers, and bears, it has also become a hub for gun rights activists and gun control supporters, rallies, and non-stop news coverage. Amid the chaos, Ronney is just trying to find a way to hold his small world and family together.

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'Not The Girls You're Looking For' by Aminah Mae Safi (June 19; Feiwel & Friends)

In school, Muslim Iraqi-American Lulu feels the pressure of Islamophobia. Meanwhile, at home, it seems she isn't well-behaved or "Muslim enough" to please her Iraqi father or mother from Louisiana. She's always been a bit stuck between worlds; she parties and hooks up, but she always fasts during Ramadan, for example. Aminah Mae Safi navigates cultural divides, bigotry, religion, rape culture, and more in her fierce, voice-driven debut YA novel.

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'My Plain Jane' by Cynthia Hand, Jodi Meadows, and Brodi Ashton (June 26; HarperTeen)

The writing trio behind My Lady Jane are back, and this time they're taking on Jane Eyre—but not like you've always read it. In their signature madcap, snarky style, Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows spin a completely new Gothic story using Jane Eyre and Charlotte Bronte as characters and a loose guide. The result is an insanely fun mashup (seriously, there's commentary provided by a ghost).

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'Wild Blue Wonder' by Carlie Sorosiak (June 26; HarperTeen)

Quinn's family owns a summer camp that locals and tourists to Winship, Maine would describe as so legendary it's practically magical. That was until the boating accident at the camp that killed Quinn's best friend Dylan. Now, Quinn has lost her drive and passion for nearly everything—but especially for her family-run camp. Wild Blue Wonder is a beautiful story that takes place over the course of a summer as Quinn learns to heal from her loss, her guilt, and the divisions in her family and readers learn what exactly happened in the life-changing accident.

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'A Thousand Beginnings and Endings' edited by Ellen Oh and Elsie Chapman (June 26; Greenwillow Books)

Fifteen star YA writers come together to re-tell East and South Asian myths, fairy tales, and folklore in this diverse, gorgeous anthology. The writers, all from Asian backgrounds themselves, weave in the traditional with the modern for fresh takes on these stories. Ellen Oh and Elsie Chapman have pulled together a masterclass of YA writers, including Renee Ahdieh, Roshani Chokshi, Melissa de la Cruz, Aisha Saeed, and way more for a collection of tales you'll keep coming back to.

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