According to the American Library Association, summer reading lists have been around since the 1890s. Still, this century-old tradition for tweens and teens is often met with trepidation. Reading should never feel like work. We’ve got a list of must-read young adult titles sure to keep your child’s nose in a book and you calling “Dibs!”
A multiple-award winner, Nelson’s tale about an artistically inclined brother and sister duo’s coming of age includes not just typical sibling rivalries, but first love, same-sex love, forbidden love and learning to let go—physically and metaphorically.
Zac and Mia
First published in Australia in 2012, this story of two young cancer patients fighting illness and forging friendships will have a built-in fan base with its parallels to “The Fault in our Stars.”
A mix of sci-fi and supernatural, this debut author takes readers on a journey with Mare Barrows, a 17-year-old seemingly destined for servitude until she discovers powers of her own.
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Maya Van Wagenen
Geared toward the middle school set, this teen author shares a memoir of her experiences in a border-town middle school, using a 1950s-era social etiquette book as her guide to elusive popularity.
New friendships, high school sports, future plans and possibly nefarious coaches present the boys in this basketball-themed novel with difficult choices to make.
The Tragic Age
Being a teen is tragic enough—only more so when you are navigating grief. When his twin sister dies, Billy needs to decide with whom he is going to find his way back—his renegade, “bad boy” friend Thom, or Gretchen, his sister’s BFF.
One of 2015’s early breakout favorites, you know there’s going to be some adventure when 14-year-old Mim Malone leaves her father in the South to return to her sick mother in Ohio via Greyhound bus.
Great for middle school guys, Emerson’s hero is Anthony Castillo, cast against his type as a social rebel when the song lyrics he pens for his band go viral. To play the salacious song live or not—that’s the question.
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