Explore our Summer Reading Suggestions and check out books that can travel with you through our library digital book collection.
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Better than the movies by Lynn Painter: Liz Buxbaum is a romantic comedy superfan. She loves the soundtracks and happy endings, of course, but most of all she loves the comfort and connection they provide after losing her mother. Navigating senior year without her mom has been tough, and all Liz wants is to end it with the perfect, rom-com-ready prom night. Lucky for her, her childhood crush has just moved back to town, but the only way to get to Michael is with the help of her detestable next-door neighbor, Wes Bennett. Though Wes has driven her crazy since they were kids, Liz has no choice but to scheme with him in order to get the happy ending she’s always imagined. As with any great romantic comedy, there are twists and turns on the path to love, and Liz must decide whether she wants the picture-perfect ending of her dreams or the one she didn’t expect. While rom-com fans will see Liz’s revelation coming a mile away, Painter makes the journey enjoyable with quippy banter, lovable characters, and enough will-they-won’t-they tension to satisfy readers. The book peppers in several nods to classic romantic comedies that die-hard fans will connect with. Liz is coded as white and Wes’s ethnicity isn’t stated. ( Source: School Library Journal)
The Black Kids by Christina Hammonds Reed: Ashley Bennett is almost done with her senior year of high school when the VERDICT in the Rodney King trial comes out, shaking up her halcyon life. In Los Angeles in 1992, Ashley is the lone Black girl among her group of white friends who don’t understand that she has to behave better than them to be seen as just as good. Jo, her “troubled older sister,” gets caught up in the injustice of the VERDICT and is drawn to the riots, perplexing and worrying Ashley and her family. Stuck between worlds, with her affluent Black family in their white neighborhood, and still being taken care of by Lucia, her Guatemalan nanny and second mother, Ashley isn’t sure where she fits in. While bigger issues are at play, she still has personal problems, keeping a secret from her friends and accidentally spreading a rumor that LaShawn, one the few Black kids at her school and the star basketball player, stole a pair of Jordan’s during the riots. Incredibly nuanced, this story depicts realistic characters dealing with their own desires, while not forgetting the difficult circumstances in which they’re living. Family history is also skillfully incorporated into the plot, connecting all the threads. This realistic fiction debut is a snapshot of a moment when people wanted to fight back against oppression and police brutality and took action as the lines between right and wrong became blurred. ( Source: School Library Journal)
Clap when you land by Elizabeth Acevedo: Acevedo returns to the novel in verse format for this story of two teenage sisters separated by a secret, an ocean, and their father. Papi kept one family in New York and another in the Dominican Republic—something New Yorker Yahaira had an inkling of, but is a complete surprise to Dominican Camino. After Papi’s plane crashes on his way to spend the summer with Camino, his secret fully emerges, and the sisters struggle with their complicated grief and uncertain—but now connected—future. The girls find that for all their differences, they share features and family traits. Acevedo’s free verse poems for each girl share an easy cadence and thoughtfulness, yet each girl’s perspective is clear: Camino is strong but fearful of the dangers that threaten her life and hopes; Yahaira’s anger is palpable, but so is her tenderness and love for her girlfriend Dre. In a later section, the perspectives blend into each other as the girls meet, bond, and become true sisters. (Source: Booklist)
Concrete Rose by Angie Thomas: Seventeen-year-old Maverick Carter is the son of a former gang member who, nevertheless, follows the same path, selling drugs for the King Lords to help his mom with bills while his dad is in jail. He thinks he has everything figured out until fatherhood stares him in the face in the form of baby Seven. Maverick comes to realize that there’s so much more to life that can be lost now that Seven needs him. Then, someone close to Maverick is murdered, leaving him with more hard choices to make. He must define duty, family, and loyalty for himself and figure out if he will—or even can— leave gang life for good. (Source: Booklist)
An Emotion of great delight by Tahereh Mafi: From bestselling and National Book Award-nominated author Tahereh Mafi comes a stunning novel about love and loneliness, navigating the hyphen of dual identity, and reclaiming your right to joy–even when you’re trapped in the amber of sorrow.
It’s 2003, several months since the US officially declared war on Iraq, and the American political world has evolved. Tensions are high, hate crimes are on the rise, FBI agents are infiltrating local mosques, and the Muslim community is harassed and targeted more than ever. Shadi, who wears hijab, keeps her head down.
She’s too busy drowning in her own troubles to find the time to deal with bigots.
Shadi is named for joy, but she’s haunted by sorrow. Her brother is dead, her father is dying, her mother is falling apart, and her best friend has mysteriously dropped out of her life. And then, of course, there’s the small matter of her heart–
Shadi tries to navigate her crumbling world by soldiering through, saying nothing. She devours her own pain, each day retreating farther and farther inside herself until finally, one day, everything changes.
An Emotion of Great Delight is a searing look into the world of a single Muslim family in the wake of 9/11. It’s about a child of immigrants forging a blurry identity, falling in love, and finding hope–in the midst of a modern war. (Source: Publisher)
The Electric Kingdom by David Arnold: When a deadly Fly Flu sweeps the globe, it leaves a shell of the world that once was. Among the survivors are eighteen-year-old Nico and her dog, on a voyage devised by Nico’s father to find a mythical portal; a young artist named Kit, raised in an old abandoned cinema; and the enigmatic Deliverer, who lives Life after Life in an attempt to put the world back together. As swarms of infected Flies roam the earth, these few survivors navigate the woods of post-apocalyptic New England, meeting others along the way, each on their own quest to find life and love in a world gone dark. The Electric Kingdom is a sweeping exploration of art, storytelling, eternal life, and above all, a testament to the notion that even in an exterminated world, one person might find beauty in another. (Source: Publisher)
Grown by Tiffany D Jackson: Seventeen-year-old Enchanted Jones occupies many roles. She’s the responsible older sister who helps out her overworked parents, but she’s still the little girl who loves Disney movies. She’s quiet and uncertain, but longs to step into the spotlight-and at an open call for aspiring singers, she gets her chance when pop star Korey Fields convinces her parents to let her tour with him. Enchanted becomes the victim of the manipulative Korey, who keeps her a prisoner and preys on her sexually. When Korey winds up dead, Enchanted becomes a prime suspect. While Jackson keeps readers in her thrall as she weaves back and forth in time, some of her plot twists feel implausible. Still, her arresting use of figurative language evokes an authentic portrait of a vulnerable teenager torn between infatuation and terror, convinced that there’s no way out. Borrowing heavily from the case of singer R. Kelly, who has long faced accusations of rape and abuse, Jackson urges readers to question why our culture is so quick to excuse powerful men and so eager to depict Black women and girls as complicit in their own abuse. (Source: School Library Journal)
The Inheritance game by Jennifer Barnes: Don’t miss this New York Times bestselling “impossible to put down” (Buzzfeed) novel with deadly stakes, thrilling twists, and juicy secrets — perfect for fans of One of Us is Lying and Knives Out.
Avery Grambs has a plan for a better future: survive high school, win a scholarship, and get out. But her fortunes change in an instant when billionaire Tobias Hawthorne dies and leaves Avery virtually his entire fortune. The catch? Avery has no idea why — or even who Tobias Hawthorne is.
To receive her inheritance, Avery must move into sprawling, secret passage-filled Hawthorne House, where every room bears the old man’s touch — and his love of puzzles, riddles, and codes. Unfortunately for Avery, Hawthorne House is also occupied by the family that Tobias Hawthorne just dispossessed. This includes the four Hawthorne grandsons: dangerous, magnetic, brilliant boys who grew up with every expectation that one day, they would inherit billions. Heir apparent Grayson Hawthorne is convinced that Avery must be a conwoman, and he’s determined to take her down. His brother, Jameson, views her as their grandfather’s last hurrah: a twisted riddle, a puzzle to be solved. Caught in a world of wealth and privilege, with danger around every turn, Avery will have to play the game herself just to survive. (Source: Publisher)
Instructions for dancing by Nicola Yoon: #1 New York Times bestselling author of Everything, Everything and The Sun Is Also a Star Nicola Yoon is back with her eagerly anticipated third novel. With all the heart and hope of her last two books, this is an utterly unique romance.
Evie Thomas doesn’t believe in love anymore. Especially after the strangest thing occurs one otherwise ordinary afternoon: She witnesses a couple kiss and is overcome with a vision of how their romance began . . . and how it will end. After all, even the greatest love stories end with a broken heart, eventually.
As Evie tries to understand why this is happening, she finds herself at La Brea Dance Studio, learning to waltz, fox-trot, and tango with a boy named X. X is everything that Evie is not: adventurous, passionate, daring. His philosophy is to say yes to everything–including entering a ballroom dance competition with a girl he’s only just met.
Falling for X is definitely not what Evie had in mind. If her visions of heartbreak have taught her anything, it’s that no one escapes love unscathed. But as she and X dance around and toward each other, Evie is forced to question all she thought she knew about life and love. In the end, is love worth the risk? (Source: Publisher)
The Ivies by Alexa Donne: Olivia Winters spends her senior year at boarding school Claflin Academy worrying about college admissions and how to pay for school, all while trying to win approval from her uber-rich friends, known as the Ivies. Unconcerned with money and bent on increasing their own chances of getting into Ivy League schools, the Ivies go to great lengths to sabotage their classmates’ rankings, grades, and extracurriculars. When, following a surprise college acceptance, a student is murdered, Olivia realizes how ruthless college admissions can be—and that her friends may not be as harmless as she thought. Donne pens a thrilling novel set in the world of competitive, hyper-elite college admissions, combining romance, suspense, and mystery into one thrilling story that closes with a twist. Many facets of the high school experience are explored, reflecting on the highly pressurized world that many teenagers face as they prepare to graduate. A mystery to solve and a glimpse into the lives of the rich and powerful add substance to this enthralling read. (Source: Booklist)
Lore by Alexandra Bracken: Every seven years, nine Greek gods are called to walk the earth as mortals, hunted by the descendants of ancient bloodlines. Called the Agon, these descendants have the opportunity to seize an ancient god and take their power and immortality. Descended from Perseus, Lore left that life behind after her family was gruesomely murdered. Even though she’s vowed to never return, the heroine can’t pass up an opportunity for justice and revenge offered by a goddess. Throughout the story, Lore tries to figure out where she belongs in this fantastical world. The protagonist is bold, fierce, and powerful and takes nothing for granted. Her best friend Miles, who is gay, supports her every step of the way. This fast-paced narrative is filled with action, intensity, and gripping details. Most main characters are cued as white. (Source: School Library Journal)
Not my problem by Ciara Smyth: Perfect for fans of Becky Albertalli and Nina LaCour, this queer coming-of-age story from the author of The Falling in Love Montage is wry, multilayered, and unflinchingly honest.
Aideen has plenty of problems she can’t solve. But when she stumbles upon overachiever Meabh Kowalska having a full-blown meltdown, she sees one that she can actually fix. Meabh is desperate to escape her crushing pile of extracurriculars. Aideen volunteers to help–by pushing her down the stairs.
Problem? Solved. Meabh’s sprained ankle is the perfect excuse to ditch her overwhelming schedule. But when one of their classmates learns about their little scheme, more “clients” start asking for Aideen’s “help”–kicking off a semester of traded favors, ill-advised hijinks, and even an unexpected chance at love.
Fixing other people’s problems won’t fix her own. But it might be the push Aideen needs to start. (Source: Publisher)
The Realm Breaker by Victoria Aveyard: Irresistibly action-packed and full of lethal surprises, this stunning new fantasy series from Victoria Aveyard, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Red Queen series, begins where hope is lost and asks: When the heroes have fallen, who will take up the sword?
A strange darkness grows in Allward.
Even Corayne an-Amarat can feel it, tucked away in her small town at the edge of the sea.
She soon discovers the truth: She is the last of an ancient lineage–and the last hope to save the world from destruction. But she won’t be alone. Even as darkness falls, she is joined by a band of unlikely companions:
A squire, forced to choose between home and honor.
An immortal, avenging a broken promise.
An assassin, exiled and bloodthirsty.
An ancient sorceress, whose riddles hide an eerie foresight.
A forger with a secret past.
A bounty hunter with a score to settle.
Together they stand against a vicious opponent, invincible and determined to burn all kingdoms to ash, and an army unlike anything the realm has ever witnessed. (Source: Publisher)
She Drives Me Crazy by Kelly Quindlen: High school nemeses fall in love in Kelly Quindlen’s She Drives Me Crazy, a queer YA rom com perfect for fans of Becky Albertalli and Casey McQuisten.
After an embarrassing loss to her ex-girlfriend in their first basketball game of the season, seventeen-year-old Scottie Zajac gets into a fender bender with the worst possible person: her nemesis, Irene Abraham, head cheerleader for the Fighting Reindeer.
Irene is as mean as she is beautiful, so Scottie makes a point to keep her distance. When the accident sends Irene’s car to the shop for weeks’ worth of repairs and the girls are forced to carpool, their rocky start only gets bumpier.
But when an opportunity arises for Scottie to get back at her toxic ex–and climb her school’s social ladder–she bribes Irene into an elaborate fake- dating scheme that threatens to reveal some very real feelings. (Source: Publisher)
Sunny Song Will Never Be Famous by Suzanne Park: A social media influencer is shipped off to a digital detox summer camp in this funny coming-of-age story, perfect for fans of Jenny Han’s The Summer I Turned Pretty and Love and Gelato.
Sunny Song’s Big Summer Goals:
1) Make Rafael Kim my boyfriend (finally!)
2) Hit 100K followers (almost there…)
3) Have the best last summer of high school ever
Not on Sunny’s list: accidentally filming a PG-13 cooking video that goes viral (#browniegate). Extremely not on her list: being shipped off to a digital detox farm camp in Iowa (IOWA??) for a whole month. She’s traded in her WiFi connection for a butter churn, and if she wants any shot at growing her social media platform this summer, she’ll need to find a way back online.
But between some unexpected friendships and an alarmingly cute farm boy, Sunny might be surprised by the connections she makes when she’s forced to disconnect. (Source: Publisher)
They both die at the end by Adam Silvera: Imagine a world in which everyone who is about to die receives the shocking news in advance by phone, and you have the premise of the wildly imaginative new novel by Silvera. Eighteen-year-old Mateo receives such a phone call at 12:22 a.m., while 17-year-old Rufus receives his at 1:05. Both boys, who are initially strangers to each other, now have one thing in common: they will be dead in 24 hours or less. Alone and desperately lonely, the two find each other by using an app called Last Friend. At first dubious, they begin a cautious friendship, which they describe in their respective first-person voices in alternating chapters. The ingenious plot of this character-driven novel charts the evolution of their relationship as it deepens into something more than simple friendship. Silvera does a remarkable job of inviting empathy for his irresistible coprotagonists. As the clock continues to tick the minutes away, their story becomes invested with urgency and escalating suspense. Will they really die? Perhaps, but, ultimately, it is not death but life that is the focus of this extraordinary and unforgettable novel. (Source: Booklist)
These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong: The year is 1926, and Shanghai hums to the tune of debauchery.
A blood feud between two gangs runs the streets red, leaving the city helpless in the grip of chaos. At the heart of it all is eighteen-year-old Juliette Cai, a former flapper who has returned to assume her role as the proud heir of the Scarlet Gang–a network of criminals far above the law. Their only rivals in power are the White Flowers, who have fought the Scarlets for generations. And behind every move is their heir, Roma Montagov, Juliette’s first love…and first betrayal.
But when gangsters on both sides show signs of instability culminating in clawing their own throats out, the people start to whisper. Of a contagion, a madness. Of a monster in the shadows. As the deaths stack up, Juliette and Roma must set their guns–and grudges–aside and work together, for if they can’t stop this mayhem, then there will be no city left for either to rule. (Source: Publisher)
You have a match by Emma Lord: When Abby signs up for a DNA service, it’s mainly to give her friend and secret love interest, Leo, a nudge. After all, she knows who she is already: Avid photographer. Injury-prone tree climber. Best friend to Leo and Connie–although ever since the B.E.I. (Big Embarrassing Incident) with Leo, things have been awkward on that front. But she didn’t know she’s a younger sister. When the DNA service reveals Abby has a secret sister, shimmery-haired Instagram star Savannah Tully, it’s hard to believe they’re from the same planet, never mind the same parents–especially considering Savannah, queen of green smoothies, is only a year and a half older than Abby herself. The logical course of action? Meet up at summer camp (obviously) and figure out why Abby’s parents gave Savvy up for adoption. (Source: Publisher)