by Erin Harvey, Junior Editor & Junior Co-editor for Drama jaBlog!
Artwork by Katie King
Although summer vacation gives us a well-deserved break from the tedious hours spent in the classroom, those hot days are often filled with boredom. Reading offers an escape from blistering days and bodies stinking of sun lotion and chlorine. In no particular order, here are my top ten reads perfect for keeping you company as you float away in the pool.
WARNING: Some of these books may not be suitable for younger readers.
1. The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider
This novel is a recent YA favorite of mine, centering around the improbability of maintaining the expectations others have about your character. Ezra Faulkner struggles to begin anew after a tragic accident and finds love in the process. It’s a must-read for both girls and guys to enjoy.
2. If I Stay by Gayle Forman
A heartbreaking tale of a girl struggling to stay alive, this novel is both hopeful and tragic. From Mia’s perspective, she watches over her comatose body and relives moments of her past. If she lives or dies is up to her. Make sure to check out this book before it hits the big screen in August.
3. Across the Universe Series by Beth Revis
If you have not read this YA sci-fi trilogy, you’re missing out on an incredible adventure. Frozen cargo Amy is thrust aboard the spaceship Godspeed when she is awoken 50 years too soon. Teaming up with future leader Elder, she must uncover the secrets within the ship. Not only is it one of my all-time favorites, this book is the perfect summer read for any young adult to enjoy.
4. Elements Series by Brigid Kemmerer
This brilliant series mixes sarcasm and action to produce a perfect YA urban fantasy plot which quickly climbed the ladder of my favorite books. For fans of elemental powers, this is the ideal series. You’ll be engrossed in the lives of the Merrick boys as they fight to outwit those who want to kill them and meet several love interests in the process. The characters are beautifully crafted to a point of inducing envy. Every summer needs a little magic, right?
5. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
The perfect historical fiction, this book is suitable for both young and old readers. The storyline offers insight to Nazi Germany through the eyes of a young girl. Both tragic and uplifting, it’s on its way to becoming a modern-day classic. Besides, it isn’t too late to check out the movie!
6. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
Writing by a fellow teen author, this book is an inspiration to those hoping to publish young as well. The classic tale of Ponyboy, a teenage greaser, is one often reread, retold, and referenced in modern pop culture. A must-read for young adults, this book shares the importance of loyalty and the fact that heroes aren’t always who you think.
7. These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner
The first book in the Starbound series, this sci-fi love story is unlike any I’ve read before. It’s far advanced compared to most YA books of this genre. Set in an imaginative, well-crafted world, the blossoming relationship of two very different strangers is tested after their spaceship crashes on an uninhabited planet. Look for the release of the sequel in late December.
8. Openly Straight by Bill Konigsberg
What makes this book such an incredible read is not its witty humor or honest outlook. It’s the fact that a gay teenage boy is the main character, connecting to a minority group and widening our literary palate. This coming-of-age book allows both gay and straight teens to discover the truth of what it means to be you.
9. Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson
Growing up thirty minutes from Walt Disney World, I’ve always had a connection to the magic in its stories. Tiger Lily, a spin-off of Peter Pan’s classic tale, offers the same magic to YA readers. After Peter claims her heart, Tiger Lily must grow to see that even the most loyal can become enemies in time.
10. Origin by Jessica Khoury
This story is a unique take on immortality. Pia is immortal, destined to begin a new race and eliminate death. Once she falls in love, however, she starts to question the only fate she has ever known. The lush Amazon setting will transport you from your summertime blues and into a world of mystery, deceit, and passion.