It’s summer, which means more time to read, of course.
*Cue incessant cheering*
I love doing recommendation posts, and since it’s summer, I figured I might as well do a summer reading recommendation masterlist (because I have too many and as you know, I have a problem with shutting up).
The following books are all books that I feel are perfect for you to read this summer, are are all books I have rated 3 stars or above. Since this list is pretty sizable, I’ve divided them into different categories (pretty much genre categories) so you can peruse at your own leisure.
I’ve tried to refrain from putting super hyped books here, but sometimes I couldn’t help it. Also, all the titles lead straight to their respective Goodreads link (which all open in new tabs, and took me FOREVER to do welp).
Without further ado, here are 50+ books to
overload add to your TBR!
Part One: Contemporary Reads
The first section of this gigantic post is contemporary reads! When I say contemporary reads, I’m talking about books that are set in the real world, but its main focus is not romance. That doesn’t mean that these reads are completely void of romance plots, they’re just not as prominent.
Don’t Date Rosa Santos by Nina Moreno – I know a good chunk of this is technically set over spring break, Don’t Date Rosa Santos is a book that SCREAMS summer. From that yellow and blue cover (with waves), to the small town atmosphere, and to its beachy setting, it is the ideal summer read. There are so many things to love about this book, from the romance, the Cuban representation, Rosa herself, and the magical realism aspect, Don’t Date Rosa Santos is a book that you shouldn’t miss out on.
Summer Bird Blue by Akemi Dawn Bowman – One of the words in the title is summer, so I had to. This is a beautiful and heartbreaking book with an angry, nuanced, three-dimensional character (who might be one of my all-time favourites) grieving the loss of her sister, and it is absolutely heartbreaking. It has phenomenal ace-aro representation, beautiful relationships, and has a GORGEOUS Hawaiian setting. Also, the cover of this book has a WAVE, smack front and center. You can’t get any more summer than that.
Foolish Hearts by Emma Mills – This is such a fun read, and is well-loved (most likely Mills’s most popular book) by so many who have read it. Emma Mills is probably one of the funniest and wittiest authors I’ve ever read from, and this had so many of my favourite tropes, such as the incorporation of high school theatre, fantastic familial and romantic relationships, as well as friendships. It is such a quick read, with a myriad of diverse characters.
Famous In A Small Town by Emma Mills – This is my second favourite (or favourite?
I’m not sure) Emma Mills novel. Everything I love about Mills’s books is on full display here – from the friendships, the banter,
a gorgeous cover, and awesome side characters. This book also heavily features ice cream, and is set in a small town, so.
The Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene Goo – Oh my gosh, this book is probably my favourite Maurene Goo book! It has characters working on a food truck, great friendships, Korean representation, and a really great main character arc. It’s also set in the summer, which makes it even more perfect!
Far From The Tree by Robin Benway – This is one of the more hard hitting books on this list, and fairly hyped too (since it won the National Book Award) and it is deserving of all the hype. I loved how nuanced each main character was, and I was so invested in all three of them and their lives. All three siblings coming together was such a beautiful journey. If you want to have your heart broken and then put together again, you need to pick this up.
We Are Okay by Nina LaCour – We Are Okay is such a quiet, beautiful read that I just loved. It truly is the epitome of quiet YA, and it is a gorgeous character-driven read that I couldn’t get enough of. Honestly, LaCour’s prose is so beautiful that it could step on me and I’d say thank you. The portrayal of familial relationships, loneliness, grief, and an extremely nuanced relationship.
Part Two: Romance/Rom-Coms
Ah, the genre that so many love to read during summer! This section focuses on rom-com esque books (which are pretty much all contemporary reads) and books that have a main focus of romance.
Red, White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston – I know I said that I’m trying not to include super hyped books here, but this one had to wedge its foot in the door. This is likely one of the most hyped releases of this year, and it is so good. The politics and the political intrigue, the relationships, the friendships and most of this was absolute perfection. McQuiston is truly a hilarious writer who gets how to write for millennials. The romance was also so well-done, and those emails? Added five years to my life.
Meet Cute edited by Jennifer L. Armentrout – If you’re looking for a romance anthology, this is a perfect one to check out! It has gotten a mixed reception, is SO slept on, and I don’t understand it, because this was so much fun. Being the definition of single, I LOVE living vicariously through fictional romances, (especially when they are diverse, which this is!) and you will be swooning over so many of these stories. I 10000% recommend.
Save the Date by Morgan Matson – I am absolute Trash for anything to do with event planning (especially weddings), and this one satisfied my craving for this element SO WELL. This is my favourite Morgan Matson book so far, and it has so much chaos, great family relationships and is just the epitome of Fun.
The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson – Honestly, Morgan Matson books are just PERFECT summer reads, because most of them are set in the summer! This is my second favourite Matson book, and it has the most adorable romance, a great depiction of a father-daughter relationship, lots of dogs, and this one SCREAMS summer in general.
Small Town Hearts by Lillie Vale – Small Town Hearts was another recent read for me, and it is most likely one of the most summery books I have ever read! It is set during summer, at a fictional beach town in Maine, with a coffee shop, lighthouse and a whirlwind summer romance. It is fun, while also being poignant, seeing as it deals with a manipulative friendship. Also, did I mention this has a bi protagonist?
Maybe This Time by Kasie West – At the time of writing this, this is my most recent read, and this was so good! It is set over the course of a year and nine events, and has the most adorable romance. I loved reading about the events, seeing how the romance unfolded, and the small town atmosphere. The romance is a hate-to-love relationship, and we all know I’m trash for that.
Listen to Your Heart by Kasie West – Admittedly, this isn’t set over the summer, but this is such a perfect summer read (like pretty much all of West’s books are), but that cover!! proclaims!! summer! It has such a cute romance, with a podcast element, and is very reminiscent of Sleepless In Seattle (I haven’t seen it, and I need to remedy that).
Love, Life and the List by Kasie West – Yes, another West book – but she publishes such enjoyable YA summer-y romances! This one has so much heart and is so wonderful to see. The list aspect was really fun, and the romance definitely keeps you on your toes (I really had very little idea how it was going to end). Also, summer friends! Art!
The Dimple and Rishi series by Sandhya Menon (When Dimple Met
Rishi and There’s Something About Sweetie) – Diverse rom-coms, with Asian main characters is exactly my jam. Both Dimple and Sweetie were refreshing, strong, root-able female characters and were pretty fun to read from! Menon has such a way with words, and is so good at writing both the awkwardness and the adorableness of the romances. They have great meet cutes (the iced coffee spill), arranged marriage depiction and great friendship groups (Ashish’s group). Menon has another book coming out in the series in the summer of 2020, so you should definitely pick it up!
Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Kann – This has a quirky, black, ace, biromantic girl falling in love with a soft, Japanese-American boy while working at the library together. What more can you ask for? This was a great college YA book, and I really loved reading Alice’s struggle with finding what she wanted to do in the future.
American Panda by Gloria Chao – Another favourite that I really don’t talk about enough here! This is another great YA college book, and has the most delightful protagonist (and the most ADORABLE romance EVER). This is a proudly Asian rom-com (with Taiwanese and Japanese rep!) that I both deeply related to and adored with my whole heart and soul. The love interest warmed my heart and this was such a swoonworthy book.
Always Never Yours by Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka – It is absolutely no secret that I am a die-hard fan for anything this writing duo writes, and this is my favourite one of theirs so far. It is so sex-positive, and does Shakespeare so well, with a wonderfully adorable romance (and banter) that I fell for so hard. Everything was just perfection, and I will never shut up about it.
If I’m Being Honest by Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka – Though I didn’t love this one as much as Always Never Yours, I hold the unpopular opinion here because most people liked this one better. It has such a fantastic main character arc, has such refreshing characters, and I loved how it retold Shakespeare. Please, just read all of their books if you haven’t already.
The Simonverse novels by Becky Albertalli (Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda and Leah on the Offbeat) – These novels are so well-loved (especially Simon), and for such good read. It has queer characters, front and center, and Albertalli’s humour is just so on-point. They are such feel-good, fluffy books that make you so happy. The Simon duology is so delightful, with one of my favourite friendships ever.
The Royals Series by Rachel Hawkins (Prince Charming and Her Royal Highness) –These books are such fun, angsty faux royal books with some really rootable romances! So many people love anything to do with royalty (especially with British royals), which is perfect because this series has Scottish royals. It has some really great banter and are really quick reads that will leave you with a smile on your face.
Geekerella by Ashley Poston – This was such a cute, fun, sweet and fluffy read that left me with a huge smile on my face. The retelling aspect was so unique and it has a huge emphasis on fandom and cons, which was really lovely to see. Also, that cover (and the naked hardback?). ART.
To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han – Another YA classic, and one that has gained even more attention since its Netflix adaptation, this series is such a perfect series to binge in the summer (and any time you need a fluffy read, really!). The romance and the familial relationships are so cute and wholesome, the baking part is so wonderful, and the progression of Lara Jean’s character is so interesting to watch.
Part Three: Wanderlust
This section focuses on books featuring travelling, that give you the feeling of wanderlust, and/or is set internationally. YA tends to be heavily American-centric, and therefore finding books that fulfil those above criteria is a gift, as it allows for the exploration of different cultures and to travel without leaving wherever I happen to be.
Darius the Great Is Not Okay by Adib Khorram (Iran) – If you’ve been on my blog for any longer than 3 seconds, you know how much I love this book. It is my whole brand, and I will never shut up about it. It is such a breath of fresh air, and a novel with so much heart, diversity and a lot to offer. This is mostly set in Iran, and the food and culture is so vibrantly described. It is criminally underrated and I will make every one read it. Also, make sure you have a pack of tissues at hand, especially for that last third. You’re welcome.
I Love You So Mochi by Sarah Kuhn (Japan) – This is set in Kyoto, Japan, and its depiction of Japanese culture both made me love Japan even more and made me want to go to Japan even more! It has the cutest romance, and has a great self-discovery arc, and lots of mochi of course. I love Asian desserts and my Asian food loving self was very satisfied with this.
Love from A to Z by S.K Ali (Doha) – Love from A to Z has made it to my favourite books of the year, and it is absolutely phenomenal. While this isn’t focused on going around Doha, it was so lovely to see that this was set there, because YA set in the Middle East is so rare. It has such a beautiful romance, and I ADORED both Zayneb and Adam (especially Adam!) as main characters as well as their arcs. Don’t get me wrong, this was heavy to read at times (especially since Adam is beginning to suffer from multiple sclerosis), but this is truly perfection.
I See London, I See France by Sarah Mlynowski (Europe) – Though I read this a while back, I remember binging this in one school night and having the best time with it. This is a New Adult European backpacking travel story, and it was so fun seeing the different countries and attractions of each country.
The Astonishing Colour of After by Emily X.R Pan (Taiwan) – This was such a lovely, heartbreaking and beautiful book dealing with grief. It has absolutely STUNNING writing (it is very flowery and colour heavy though), and I loved travelling to Taiwan and seeing the city with the main character.
9 Days & 9 Nights by Katie Cotugno (Europe) – Like I See London, I See France, this is a European backpacking novel! It has college age students, and the travelling aspect was both well done and highly enjoyable. It is also a sequel to 99 Days (and being that person, I actually enjoyed that one), and so it was interesting seeing the fallout of the events of 99 Days.
Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson (USA) – Even though I tried to stay away from books set in the USA, I couldn’t resist for this one, since it features a roadtrip across the USA (from California to Connecticut) and also had a really enjoyable romance. It is also really fun since it is part told through alternative format (e.g through receipts, playlists etc.), which was so unique and awesome.
Part Four: SFF
This section is dedicated to those science fiction/fantasy books perfect for the summer! From rich carnivals to vast kingdoms to futuristic cities, there is plenty on offer.
Caraval by Stephanie Garber – While Caraval is both well-known and has a mixed reception, I personally really enjoyed it. The descriptions of Caraval are rich and lush, and the combination of both the immersive, tightly plotted well, plot and the world will sweep you away and forget where you are.
Furyborn by Claire Legrand – Another polarizing book (and series) that I adore with my whole heart and soul! This is such a fantastic series with THE most awesome premise, and angry, nuanced, and fascinating main characters. The world is also extremely fascinating, and it is so great to see how the timelines will connect. An absolutely phenomenal page turner that more of you need to read!
Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim – I love this book deeply and with all my heart, and this is an absolute stunning Asian fantasy that everyone needs to read (it’s probably my second favourite fantasy of the year!) The plot is immersive, the characters likable and interesting, and with fantastic incorporation of Asian mythology! The writing truly sings with magic and it is so great.
Stronger Than A Bronze Dragon by Mary Fan – Asian steampunk historical fantasy inspired by the Qin dynasty, you say? YES. This is another super fun quest fantasy novel, with great incorporation of Chinese culture and mythology. The characters are awesome, and the romance and banter? Fantastic.
Warcross by Marie Lu – Marie Lu is one of my favourite authors, and this is one of my favourite books by her. Lu is just SO GOOD at writing sci-fi (oh my God it’s insane how good she is at it), and the virtual reality game was so addictive and made for such a pageturner. The characters are great and so fascinating to follow (especially Emika and Hideo). This is a book brimming with life, diversity (so much diversity) and all the colours. If you’re looking for Ready Player One, but YA, far more inclusive and diverse and (in my opinion) better, this is the perfect pick.
Jane, Unlimited by Kristin Cashore – This book is so slept on that it blows my mind. It is like if Rebecca (since it heavily features a goth-like estate) and the concept of choose-your-own adventure had a baby, this would be it. Each choice is so interesting to see and has its own separate genre, which was the coolest thing ever. I recommend reading the physical book rather than going the audiobook route, especially if this is the first time you’re reading this. This is because the story is told in a non-linear manner, which can be confusing if consumed via audio first.
The Selection (trilogy) by Kiera Cass – And another YA classic is featured here! The Selection is an incredibly “fluffy YA”-esque trilogy that you can binge in a matter of days. The romance is pretty easy to get invested in, and this is perfect if you want a YA version of the Bachelor.
We don’t talk about the sequels here. Also, can we talk about those dresses on the cover? *all the heart eyes*
Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake – Though admittedly, the first book can be pretty slow, this is a great series to get invested in! The premise is really unique and the plot is generally really great to follow. It features complex female characters and the world is both incredibly awesome (hello, a matriarchy run by badass queens? Yes.) If you find Three Dark Crowns boring, give the sequel a shot, because that was AWESOME. It is also a great time to pick it up because the finale, Five Dark Fates, is coming out in September!
Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan – Another instance of me recycling the same books to recommend! I am sorry but this is too good. This is the Malaysian-Chinese fantasy of my dreams, and this is a gorgeous, feminist fantasy with fantastic political intrigue as well as dealing with some really heavy topics with lots of triggers (such as sexual assault). It is also very intersectional, as it is Sapphic Asian fantasy, and honestly, what more can you ask for?
Part Five: Mystery & Thrillers
We all love a good mystery that keeps us on our toes, which great mystery/thrillers do. This part showcases a wide variety of mystery/thrillers that will keep you up all night, turning those pages (hopefully).
Four Dead Queens by Astrid Scholte – This has such a fast paced, addictive plot which proved impossible for me to put down. The world is expansive and absolutely fascinating, and Scholte knows how to pull off plot twists. I don’t want to say too much because this really is a book that you need to go in knowing as little as possible. Also, this is Australian YA, if I’m not wrong? (Please let me know if I am!)
Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson – This book has an awesome fat, Latinx main character front and center, with a highly intriguing, compelling mystery, and lots of sassiness. It is a breath of fresh air, with witty dialogue and with a touch of speculative fiction (with Wicca rep). This book hasn’t been talked about in a while, but I’m here to bring that back because it was so. good.
Sadie by Courtney Summers – I am aware that this was really hyped, and that hype really is worth something. Please know that this is a highly gritty, heavy (and at times) difficult to read, so please go in knowing all the triggers and being in a good mental headspace. Courtney Summers is SO good at writing nuanced, human female main characters and is unafraid to go to dark places. The juxtaposition of the podcast with Sadie’s narration was perfection, and this is one I am sure you will get through in one sitting. And if you haven’t listened to this one, I’m begging you to listen to it. It has a full cast and is probably one of the best audiobooks I have ever listened to.
People Like Us by Dana Mele – I know so many people who have loved boarding school mysteries, and for good reason (I love it too!). This has a super fun mystery, with a scavenger element, and it is so fun trying to crack the mystery of it. The characters were just so fascinating, and this was just great (and so underrated!)
Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson – Another fun boarding school mystery to feed your boarding school addiction! It has a great juxtaposition of two mysteries (one being set in the 1930s, and the other in the present day) and it was so interesting to see them both unfold. I really need to pick up The Vanishing Stair soon because I have so many questions from Truly Devious.
All These Beautiful Strangers by Elizabeth Klehfoth – This one is ~sort of~ a boarding/prep school mystery, except it’s not centered there. Its main mystery is incredibly compelling and this has a secret society and scavenger hunt aspect, which was fun and super intriguing.
The Charlotte Holmes series by Brittany Cavallaro – Honestly, this series is a love letter to Sherlock fans (both the TV show and the books). It is a pretty faithful retelling and has some pretty fun mysteries as well! It also deals with some heavy topics, such as drug addiction and sexual assault. It has a great Holmes-Watson dynamic that is truly so entertaining to read.
Part Six: Miscellaneous
This last section centers around books that I feel are good summer reads, but that don’t fit into any of the above categories.
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid – I had to break my “try-to-steer-clear-of-extremely-hyped-books” rule, because this is too good and I cannot deal with it. Evelyn Hugo is such a fascinating, flawed character and I am completely obsessed with her and her life. This might be my favourite book of all time. I DON’T KNOW. Also, PLEASE listen to this via audiobook if you haven’t. I’m begging you.
Midnight at the Electric by Jodi Lynn Anderson – Don’t we love quiet YA? This is such a quiet, underrated and beautiful novel about three girls over three different timelines, and I absolutely tore through this one. This is incredibly character-focused and leaves you with such a lonely, melancholy feeling, but also fills you with hope. Reading this really is an experience, and one you should go into knowing as little as possible.
The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee – This is the most fun, diverse historical YA fiction novel, with such an entertaining trip across Europe, lots of queer representation (and diverse representation as a whole) and some quality banter. Also, you should most definitely listen to this via audio. Because it’s narrated by young Tom Riddle and also, that British accent. Need I say more?
Because You Love to Hate Me edited by Ameriie – I know this one gets a mixed rep, but this was honestly such a fun and entertaining anthology. This has some really great villains, and it was so interesting to learn about them. This anthology issuch a quick read because it is a short story anthology, but this is such an intriguing concept and for the most part, carried out pretty well.
Are any of your favourite books here or are there any books here on your TBR? What are your top 3 summer reads you would recommend? How has your summer (and your summer reading) been so far?
Also! Ya girl just got nominated in the shortlist of two categories, pre-teen/teen blogger as well as small book blogger (!!!) for the Third Annual book Blogger Awards, and I’d love it if you all could vote for me there! The form is here if you’re interested (no pressure, of course).