I meant to post this in June.
If I had a list of things I meant to do, it would be…incredibly long.
But I’m posting this now, and even though it’s kinda almost in the first half of July, I’m considering it a win.
There are a lot of really fun looking YA books coming out these quarter! I didn’t break anything up by genre, but I’m noting books that are queer, POC and by genre.
I hope you find something to add to your tbr, because mine is groaning from the (metaphorical strain because my tbr is mostly digital) weight so that I’m not alone in having a tbr longer than I will ever be able to read in my lifetime unless I devote my life to reading. As usual, this isn’t everything being published this summer, but just what I’m thinking about.
Blurbs are from Goodreads.
What Souls are Made of by Tasha Suri (July 5)
As the abandoned son of a Lascar—a sailor from India—Heathcliff has spent most of his young life maligned as an “outsider.” Catherine is the younger child of the estate’s owner, a daughter with light skin and brown curls and a mother that nobody talks about. Catherine knows she must mold herself into someone pretty and good and marriageable, even though it might destroy her spirit. But when Catherine’s father dies and the household’s treatment of Heathcliff only grows more cruel, their relationship becomes strained and threatens to unravel. For how can they ever be together, when loving each other—and indeed, loving themselves—is as good as throwing themselves into poverty and death? POC, Historical Fiction (Wuthering Heights retelling).
The King is Dead by Benjamin Dean (July 7)
James has been a prince all of his life, and since he was born, he’s been thrust into the spotlight as the first Black heir to the throne. But when his father unexpectedly dies, James is crowned king at seventeen. Now, the secrets he could keep as a prince with no real responsibility – namely, his sexuality and hidden relationship – are rocked as his life irrevocably changes. When his boyfriend suddenly goes missing, the royal secrets and scandals that only he knows start to leak online. And when it becomes clear that whoever is behind the messages isn’t going to stop anytime soon, James begins to question everyone around him. Queer, POC, Thriller.
How Maya Got Fierce by Sona Charaipotra (July 12)
The heiress to a mini garlic empire in the heart of Gilroy, California, Maya Gera’s meant to be a good Indian girl — which means agriculture school, an MBA, and settling down with a suitable Sikh boy. So spending her 17th summer at cow camp in New Jersey is a really big deal. But when Maya gets kicked out of camp after an expensive accident, she scrambles to save face and keep her parents from finding out. Desperate to earn enough to pay off her mistake, Maya interviews for an internship at Fierce, a fashion magazine she’s been obsessed with forever. When she lands a gig as assistant features editor, it’s a New York City dream come true. But it might soon become her worst nightmare — because the Fierce folks think she’s 26. POC, Contemporary.
Crumbs by Danie Stirling (July 19)
In a very special town, there’s an even more unusual bakery with a selection of baked treats hand-crafted to help your dreams come true. For Ray, a quiet young woman with special powers of her own, the order is always the same: a hot tea with a delicious side of romance. When Ray meets Laurie, the kind barista who aspires to be a professional musician, she gets a real taste of love for the first time. But even with a spark of magic, romance isn’t so simple. Both Ray and Laurie are chasing their own dreams and even when Ray starts to see the future, she can’t predict her fate with Laurie. Graphic Novel, Fantasy.
The Comedienne’s Guide to Pride by Hayli Thompson (July 19)
Taylor Parker isn’t out yet, but she’s keeping an even bigger secret: she entered a sketch contest where the grand prize is an internship at SNL. When Taylor applied to this opportunity for marginalized writers, she checked the “LGBTQ” box on the application without really thinking about it. But now that she’s a finalist, she realizes she’ll need to be out to win. Whether she’s ready or not. Queer, Contemporary.
Violet Made of Thorns by Gina Chen (July 26)
Violet is a prophet and a liar, influencing the royal court with her cleverly phrased—and not always true—divinations. Honesty is for suckers, like the oh-so-not charming Prince Cyrus, who plans to strip Violet of her official role once he’s crowned at the end of the summer—unless Violet does something about it. But when the king asks her to falsely prophesy Cyrus’s love story for an upcoming ball, Violet awakens a dreaded curse, one that will end in either damnation or salvation for the kingdom—all depending on the prince’s choice of future bride. POC, Fantasy.
Love Times Infinity by Lane Clarke (July 26)
High school junior Michie is struggling to define who she is for her scholarship essays, her big shot at making it into Brown as a first-generation college student. The prompts would be hard for anyone, but Michie’s been estranged from her mother since she was seven and her concept of family has long felt murky. Enter new kid and basketball superstar Derek de la Rosa. He is very cute, very talented, and very much has his eye on Michie, no matter how invisible she believes herself to be. And as she spends more time with Derek, she’ll have to decide how much of her heart she is willing to share. Because while Michie may not know who she is, she’s starting to realize who she wants to become, if only she can take a chance on Derek, on herself, and on her future. POC, Romance.
Long Story Short by Serena Kaylor (July 26)
Growing up homeschooled in Berkeley, California, Beatrice Quinn is a statistical genius who has dreamed her whole life of discovering new mathematical challenges at a school like Oxford University. She always thought the hardest part would be getting in, not convincing her parents to let her go. But while math has always made sense to Beatrice, making friends is a problem she hasn’t been able to solve, so her parents are worried about sending her halfway across the world. The compromise: the Connecticut Shakespearean Summer Academy and a detailed list of teenage milestones to check off. She has six weeks to show her parents she can pull off the role of “normal” teenager and won’t spend the rest of her life hiding in a library. Contemporary.
Twice as Perfect by Louisa Onomé (July 26)
For seventeen-year-old Adanna Nkwachi, life is all about duty: to school and the debate team, to her Nigerian parents, and even to her cousin Genny as Ada helps prepare Genny’s wedding to Afrobeats superstar Skeleboy. Because ever since her older brother, Sam, had a fight with their parents a few years ago and disappeared, somebody has to fill the void he left behind. Ada may never know what caused Sam to leave home, but the one thing she’s certain of is that it’s on her to make sure her parents’ sacrifices aren’t in vain. Amid parental pressure, anxiety over the debate competition, a complicated love life, and the Nigerian wedding-to-end-all-weddings, can Ada learn, just this once, to put herself first? POC, Contemporary.
The Valkyrie’s Daughter by Tiana Warner (July 26)
For as long as Sigrid could remember, she’s wanted to become a mighty, fearless valkyrie. But without a winged mare, she’s a mere stable hand, left wondering who her parents were and why she’s so different. So when the Eye shows her a vision where she’s leading a valkyrie charge on the legendary eight-legged horse Sleipnir, she grabs the possibility of this greater destiny with both hands, refusing to let go. What happens when the one thing you think you were meant to do might end the nine worlds? Queer, Fantasy.
Dauntless by Elisa Bonin (August 2)
Seri’s world is defined by very clear rules: The beasts prowl the forest paths and hunt the People. The valiant explore the unknown world, kill the beasts, and gain strength from the armor they make from them. As an assistant to Eshai Unbroken, a young valor commander with a near-mythical reputation, Seri has seen first-hand the struggle to keep the beasts at bay and ensure the safety of the spreading trees where the People make their homes. That was how it always had been, and how it always would be. Until the day Seri encounters Tsana. Tsana is, impossibly, a stranger from the unknown world who can communicate with the beasts – a fact that makes Seri begin to doubt everything she’s ever been taught. Filipino, Queer, Fantasy.
How to Date a Superhero (and not die trying) by Christina Fernandez (August 2)
Astrid isn’t a superhero, not like the ones she sees on the news, but she has something she thinks of as a small superpower: she has a perfect sense of time. And she’s not going to waste a single second. Her plan for college is clear—friends, classes, and extracurriculars all carefully selected to get her into medical school. Until Max Martin, a nerdy boy from her high school, crashes back into her life. YA-NA Crossover, Science Fiction.
Wild is the Witch by Rachel Griffin (August 2)
Iris never lets anyone see who she really is; instead, she vents her frustrations by writing curses she never intends to cast. Otherwise, she spends her days at the wildlife refuge which would be the perfect job if not for Pike Alder, the witch-hating aspiring ornithologist who interns with them. Iris concocts the perfect curse for Pike: one that will turn him into a witch. But just as she’s about to dispel it, a bird swoops down and steals the curse before flying away. If the bird dies, the curse will be unleashed―turning not just Pike, but everyone in the region, into a witch. Iris begs Pike to help her track the bird, and they set out on a trek through the Pacific Northwest looking for a single bird that could destroy everything. Fantasy.
What’s Coming to Me by Francesca Padilla (August 2)
In the seaside town of Nautilus, Minerva Gutiérrez absolutely hates her job at the local ice cream stand, where her sexist boss makes each day worse than the last. But she needs the money: kicked out of school and stranded by her mom’s most recent hospitalization, she dreams of escaping her dead-end hometown. When an armed robbery at the ice cream stand stirs up rumors about money hidden on the property, Min teams up with her neighbor CeCe, also desperate for cash, to find it. The bonus? Getting revenge on her boss in the process. POC, Contemporary.
Girls Who Lie Together by Jessa Russo (August 2)
When seventeen-year-old Renata Carpenter hijacked her stepdad’s classic car, she hadn’t planned on totaling it and landing her best friend in a cast from hip to heel. She definitely hadn’t planned on being sent to a work program in New Orleans as punishment. And she certainly hadn’t planned on falling in love. First love becomes first heartbreak when their summer romance comes to a crashing close earlier than anticipated. Adding insult to injury, Ren’s break-up with Brit is followed by a big move to a small town. As if starting senior year completely alone isn’t bad enough, Ren soon discovers that the Hell on Heels mean girl who rules Sun Ridge Prep with an iron fist and a vicious tongue is none other than her first love. Too bad this Brit is far from lovable. Queer, Contemporary.
The Undead Truth of Us by Britney S Lewis (August 9)
Sixteen-year-old Zharie Young is absolutely certain her mother morphed into a zombie before her untimely death, but she can’t seem to figure out why. Why her mother died, why her aunt doesn’t want her around, why all her dreams seem suddenly, hopelessly out of reach. And why, ever since that day, she’s been seeing zombies everywhere. Then Bo moves into her apartment building―tall, skateboard in hand, freckles like stars, and an undeniable charm. Z wants nothing to do with him, but when he transforms into a half zombie right before her eyes, something feels different. He contradicts everything she thought she knew about monsters, and she can’t help but wonder if getting to know him might unlock the answers to her mother’s death. POC, Horror.
This is Why They Hate Us by Aaron Aceves (August 23)
Enrique “Quique” Luna has one goal this summer—get over his crush on Saleem Kanazi by pursuing his other romantic prospects. Never mind that he’s only out to his best friend, Fabiola. Never mind that he has absolutely zero game. And definitely forget the fact that good and kind and, not to mention, beautiful Saleem is leaving L.A. for the summer to meet a girl his parents are trying to set him up with. But as the summer heats up and his deep-seated fears and anxieties boil over, Quique soon realizes that getting over one guy by getting under a bunch of others may not have been the best laid plan and living his truth can come at a high cost. Queer, POC, Contemporary.
A Venom Dark and Sweet by Judy Lin (August 23)
A great evil has come to the kingdom of Dàxi. The Banished Prince has returned to seize power, his rise to the dragon throne aided by the mass poisonings that have kept the people bound in fear and distrust. Ning, a young but powerful shénnóng-shi—a wielder of magic using the ancient and delicate art of tea-making—has escorted Princess Zhen into exile. Joining them is the princess’ loyal bodyguard, Ruyi, and Ning’s newly healed sister, Shu. Together the four young women travel throughout the kingdom in search of allies to help oust the invaders and take back Zhen’s rightful throne. POC, Fantasy. Book 2.
Beguiled by Cyla Panin (August 23)
Ella is a 17-year-old weaver whose entire livelihood depends on her loom. In order to buy her supplies she goes into debt of her own, and when her loom breaks, Ella realizes she needs more help than a repairperson can give her. Ella is desperate, so she asks the Bean-Nighe to fix her loom. And it works. The loom is fixed, and she’s creating beautiful pieces she could have never imagined before. All she has to do is feed the loom a drop of blood each time she weaves—a small price to pay for such magnificent silks. It seems like Ella’s fortune is finally turning for the better . . . until she begins to notice the loom taking more from her than she offered. Fantasy.
Those Summer Nights by Laura Silverman (August 23)
Hannah used to be all about focus, back before she shattered her ankle and her Olympic dreams in one bad soccer play. These days, she’s all about distraction—anything to keep the painful memories of her recent past at bay, including the string of bad decisions that landed her at boarding school for a year. Enter Bonanza, the local entertainment multiplex and site of Hanna’s summer employment. With its mini golf course, bowling alley, and arcade—not to mention her hot, flirty coworker Patrick—Bonanza seems like the perfect way to stay distracted. Until her boss announces the annual Bonanza tournament, a staff competition that brings her past Olympic nightmares crashing back into her present. Contemporary.
The Dragon’s Promise by Elizabeth Lim (August 30)
Princess Shiori made a deathbed promise to return the dragon’s pearl to its rightful owner, but keeping that promise is more dangerous than she ever imagined.She must journey to the kingdom of dragons, navigate political intrigue among humans and dragons alike, fend off thieves who covet the pearl for themselves and will go to any lengths to get it, all while cultivating the appearance of a perfect princess to dissuade those who would see her burned at the stake for the magic that runs in her blood. POC, Fantasy. Book 2.
Seton Girls by Charlene Thomas (August 30)
Seton Academic High is a prep school obsessed with its football team and their thirteen-year conference win streak, a record that players always say they’d never have without Seton’s girls. What exactly Seton girls do to make them so valuable, though, no one ever really says. They’re just the best. But the team’s quarterback, the younger brother of the Seton star who started the streak, wants more than regular season glory. He wants a state championship before his successor, Seton’s first Black QB, has a chance to overshadow him. Bigger rewards require bigger risks, and soon the actual secrets to the team’s enduring success leak to a small group of girls who suddenly have the power to change their world forever.
Monsters Born and Made by Tanvi Berwah (September 6)
n an oceanic world swarming with vicious beasts, the Landers―the ruling elite, have indentured Koral’s family to provide the maristags for the Glory Race, a deadly chariot tournament reserved for the upper class. The winning contender receives gold and glory. The others―if they’re lucky―survive. When the last maristag of the year escapes and Koral has no new maristag to sell, her family’s financial situation takes a turn for the worse and they can’t afford medicine for her chronically ill little sister. Koral’s only choice is to do what no one in the world has ever dared: cheat her way into the Glory Race. POC, Fantasy.
Meet Me in Mumbai by Sabina Khan (September 6)
Seventeen-year-old Mira Fuller-Jensen was adopted by her moms at birth. All she knows about her biological mother is that she was a high-school student from India who returned to India after giving birth. Although Mira loves her moms, she’s always felt out of place in her mostly white community. So when Mira finds an old box with letters addressed to her from her birth mother, she sees a way to finally capture that feeling of belonging. But is she actually ready for what she will learn?
Self-Made Boys by Anna-Marie McLemore (September 6)
Nicolás Caraveo, a 17-year-old transgender boy from Minnesota, has no interest in the city’s glamor. Going to New York is all about establishing himself as a young professional.Nick rents a small house in West Egg from his 18-year-old cousin, Daisy Fabrega, who lives in fashionable East Egg near her wealthy fiancé, Tom—and Nick is shocked to find that his cousin now goes by Daisy Fay, has erased all signs of her Latina heritage, and now passes seamlessly as white. Nick’s neighbor in West Egg is a mysterious young man named Jay Gatsby, whose castle-like mansion is the stage for parties so extravagant that they both dazzle and terrify Nick. At one of these parties, Nick learns that the spectacle is all for the benefit of impressing a girl from Jay’s past—Daisy. And he learns something else: Jay is also transgender.
The Sunbearer Trials by Adrian Thomas (September 6)
Teo, a 17-year-old Jade semidiós and the trans son of Quetzal, goddess of birds, has never worried about the Trials…or rather, he’s only worried for others. His best friend Niya―daughter of Tierra, the god of earth―is one of the strongest heroes of their generation and is much too likely to be chosen this year. He also can’t help but worry for Aurelio, a powerful Gold semidiós and shoo-in for the Trials. Teo wouldn’t mind taking Aurelio down a notch or two, but a one-in-ten chance of death is a bit too close for Teo’s taste. But then, for the first time in over a century, Sol chooses a semidiós who isn’t a Gold. In fact, he chooses two: Xio, the 13-year-old child of Mala Suerte, god of bad luck, and…Teo. Now they must compete in five mysterious trials, against opponents who are both more powerful and better trained, for fame, glory, and their own survival. Queer, POC, Fantasy.
Lioness of Punjab by Anita Jari Kharbanda (September 17)
It is the winter of 1705, and the tenth Guru of the Sikhs is under attack by the armies of the mighty Mughal Emperor, Aurangzeb. Under siege and isolated, Guru Gobind Singh Ji’s men are exhausted beyond measure, and forty soldiers decide to head home. Back in the villages of Punjab, these forty men are met by a fiery Sikh woman—a warrior who has been preparing all her life for this very moment—who leads the deserters back to the Guru. This is the story of that warrior, the fierce Mai Bhago, who chose the sword to symbolize her unwavering loyalty and devotion to her people and her faith. POC, Historical Fiction.
Rust in the Root by Justina Ireland (September 20)
It is 1937, and Laura Ann Langston lives in an America divided—between those who work the mystical arts and those who do not. Ever since the Great Rust, a catastrophic event that blighted the arcane force called the Dynamism and threw America into disarray, the country has been rebuilding for a better future. With nowhere else to turn, Laura applies for a job with the Bureau of the Arcane’s Conservation Corps, a branch of the US government dedicated to repairing the Dynamism so that Mechomancy can thrive. There she meets the Skylark, a powerful mage with a mysterious past, who reluctantly takes Laura on as an apprentice. On their first mission together into the heart of the country’s oldest and most mysterious Blight, they discover the work of mages not encountered since the darkest period in America’s past, when Black mages were killed for their power—work that could threaten Laura’s and the Skylark’s lives, and everything they’ve worked for. POC, Alternate History/Fantasy.
Seoulmates by Susan Lee (September 20)
Hannah Cho had the next year all planned out—the perfect summer with her boyfriend, Nate, and then a fun senior year with their friends. But then Nate does what everyone else in Hannah’s life seems to do—he leaves her, claiming they have nothing in common. He and all her friends are newly obsessed with K-pop and K-dramas, and Hannah is not. After years of trying to embrace the American part and shunning the Korean side of her Korean American identity to fit in, Hannah finds that’s exactly what now has her on the outs. POC, Contemporary.
Bone Weaver by Aden Polydoros (September 20)
The Kosa empire roils in tension, on the verge of being torn apart by a proletarian revolution between magic-endowed elites and the superstitious lower class, but seventeen-year-old Toma lives blissfully disconnected from the conflict in the empire with her adoptive family of benevolent undead. When she meets Vanya, a charming commoner branded as a witch by his own neighbors, and the dethroned Tsar Mikhail himself, the unlikely trio bonds over trying to restore Mikhail’s magic and protect the empire from the revolutionary leader, Koschei, whose forces have stolen the castle. Queer, Fantasy.
Direwood by Catherine Yu (September 20)
No one ever pays attention to sixteen-year-old Aja until her perfect older sister Fiona goes missing. In the days leading up to Fiona’s disappearance, Aja notices some extraordinary things: a strange fog rolling through their idyllic suburban town, a brief moment when the sky seems to rain blood, and a host of parasitic caterpillars burrowing their way through the trees. It seems everyone is willing to keep living in denial until other teens start to go missing too. Aja is horrified when she meets Padraic, the vampire responsible for all the strange occurrences. In the misty woods, Aja finds that Padraic has made his nest with another vampire in a dilapidated church infested by blood-sucking butterflies. Within its walls, the vampires are waited on and entertained by other children they’ve enthralled, but there is no sign of Fiona. Before her bargain is up, Aja must find a way to turn her classmates against their captors, find her sister, and save them all—or be forced to join the very monsters she wants to destroy. POC, Horror.
How to Succeed in Witchcraft by Aislinn Brophy (September 27)
Shay Johnson has all the makings of a successful witch. Now that she’s a junior at T.K. Anderson Magical Magnet School, she’s one step closerto winning the full-ride Brockton Scholarship–her ticket into the university of her dreams. Her main competition? Ana freaking Alvarez. The key to victory? Impressing Mr. B, drama teacher and head of the scholarship committee. With rehearsals underway, Shay realizes Ana is…not the despicable witch she’d thought. Perhaps she could even be a friend–or more. When Shay learns she’s not the first witch to experience Mr. B’s inappropriate behavior, she must decide if she’ll come forward. But how can she speak out when the scholarship–and her future–are on the line? Queer, POC, Fantasy.
Lark and Kasim Start a Revolution by Kacen Callender (September 27)
Lark Winters wants to be a writer, and for now that means posting on their social media accounts––anything to build their platform. When former best friend Kasim accidentally posts a thread on Lark’s Twitter declaring his love for a secret, unrequited crush, Lark’s tweets are suddenly the talk of the school—and beyond. To protect Kasim, Lark decides to take the fall, pretending they accidentally posted the thread in reference to another classmate. It seems like a great idea: Lark gets closer to their crush, Kasim keeps his privacy, and Lark’s social media stats explode. But living a lie takes a toll—as does the judgment of thousands of Internet strangers. Lark tries their best to be perfect at all costs, but nothing seems good enough for the anonymous hordes––or for Kasim, who is growing closer to Lark, just like it used to be between them . . .Queer, POC, Contemporary.
The Last of the Talons by Sophie Kim (September 27)
After the destruction of her entire Talon gang, eighteen-year-old Shin Lina—the Reaper of Sunpo—is forced to become a living, breathing weapon for the kingdom’s most-feared crime lord. All that keeps her from turning on her ruthless master is the life of her beloved little sister hanging in the balance. But the order to steal a priceless tapestry from a Dokkaebi temple incites not only the wrath of a legendary immortal, but the beginning of an unwinnable game… Suddenly Lina finds herself in the dreamlike realm of the Dokkaebi, her fate in the hands of its cruel and captivating emperor. But she can win her life—if she kills him first. POC, Fantasy.
Well, That Was Unexpected by Jesse Sutanto (September 27)
After Sharlot Citra’s mother catches her in a compromising position, she finds herself whisked away from LA to her mother’s native Indonesia. It’ll be exactly what they both need. Or so her mother thinks. When George Clooney Tanuwijaya’s father (who is obsessed with American celebrities) fears he no longer understands how to get through to his son, he decides to take matters into his own hands. To ensure that their children find the right kind of romantic partner, Sharlot’s mother and George’s father do what any good parent would do: they strike up a conversation online, pretending to be their children. POC, Romance.