Summer is the undisputed season for contemporary romance. Or just plain romance-less contemporary. (It’s scientific)
Since it’s summer right now, I’ve compiled a list of YA contemporary books I’ve read that either take place in summer or just have a general summery vibe. Some are fluffy, some are serious, but all of them are beach-read material.
Without further ado, here are 10 YA (and MG) contemporary books to read this summer!
1) The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson
I’m not going to go into a long blurb about this one, since I wrote a review for it last year. It is a slightly fluffy, summery story about a girl who is barred from attending her summer internship after her politician father is involved in a scandal, and how she copes with her plans being ruined. (I particularly resonated with this one when I read it in spring 2020 and everything was canceled)
2) Rules by Cynthia Lord
This one is more of a middle grade, but it’s a great book that covers more serious topics while still being summery. It’s a coming-of-age story about a girl who is embarrassed by her autistic younger brother and how she learns more about the world and the definition of “being normal”
3) Hour of the Bees by Lindsay Eagar
This one is again, technically middle-grade and it also contains an element of magical realism, but it is too good not to include. It’s about a girl who instead of having a “fun” summer with her friends is spending the break with her grumpy grandfather, who has dementia. I read this one years ago but I loved it so much.
4) To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han
This is a pretty popular book, following a girl who likes to write secret letters to all of her crushes and what happens when someone mails these letters out to their addressees. It’s funny, sweet, and very fluffy. I wasn’t expecting to like this one, but I actually really enjoyed it. Here’s my review
5) Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo
This is a pretty sad, not very fluffy book, but it is a really good contemporary and takes place in summer, so I put it on this list anyway. It is written in verse and follows two sisters who are reunited when their father dies in a plane crash– neither of them knew the other existed. I loved the writing in this book and this is the first book I read partially set in the Dominican Republic.
6) Tweet Cute by Emma Lord
Now this is a very fun and fluffy one. Tweet Cute is a rom-com involving the enemies-to-lovers trope, baking blogs and Twitter battles. I don’t usually reach for romances, but I really liked this one and wrote a review for it last year!
7) Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson
Another heavy book… Second Chance Summer follows a girl whose family decides to spend the summer at their old lake house after her father is diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer. There, she is reunited with people from her past, including, of course, a Boy™. This one is really sad, but at the same time very heartwarming… here’s my review.
8) Just Listen by Sarah Dessen
Pretty much everyone associates Sarah Dessen with summer, so of course I had to put one of her books on this list. Just Listen is also a fairly dark book, but it also has romance and retains the summery Sarah Dessen feeling. I read this one last year and thought it was very good.
9) A Mango-Shaped Space by Wendy Mass
Another great book I’ve never talked about on my blog before today! A Mango-Shaped Space follows a girl who has synesthesia, and to date I’ve never read another book with this condition mentioned. I actually had never heard of it before reading this. It’s also just a really good early-YA book that I would recommend if you’re looking for a change.
10) The Truth About Twinkie Pie by Kat Yeh
I read this book so long ago, but I really, really liked it and you cannot possibly argue that that cover doesn’t scream summer. It has a strong focus on sister/family relationships and follows a girl living alone with her sister, until she wins a prestigious cooking competition– and a lot of money along with it– and discovers some hidden family secrets. This, again, is a middle-grade novel, but it was a great read.
Also check out my instagram reel for some extra recommendations!
Do you associate contemporary/romance with summer? What is your favorite summer-y book? Have you read any of the ones on this list?
As always, thanks for stopping by Frappes & Fiction today!