Since it’s getting to the season of long flights on planes, lazy beach days and seemingly endless evenings of no new TV, I want to do a series of feminist summer recommends to keep the bookshelves full and hand luggage impossible to lift.
Here are 10 summery young adult novels I’ve enjoyed in holidays past.
13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson
Inside little blue envelope 1 are $1,000 and instructions to buy a plane ticket.
In envelope 2 are directions to a specific London flat.
The note in envelope 3 tells Ginny: Find a starving artist.
Because of envelope 4, Ginny and a playwright/thief/ bloke–about–town called Keith go to Scotland together, with somewhat disastrous–though utterly romantic–results. But will she ever see him again?
Everything about Ginny will change this summer, and it’s all because of the 13 little blue envelopes.
Check it out because: this fun story will make your feet itch for travel and your lips long for some Italian gelato. Great to read on a plane as your dream of foreign adventures of your own.
It’s currently only $2.99 on Kindle, so it’s a great one to snap up!
Ash by Malinda Lo
In the wake of her father’s death, Ash is left at the mercy of her cruel stepmother. Consumed with grief, her only joy comes by the light of the dying hearth fire, rereading the fairy tales her mother once told her. In her dreams, someday the fairies will steal her away, as they are said to do. When she meets the dark and dangerous fairy Sidhean, she believes that her wish may be granted.
Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
Samantha Kingston has it all: looks, popularity, the perfect boyfriend. Friday, February 12, should be just another day in her charmed life. Instead, it turns out to be her last.
The catch: Samantha still wakes up the next morning. Living the last day of her life seven times during one miraculous week, she will untangle the mystery surrounding her death—and discover the true value of everything she is in danger of losing.
Check it out because: it features a deeply flawed, difficult-to-like female protagonist whose growth is as gripping as it is heartbreaking. This novel will make you ask all the difficult questions about life. What makes someone a good person? What would you do with your last day on earth? And do actions count if no one remembers them?
Bermudez Triangle by Maureen Johnson
“Their friendship went so far back, it bordered on the Biblical-in the beginning, there was Nina and Avery and Mel.” So says high school senior Nina Bermudez about herself and her two best friends, nicknamed “The Bermudez Triangle” by a jealous wannabe back on Nina’s eleventh birthday. But the threesome faces their first separation when Nina goes away the summer before their senior year. And in ten short weeks, everything changes. Nina returns home bursting with stories about Steve, the quirky yet adorable eco-warrior she fell for hard while away. But when she asks her best friends about their summer romances, an awkward silence follows. Nina soon learns the shocking truth when she sees Mel and Avery . . . kissing. Their friendship is rocked by what feels like the ultimate challenge.
Check it out because: this is an exceptional novel about best friends, first love and figuring out who you are.
A Company of Swans by Eva Ibbotson
For nineteen-year-old Harriet Morton, life in 1912 Cambridge is as dry and dull as a biscuit. Her stuffy father and her opressive aunt Louisa allow her only one outlet: ballet. When a Russian ballet master comes to class searching for dancers to fill the corps of his ballet company before their South American tour, Harriet’s world changes. Defying her father’s wishes and narrowly escaping the clutches of the man who wishes to marry her, Harriet sneaks off to join the ballet on their journey to the Amazon. There, in the wild, lush jungle, they perform Swan Lake in grand opera houses for the wealthy and culture-deprived rubber barons, and Harriet meets Rom Verney, the handsome and mysterious British exile who owns the most ornate opera house. Utterly enchanted by both the exotic surroundings and by Rom’s affections, Harriet is swept away by her new life, completely unaware that her father and would-be finacé have begun to track her down. . . .
Check it out because: it is a beautiful story about finding freedom and defining your own path in life.
Faithful by Janet Fox
Sixteen-year-old Maggie Bennet’s life is in tatters. Her mother has disappeared, and is presumed dead. The next thing she knows, her father has dragged Maggie away from their elegant Newport home, off on some mad excursion to Yellowstone in Montana. Torn from the only life she’s ever known, away from her friends, from society, and verging on no prospects, Maggie is furious and devastated by her father’s betrayal. But when she arrives, she finds herself drawn to the frustratingly stubborn, handsome Tom Rowland, the son of a park geologist, and to the wild romantic beauty of Yellowstone itself. And as Tom and the promise of freedom capture Maggie’s heart, Maggie is forced to choose between who she is and who she wants to be.
Check it out because: it’s a moving, addictive romance with a wonderful protagonist who yearns for family and for freedom… even though she does not know what she wishes “freedom” to be.
A Little Wanting Song by Cath Crowley
Magic Under Glass by Jaclyn Dolamore
Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers
Climbing to the top of the social ladder is hard–falling from it is even harder. Regina Afton used to be a member of the Fearsome Fivesome, an all-girl clique both feared and revered by the students at Hallowell High… until vicious rumors about her and her best friend’s boyfriend start going around. Now Regina’s been “frozen out” and her ex-best friends are out for revenge. If Regina was guilty, it would be one thing, but the rumors are far from the terrifying truth and the bullying is getting more intense by the day. She takes solace in the company of Michael Hayden, a misfit with a tragic past who she herself used to bully. Friendship doesn’t come easily for these onetime enemies, and as Regina works hard to make amends for her past, she realizes Michael could be more than just a friend… if threats from the Fearsome Foursome don’t break them both first.
Check it out because: Summers tells the tale of unlikeable, yet somehow sympathetic, high school protagonists with some of the best, most engaging prose I have ever read.