14 Perfect Summer YA Reads to Pack in Your Beach Bag

Our definition of the perfect beach read: It’s so gripping, you almost forget to reapply sunscreen and take a sip of your Aperol Spritz. And if you’re a YA junkie (yep, adults can love ’em, too), you’re in luck. Ta-da, 14 new young adult novels—from haunting mysteries to swoon-worthy love stories—that are perfect for reading by the surf. 

The Best Beach Reads of Summer 2017

once and for all sarah dessen
Cover: Viking Books For Young Readers/Background: Oatawa/Getty Images

once And For All By Sarah Dessen

Louna is helping out at her mom’s wedding planning business this summer, but after her first relationship ended tragically, she’s given up on love herself—that is, until girl-magnet Ambrose enters the picture.

when dimple met rishi sandhya menon
Cover: Simon and Schuster/Background: Oatawa/Getty Images

when Dimple Met Rishi By Sandhya Menon

In this upbeat romantic comedy, Dimple has her entire life figured out—but so does her mom, who wants her to find the perfect Indian husband. So when Dimple’s family arranges a marriage with Rishi, Dimple is totally against it. Rishi, on the other hand, is totally ready to tie the knot.

textrovert lindsey summers
Cover: KCP Loft/Background Oatawa/Getty Images

textrovert By Lindsey Summers

When Keeley accidentally swaps cell phones with Talon, an obnoxious boy at her school who has just left for football camp, they reluctantly agree to forward each other’s messages until they’re able to trade back again. But as they get to know each other through their texts, they begin to fall in love—until Keeley realizes Talon is hiding a secret that will make their relationship impossible.

seeking mansfield kate watson
Cover: Flux/Background: Oatawa/Getty Images

seeking Mansfield By Kate Watson

Theater nerds, this one’s for you. Sixteen-year-old Finley Price is a fabulous director who dreams of joining the prestigious Mansfield Theater—but the only person who believes in her is her best friend Oliver. But when teen movie stars Emma and Harlan Crawford move across the street, Oliver’s attention shifts to Emma. Will Finley get the courage to step into the spotlight?

one of us is lying karen m mcmanus
Cover: Delacorte Press/Background: Oatawa/Getty Images

one Of Us Is Lying By Karen M. Mcmanus

This seriously addictive mystery is billed as Pretty Little Liars meets The Breakfast Club. When five students walk into detention, Simon, the outcast who is also the creator of Bayview High’s notorious gossip app, never makes it out of the classroom. Everyone else is a suspect. (Ooh, juicy.)

grit gillian french
Cover: Harper Collins/Background: Oatawa/getty Images

grit By Gillian French

In her stiflingly small Maine town, Darcy Prentiss has a reputation as the local “slut.” So when her ex-best friend goes missing, everyone suspects she has something to do with it. But underneath the surface, there’s a lot more to Darcy than anyone could possibly know.

eliza and her monsters
Cover: Harper Collins/Background: Oatawa/Getty images

eliza And Her Monsters By Francesca Zappia

Don’t tell anyone, but Eliza is the anonymous creator of Monstrous Sea, a wildly popular webcomic. But when she meets a boy who encourages her to live a new life off the internet, everything she’s worked so hard for begins to self-destruct.

dark breaks the dawn sara b larson
Cover: Scholastic Press/background: oatawa/getty images

dark Breaks The Dawn By Sara B. Larson

This gorgeous retelling of Swan Lake is the story of Princess Evelayn, who can finally access her magical powers on her 18th birthday. But while her mother, the queen, works to keep the kingdom safe, the corrupt king of the Dark Kingdom is plotting to destroy them. It’s up to Evelayn to uphold the balance between dark and light.

i believe in a thing called love
cover: Farrar, Straus and Giroux/background: oatawa/getty images

i Believe In A Thing Called Love By Maurene Goo

Desi Lee is a textbook overachiever—but even though she’s confident and smart, she turns into a nervous mess when she talks to boys. So she studies the Korean dramas her dad is obsessed with, and uses the techniques she sees on TV to become a flirting expert (with hilarious results, of course).

the lines we cross randa abdel fattah
cover: Scholastic Press/background: oatawa/getty images

the Lines We Cross By Randa Abdel-fattah

This modern-day Romeo and Juliet story is probably the heaviest book on this list, but we promise it’s worth your beach time. Michael’s parents take him to anti-immigrant rallies to protest the refugees flooding into the country, and he doesn’t think anything of it—until he meets Mina, a Muslim refugee from the other side of the protest lines.

ramona blue julie murphy
cover: Balzer + Bray/background: oatawa/getty images

ramona Blue By Julie Murphy

She’s fearless, she’s a Hurricane Katrina survivor, she likes girls, she’s fiercely devoted to her family and she has blue hair. But when Ramona’s childhood friend Freddy returns and rekindles her love of swimming, he also makes her begin to question her sexuality.

the names they gave us emery lord
cover: Bloomsbury USA Childrens/background: oatawa/getty images

the Names They Gave Us By Emery Lord

OK, pack a tissue for this raw, emotional novel in your beach bag. Lucy is all ready to spend the perfect summer with her boyfriend, working at her childhood Bible camp. But when her mother’s cancer returns, Lucy starts to question her faith and takes solace in her team of vibrant, diverse coworkers.

always and forever lara jean jenny han
cover: Simon and Schuster/background: oatawa/getty images

always And Forever, Lara Jean By Jenny Han

Yay, it’s a surprise follow-up to Han’s best sellers To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and P.S. I Still Love You. (If you haven’t read the first two yet, time to catch up.) Lara Jean Song is back for her senior year, but as she gets ready for college, she realizes it might mean leaving her boyfriend, Peter, behind.

perfect ten j philips
cover: Viking Books For Young Readers/background: oatawa/getty images

perfect 10 By L. Philips

We’re not gonna lie, the unicorn dude on the cover sold us. But inside is an equally funny and sweet story about Sam, who broke up with the only other eligible gay guy at his school two years ago. So with the help of his ex-Catholic-turned-Wiccan best friend (yep), he creates a list of traits he wants in a boyfriend and burns it in a cemetery at midnight on Friday the 13th. Bam, three perfect guys emerge. How will Sam choose the perfect one for him?

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Freelance Editor

From 2015-2020 Lindsay Champion held the role of Food and Wellness Director. She continues to write for PureWow as a Freelance Editor.