Still searching for a good book to tuck into your beach bag - or whatever bag you’re carrying this summer? We can help! We’re back with another edition of our favorite new YA picks. Be the first to check them out as you prepare for your leisure time reading, beach optional, of course.
Café con Lychee by Emery Lee
Fans of bakery-based queer romance (think Bloom by Kevin Panetta or The Heartbreak Bakery by A.R. Capetta) will find this novel extra sweet. In this enemies-to-lovers tale, lifelong rivals must begrudgingly work together to save their family businesses — an Asian American café and a Puerto Rican bakery. Settle in for food puns and slow-burn feelings.
Loveless by Alice Oseman
With the success of Heartstopper, Alice Oseman is having an undeniable moment, and Loveless certainly upholds her reputation for sensitive and relatable depictions of LGBTQIA+ characters. It follows asexual/aromantic Georgia, who navigates her friends’ drama while challenging traditional ideas of sex and romance when she goes to college, learning that her love is in no way less.
The Days of Bluegrass Love by Edward van de Vendel
This coming-of-age tale was originally published in 1999 and is considered a cult classic in Europe, but it has only now been translated into English for the first time. In beautiful poetic language, it tells the story of a Dutch teen drifting through life until he takes a job at a summer camp in Tennessee. There he falls for another European counselor, and their romance is a rare optimistic queer love story, given the era in which it was written.
Queen of the Tiles by Hanna Alkaf
We never would have thought to set a locked-room murder mystery at a Scrabble competition, but in Alkaf’s novel it just works. Part The Queen’s Gambit and part Knives Out, the story follows a competitive Scrabble player who enters into a competition to try to find answers about her best friend’s death. There she must piece together cryptic clues and messages to catch the killer and win the game.
I Kissed Shara Wheeler by Casey McQuiston
After royal dalliances and NYC subway ghosts, we never know what Casey McQuiston will give us next, but whatever it is we’re interested. In their latest, the typical Southern prom queen turns out to be more complex than anyone bargained for, leading her academic arch-rival to solve the mystery of her disappearance with a trail of kisses and cryptic clues.