Teens, do I even need to remind you that summer is right around the corner? Look around the corner. See summer waiting for you, eager to sizzle you in a boiling sweat bath? Luckily, for the next few weeks we get to luxuriate in thoughts of summer (freedom, no homework, popsicles, adventures) without experiencing its fiery death grip. What better time to read an epic summer novel? Here are some YA titles you may want to add to your summer reading pile.
Full disclosure: I broke the cardinal rule of reading. I judged a book by its cover. Picture it: the tantalizing silhouette of an amusement park bathed in the glow of a purple sunset. And in the foreground? A girl in a hot dog suit.
If this description hasn’t convinced you to immediately check out the book “Hot Dog Girl” by Jennifer Dugan, allow me to elaborate. Teenager Eloise gets a job at a local theme park in the hopes of attracting the romantic attentions of Nick. There’s just one problem. Nick is cast as a dashing pirate, and Eloise, a.k.a. Lou, is assigned the role of, yes, you guessed it, a hot dog. Oh, and Nick already has a girlfriend—as luck would have it, the amusement park’s beautiful and beguiling princess. Lou hatches a cockamamie plot to win Nick over—a classic frankfurter-woos-swashbuckler scheme—and in the process, learns more about real love than she anticipated. Pass the mustard and pull down the security bar for a wacky summer love quadrilateral that redefines happy endings.
If you have a heart of stone and hate hot dogs, maybe “The Lake” by Natasha Preston is more your speed. I am quivering in my flip-flops just thinking about this book.
When seventeen-year-old friends Esme and Kayla receive letters inviting them to return to Camp Pine Lake as counselors-in-training, they’re excited but wary. Last time they were at Camp Pine Lake was eight years ago, as campers, and they were involved in something horrible they swore they would never talk about again.
Now they’re back, and mysterious messages start appearing at camp, messages that reveal someone else knows their secret…and wants revenge. What starts out as disturbing quickly turns terrifying as Esme and Kayla come face to face with their dark past. The lake never forgets…
Eeeeeek! Kiss your fingernails goodbye. This is an unsettling but hard-to-rip-your-eyes-away-from nail-biter…proceed with caution.
I didn’t want to write about two summer love stories in one article, but alas, “Love is a Revolution” by Renée Watson made me do it. Does it count as a love story when the book takes a turn from the typical girl-meets-boy romance to more of a self-love story? What’s that you say? That’s an exception to the two-love-stories-in-one-article rule? Phew! Here goes…
Nala made a list of the things she wanted to accomplish during the summer before her senior year: Find a new hairdo. Binge-watch Netflix. Oh, and find love. When her cousin Imani drags her to a talent show sponsored by Imani’s social activism group, Inspire Harlem, Nala, whose eyes typically roll at these events, catches sight of Tye and her heart immediately catches fire. It’s fine if Nala pretends to be an activist to get Tye’s attention, right? And it’s no big deal if she pretends to be a vegetarian, like he is? That’s the best strategy to make him like her, right? Right? RIGHT???
What happens when you make someone you’re really into fall for a not entirely real version of you? Check out this body-positive, entirely relatable summer tale to find out.
And there you have it. A short list to get your summer reading started off right. And don’t forget to join A.K. Smiley Public Library’s Dig Deeper Summer Reading Program this summer. It starts June 15 and there will be prizes specifically for teens which you will not want to miss. Unfortunately, no hot dog suits.