Riot Headline 10 Exciting Books to Read this Summer

Hot Topic Whimsy

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Amanda, Jenn, and guest expert Kelly Jensen discuss all things YA in this week’s episode of Get Booked!

This episode is sponsored by Mask of Shadows by Linsey Miller and Book of the Month.

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The show can also be found on Stitcher here.




1. I just finished Honesty by Seth King. It was intense, heavy and unlike any other literary experience I’ve had to date — I was stuck inside the brain of Cole Furman and I couldn’t get out for 291 pages not matter how uncomfortable, intense, exciting, lonely or heartbreaking it was!

It’s a story of young love. It’s is also a story of fear and pain. Cole and Nick are falling in love and they are also both closeted LGBTQ nineteen-year- old’s with everything to lose in the South.

King acknowledged the need for more books featuring more diverse couples that don’t live deep in the romance genre. Until now it’s something I never thought twice about. THE QUEST: I want to read more stories of diverse couples that lives closer to the YA genre and maybe even one with a happy ending, but not required.

Love the podcast! Shout out to Fiona for introducing me to Book Riot!


2. Do you have recommendations for YA books that don’t include romance? My almost 13 year old daughter is a somewhat reluctant reader, but likes books with strong female characters and prefers no icky love stuff 🙂 She recently read the Divergent Series and enjoyed it, but could have done without the romantic relationships.



3. I’ve just read The Selection and Cinder and am looking for more YA dystopian Cinderella stories. Any suggestions?


4. Hi! I love listening to your podcast and adding tons of books to my TBR list. I read a book last summer called Fiercombe Manor by Kate Riordan and loved it. I would call it a romance/mystery/ghost story. Can you recommend some similar books for my summer reading list? I love YA, so am open to that as well! Thanks!


5. I used to read YA books all the time when I was little, but once I started high school I decided in all my teenage snobbishness that YA was beneath me, and I’d only be reading the classics… and The Perks of Being a Wallflower (obviously). Now I’m in my 20s working on my doctorate in classics, and no longer want to or feel the need to be so snobby. I’ve recently discovered bookstagram, and I’m constantly seeing all these beautiful covers of YA novels. The only thing is what to read? I tried reading The Raven Cycle, but I found the characters to be so shallowly written. And the whole extreme/unrealistic wealth and privilege just seemed so far fetched. I thought I might have better luck with fantasy YA but there is so much and I have no idea how to sort the good from the bad.


6. First, let me tell you I love your podcast! Second, I would love your recommendations (obvs). My son and I just read a great YA book called Away Running by David Wright and Luc Bouchard. It resonated with my son who is sports-obsessed because it’s about football but it is deeper than most kids’ sports books because it takes place in Paris amid racial tensions and immigrations issues. It’s deep. I’d love more books like this to engage my son…some sports but more than just sports. Bonus if there are diverse characters (as there are in Away Running) because my son is biracial and seeing himself reflected in the characters allows for us to have even better conversations after reading. Thank you so much!



It’s Not Like It’s a Secret by Misa Sugiura

No Is Not Enough by Naomi Klein

Genuine Fraud by E Lockhart

Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel by Sara Farizan

Not Your Sidekick by CB Lee

Everything Leads To You by Nina LaCour

100 Must-Read YA Books With Little Or No Romance

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

Empress of a Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza

Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer

Ash by Malinda Lo

Mechanica by Betsy Cornwell

“Glass” in Roses and Bones by Francesca Lia Block

A Spy in the House by YS Lee

The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma

Absent by Katie Williams

Saints and Misfits by SK Ali (trigger warning: sexual assault)

Ramona Blue by Julie Murphy

Piecing Me Together by Renee Watson

Miles Morales by Jason Reynolds

Mexican WhiteBoy by Matt De la Pena (trigger warning: self-harm)

See No Color by Shannon Gibney

Leverage by Joshua C. Cohen (trigger warning: sexual assault)