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Summers full of vacation, sunshine, and new experiences always brings about possibilities, and 2023’s summer is no different. There’s also something so sweet about young love and budding romances. Here’s a great list of must-read YA romances for your summer #TBR pile.
Lose You to Find Me by Eric J. Brown (5/2)
Tommy dreams of attending one of the best culinary schools in the world, but he needs a recommendation letter from his sadistic manager. To get the letter, Tommy has to meet three conditions, including training the newbie. Tommy never expects the new hire to be Gabe, his old crush from summer camp. But Gabe doesn’t remember Tommy, and as feelings resurface and the universe conspires against them, Tommy’s plate starts to overfill. Can he keep it all together and achieve his dreams?
Fake Dates and Mooncakes by Sher Lee (5/16)
Dylan Tang is determined to win a mooncake-making competition to honor his late mother’s memory, and to help save his Aunt’s struggling Chinese takeout. Then comes Theo Somers, a charming and wealthy distraction that Dylan can’t afford right now. But Theo convinces Dylan to be his fake date to a family wedding in the Hamptons. In this world of luxury, privilege, and rich-people drama, Dylan knows he doesn’t belong, even though he starts to truly fall for Theo. And with the mooncake contest approaching, he doesn’t have time for these distractions. Can Dylan save the family business while staying true to his heart?
Julieta and the Romeos by Maria E. Andreu (5/16)
Julieta doesn’t expect to find love, but she does write about it. When she publishes her summer writing class work online, she’s shocked to discover that her rom-com has an anonymous new contributor. Julieta doesn’t believe in happily ever afters, but this is starting to feel like her very own meet-cute. Who could this mysterious contributor be? Could it be her best friend’s brother, the boy next door to her abuela, or her oldest friend that she’s seeing in a new light? Regardless of who it is, Julieta knows that life and love are full of plot twist.
Darren Johnson is in love with total dream girl, Delia (Dillie) Dawson. When Dillie announces a contest searching for a theme song for her popular podcast, Darren’s friends submit one of his secret projects without his knowledge. Dillie is captivated by the anonymous romantic verse, and she’s determined to find out who this mystery singer is. It’s up to Darren to decide if he’s ready to step into the spotlight and take the lead in his own life.
Something More by Jackie Khalilieh (6/6)
Jessie is fifteen, about to start high-school, and has just been diagnosed as autistic. Determined to keep her diagnosis a secret, Jessie makes a list of things she wants to accomplish that ranges from a magical first kiss to landing a spot in the school play. When two boys that are very different steal her heart, she realizes she might have gotten more than she bargained for, while also realizing how fun high school can be.
Love Letter for Joy by Melissa See (6/6)
Joy is less than a year away from graduation and is determined to be Caldwell Prep’s first disabled valedictorian, her only competition is her academic rival, Nathaniel. As everyone around her begins pairing up, Joy beings to wonder if she is missing an important high school experience. Curious, she writes a letter to Caldwell Cupid, the school’s secret love-letter writer, and over time finds herself falling for the mysterious voice. But falling in love could risk everything, especially if it’s with someone she least expects.
Darkhearts by James L. Sutter (6/6)
David missed his shot at fame when he quit his band. His former best friends, Chance and Eli, became the hottest teen pop act in America while he’s stuck in a regular life at his Seattle high school, working for his dad’s construction business. David and Chance are thrown back together when Eli suddenly dies. Now, David is left remembering why they were once so close, and what tore them apart, until an unexpected kiss turns their frenemy status into something more. But Chance is desperate to keep their relationship under wraps, and speculative of David’s motives when it comes to the band. What will it be, the glory, or a second chance with Chance?
Going Bicoastal by Dahlia Adler (6/13)
Natalya Fox only has twenty-four hours to decide how she will spend her summer. Instead, they both play out in alternating timelines: one where she explores NYC, works on her relationship with her mother, tries to figure out her future, goes for the girl she’s always wanted. And one where she explores L.A., works on her relationship with her mother, tries to figure out her future, and goes for the guy she never saw coming. Whew! How is a girl supposed to choose?
Kismat Connection by Ananya Devarajan (6/13)
According to Madhuri Iyer’s astrology-obsessed mother, her senior year is doomed. And according to her family curse, she’s doomed to a happily ever after with her first boyfriend. But Madhuri knows that she would never fall for her childhood best friend, and so she devises a plan to prove the existence of her free will. But she didn’t account for Arjun Mehta’s feelings, and as she begins to fall for her experimental boyfriend, she’ll have to question what it means to create your own destiny, and if it’s worth breaking hearts.
Ode to My First Car by Robin Gow (6/20)
Claire Kemp has known her best friend, Sophia, since they were four. Now, a few months before her senior year, Claire (a closeted bisexual) is finally starting to admit that she might be starting to fall in love with Sophia. While working at a local nursing home, Claire meets Lena, an eighty-eight-year-old lesbian who tells her all about growing up gay in the ’50s and ’60s. When a new girl, Pen, comes into the picture, Claire is caught between a love new and old.
Plus One by Kelsey Rodkey (6/27)
Lahey Johnson is great at helping her friends find love, but hasn’t felt the need to focus on her own. When her detested cousin, Summer, decides Lahey doesn’t need a plus one to her sweet sixteen, Lahey seeks revenge and is determined to find a date, even if it means juggling six potential suitors. Her sister’s friend, Adler, is enjoying the spectacle that is Lahey’s life, but she is motivated to not let him become a distraction. As the event draws near, Lahey begins to panic as she wonders if she’ll ever find the perfect match.
What Happens After Midnight by K.L. Walther (6/27)
Lily Hopper is about to graduate from boarding school, and she worries she may have missed some of the fun of being in high school. When she is invited to the end-of-the-year prank with the class Jester, she takes up the opportunity to have some fun. By the time she realizes the Jester is her ex, Taggart Swell, it’s already too late—and even though she dumped Tag, she still has feelings for him. As the two find themselves in close corners, new sparks fly and old wounds resurface.
Love & Resistance by Kara H.L. Chen (7/4)
Seventeen-year-old Olivia Chang is used to being the new-girl, but her self imposed loneliness keeps her safe. But her low-key lifestyle ends quickly at Plainstown High when popular girl Mitzi Clarke makes a racist comment during class. Olivia, tired of living in survival mode and not defending herself, retaliates, and thus ends her anonymous life. Joining the Nerd Net, a secret society determined to take down Mitzi and create change in the school, Olivia learns that in order to succeed, she’ll have to trust other people, and maybe even make some new friends.
The Prince & the Apocalypse by Kara McDowell (7/11)
Wren Wheeler’s senior trip to London was supposed to be life-changing, but for the most part, she just wants to go home. The one thing she can get right is the final item on her itinerary: breakfast at The World’s End. But of course, it is closed for renovations. There, she runs into Prince Theo, and when she helps him escape a pack of tourists, he offers her his number and one favor. She doesn’t plan to take him up on the favor until she finds her flights cancelled and complete chaos: a comet is approaching Earth, and the world is set to end in eight days. Suddenly, the prince is Wren’s only chance to fly back to her family before the world ends, and the two will have to strike another deal in order to find their happy endings.
My Week With Him by Joya Goffney (7/11)
After a heated argument with her mother and a painful betrayal by her sister, Nikki is suddenly homeless. She plans to leave Texas and pursue her music career in California, but when her best friend, Malachai, finds out her plan, he convinces her to finish off spring break with him, hoping to convince her to stay and finish high school. When Nikki’s little sister, Vae, goes missing, Nikki is forced to work with her mother to find her. With Malachi’s support, can they find Vae, while also helping Nikki find her voice and ultimately the love she deserves?
Give Me a Sign by Anna Sortino (7/11)
Lilah’s hearing loss has always made her feel stuck in the middle. She doesn’t feel she can identify as deaf OR hearing, but this summer, she’s ready for change. Hoping to brush up on her ASL, she becomes a counselor at a summer camp for the blind and deaf. While there, she finds a community—and most noteworthy, the deaf counselor named Isaac who volunteers to help coach her in ASL. Isaac is dreamy, but romance was never the plan, and Lilah’s not sure Isaac is in to her that way. Could she be reading the signs wrong?
Bellegarde by Jamie Lilac (7/11)
Evie Clement dreams of designing dresses. As she avoids attention working at her family’s bakery, her main focus is to hone in her sewing skills, and she definitely doesn’t need the attention of Beau Bellegarde, the playboy of Paris. Evie is less than charmed by Beau’s wealth, popularity, or his rakish charm. But Beau’s stepbrother has roped him into an impossible bet, and he needs Evie’s help in order to save his entire fortune.
Under This Forgetful Sky by Lauren Vero (7/18)
Rumi Sabzwari has spent his entire life protected by the walls of St. Iago, where the Union of Upper Cities is kept away from the environmental devastation beyond. When his father is infected by a deadly virus, Rumi escapes in search of a cure. In the ruined city of Paraíso, Rumi meets Paz, and is drawn to her as they decide to travel together. But Paz has her own agenda. Can the two learn to trust each other in a broken world?
A Little Like Waking by Adam Rex (8/1)
Zelda is stuck in a dream. But not a normal dream; a strange dream where her pet cat is still alive and bears sneeze money. Part of her dream is meeting Langston, a timid guy who feels more real than ever. The two get closer as they explore the odd dreamland together, but what happens when they get closer to a truth that they aren’t ready to face? Is Zelda the dream girl, or is Langston the dream boy?
The Boy You Always Wanted by Michelle Quach (8/1)
Francine’s grandfather’s time is running out, and he has one wish: to see a male heir carry on their family traditions. She’s aware of how outdated this is, but she will do anything for him. Her solution is Ollie Tran, family friend and former crush. But Francine, albeit cute, has always intimidated Ollie, and at first, he isn’t down for the sexist plan to appease her dying grandfather. However, she is determined, and soon Ollie finds himself more and more invested in the plan, and in Francine.
Tilly in Technicolor by Mazey Eddings (8/15)
Working as an intern for her perfect sister’s startup isn’t exactly how Tilly Twomley pictured her summer, but at least she gets to travel Europe. Executive functioning has left her burnt out and ready for something fresh, so a change of scenery is perfect as she figures out what she wants. Oliver Clark, on the other hand, knows what he wants. Despite his autism making it difficult to form relationships, he is passionate about design and the way it connects him to the world. He has everything he thinks he needs—that is, until he meets Tilly and has to spend the summer with her, and begins questioning what he really wants.
Forty Words for Love by Aisha Aseed (8/22)
Moonlight Bay was once a magical place, until a tragic death turned the once pink and lavender waters gray, and seemingly overnight the place is devoid of life and energy. People in the town are struggling, including teens Yasmine and Rafay. Yasmine is a child of the town, while Rafay is an immigrant from Willow Forest. What once was a refuge for immigrants is no longer, and the tensions in town are rising. Yasmine and Rafay have been friends for over ten years, but legend says that falling in love with “outsiders” is dangerous for the Willow Forest people. As their relationship blossoms, can they find a way to be together despite everything?
Teach the Torches to Burn: A Romeo & Juliet Remix by Caleb Roehrig (8/23)
As the heir to the Montague family, Romeo is expected go give up his “womanly” artistic pursuits, marry a well-bred girl who is approved by his family, and uphold the family honor in the rival between the Capulets. When Romeo decides to sneak into a Capulet party with his cousin, he meets the most beautiful and kind boy he’s ever met. His name is Valentine, and he’s just as enamored with Romeo, who is shocked to find out that he is one of his closest friend’s younger brother. As the rivalry between the Capulets and the Montague’s escalates, the two must hide their tender love affair as they long for a world where they can be together.
The Borrow a Boyfriend Club by Page Powars (9/12)
Noah Byrd is determined to convince his classmates of his gender: that he is the perfect boy. His plan is to join his schools secret “Borrow a Boyfriend Club,” but the interview is a total flop. Then he desperately strikes a deal with the club’s prickly president, Asher. If Noah can help them win a talent show, he’ll get a second chance to show off his boyfriend skills, by romancing Asher himself. Can Noah win big, and show he’s man enough? Or will it be a losing game for Noah, as he starts to develop feelings for Asher?