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7 YA Books to Read When You Really Wish It Wasn’t Winter

Sometimes, in mid-January, when the magic of snow has worn off and I have to wade through dirty slush to the subway and the temperature in my office varies between twelve thousand degrees and negative ten, I just wish I was somewhere warm. I wanna jump on a plane and jetset off to Hawaii or Aruba or heck, even Florida! Of course, this isn’t always possible to achieve because of boring things like work and responsibilities and someone has to feed the cat. But, as always, books have got my back. When I can’t actually enjoy a beachy vacation, I can at least read about one! Here are six YA books that will transport you to the summertime... plus one wintery one for those naysayers who’d rather ski than swim!


(This is Charlie, who thinks food is more important than booking a vacation.)

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Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen

If there is a YA queen of the beachy read, it is Sarah Dessen, and I mean that in the best way possible. Her books often take place over a summer, perfectly capturing the magic and potential of those three months. Along for the Ride is one of my favorites, and I fell head over heels for the swoony romance and nuanced writing in this novel. It’s an absolutely perfect way to spend an afternoon, curled up under the covers.


Wesley James Ruined My Life by Jennifer Honeybourn

This book is about one of my very favorite topics in summer YA literature: summer jobs. I had a mishmash of dog training, pet sitting, and garden-weeding jobs during the summer, but some of my friends had much more interesting ones, and I love reading about quirky summer jobs. In Wesley James, the main character works at a Tudor-themed restaurant, aka PERFECTION. An ideal reminder of the joy and hilarity that is the teenage summer job.

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Mariam Sharma Hits the Road by Sheba Karim

Along with weird jobs, one of the greatest summer YA tropes ever is the epic road trip. Having gone on a few myself, I’m a huge sucker for a book about a road trip, whatever the destination, so I love Mariam Sharma. Mariam and her friends Umar and Ghaz find themselves on a road trip to New Orleans to escape Ghaz’s overbearing parents, and, as expected, shenanigans ensure. A lovely and realistic portrayal of friendship between three very different people.

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Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett

A YA spin on You’ve Got Mail... Need I say more? I’m going to anyway—Jenn Bennett’s characters are always so well-drawn and this book is no exception. Bailey and Porter’s struggles feel real and relatable, and the California surfer town setting will have you wishing you were there, stat.

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The Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene Goo

Pranks + food truck + strong female friendships mean this one is a winner for me right off the bat. When prank-obsessed Clara Shin takes things one step too far, she finds herself confined to working for her family’s food truck for the summer, which might turn out to be less of a bad thing than she thought. Goo’s writing is so readable and fresh and gosh dang funny that you will immediately forget your winter blues and be sucked in to this wonderful novel.

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The Summer of Jordi Perez by Amy Spalding

Funny, charming, romantic and featuring a completely lovable protagonist, this novel about figuring out who you are is the happy queer romance of your summer beach read dreams. Featuring everything from a surprisingly sweet jock to the secret behind-the-scenes goings-on of the fashion industry, this is a book you won’t be able to put down!

my true love gave to me

My True Love Gave to Me edited by Stephanie Perkins

For you winter lovers out there, this collection of short stories by bestselling YA authors is an incredibly charming and holiday spirit-filled read to add to your TBR. Whether it’s Christmas or Winter Solstice, magical realism or contemporary, there’s something for every reader here—and maybe it will remind some of us winter grumps of the good side of the season.

Your turn, Swooners! What are your favorite reads to remind you that summer will come again?

Author spotlight

Rachel D.

Growing up in rural Oregon, books were my way out. Now, books are my way of reconnecting with my home. …

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