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Favorite YA summer reads

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Catching Fire (The Hunger Games #2)A few times I’ve been asked why I review young adult novels on a blog written, by and large, for adults. The answer is always a simple one: the novels are excellent reads. When written well, YA has epic emotional pull. The latter teen years (and into college) are a tumultuous time when we experience so many things for the first time. It’s easy to get pulled into the rush of first love and first heartbreak and to delve into the conflicting emotions accompanying the discovery that who you are doesn’t match the predicted mold.

I like novels that take me on an emotional journey – I love the emotional rollercoasters in novels by Richelle Mead, Shiloh Walker and Chloe Neill – and good YA dishes it out so very well.

My point in bringing this up is summer is often the time I end up re-reading YA novels. (Part of me wonders if it’s a result of years of summer reading lists as a kid.) As such, here are six series worthy of summer re-reads (or first reads!).

HARRY POTTER series by J.K. Rowling
Best reason to read: J.K. Rowling created a stunningly vivid world, dropping hints about its remarkable ending throughout the seven novels. But when it comes down to it, Harry doesn’t have any special powers, per se, but he’s able to rise up against evil. Hard not to be a bit inspired, no?
First book: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (Get it: Book Depository, B&N or Amazon)

VAMPIRE ACADEMY series by Richelle Mead
Best reason to read: Rose Hathaway’s development from bratty party girl into a fierce woman who puts friendship first is beautifully wrought with emotional highs and lows that could only come from Richelle Mead. (Expect to cry at least once, probably three times, during this series. Worth it.)
First book: Vampire Academy (Get it: Book Depository, B&N or Amazon)

THE HUNGER GAMES series by Suzanne Collins
Best reason to read: New standards for inner strength and reminders to truly see others around you. Emotionally gut-wrenching and, at times, disturbing, The Hunger Games reminds us that doing what is right is rarely easy.
First book: The Hunger Games (Get it: Book Depository, B&N or Amazon)

IRON FEY series by Julie Kagawa
Best reason to read: Epic battle of good and evil with a woman leading the charge. (Plus, a nice side of Hot Boy With Sword.)
First book: The Iron King (Get it: Book Depository, B&N or Amazon)

TWILIGHT SAGA series by Stephenie Meyer
Best reason to read: Getting wrapped up in Bella and Edward’s romance is all the reason you need. Also: Super-quick reads.
First book: Twilight (Get it: Book Depository, B&N or Amazon)

EVERNIGHT series by Claudia Gray
Best reason to read: Star-crossed lovers. Bianca and Lucas aren’t supposed to be together. Their families want to kill one another, literally.
First book: Evernight (Get it: Book Depository, B&N or Amazon)

Which of our six favorites are you most likely to make a summer read? Vote in the poll below, and if we left off your favorites* (because there are numerous great options), please leave a comment with your picks for great YA summer reads.

*Lest I get comments from our The Mortal Instruments-loving readers, there reason Jace and Clary aren’t in the above shortlist is I haven’t read the series more than once. Maybe this year.

19 Responses to “Favorite YA summer reads”

  1. Mel S says:

    This is were I embrarassingly admit that I’ve only read half teh Vampire Academy books & Twilight – the other books on your list are ones I should probably pick up! :)

  2. Spaz says:

    I’ve never been a reader of YA fiction. I’ve only just today finished The Hunger Games (the book, not the series) and I really enjoyed it. I plan to finish this series and then tackle Harry Potter at some point.

    • My advice regarding Harry Potter (provided you’ve watched the movies) is that you can start the books at 4 or 5. The first three movies are very literal and you won’t have missed much. The novels transition into an older mindset at the fifth book (Order of the Phoenix), and that’s where you begin to really see more of the complexity of the book series.

      Also, keep going with The Hunger Games. The second book is my favorite of the trio.

      • Spaz says:

        I’ve actually NOT seen any of the Potter films. They just didn’t interest me. I’m much more of a reader than a film fan, though I do like a good movie. So will the first few books hold my interest? Or should I watch the first three movies instead, since you’ve said they’re pretty literal, and just read the series from that point on?

      • Well, either way is do-able. The early books are shorter, but they are also much more middle grade than young adult. It might be a bit blasphemous, but I’d watch the first couple films, then jump into the books at 3 or 4. (While the third movie conveys the same material as the book, I enjoyed reading it quite a bit. I have a soft spot for the third book.)

  3. Danielle says:

    Great choices. The Hunger Games is still on my TBR list and I just started The Iron King but I’ve read VA, Twilight, and Harry Potter a few times times. If I can find the time this summer I’d like to re-read Melissa Marr’s Wickedly Lovely series althought there are a lot of releases coming this summer I’ve been waiting for from the likes of Jim Butcher, Kelley Armstrong, Richelle Mead, and Rachel Caine, not to mention whats on my TBR list….guess it will be a busy summer.

  4. Lynsey says:

    All these are great, but never got into the Evernight series. Just finished the Hunger Games and a little different but loved it. Read the Harry Potter a few times over the years and will carry on when there is nothing else at home!!! The next one to read is the Iron Fey Series.

  5. drey says:

    I’ve read all but Evernight, and The Iron Queen (but only because I haven’t gotten around to it)… But I wouldn’t say the Twilight books are super-quick reads, lol! :)

  6. tlmfarmgirl says:

    I’ve read all except the Evernight series ( which I’m adding to the TR pile), and while I love them all, my new fav THIS summer has been the Iron King series (although Twilight will always be #1 in my mind). But they are all ranked on the same shelf, in my mind.

  7. Viki S. says:

    I’ve read them all. Love them all. Could even add more to your list. People seem to forget that YA means young ADULT, not KID.

  8. Celeste O says:

    I’ve read all except Evernight and Iron Fey Series. Both have been on my reading list though.

  9. Judi says:

    I loved VA and enjoyed Iron Fey. I read the first HP book, Evernight, and the first three(?) Twilight books. HP is good. I don’t remember Evernight. I didn’t like Twilight, but for some reason I thought it would get better (and kept reading), it just didn’t work for me though. I’m reluctant to read the Hunger Games.

  10. Teti says:

    i loved the Vampire academy series and will be rereading it again. i also plan to reread Kelley Armstrong’s YA series “Darkest Power” which is a favorite of mine too. Lol seems over the summer i too like reading YA books, i too blame all those summer reading years.

  11. Laura Ferguson says:

    I really enjoy reading YA fiction. Got a great choice of series there. The only one I haven’t read is Evernight but I have just ordered that from my library on your recommendation. My favourite series from your list was The Hunger Games. What a fantastic series!! The Iron Fey series has been one of my favourites this year. I would probably add the Shiver Triology, The Mortal Instruments, The Infernal Devices, Fallen Series and The Morganville Vampires to your list.

  12. I’m a teen myself and I adore reading YA fiction — which, believe it or not, is not that common among teens. Surprisingly, adults seem to read YA fiction more than teens do these days.

    But I’ve read all of the books that you’ve suggested, and I wholeheartedly agree with all of them (even the Mortal Instruments) EXCEPT Twilight. Sorry if this makes me sound like a Twilight hater, but that totally ended up as a disaster for me.

    And of course, I agree with other suggestions like Wicked Lovely, Darkest Powers, The Infernal Devices, Shiver Trilogy, etc. Although I’ve only read either the first book (and possibly the second) in each of those series, what I’ve read of them so far is absolutely fantastic.

  13. I love a wide variety of books.

    The Harry Potter books are great reads, Rowling’s writing style is awesome. If you can’t tell, I’m a huge HP fan.

    Twilight is easy reading and is perfect for anyone wanting a fun and heartfelt love story that has a HEA (Happily Ever After) ending.

    I have the Vampire Academy on my TBR list. They are actually sitting on my sofa waiting for me, but I haven’t been in the mood. Maybe next week or the next.

  14. Maria says:

    I think i am the 7th person who pick Evernight series hehe

    Pretty much agree with Twilight choice but for sure people should NOT pick up New Moon,not because it has more Jacob but because it is kinda depressing for a summer period. I suggest Twilight and Eclipse (battle between two guys more action and all)

    And since we can add some suggestions as well here is mine too :

    1 Angel (Angel Trilogy #1) by L.A. Weatherly Yes i know it belongs to more to YA section but it was Fast faced, wonderful female lead, strong and swoon worthy male lead, intriguing story about angels, this book had it all.

    2 Paranormalcy (Paranormalcy #1) by Kiersten White it’s funny, it’s lovely, it has romance, mystery, a moving plot and two main characters you will def like!

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