I grew up on the Jersey Shore and now live outside of Boston, where on the right day, I can smell the sea from my back deck (though it still takes an hour to get to the beach). Maybe that’s why the beach is my happy place. For me, beach and read go hand in hand, because those are the days when I let myself indulge in long stretches of uninterrupted reading.
From magical adventures to tearjerkers to books that beg for long, contemplative walks down the beach, here are some of my favorite YA beach reads that I hope fill your tote bag this summer.
Written by David Levithan
This book incites writer envy in me because I am head over heels for the concept: “A” wakes up every day in a new body and must live that day as that particular boy or girl—trying hard not to screw things up. To help in this, “A” lives by certain rules, which include never getting too attached, not interfering, and avoiding being noticed. But the day “A” wakes up as Justin and falls for Justin’s girlfriend, Rhiannon, everything changes. “A” is drawn to Rhiannon even after hopping to a new body, and suddenly the rules no longer apply. With an incredibly unique concept, this book hits head-on issues of gender, love, and what makes a life and soul “yours.”
Ages 12+ | Publisher: Ember | 2013 | ISBN-13: 978-0307931894
Written by Courtney Stevens
As the school year begins, Alexi is haunted by an event that happened the previous summer. She hasn’t told anyone and instead struggles on her own, tearing at her neck, hoping the physical pain might mask her emotional one. Not until Bodee, the boy next door, suffers his own tragedy does Alexi begin to open up. Together, they lean on each other for support as they figure out how to make sense of their past and look toward the future. Brave, heartfelt, and poignant, this is a read that is powerful from page one.
Ages 14+ | Publisher: HarperTeen | 2014 | ISBN-13: 978-0062245380
Written by Rachel Hawkins
When Sophie, a new and not very good witch, uses her powers in the human world and attracts too much attention, she’s sent to reform school. But not just any reform school, she’s sent to Hex Hall, a school for “Prodigium,” which includes supernatural creatures from witches to faeries to shapeshifters. Sophie struggles to fit in—something made that much harder by the series of fatal attacks on her fellow students that begins shortly after she arrives. When the finger points to her only friend, who happens to be a vampire, Sophie gets more and more involved in this mystery. This is a really fun and clever kickoff to the author’s series.
Ages 18+ | Publisher: Disney-Hyperion| 2011 | ISBN-13: 978-1423121398
Written by E. Lockhart
I read this one last summer, and it is still in the forefront of my mind. The author’s writing is efficient, haunting, and full of suspense. The prose draws you in from the first page and the well-paced doling out of the pieces of the mysterious puzzle keep you glued to the page. The book centers on the privileged, beautiful Sinclair family whose members gather each summer on their private island. It tells the story of their past reunions and specifically what happened the previous summer. But the family is full of liars. The twists are ones you won’t see coming. I read this in one sitting and recommend you do the same. Chilling.
Ages 12 and up | Publisher: Delacorte Press | May 13, 2014 | ISBN-13: 978-0385741262
My next beach read:
Written by Anna Banks
This title, released on June 2, is next up for me. As a fan of the author’s Syrena Legacy series, I’m excited to see her first foray into contemporary. This one centers on Carly and Arden. Carly lives with her brother and works nights, trying to earn enough money to bring her parents, who have been deported to Mexico, back home. Arden is the star quarterback, a serial prankster looking for a new accomplice. The two cross paths and so the promise of romance is strong. And yet this one also promises to take on issues of immigration and human smuggling. I’m anxious to dig my toes into the sand and crack this one open.
Ages 12-18 | Publisher: Feiwel & Friends | 2015 | ISBN-13: 978-1250039613
What’s your favorite beach read?
About the Author
Born into an Italian-Irish family, Lori Goldstein earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism and worked as a writer, editor, and graphic designer before embracing her love of fictional people. Lori is the author of the young adult contemporary fantasy series Becoming Jinn (Feiwel and Friends/Macmillan, April 21, 2015; Sequel, Spring 2016). When not writing or reading (preferably from a sandy local), Lori can be found chatting books and perfecting the art of efficient writing through Twitter (@loriagoldstein). You can visit her online at www.lorigoldsteinbooks.com, Tumblr and Instagram: lorigoldsteinbooks.com.
Written by Lori Goldstein
Publisher’s Synopsis: Wishing doesn’t make it so, Azra does.
Azra has just turned sixteen, and overnight her body lengthens, her olive skin deepens, and her eyes glisten gold thanks to the brand-new silver bangle that locks around her wrist. As she always knew it would, her Jinn ancestry brings not just magical powers but the reality of a life of servitude, as her wish granting is controlled by a remote ruling class of Jinn known as the Afrit.
To the humans she lives among, she’s just the girl working at the snack bar at the beach, navigating the fryer and her first crush. But behind closed doors, she’s learning how to harness her powers and fulfill the obligations of her destiny.
Mentored by her mother and her Zar “sisters,” Azra discovers she may not be quite like the rest of her circle of female Jinn . . . and that her powers could endanger them all.
VOYA gave Becoming Jinn a starred review saying: “The genie theme is original and appealing. Azra is likable; her struggles–even factoring in the genie issue–are real and relatable. This well-written title . . . will not stay on the shelf.”
Ages 12-18 | Publisher: Feiwel & Friends | 2015 | ISBN-13: 978-1250055392
Click here to enter the SUMMER OF JINN Blog Tour Giveaway! Lori’s giving away two $20 gift cards: one to her local indie Harvard Bookstore and one to B&N! Redeemable in person or online. Open internationally. And she’s also running a special promotion in honor of the summer season. Buy #BecomingJinn by July 30 and receive free bracelet temporary tattoos. More info on Lori’s blog.
Follow all the stops on the Summer of Jinn Blog Tour:
July 2: B&N Teen Blog: My Favorite 2015 Debut Beach Reads
July 6: Fangirlish: Exclusive Chapter Reveal
July 7: Dark Faerie Tales: Q&A, Special Announcement, and Exclusive Giveaway
July 8: Adventures in YA Publishing: A BECOMING JINN Debut Lesson: The Trouble with Measuring Success
July 9: Patchwork Press: Write All Year Pep Talk: Breaking the Rules
July 10: YA Books Central: Exclusive BECOMING JINN excerpt with a signed book giveaway!
July 10: Fangirlish: 2 for 1 Friday
July 13: Comfort Books: Q&A
July 14: Bewitched Bookworms: Azra and Henry’s Favorite Beach Reads
July 15: Freshman Fifteens: The 15ers share their favorite beach reads
July 16: Children’s Book Review: All-Time Favorite Beach Reads
If you loved Lori Goldstein’s excellent list of young adult beach reads, you can discover more articles on The Children’s Book Review just like this one by perusing our articles tagged with Best Young Adult Books.