I just finished my tenth year teaching high school English and let me tell you, teens like to read… well, most of them. Some of you might be doubting me, but hang on! 

The key is really taking the time to get to know your students. If you recommend books based on knowing about that individual student's interests and life, they’ll come back for more! 

Before summer break started for my sophomores, I asked what kind of books they'd be excited about reading to offer some recommendations. My students seemed most intrigued by summer festival themes, young love stories, mysteries, and sports. So, per my students' advice, I've compiled a list of books that fit into those categories! Happy reading! 

Summer Adventure


    1. Rise to the Sun by Leah Johnson (summer music festival + friendship/love): Two friends swear off relationships one summer while they venture together to a music festival before they both divide for college, but then one meets this girl and is smitten. This comes between the friends but also leads to fun and adventure, trying to find the hidden clues to win a big contest to get up close with their favorite band.MeltWithYou
    2. Melt With You by Jennifer Dugan: Two ex-best friends come together to road trip to a festival in their families' ice cream truck, but the friends-turned-lovers-last-summer-then-broke-up-and-never-spoke-again drama is fresh. Their moms co-own the ice cream truck and leave the business in their hands while they attend an important meeting in Texas. Can these two ex-BFFs figure it out, or will their drama ruin their families' business?                

Young Love

  1. TheSummerITurnedPrettyThe Summer I Turned Pretty series by Jenny Han (lake house, young love): I probably don't even need to summarize this because it's everywhere, but I think it's one of the best trilogies that gives that quintessential summer vibe along with a complicated (and, admittedly addictive) love triangle. Set at a lake house where two mothers brought their children when they were little, the kids are all grown up now, and some new feelings spark between her longtime crush Conrad... and his brother. Caught between the two boys she's grown up with, who will Belly choose? As an added bonus, you can catch the new streaming series based on the books on Amazon Prime! GirlsLikeGirls
  2. Girls like Girls by Hayley Kiyoko (famous singer author, LGBTQ+): This new release comes from a popular queer singer Hayley Kiyoko and it's hit all the bestsellers lists. It's based on Hayley's hit song and viral video of the same name.17-year-old Coley loses her mother and is forced to move to Rural Oregon. There, she meets Sonya, and she falls for her immediately. But Coley fears she isn't worthy of Sonya's love, and Sonya has never been with a girl before. Will they be able to push aside their fears and embrace their true selves? TheSummerOfBrokenRules
  3. The Summer of Broken Rules by K.L. Walther (summer family wedding, love): Main character Meredith Fox lost her sister eighteen months ago and blocked everyone out, but this summer she's determined to open herself back up at a family wedding at Martha's Vineyard. Her family has weeklong activities planned such as a game of Assassin and she's paired up with a cute groomsman. She wants to win the game in the name of her sister, but no she's distracted by her partner and might even be falling for him. 


Mystery and Suspense LiarsBeach

  1. Liars's Beach by Katie Cotugno (mystery, murder, summer pool party): A summer pool party ends with an unconscious person in the pool. The incident is pushed aside as an accident, but the main character Michael Linden thinks something isn't quite right. Inspired by an Agatha Christie mystery, this is surely a thrilling read! TheAgathas
  2. The Agathas by Kathleen Glasgow and Liz Lawson (mystery, friends): Also inspired by Agatha Christie, main character Alice decides to investigate the death of the most popular girl in school with an unlikely partner–Iris, a bookworm and a rule follower–because she believes the wrong person was convicted. StarsAndSmoke
  3. Stars and Smoke by Marie Lu (mystery, fame, love): Marie Lu cooks up a dangerous mission involving the recruitment of pop star Wynter to go undercover at a notorious and impossible-to-catch criminal's teenage daughters' birthday celebration. Along the way, an enemies-to-lovers storyline emerges. 



  1. Mexican Whiteboy by Matt de la Pena (stereotypes, baseball): Danny is a half-Mexican, half-White teen who can throw a 95 mph fastball. Any college would be eager to sign him. The problem is, he's not even on a team. At his private school, teachers and coaches don't have high expectations for him because of his race. Plus, every time approaches the pitcher's mound, he freezes. Danny goes to Mexico to visit his dad for the summer and there, he may be able to confront issues from his past and make a new friend. Ghost
  2. Ghost by Jason Reynolds (first in series of 4 books about track): I'll read and recommend anything by Jason Reynolds. This series focuses on a young boy overcoming a traumatic event and prejudice through his love of running track. 





Watch Jenn break down all her picks here!