What time is it? Summertime!
That’s right, friends. It’s the time of year where the weather heats up, the days are long, and the conditions for reading outside could not be more perfect.
I don’t know about you, but when summer rolls around every year, I find myself wanting to pick up ALL the cute contemporary romances. There’s just something about the sunshine that puts me in the mood to read fluffy, happy, and cute stories. In the last couple months, we’ve been blessed with so many new and phenomenal young adult contemporaries. So whether you like reading on the sand, by the pool, or inside with the air-conditioning blasting, here are some fresh and must-read young adult contemporary novels you absolutely need to add to your summer reading list.
Again, but Better by Christine Riccio
This is the only book on my list that isn’t totally a contemporary. There is a magical element, but the whole book takes place in real-world settings and is very grounded in reality. It features a main character who is awkward but desperately wants to get out of her shell… and does so by studying abroad in London! This book will take you on adventures all around Europe, will make you laugh endlessly, and will have you swooning at how adorable the romance is.
If I’m Being Honest by Emily Wibberley & Austin Siegemund-Broka
Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka strike again with an incredibly cute but also deep and meaningful story in If I’m Being Honest. Cameron, the main character, is a Slytherin to the core and unapologetically honest, to the point where she can… sometimes cross the line into being mean. Austin & Emily did an absolutely fantastic job with Cameron’s development in this story: her values aren’t compromised, but she also does change. Not to mention that, like I said, there’s romance… and it’s WONDERFUL.
There’s Something About Sweetie by Sandhya Menon
This book is heart-warming, empowering, and just so adorable. Sandhya Menon knows her way around rom-coms (she also wrote When Dimple Met Rishi & From Twinkle, With Love), and this newest novel is her best one yet. It’s a story of self-acceptance, confidence, and defying expectations. It’s a tad predictable (in a good way), but the story also has so much depth: it explores family dynamics and the unhealthy nature of beauty standards for young women (among other things). Not only does this book ask tough questions and engage in meaningful discussions, but its happy and hopeful nature is upheld even when it could take a darker turn. It couldn’t be a more perfect story to pick up this summer.
The Rest of the Story by Sarah Dessen
Sarah Dessen, one of the queens of young adult contemporary, returns with a new book just when we thought we weren’t getting any more of her summery romances. The Rest of the Story doesn’t necessarily provide a fresh and interesting plot or characters in the way that There’s Something About Sweetie does, but it’s perfect if you’re looking for something with a nostalgic and introspective tone. The romance is a slow-burning one, so the characters truly have time to connect and get to know one another throughout the book. This is a story of self-discovery and coming of age, and it’s without a doubt one of Sarah Dessen’s more emotional works.
Geekerella/The Princess & the Fangirl by Ashley Poston
These two books are the ULTIMATE contemporaries to read if you’re a member of any fandom or if you’re just interested in fandom culture. I mean… the series is literally called Once Upon a Con. It doesn’t get any better.
Ok but seriously, these two books will make your heart soar and put the biggest smile on your face. They’re light and fun and filled to the brim with nerdy greatness. I highly recommend reading Geekerella first, but you CAN read Princess & the Fangirl without its predecessor if you really wanted to (which you don’t, because Geekerella is fantastic ;)).
Hot Dog Girl by Jennifer Dugan
A romance at an amusement park… need I say any more?!
Just in case that didn’t convince you, maybe the fact that this book is an absolutely adorable friends-to-lovers story that does character development incredibly well will. This book wasn’t perfect, and some of the plot points/actions of the main character did make me uncomfortable, but overall, it’s a thoroughly enjoyable fluffy read that checks all the boxes of an amazing summer contemporary.
And that’s it! Those are the newly released young adult contemporaries that will fulfill all your cute and light-hearted romance needs. What are you waiting for? It’s time to go to Barnes & Noble or your local independent bookstore (…or Amazon, I guess), pick up these lovely novels, grab a lemonade or iced coffee, and dive in.