Teen Thursday Special: Summer Reads!

My Summer Read banner (1)

It’s YA lucky day! It’s Teen Thursday!

But wait–it’s also July, and Austin has really turned up the heat. We’ve been working hard here at BookPeople to compile a list of some truly amazing YA summer reads for any and every possible situation! Come on and check them out!

Thanks to all of you for your enthusiasm and excitement this summer. This is the last post in our blog series for this summer, but stop by in the store year-round to see BookPeople’s favorites!

The Knife of Never Letting Go – Patrick Ness

Ellen says: This should be called The Knife of Never Letting YOU Go because once I started this book, I couldn’t put it down. On the most basic level, this is a coming-of-age story set in a dystopian world, which are two common elements of YA fiction, but this is not your typical teen novel. I loved elements Ness came up with to set this apart, such as Noise- males can hear people’s thoughts- and characters from a dog’s point of view. Manchee is the best dog in the world, and his chapters are beautiful, heart-wrenching, and funny. The story is compelling, dangerous, violent, emotionally draining, and thought-provoking. The first book in the Chaos Walking Trilogy. Awesome. So. Good.

Demi says: Todd lives on a planet where he can hear everyone’s thoughts, and there are no women. He hears silence for the first time while taking his dog for a walk- and with silence comes Violet. The Chaos Walking Trilogy is one of my faves. It’s a teen book that reads with the complexity of adult science fiction.

Airborn – Kenneth Oppel

Rachel says: In the tradition of adventure stories, Airborn is about a cabin boy on a cruise liner…in the air. Partially steampunk, Airborn has everything you want: ships, pirates, a missing scientist, and a race against the clock.

Meghan says: A giant passenger airship, a crash landing, a beautiful remote island, a scientific mystery, strange undiscovered flying beasts, and pirates…mean ones…

Alanna: The First Adventure – Tamora Pierce

Molly says: Alanna wants to be a knight. The only problem? She’s a girl, and the imperial palace only trains boys. Alanna won’t let that stop her, and she dresses as a man to undergo training. Through the series, she proves her ability over and over again, against increasing obstacles. But with help from friends and family. Tamora Pierce showed the world that fantasy could be feminist, and this series passes the Bechdel test with flying colors. Reread yearly for best results.

Sarah says: She kicks major booty, saves the realm, refuses to be told what girls can and can’t do and proves that courage knows no gender. My all-time favorite “she”-ro!

Wild Magic – Tamora Pierce

Marie says: The pending war between humans, gods, and immortals is at hand. In a small town, a girl is born with an incredible gift. Orphaned and homeless, she sets out with her pony and finds herself faced with the daunting task of mastering her Wild Magic before the storm breaks and the human world and realms of the gods are both destroyed forever… 


Akata Witch – Nnedi Okorafor

Meghan says: An extremely imaginative magical fantasy set in the world of the Leopard People. About four kids with unique abilities who find themselves selected to help bring down a dangerous killer — someone with powers greater than any of them can imagine. Distinctive and richly imagined.

Topher says: No matter what she does, Sunny cannot find a place to fit in. Her nicknames are “akata witch” and “white ghost” — no one ever sees her as more than an American-born albino in Nigeria. But when she is twelve, she discovers something amazing — she has strange, important magical powers, and the fate of the world rests on her shoulders. The setting and action are amazing.

Jackaby – Will Ritter

Thomas says: With a humorous blend of the supernatural & classic Victorian detective work, William Ritter creates a fun adventure reminiscent of the wackier episodes of Dr. Who. Filled to the brim with magic, classic fairytales, and observations so keen they would impress even Sherlock Holmes, Jackaby will grab you from page one & never really let go.

Meghan says: On the trail of an otherworldly serial killer, supernaturally sensitive Jackaby and the more pragmatically minded Abigail make a charmingly peculiar pairing. Crackling banter, gritty detail, and a lively Victorian setting make this a fantastic choice for readers who like their mysteries touched by the paranormal.

Orleans – Sherri L. Smith

Molly says: The Delta, after the outbreak of the deadly Delta Fever, is cut off from the rest of the US and divided into tribes based on blood type. When a scientific researcher crosses into the delta and meets up with 16-year-old Fen de la Guerre, she must help get him and his deadly virus samples to safety, while also protecting a baby from contracting the deadly disease. This is a terrifying look at post-flood New Orleans written by a survivor of Katrina, whose courageous heroine expresses herself in bold, beautiful prose.

Ellen says: In the not so distant future, a series of devastating storms have a massive and deadly impact on New Orleans. Fever is rampant and is tied to blood type, which results in a new kind of prejudice. Fen de la Guerre is a teenager in this new almost feral-like society that is brutally violent and unforgiving. With the help of an outsider – a scientist – Fen struggles and fights to survive not just for herself, but for the newborn fever-free baby who has a chance at life outside Orleans. Well written and fast paced, you’ll love this atmospheric story.

An Ember in the Ashes – Sabaa Tahir

Ellen says: This is a fantastic, brutal, violent, and gripping story. Laia, a girl who wants to rescue her brother, and Elias, an elite soldier who wants to defect, cross paths at the Emperor’s military training center. Together, they fight for freedom and their lives. I love the world — a mix of Ancient Rome, the Middle East, and Northern Africa. The harsh desert location mirrors the struggle and isolation of Laia and Elias. Helene–a soldier friend to Elias–is a fantastic character. Rape, slavery, and other serious events & themes provide a constant undercurrent of unease and danger. Fast-paced action and interesting characters make this a winner!

Tomoko says: This might make me seem really old, but if the movies Soldier and Gladiator  had a kid, this book would be that baby. An elite soldier trained from birth to excel at wreaking pain and war collides with a fiery slave willing to risk everything to find a brother stolen from her.  Together they navigate a treacherous landscape where no one can be trusted and Destiny  relies heavily on cunning and savagery. Incredibly vivid storytelling meets brutal battle school replete with high octane action, villainy you love to hate, and even some side characters you can root for!

The Raven Boys – Maggie Stiefvater

Meghan says: A group of unusual boys sets out to find an enchanted King of old with the help of a girl destined to kill one amongst them. A must-read for its brilliant cast of characters alone, this exhilarating fantasy defies easy description in the best possible way.

The Dream Thieves – Maggie Stiefvater

Rachel says: Of all the Raven Cycle, The Dream Thieves might be my favorite.  Rather than immediately racing through the plot introduced in The Raven Boys, Steifvater allows The Dream Thieves to be a more intimate exploration of the fallout of the events of previous book. In particular, the book focuses on Ronan as he tries to deal with the murder of his father in more and more self-destructive ways. A perfect storm of teenage angst and impulsiveness, the car crash of a human that is Ronan Lynch falls apart in front of your eyes, emotionally raw and painfully honest. Baby, you’re a firework.

Blue Lily, Lily Blue – Maggie Stiefvater

Ellen says: Wow, the world you thought you knew from the first two books in the series explodes in this one. The mystery of Glendower grows deeper and there is some progress made on that thread for Gansey, but the secrets and connections to Cabeswater continue to be teased out in a most enticing way. Backstory for Blue’s mother is also connected the underlying mystery of Glendower, and connections between characters, most notably Adam and Ronan, grow stronger.  I love these Raven Boys and their Blue Lily, Lily Blue.

Daughter of Smoke & Bone – Laini Taylor

Meghan says: Filled with monsters and mysteries, Karou’s real life has always been carefully hidden behind closed doors — literally. But when dark, smoldering handprints suddenly appear on those doors, they usher in events that leave Karou out on her own, with more questions than answers about her past. Soon she’s swept into an ancient conflict between angels and demons within which she’s scrambling to figure out her place. All she knows for sure is that the one angel determined to kill her is also the one being on earth she’s inexplicably drawn to the most. With gorgeous prose and exceptional characters, this is a book for all fans of great writing and fierce imagination.

Ta’Necia says: Karou, our heroine has been hidden her entire life for reasons she doesn’t understand. Until, she finds out that she is being hunted by an angel who is trying to kill her because he thinks she harnesses a power that can end the world . Thrust into an epic war between angels and demons, Karou must figure out where she stands. And things are not what they seem in this fantastical story of love and war.

Uglies – Scott Westerfeld

Ellen says: Science fiction, plastic surgery, mind alternation, dystopian society, and government control. Those are some of the elements in this thrilling book. When a person turns 16, they undergo mandatory plastic surgery to make them into an ideal physical human, otherwise known as Pretties. Tally can’t wait to turn 16 and becoming pretty, but her friend Shay isn’t sold on the whole thing and escapes the city for the wild. Tally sticks with Shay and they soon meet up with others who have escaped, and they learn the ugly truth of the surgery. A perfect summer read – romance, adventure, shady secrets, and cool hoverboards.

Danielle says: Imagine a world where everyone is “ugly” until their sixteenth birthday when they get extensive plastic surgery to become “pretty.” But there is more to this surgery than a new pretty face, as our young hero Tally Youngblood finds out…The first in a best-selling series!

Leviathan – Scott Westerfeld

Raul says: Steampunk meets World War I — Westerfeld incorporates REAL historical events that are blended with imagination to create this wondrous story of friendship in a world at war. Deryn, a young lady who dreams of flying, disguises herself as a boy to join to Air Service; Alek must hide his identity to avoid capture. Together the pair face an adventure unlike anything else aboard a living airship named Leviathan.

Meghan says: In 1914 the death of Austrian Archduke Ferdinand plunges the world into sudden war. And as the British Darwinists set their genetically-engineered beasts of battle against the German Clankers’ steam-driven versions, fact and fiction become fantastically fused in this masterful mash-up of re-written history and Steampunk flair.

We hope you’ve found something AMAZING TO READ this summer! Thanks for choosing us, your local independent bookstore!

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