The YA Summer Reading List for 2021 is here! It’s filled with 50 of the most amazing books across all genres from fantasy & sci-fi to mystery & non-fiction. Check it out!

teens reading books from the 2021 ya summer reading list

We have a lot to cover, so I’ll skip the usual “blah blah blah” list story stuff and jump right into the list, after a few quick notes. If you’ve read any of my other YA summer reading lists (or heck, any “what to read next” book lists), you know the drill by now.  If not, here’s the rundown of how I organized things:

  • As with previous lists, some (many, actually) of these books are part of a series. Like 99% of the books that come out these days are (I made up that statistic, but it’s probably pretty close). If that’s the case, I’ll note the series name next to it.
  • For the most part, I stuck with books that came out in the last 90 days. There are a few that aren’t out yet. I added the release date. None come out any later than 8/31 (and only a few are that far off, most are by mid-July).

Last note: the links below are affiliate links. If you make a purchase through them, I earn a tiny commission at no extra charge to you.

YA Summer Reading List for 2021

This year, I’m breaking this up into chunks by genre. That should keep it from getting too overwhelming. That said, some books cross genres, or totally defy them entire, so keep that in mind. I’ll share a preview of my top pick for each section, too.

Fantasy YA Summer Reading Books

This is my favorite genre, so it was really hard to choose just 10!

  1. The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna (TOP PICK)
  2. Rule of Wolves: King of Scars Duology, Book 2 by Leigh Bardugo
  3. Namesake: A Novel (Fable Book 2) by Adrienne Young
  4. Sing Me Forgotten by Jessica S. Olson
  5. The Queen’s Assassin by Melissa de la Cruz
  6. The Immortal Game by Talia Rothschild (releases May 25th)
  7. Realm Breaker by Victoria Aveyard
  8. Lore by Alexandra Bracken
  9. These Hollow Vows by Lexi Ryan (July 20th)
  10. Shadow and Bone (Book 1) by Leigh Bardugo (older, but it’s on Netflix now, so it’s a good time to read/re-read)

Science Fiction/Dystopian Teen Books

Some of these are categorized under fantasy, but they’re sci-fi-like. I was going to separate out dystopian in its own category, but so many sci-fi books are about a bleak future, so it didn’t really work.

  1. The Electric Kingdom by David Arnold (TOP PICK)
  2. If Then: A Thrilling Young Adult Sci-Fi Fantasy Adventure (Virago Book 2) by Carol B Allen
  3. The Fall of Crazy House (Book 2) by James Patterson
  4. Between Burning Worlds (System Divine Book 2) by Jessica Brody &  Joanne Rendell
  5. The Ones We’re Meant to Find by Joan He
  6. The Infinity Courts by Akemi Dawn Bowman 
  7. The Life Below (Final Six Book 2) by Alexandra Monir
  8. I Hope You Get This Message by Farah Naz Rishi
  9. Imagine Me (Shatter Me Book 6) by Tahereh Mafi 
  10. Flamefall (THE AURELIAN CYCLE Book 2)  by Rosaria Munda

YA Coming of Age Novels

Head’s up: “coming of age” books are more likely to feature sensitive topics, including addiction, depression, suicide and other “triggering” subjects.

  1. Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley (TOP PICK, soon to be a show on Netflix)
  2. With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo
  3. What Beauty There Is: A Novel by Cory Anderson
  4. The Gravity of Us by Phil Stamper
  5. Things That Grow by Meredith Goldstein
  6. Yolk by Mary H. K. Choi 
  7. Fat Chance, Charlie Vega by Crystal Maldonado
  8. Yesterday Is History by Kosoko Jackson
  9. The Half-Orphan’s Handbook by Joan F. Smith 
  10. The Hollow Inside by Brooke Lauren Davis (releases 5/25)

Teen Mystery/Thriller Novels

  1. The Mary Shelley Club by Goldy Moldavsky (TOP PICK)
  2. The Ivies by Alexa Donne (5/25)
  3. A Lesson in Vengeance by Victoria Lee (8/3)
  4. That Weekend by Kara Thomas (6/29)
  5. After the Ink Dries by Cassie Gustafson (7/20)
  6. Enola Holmes and the Black Barouche by Nancy Springer (8/31)
  7. They’ll Never Catch Us by Jessica Goodman (7/27, my bday!)
  8. The Box in the Woods by Maureen Johnson  (6/15)
  9. The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
  10. Pride and Premeditation: Jane Austen Murder Mysteries, Book 1 by Tirzah Price

YA Non-Fiction

This section is the only one where most of the books weren’t released in 2021. It’s a mix of biographies and reference books (but not the boring SAT prep-style reference, I promise).

  1. We Are Displaced by Malala Yousafza (TOP PICK)
  2. Banned Book Club by Kim Hyun Sook & Ryan Estrada
  3. Find Where the Wind Goes by Dr. Mae Jemison
  4. Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World by Rachel Ignotofsk
  5. Becoming by Michelle Obama
  6. The Power of Style by Christian Allaire
  7. Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Jason Reynolds
  8. The Endless Steppe: Growing Up in Siberia by Esther Hautzig
  9. Gone to the Woods: Surviving a Lost Childhood by Gary Paulsen
  10. An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States for Young People by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz 

I hope my 2021 YA summer reading list gave you at least a few good books to add to your TBR pile! I really tried to find a good mix to match all interests.

Need more ideas? Check out my 2019 list. Head’s up, though, for some inexplicable reason, there is a weird broken image thingy next to every single link. It doesn’t affect the link itself. It’s some remnant of old Amazon API coding or something. I’ll fix it at some point, but for now, the list is still completely usable.


collage featuring summer reading books for teenagers