Need suggestions for beach reading or books to bring to summer camp? We’ve hand-picked our top ten in each age range, all published 2013–2014, that are ideal for the season. Grade levels are only suggestions; the individual child is the real criterion. For a handy take-along list of titles, follow this link to a printable PDF.
High School Fiction and Nonfiction
Suggested grade level for all entries: 9 and up
He Said, She Said by Kwame Alexander (Amistad/HarperTeen)
Claudia Clarke — sharp, opinionated, and Harvard-bound — is the only girl who isn’t impressed by quarterback Omar “T-Diddy” Smalls. Omar takes a bet that he can win Claudia over, and when his usual seduction tactics fail, he applies his social clout to Claudia’s cause du jour. 330 pages.
All the Truth That’s in Me by Julie Berry (Viking)
Eighteen-year-old narrator Judith is ostracized from her claustrophobic village after a trauma that left her mute. Readers gradually learn “all the truth” about the incident and the village itself as Judith speaks directly (though only in her head) to her love, Lucas. 274 pages.
If You Could Be Mine by Sara Farizan (Algonquin)
Seventeen-year-old Sahar has been in love with her best friend Nasrin for years. But the girls live in Iran, where their love is illegal. When Nasrin accepts a marriage proposal, both girls must face the untenable future of their relationship; Sahar hatches a desperate plan for them to be together. 247 pages.
Maggot Moon by Sally Gardner; illus. by Julian Crouch (Candlewick)
Printz Honor Book
In an alternate dystopian United Kingdom, the Motherland regime consigns undesirables to the derelict housing of Zone Seven. When his friend Hector disappears, Standish sets out to rescue him and uncovers a shocking government hoax. 281 pages.
March: Book One by John Lewis and Andrew Aydin; illus. by Nate Powell (Top Shelf)
In this memoir told in graphic novel form, Congressman John Lewis — the last surviving member of the “Big Six” civil rights leaders — recounts his formative years, beginning with 1965′s infamous “Bloody Sunday.” From this violently chaotic event the narrative fast-forwards to the morning of Barack Obama’s January 2009 inauguration. 128 pages.
We Were Liars by E. Lockhart (Delacorte)
At fifteen, Cady survived an unspecified accident on the private island where her wealthy family and her love interest Gat spend their summers. Two summers later, Cady battles the resultant migraines and memory loss to piece together what really happened, building to a shocking reveal. 228 pages.
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell (St. Martin’s Griffin)
Change-resistant college freshman Cath holes up in her dorm room writing fantasy fanfiction. As the year progresses, she is pushed outside her comfort zone by her snarky roommate, her love interest, and her loving but dysfunctional family. 438 pages.
Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick (Roaring Brook)
Printz Medal Winner
Seven interconnected short stories progress backwards through the history of a remote Scandinavian island, from 2073 to a “Time Unknown.” Together the tales gradually reveal the ritual that brings bloody death and forbidden love to “Blessed Island.” 263 pages.
Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein (Hyperion)
This WWII-set companion to Boston Globe–Horn Book Honor winner Code Name Verity follows eighteen-year-old American pilot Rose Justice. Captured while delivering supplies and personnel, Rose is sent to notorious German women’s concentration camp Ravensbrück, where she’s befriended by victims of Nazi medical experiments. 360 pages.
Boxers & Saints by Gene Luen Yang; illus. by the author; color by Lark Pien (First Second/Roaring Brook)
This “diptych” of graphic novels (with touches of magical realism and humor) is set during China’s Boxer Rebellion. In Boxers, Little Bao learns to harness the power of ancient gods to fight the spread of Christianity, while in Saints, Four-Girl sits squarely on the other side of the rebellion. 328 and 172 pages.
For past years’ summer reading lists from The Horn Book, click on the tag summer reading.