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2022 Summer Reading: High School


Need suggestions for beach reading or books to bring to summer camp? Each of our lists — for all age ranges and including fiction, nonfiction, folklore, and poetry — includes thirteen selections (a baker's dozen!), all published 2021–2022 and ideal for the season. Grade levels are only suggestions; the individual child is the real criterion.


Picture Books | Beginning Readers and Primary Grades | Intermediate | Middle School


High School

Suggested grade level for all entries: 9 and up


Blackout by Dhonielle Clayton, Tiffany D. Jackson, Nic Stone, Angie Thomas, Ashley Woodfolk, and Nicola Yoon (Quill Tree/HarperCollins)

Six stories of romance by six Black young adult authors all take place during a (fictional) summer blackout in NYC, intertwining as the characters make their way toward a block party in Brooklyn. A breezy, entertaining summer read, with each author taking advantage of the premise to write into the underserved space of Black young adult rom-com. 256 pages.

My Fine Fellow by Jennieke Cohen (HarperTeen)

In this clever, gender-swapped retelling of My Fair Lady (set in an alternate version of 1830s England), culinarian-in-training Helena Higgins sets her sights on turning street-food vendor Elijah Little into a “gentleman chef.” Those familiar with the musical can almost imagine the rest, though some intentional plot deviations may keep them on their toes. 352 pages.

The Summer of Bitter and Sweet by Jen Ferguson (Heartdrum/HarperCollins)

Lou is spending the summer scooping ice cream at her uncles’ shop to save money for university. Then she and her boyfriend/coworker break up, and a former friend’s return forces her to confront lies she’s told. Although Ferguson (who, like her protagonist, is Michif/Métis and white) includes major issues such as racism, rape, and sexual harassment, the book does not feel too heavy or overdramatized. 384 pages.

Murder Among Friends: How Leopold and Loeb Tried to Commit the Perfect Crime by Candace Fleming (Schwartz/Random)

“Nineteen-year-old Nathan Leopold would kill a child today.” The kidnapping, ransom, and murder plot had been in the works for months, but it came to fruition on May 21, 1924, when Leopold and Richard Loeb targeted Loeb’s second cousin, fourteen-year-old Bobby Franks. A psychological crime thriller, a suspenseful courtroom drama, and a timely, relevant examination of social issues. 368 pages.

Messy Roots: A Graphic Memoir of a Wuhanese American by Laura Gao; color and art assistance by Weiwei Xu (Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins)

From her early childhood in Wuhan, China, to her years in Texas and later San Francisco, Gao personalizes her experiences navigating the choppy waters of growing up with insight and humor. A coming-of-age story, in graphic memoir form, that tackles themes of immigration, assimilation, racism, sexuality, and self-identity. 272 pages.

Beasts of Prey by Ayana Gray (Putnam)

Strong-willed and emotional sixteen-year-old Koffi is an indentured beastkeeper at the Night Zoo. Anxious seventeen-year-old Ekon is poised to follow in his father’s and older brother’s footsteps as a Son of the Six, a warrior of the city of Lkossa. An eventful night brings these characters together and changes both of their destinies. Gray’s Pan-African fantasy is filled with monsters, mythos, and Black girl magic. 496 pages.

Survive the Dome by Kosoko Jackson (Sourcebooks)

In an implied near-future, aspiring teen photojournalist Jamal (who is Black and gay) brings his camera to a protest in Baltimore following a police officer’s acquittal in the shooting death of a Black man. What he ultimately captures is the emergence of the Dome, a force field ordered by the racist governor to separate the city from the rest of the world. A searing, fast-paced futuristic thriller. 352 pages.

Family of Liars by E. Lockhart (Delacorte)

This formidable prequel to We Were Liars, focusing on the wealthy Sinclair family a generation before that novel’s events, is told in flashback by Carrie, recounting shocking events from 1987 on the family’s private island. The engrossing narration is neither reliable nor neatly wrapped up, but the novel is uncomfortably thought-provoking — and impossible to put down. 320 pages.

Lakelore by Anna-Marie McLemore (Feiwel)

Teens Bastián and Lore — both brown, trans, and neurodivergent — reunite years after a chance meeting and find themselves bound together by their most personal experiences and by the magic of a local lake. Readers with identities in common with the protagonists will find relief and recognition in this impassioned book, and teens in general should feel welcomed by its warmly open storytelling. 304 pages.

Mirror Girls by Kelly McWilliams (Little, Brown)

Magnolia, raised as a white Southern belle, learns from her dying grandmother that her father was Black and that she has a twin sister, Charlie. Charlie, arriving from Harlem, likewise discovers her family history — and learns of a curse that affects them all. McWilliams uses American history and Southern Gothic elements to create a captivating story of resilience, hope, and love. 320 pages.

An Arrow to the Moon by Emily X.R. Pan (Little, Brown)

High school seniors Luna Chang and Hunter Yee keep crossing paths, and they soon realize that they both have bizarre abilities. While they fall for each other, a strange series of events takes hold — beginning with a massive crack that appears in the street one night. In lush prose, Pan retells both the Chinese legend of Chang’e and Houyi and Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. 400 pages.

The Ghosts of Rose Hill by R. M. Romero (Peachtree Teen)

In this verse novel, Cuban American Jewish teen Ilana Lopez spends a summer with her aunt in Prague. She finds an abandoned Jewish cemetery and encounters Benjamin, the ghost of a long-dead boy her age; and Wassermann, a man with no shadow. Creepy though the premise is, the thought-provoking novel is more fable than horror, as its protagonist finds a balance between past and present. 384 pages.

Aristotle and Dante Dive into the Waters of the World by Benjamin Alire Sáenz (Simon)

As this sequel to Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe opens, the title characters take a memorable, romantic camping trip together before beginning their respective senior years at different high schools. After returning from the trip, narrator Ari comes out to people in his life. Devoted fans of the previous installment will relish the experience of this one. 528 pages.


From the April 2022 issue of Notes from the Horn Book: Summer Reading. For past years’ summer reading lists from The Horn Book, click on the tag summer reading.

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