2023 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 2022–2023 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


Warrior Girl Unearthed by Angeline Boulley (Holt)

This riveting page-turner is set in 2014, ten years after the events of Firekeeper’s Daughter (rev. 5/21). During a summer internship at the tribal museum, sixteen-year-old Perry Firekeeper-Birch (Daunis’s niece) learns of a collection of stolen artifacts, including the bones of a teen known as the Warrior Girl. Readers will root for the resourceful Perry on her quest to return the Warrior Girl to her rightful resting place. 400 pp.

The Epic Story of Every Living Thing by Deb Caletti (Labyrinth Road/Random)

After learning that she has forty-odd half-siblings by the man who was her sperm donor, seventeen-year-old Harper travels to Hawaii to meet him. Beau welcomes her and teaches her how to dive — his passion, which becomes Harper’s too. The summer is full of moments of wonder, in which Harper feels connected to Beau, her newfound siblings, and “every living thing.” A rich, contemplative story. 416 pp.

Throwback by Maurene Goo (Zando)

After an argument with her mother leaves Sam without a ride to school, she downloads a rideshare app — Throwback Rides — and finds herself back in 1995, at her mom’s high school. Sam must find a way to help Mom win homecoming queen to make it back home — or so she thinks. A lighthearted read with lots of Korean cultural elements and intergenerational connections. 368 pp.

Highly Suspicious and Unfairly Cute by Talia Hibbert (Joy Revolution/Random)

When former best friends Celine and Bradley both participate in a wilderness competition, they must work together to achieve their individual goals. They also work through what tore them apart while realizing that there could be more to their feelings. In her debut YA novel, British romance writer Hibbert offers an entertaining, laugh-out-loud rom-com featuring memorable Black characters and an immersive UK setting. 336 pp.

Rust in the Root by Justina Ireland (Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins)

In an alternate 1937 New York, seventeen-year-old queer Black mage Laura Ann is assigned as apprentice to another Black mage known as the Skylark, and the two take on an ancient dark magic. Using fresh-voiced alternating perspectives and interspersed “primary sources” (including photographs), Ireland has confidently merged the historical and the mystical into a fast-paced, complex, and entertaining read. 448 pp.

An Appetite for Miracles by Laekan Zea Kemp (Little, Brown)

Danna and Raúl meet when he’s playing music as therapy for her grandfather. They’re instantly enamored; she fully wins him over on his next visit with her homemade chorreadas de piloncillo. Kemp’s verse novel employs striking food metaphors and similes to create a warm image of young love as well as a poignant perspective on the experience of caring for a loved one with dementia. 448 pp.

I’ll Take Everything You Have by James Klise (Algonquin)

Intent on saving his family farm during the Great Depression, sixteen-year-old Joe arrives in Chicago seeking work. He’s drawn into a web of lies, deceit, blackmail, and murder — as well as into a love triangle with two other boys. Klise deftly balances a number of elements in Joe’s first-person narration: convincing dialogue, complicated characters, and an aura of danger and suspense. 288 pp.

Sunshine by Jarrett J. Krosoczka (Graphix/Scholastic)

Krosoczka’s follow-up graphic memoir to Hey, Kiddo (rev. 9/18) chronicles his time at age sixteen volunteering at a camp for pediatric cancer patients and their families. Joyful moments alternate with earnest conversations regarding faith and mortality. Krosoczka’s illustrations contribute to the heartfelt storytelling, effectively expressing changes in perspective, mood, and significance. Chapter dividers provide artifacts such as letters, photographs, and drawings. 240 pp.

When the Angels Left the Old Country by Sacha Lamb (Levine Querido)

A demon and an angel set off from a tiny village in the Pale of Settlement to the U.S. around the early twentieth century; sixteen-year-old Rose is on a parallel immigration journey. It’s a joy to observe the human and supernatural characters come to understand themselves and their relationships in this witty, expansive, queer tale that marries historical fiction with inventive world-building and Jewish folklore. 408 pp.

Four for the Road by K. J. Reilly (Atheneum)

Ever since seventeen-year-old Asher’s mom died in a car accident, “everyone says that I’m not handling it well.” Asher is catfishing Grace, the teen daughter of the drunk driver responsible for the accident, and he embarks on a road trip with acquaintances from his bereavement groups to confront her. Reilly doesn’t hold back from depicting the all-encompassing nature of grief in a story that’s warm, funny, moving, and deep. 288 pp.

The Notorious Scarlett and Browne by Jonathan Stroud (Knopf)

This follow-up to The Outlaws Scarlett and Browne (rev. 1/22), set in a future scorched-earth Britain, finds notorious outlaw Scarlett and the telepathically gifted Albert Browne roped into the dangerous heist of a truckload of religious artifacts when they are blackmailed by Scarlett’s old colleagues in theft. Once again, Stroud’s insouciant humor, energetic invention, and underlay of empathy enhance a fizzingly paced fantasy adventure. 432 pp.

¡Ay, Mija!: My Bilingual Summer in Mexico by Christine Suggs (Little, Brown)

This engaging, multilayered graphic memoir depicts Suggs’s formative experiences visiting family in Mexico. During the trip, young Crís develops a more mature understanding of their blended culture, their mixed-race family’s traditions, and their emergent queer identity. Illustrations in a limited, muted palette richly portray the sights, sounds, and scents of Mexico, along with the warmth of extended family. 336 pp.

The Sunbearer Trials by Aiden Thomas (Feiwel)

In the fantastical but contemporary-feeling Reino del Sol, demigod children compete in the Sunbearer Trials. Although winning brings glory, it comes with a price: it’s the Sunbearer’s duty to sacrifice the competitor in last place. Teo, seventeen and an unlikely entrant, instead vows to protect thirteen-year-old Xio, a fellow trans boy. With its society devoid of queerphobia and elements richly drawn from Mexican culture, the story is colorful, expansive, and unique. 416 pp.


From the April 2023 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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