Welcome to July, where we find ourselves in the midst of summer, marking the halfway point of the year. It’s hard to believe how quickly 2023 is passing by, but I take solace in the knowledge that there are some incredible new books coming our way later this year. While July may be a quieter time for book releases, there’s still a wealth of amazing reads to dive into, particularly in the murder mystery and thriller genres. So grab your favorite summery drink, find a comfortable spot indoors or outdoors, and get ready to be captivated by a plethora of outstanding debuts, a new thriller from Jessica Goodman, a sapphic fairy tale retelling, and the latest offering from Emery Lord. Personally, you’ll find me blissfully absorbed in these fantastic new books, lounging in my hammock and enjoying the delights of summer reading.
1. I’d Rather Burn Than Bloom by Shannon C.F. Rogers
This powerful YA novel follows Marisol, a Filipina-American teen, as she navigates her identity amidst her mother’s death. Their relationship was marked by constant conflict, with no clear resolution. Left alone after her mother’s passing, haunted by unspoken words, Marisol’s actions lead to isolation and burning anger. Yet, as a new friendship emerges, Marisol reluctantly begins to open up, realizing there may be more to her than just anger, uncovering possibilities for her true self.
2. The Prince & the Apocalypse by Kara McDowell
In this delightful rom-com, an American teen finds herself stranded in London. She reluctantly teams up with a charming British crown prince, who resembles an errant runaway, to secure her return home before the impending apocalypse. Their journey takes them across Europe by boat, train, and an accidentally stolen car, forging a connection between them. However, the prince’s hidden agenda poses a threat to their plans. With only days left until the world ends, they must defy fate to find a happy ending amidst the chaos.
3. The Third Daughter by Adrienne Tooley
In a sweeping YA fantasy filled with legacy, betrayal, sisterhood, and the pursuit of power, a slow-burn LGBTQ romance intertwines. Velle’s citizens have long awaited the prophesied New Maiden, the third daughter of a third daughter. When she finally arrives as the queen’s youngest child, Elodie, the eldest, loses her claim to the throne. To protect Velle, Elodie must dethrone her sister, Brianne. Desperate, Elodie seeks a sleeping potion but is mistakenly given tears with potent emotions, causing Brianne to fall into an unbreakable slumber. As their families and country hang in the balance, Elodie and Sabine, the apothecary, strive to revive Brianne, their connection growing stronger. Perfect for fans of “Red Queen,” “Dance of Thieves,” and “These Violent Delights.”
4. All That’s Left To Say by Emery Lord
In this poignant and powerful story, join Hannah MacLaren on her daring journey as a grieving girl willing to risk everything. On prom night, soaked to the bone in her fanciest dress, Hannah finds herself in immense trouble for pulling the fire alarm just as the prom queen was about to be crowned. But Hannah’s actions were driven by a deep purpose—to uncover the truth behind her cousin Sophie’s tragic overdose and provide closure for her family. With a new identity and a web of lies, Hannah enrolls in Sophie’s prestigious private school, expecting to find answers. However, she didn’t anticipate the complications of Sophie’s friends or the unexpected attraction to her longtime enemy. Now, Hannah faces a critical choice: to allow herself to mourn and move on, or to risk everything in pursuit of the explosive truth, even if it means destroying herself. This captivating narrative is perfect for fans of Robin Benway and Jandy Nelson, blurring the lines between grief, love, and self-discovery.
5. Their Vicious Games by Joelle Wellington
In this gripping thriller that fuses Ace of Spades with Squid Game and a dash of The Bachelor, a determined Black teenager, desperate to regain her Ivy League acceptance, becomes entangled in an exclusive competition where the stakes are more than high—they’re deadly. Adina Walker has always known she must work twice as hard to receive half as much as a scholarship student at the prestigious Edgewater Academy, catering to the wealthy and predominantly white upper class of New England. One moment of lost control results in her redlisting from her dream college, leaving the Finish as her sole chance to reclaim the future she has sacrificed everything for—a high-stakes contest orchestrated by Edgewater’s founders. Among twelve exceptional young women, she must compete in three enigmatic challenges, all while sensing that something is amiss with the Remingtons and her fellow competitors. As the competition unfolds, Adina realizes that the extraordinary prize at stake carries a far greater cost—life and death. With the odds perpetually against her, she must rewrite the rules to survive the ruthless games and emerge victorious.
6. My Week With Him by Joya Goffney
“Goffney’s captivating work portrays agency, hope, and intergenerational trauma with charm. Publishers Weekly praises it as a Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection. Joya Goffney, author of Excuse Me While I Ugly Cry, presents a stirring YA coming-of-age story about Nikki, a girl planning to escape small-town Texas. But her oldest friend, Mal, maybe the one who’s been there for her all along. Filled with heart, humor, and complex family dynamics, this novel explores friendship and love. For fans of I Wanna Be Where You Are by Kristina Forest and Counting Down with You by Tashie Bhuiyan. Nikki dreams of a music career and leaving Texas, but after a painful betrayal, she becomes homeless. California beckons, but Mal persuades her to spend spring break together. However, their plans are derailed when Nikki’s sister goes missing. With Mal’s support, Nikki embarks on a search, discovering the power of her own voice and finding the love she’s always yearned for.”
7. Bellegarde by Jamie Lilac
Step into a captivating historical rom-com with a modern twist—a perfect treat for fans of Bridgerton, A Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue, and She’s All That. Evie Clement, a skilled baker dreaming of a life filled with designing dresses, expertly avoids attention. Her focus on honing her sewing skills shields her from the charm of Beau Bellegarde, Paris’ playboy and the most popular guy in their prestigious high school. But when Beau finds himself entangled in an impossible bet, he turns to Evie to transform her from a wallflower into the dazzling Bellegarde Bloom at the Court of Flowers Ball. As their unlikely connection grows, Evie is both puzzled and intrigued. Can love blossom in the unlikeliest of places? Discover this sparkling debut from Jamie Lilac—a She’s All That historical romance retelling that will sweep you off your feet. Praise from author Brian Kennedy: “The lush prose, perfectly paced romance, and smart storytelling make Jamie Lilac’s debut a delightful read.”
8. Under This Forgetful Sky by Lauren Yero
In this futuristic tale reminiscent of Paolo Bacigalupi and Laini Taylor, two teenagers navigate an unequal world as they grapple with their place in a society divided by stark disparities. Sixteen-year-old Rumi Sabzwari has spent his entire life sheltered within the fortified walls of St. Iago, until rebels infect his father with a fatal virus, compelling Rumi to escape in search of a cure. In the ruined city of Paraíso, he meets Paz, a tough fifteen-year-old who becomes his guide. As they journey together, Rumi finds himself drawn to Paz, but she holds secrets about his father’s illness and pursues her own hidden agenda. With powerful forces at play, their cities set them on opposing paths, testing their trust and challenging them to imagine a world different from their own.
9. The Legacies by Jessica Goodman
In a world of old money and new secrets, the invitation to the exclusive Legacy Club in New York City is both an honor and a gateway to a lifetime of power, wealth, and protection. Excelsior Prep seniors Bernie Kaplan, Isobel Rothcroft, and Skyler Hawkins, born into this elite circle, harbor dangerous secrets that could ruin their reputations. But when unexpected nominee Tori Tasso, a scholarship student from Queens, enters the scene, questions arise about her mysterious path to membership. As the night of the Legacy Ball unfolds with luxury, champagne, and whispered gossip, no one anticipates the unraveling of their hidden truths or the fatal consequences that arise in the desperate struggle to protect them.
Which of the above YA books do you plan to read in July 2023? Share your picks with us in the comments section below!