Summer reading lets young adults explore different worlds

Some suggested summer reading for young adults in 2021.
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Some suggested summer reading for young adults in 2021.

Credit: Handout

Credit: Handout

Summer is officially in full swing, and for book lovers, that means stocking up for vacations, trips to the pool, and self-care days at home.

We’ve put together a list of young adult books that has a little bit for everyone.

The stories we picked have a diverse set of characters from various cultural backgrounds and interests. From the coming-of-age stories of a Native teenage girl in “Hearts Unbroken” who is finding herself through a stint at the school newspaper, to the entrepreneurship of a Korean American high schooler in “Made in Korea,” to balancing a dual Jewish and Indian identity, while preparing for the right-of-passage ceremony, in “My Basmati Bat Mitzvah,” each story on our list is unique.

So if you’re into sports, politics, a bit of adventure or just want a light read, our list may have the right story to keep you entertained this summer.

*The books mentioned are recommended for ages 14 and up.

"Made in Korea" by Sarah Suk. (Courtesy of Simon & Schuster)
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"Made in Korea" by Sarah Suk. (Courtesy of Simon & Schuster)

Credit: Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Credit: Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Made in Korea” by Sarah Suk — Korean American teen entrepreneur Valerie Kwon runs a beauty company with her cousin Charlie called V&C K-Beauty. Her goal is to raise enough money to take her grandmother on a trip to Paris. Things are going fine until until a new student, Wes Jung, starts selling his own K-pop-inspired beauty supplies, creating a business competition for Valerie. The two clash, and get into a heated rivalry — but the pair also start building a bond and a lot in common. (Simon & Schuster, $19.99)

"Ghost" by Jason Reynolds. (Courtesy of Simon & Schuster)
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"Ghost" by Jason Reynolds. (Courtesy of Simon & Schuster)

Credit: Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Credit: Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Ghost” by Jason Reynolds — Castle Cranshaw, or Ghost as he’s known, has two main loves in his life, sunflower seeds and running. He has dreams of becoming a professional runner, but has to overcome some past trauma first. With the help of a tough ex-Olympic medalist coach, and his teammates, the middle schooler develops his raw talent and learns valuable life lessons along the way. (Simon & Schuster, $7.99)

"Epoca: The River of Sand" by Ivy Claire, created by Kobe Bryant. (Courtesy of Granity Studios)
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"Epoca: The River of Sand" by Ivy Claire, created by Kobe Bryant. (Courtesy of Granity Studios)

Credit: Publisher: Granity Studios

Credit: Publisher: Granity Studios

Epoca: The River of Sand” written by Ivy Claire, created by Kobe Bryant — The second book in the Epoca series follows Pretia as she returns to a magical sports academy called Ecrof for the Junior Epic Games. As the princess of Epoca, she knows there are pressures on her, and with time she is faced with obstacles about her own abilities as an athlete and as a leader. Pretia, her best friend Rovi, and their friend Vera end up on an adventure to find themselves and save the games. (Granity Studios, $16.99)

"Lobizona" by Romina Garber. (Courtesy of St. Martin's Publishing Group)
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"Lobizona" by Romina Garber. (Courtesy of St. Martin's Publishing Group)

Credit: Publisher: St. Martin's Publishing Group

Credit: Publisher: St. Martin's Publishing Group

Lobizona” by Romina Garber — Manuela Azul is an unauthorized immigrant living her life in hiding in Miami. She’s on the run from her father’s Argentine crime-family, and as a result lives a very sheltered life. Her world is changed when her mom is arrested by ICE and her surrogate grandmother gets attacked. Suddenly, Manuela finds herself looking for clues into her past and unlocks some answers that make her take a fresh look at her own existence. (St. Martin’s Publishing Group, $18.99)

"Where the Mountain Meets the Moon" by Grace Lin. (Courtesy of Little, Brown and Company)
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"Where the Mountain Meets the Moon" by Grace Lin. (Courtesy of Little, Brown and Company)

Credit: Publisher: Little, Brown and Company

Credit: Publisher: Little, Brown and Company

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon” by Grace Lin — Inspired by Chinese folklore, this book focuses on the life of Minli, a young girl who lives in the valley of Fruitless mountain with her parents. Minli’s father tells her folk stories every night, and this inspires her to go on a journey to find the Old Man on the Moon, in hopes of having him change her family’s fortune. On her journey, she encounters some new friends and learns valuable life lessons. (Little, Brown and Company, $23.99)

"My Basmati Bat Mitzvah" by Paula Freedman. (Courtesy of Abrams Books)
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"My Basmati Bat Mitzvah" by Paula Freedman. (Courtesy of Abrams Books)

Credit: Submitted by: Publisher: Abrams Books

Credit: Submitted by: Publisher: Abrams Books

My Basmati Bat Mitzvah” by Paula J. Freedman — Tara Feinstein is getting ready for her bat mitzvah, but between Hebrew school, a robotics project, friends and figuring out how to balance her Indian and Jewish identities, she has a lot going on. In this coming-of-age story, Tara discovers all the layers that make her unique, just in time for her bat mitzvah. (Abrams Books, $7.16)

"The Field Guide to the North American Teenager" by Ben Philippe.
(Courtesy of HarperCollins Publishers)
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"The Field Guide to the North American Teenager" by Ben Philippe. (Courtesy of HarperCollins Publishers)

Credit: Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers

Credit: Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers

The Field Guide to the North American Teenager” by Ben Philippe — A funny take on the life of a Black French Canadian teen who makes a dramatic change by moving to Austin, Texas. Norris Kaplan does his best to adjust to life in the United States, while trying to figure out where he fits into his new school. Like many new students, Norris just wants to get back to his old life, but slowly realizes his new one may not be so bad. (HarperCollins Publishers, $10.99)

"SLAY" by Brittney Morris. (Courtesy of Simon & Schuster)
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"SLAY" by Brittney Morris. (Courtesy of Simon & Schuster)

Credit: Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Credit: Publisher: Simon & Schuster

SLAY” by Brittney Morris — High school honor student Kiera Johnson lives two distinct lives. She is academically driven at school, but at home, she’s a gamer who developed a secret multiplayer online role-playing card game called SLAY. When a death in real life in linked to the game, the secret about SLAY slowly comes out of the bag, and Kiera is put in a position of defending her game while keeping her identity under wraps. (Simon & Schuster, $11.99)

"Hearts Unbroken"  by Cynthia Leitich Smith. (Courtesy of Candlewick Press)
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"Hearts Unbroken" by Cynthia Leitich Smith. (Courtesy of Candlewick Press)

Credit: Publisher: ‎ Candlewick

Credit: Publisher: ‎ Candlewick

Hearts Unbroken” by Cynthia Leitich Smith — Dating isn’t easy as a teen, and Louise Wolfe is slowly learning this reality. The high school senior dumps her boyfriend by email after he’s disrespectful toward Native Americans. She decides to focus her energy on becoming a journalist and writing for her school newspaper. However, things become complicated as she starts reporting on a big story for the paper about her school’s inclusive production of “The Wizard of Oz.” Things get more complicated when she starts working with Joey Kairouz, a photojournalist who she has strong chemistry with. (Candlewick Press, $18.99)

"Down and Across" by Arvin Ahmadi. (Courtesy of Penguin Random House)
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"Down and Across" by Arvin Ahmadi. (Courtesy of Penguin Random House)

Credit: Summitted by: Publisher: Penguin Random House

Credit: Summitted by: Publisher: Penguin Random House

Down and Across” by Arvin Ahmadi — Scott Ferdowsi is an Iranian American student who is known for quitting. While his parents are pushing him to take a practical career path, Scott runs off to Washington, D.C., to learn more about the secrets of success from a famed college professor. He meets new friends along the way, and slowly learns more about himself and how he pictures his life playing out. (Penguin Random House, $10.99)

Paradise Afshar is a Report for America corps member covering metro Atlanta’s immigrant communities. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Report for America are partnering to raise funds to place multilingual journalists on the staff in The AJC newsroom to improve our coverage of these communities. We hope you’ll help us by donating to this initiative.