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Summer YA reading (and listening) guide 2020

You're stuck indoors. It's too hot outside. You've binged all your favorite series. Are you not entertained anymore?

I don't believe in the so-called "show hole": where you finish every episode of a particularly gripping television show and find yourself drifting in the void left behind - with nothing of substance to replace your beloved program. The truth is, this is the ongoing golden age of entertainment, so for every award-winning film or series, there are dozens more itching to take its place in your content-consumption schedule.

The same can be said of books ("book hole" doesn't sound right), specifically young adult novels. These fun tales of troubled teens and tweens are a refreshing escape from reality. A YA author myself, I love quality coming of age stories, along with a good love triangle or two, to heighten the high school drama - and if it's set in a sci-fi or fantasy world, it's all that much better.

So when you are taking a break between seasons or movie sequels, here is a nifty guide to quench your literary thirst. Stay home, stay safe, and stay by the air conditioner with your book, e-reader, or headphones, and beat the heat with these hot picks.


On a war-torn world, an evil Federation is hellbent on conquering the last free nation, Mara. Haunted by attacks from the Federation's monstrous soldiers, the Ghosts, Talin Kanami leads an elite fighting force known as the Strikers to defend their country. When the battle seems lost, a mysterious ally joins Talin's crusade - but can she trust him, or will he hunt the hunter?

I'm late to the Marie Lu party, but I'm happy that her work on Batman: Nightwalker caught my eye and led me here. Sci-fi world-building with sinister overlords? This is a must-read.

The second installment of the Aurora Cycle series returns the misfit galactic heroes Squad 312 back into the fray to stop an ancient evil. Tyler Jones leads their mission to clear their name, protect a supernaturally-powered stowaway, and defeat an elite army of super-space warriors.

There's a lot going on in this sophomore entry, but it's no slump! Read this for action, romance, and mystery big enough to fill an entire galaxy.

Luka Kane is a sixteen-year-old inmate imprisoned in a futuristic death row for minors. War has thrust the outside world into chaos, leaving the prisoners left alone to fend for themselves.

Packed with more emotion than I would have expected, the Loop looped me in with its engaging storytelling. Perfect for the teenage inmate of a high-tech prison in your family!


Pop in your earbuds for a sonic blast form the past with the audiobook version of the second Artemis Fowl book! The Arctic Incident picks up a year after the events of the inaugural story, finding Artemis in "cold" pursuit of his missing father. This time, though, he's worked up an uneasy alliance with the underground magical fairies to take on a vengeful foe.

Nathaniel Parker reprises the cast, new and old, in another excellently-portrayed adventure. Fans of the recent Disney film adaptation will be able to take a deeper dive into the (lower) elements the movie used from this sequel.


Taking a detour from YA fantasy adventure, here is an autobiographical account from a heavy metal vocalist's time spent in a nightmarish Czech prison while awaiting trial over the tragic death of a fan who rushed the stage during a concert. The book was released a few years ago and is outside my normal entertainment realm, but Lamb of God is one of my favorite bands so naturally this harrowing tale attracted me like a moth to a flame. As of this writing, today happens to be the release of their latest record, which makes now a perfect time to reflect on a dark chapter in the life of their lead singer.

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