Top YA fiction books to read this summer


Photo courtesy of Harper Bazaar

These books are following the trend of rising feminists.

Evelyn Govern, Staff Writer

In the last few months, controversial women’s issues brewed up a storm in the media with the #MeToo Movement. In accordance, a number of rising young adult fiction authors who have addressed challenges young women face internationally have garnered a media buzz as well. Their novels convey a message to the world that problems young women face should concern us all while emphasizing the universal experiences we all share. With summer vacation approaching, take the time to explore some feminist ideas and the diverse worlds created by five of the best reviewed authors of 2018 so far.

The Female Persuasion by Meg Wolitzer

As college freshman Greer Kadetsky struggles to keep her life together in the midst of stoner parents and a long distance-relationship with her boyfriend, she turns to a renowned feminist named Faith Frank at a lecture from a feminist organization to help herself find who she is as a woman in a big world. She strives to be the best version of herself but must sacrifice parts of the girl she used to be.

Wolitzer uses her main character’s self- discovery to illustrate how necessary it is for young women to let go of the expectations of others to truly find their own path and their own voice. Her novel was #9 on New York Times’ Bestseller list and has been praised by other prestigious reviewers such as Kirkus, HarpersBazaar and GoodReads.

Girls Burn Brighter by Shobha Rao

Two teen friends, named Poornima and Savitha, meet after Savitha is hired to weave saris for Poornima’s father in rural India. The two form a tight-knit friendship in order to survive the horrid poverty of their neighborhood. However, after Poornima is forced into a miserable marriage and Savitha is forced to keep working to support her younger sisters but was then taken away to Seattle against her will.

Though torn by child marriage and human trafficking, Poornima burned with undying hope to find her despite little to no money, lack of education, and the scars of abuse. Rao powerfully brings light to human trafficking, immigration, domestic abuse, and feminism to demonstrate what can happen when one sets their mind to what they’re willing to fight for.

This novel was featured in “18 New Books You Need to Read in March” in HarpersBazaar and has been reviewed by Kirkus.

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

Newlyweds Roy and Celestial were living a great life in Atlanta until Roy was accused of rape that sentenced him to 12 years in prison in Louisiana, leaving Celestial to deal with betrayal. While Roy’s life is at a standstill, Celestial pursues her career as a successful artist and seeks support from an old friend named Andre. But when Roy comes back from prison, will Celestial be able to welcome him or will he leave her again when he finds out about Andre?

The book explores this and other marriages where women are still being treated unfairly while struggling to keep their families together.

An American Marriage has reigned eight consecutive weeks on New York Times’ Best Sellers list and was featured in “14 New Books You Need to Read in February” in HarpersBazaar.

Everyone Knows You Go Home by Natalia Sylvester

In 2012, Martin and Isabel get married on the Day of the Dead, which Omar, Martin’s father, attended. Ever since, he has visited on this day to tell Isabel of their troubled family and revisit what happened during his illegal immigration to Texas from Mexico in 1981 with Martin’s mother Elda. He also pressures Martin to assist their other family members in Mexico, but Martin ignores him even when he is forced to meet face to face with his young cousin Eduardo who has illegally immigrated. As burdened as Isabel is by their family dilemma, there is an even darker family secret rising to the surface.

Will Isabel navigate her way through the boundries holding her family back, or will the secrets they keep destroy them? Sylvester keeps you guessing and excellently depicts the realities of immigration across the U.S. border from Mexico and what women are willing to do to protect their families.

This novel was featured in “18 New Books You Need to Read in March” in HarpersBazaar and earned a rank of 4.1 stars on GoodReads.

Circe by Madeline Miller

Daughter of Helios and Perse, the sun god and his wife, Circe is a nymph that was banished to an island called Aiaia because she was caught practicing witchcraft. Torn between family loyalties and a blossoming romance, Circe must choose between two worlds, one of divine creatures or one of mortal humans.

Miller gives a voice for the feminist behind the tale of The Odyssey. For young women, it can be difficult to balance a life at home and in the real world on their own. This novel earned a rank of 4.4 stars on GoodReads and placed 8th in New York Times’ Best Sellers list.

Enjoy these timely and challenging reads from a variety of esteemed authors. They capture diverse perspectives on the debate over gender inequity that illustrate that the issue is not only still relevant, but more moving and complex than media headlines can ever convey.