We’re big fans of books that take place in the real world with just a little twist of wonder thrown in. Stories that make you ask, “Is this real?” These three titles do it just right — pick them up and get lost in summer reading:
♥ Dreamland Social Club by Tara Altebrando (Dutton, pictured). Jane and her family, still dealing with the death of her mother years earlier, inherit her grandfather’s house in Coney Island. There, Jane discovers a world full of singing mermaids, mysterious misfits and beautiful tattooed boys. Altebrando’s writing is laced with magic, making the entire story like a lovely dream that you hope won’t end.
♥ Family by Micol Ostow (Egmont). Melinda, 17, leaves a broken home and finds herself in the care of the charismatic Henry, who promises her love, tenderness and a brand new family. Loosely based on the Manson Family cult murders of 1969, this story in episodic verse leads you lightly down a path that will, eventually, scare you out of your mind.
♥ Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma (Dutton). Chloe is completely under the spell of her older sister Ruby. The boys in town love Ruby, the girls worship her, and even the dark reservoir in the center of town seems to bend to her whim. After a night swim goes terribly wrong and a dead body turns up, Chloe has to leave town — and her sister — until Ruby calls her back to the scene of the crime, where the sisters’ loyalty, and an eerie power, will be tested.
Curious about what other young adult novels we’re into? Read more recommendations.