I am a big Sarah Dessen fan, and I've read all of her books. All of them are summery, but this is my favorite. Fifteen year old Colie is spending the summer in a beachside town with an aunt she barely knows while her mom is traveling for work. Colie is an angry teen for a number of reasons, and she really doesn't want to be there. The cast of characters in this town draw her out though: the wild young women next door who show her what friendship should be like, her aunt's renter Norman (not to be confused with Cat Norman), and the bevy of unique people in the town. The book just feels like summer vacation: crappy summer job, riding a bike to and fro, hanging out at the beach, a touch of summer love, and fireworks. It's worth a read, and a great intro to the author if you aren't familiar with her.
So I love this book (and the series) because it's all about friends. The pants thing is kind of secondary and honestly quite far-fetched to me. What I love about this book is that four friends decide to try and include each other in their summer vacations. All of them are doing very different things, but they keep in touch and try to support each other through what turns out to be a kind of rough summer for some of them. It covers a broad range of life-changing events, including first loves, first sex, first time away from home, first heartbreak, first big loss, first job, etc. So much happens in this one book! If you have discounted this series due to the films, or just didn't get on board with the hype, think again. Read it. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll have so many feels.
"Friendship to the max!" Lumberjanes is a camp for "hardcore lady-types" and our five main characters are vastly different, but excellent friends. This story has adventure, magic, and some really awesome bonding moments. This is the first volume of the comic series, featuring issues 1-4. I love how these friends complement one another and keep themselves so tight. So often, there is girl drama with a group of teenage girls, but this book is all about the girls supporting one another. And banding together to fight a giant kitten god. You know, your average summer camp experience.
Sarah Ockler is another one of those authors who writes great summer stories. This one though, sounds pretty awesome. I haven't read it yet, but I can't wait, so it makes the list! Elyse, the youngest of six girls, was in a boating accident that took her voice and since then, she's been terrified of the ocean. She goes away for the summer to a seaside town where she is pushed to overcome her fears in life and learn to express herself. You guys, she's basically "The Little Mermaid." Isn't that amazing? Oh, I cannot wait!
This one is a little different, since there's not really a romance, and I kind of think grown-ups would like it more than teens. This One Summer tells the story of two friends who meet up every summer while on vacation. This summer is no different than the others, except that they are growing up. The two girls explore the beachside town they are staying in, and eavesdrop on the older kids in town. The reason this summer is pivotal for them is that they seem to grow up more, if only by observing the older people around them. It's kind of sad, funny, and nostalgic. It will make you think of that one summer when you were straddling the line between kid and teen. Also, the artwork is just lovely.
Those are my summer must-reads. What are yours?