The temperature is rising, and as summer truly gets started there’s nothing we love to do more than relax with a good book. Whether we’re by the pool, waiting for our buds, or hiding in the nearest air conditioned building, there’s nothing like losing yourself in a great story. We’ve put together a dreamy summer reading list filled with classic sci-fi, seminal manga, brand new graphic novels, and spooky thrillers to keep you entertained all summer long!
The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes
If you love a good thriller, then The Shining Girls is a must. Not only does Beukes’ time-traveling genre-hopper terrify, but it also subverts many of the misogynistic tropes that thrillers often rely on. The focus never strays from the women at the center of the story to focus on the man who kills them.
Inuyasha by Rumiko Takahashi
One of the most beloved manga of all time, this feudal fairy tale is magical. It all begins when young Kagome falls into her family’s well and is transported back to feudal Japan… so if you’re looking for an escape to another time this summer, make sure you pick up this classic tale.
Skin Folk by Nalo Hopkinson
Nalo Hopkinson is one of the most fantastic speculative fiction writers working today, and she’ll soon be taking on the iconic world of Sandman. Before you pick that up, grab her incredible short story collection Skin Folk. It weaves together sci-fi, horror, and Caribbean folklore to great effect.
Leia, Princess of Alderaan by Claudia Gray
Claudia Gray is incredible, and her teen Leia book is a total joy. We join Leia as she heads towards her 16th birthday, and Gray builds on the icon we know and love as well as introduces vital new canon all set against the background of the era just before A New Hope.
Cinder by Marissa Meyer
This post-apocalyptic retelling of Cinderella reimagines the classic fairy tale in a bleak Blade Runner-esque future complete with cyborgs, a dashing prince, and a girl who loses her foot instead of her shoe. If you need an easy breezy sci-fi read by the pool, this one’s for you.
Supergirl: Being Super by Joelle Jones, Mariko Tamaki, Kelly Fitzpatrick, and Saida Temofonte
Maybe the best Supergirl comic ever, Supergirl: Being Super graces shelves just in time for you to dive into it this summer. Tamaki and Jones craft a gorgeous coming-of-age story that deals with Kara as a teenager, along with all the powers, passion, and pus that contains.
Dread Nation by Justina Ireland
There’s no book quite like Dread Nation, Justina Ireland’s brilliantly subversive story about a world where the American Civil War was derailed by zombies. It’s a searing indictment of institutional racism in America, as well as being one of the most original and engaging YA books in years.
Angelic by Si Spurrier, Caspar Wijngaard, Jim Campbell, and Emma Price
This gorgeous take on the post-apocalypse is one of the loveliest and most thought-provoking comics of the last few years. Set on a post-human Earth, Angelic is filled with flying monkeys and techno dolphins. At the story’s core, Qora must fight the oppressive routines of society to break free.
Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler
No reading list, no matter what time of year, is complete without Octavia Butler. One of the best speculative fiction writers of all time, Butler is a legend. Her novel Parable of the Sower is a perfect entry point. This terrifying and prescient story sees a young woman fighting for survival only to become an unlikely prophet in a dystopian landscape.
Princess Jellyfish by Akiko Higashimura
This lovely series is a fun and fresh manga that centers on a young woman named Tsukimi Kurashita, who lives in an apartment block filled with “otaku” women. Princess Jellyfish is about friendship, chosen family, finding yourself, and also the evils of gentrification. Basically, it’s very good.
F*ck Off Squad by Dave Baker and Nicole Goux
Baker and Goux are two of the hardest working people in comics, and their gorgeous direct market debut hits shelves this summer from Silver Sprocket. F*ck Off Squad is an atmospheric set of stories about being young, falling in love, skating, making music, and the friends we make (and lose) along the way.
With Malice by Eileen Cook
With Malice follows a young girl who wakes up in the hospital with no recollection of how she got there… and she’s been accused of her best friend’s murder! Every summer reading list needs a trashy thriller you can eat up in one sitting by the pool, and With Malice is just that.[/nerdist_section]