12 must-read new YA books to cool off with this July

Girl Serpent Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust. Image Courtesy Flatiron Books
Girl Serpent Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust. Image Courtesy Flatiron Books /
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Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust

Fairy tale retellings are easy to find on the YA shelf, but a completely original fairy tale is something readers don’t get to experience every day. And Melissa Bashardoust’s Girl, Serpent, Thorn boasts that description, bringing readers the story of a girl who’s cursed with a power that makes her both dangerous and lonely — and that’s a combo that’s bound to have negative consequences as time goes on.

That girl is Soraya, who’s poisonous to touch. For that reason, she’s been isolated from her family and grown up essentially alone, contained to her gardens. It’s a lonely existence, and her twin brother’s wedding finally gives her the opportunity to step outside again — but that’s not the only reason Soraya is considering attending. According to the synopsis:

"“Below in the dungeon is a demon who holds knowledge that she craves, the answer to her freedom. And above is a young man who isn’t afraid of her, whose eyes linger not with fear, but with an understanding of who she is beneath the poison.”"

Girl, Serpent, Thorn promises to bring fantasy lovers a sympathetic protagonist, a story full of mystery, and an engaging romance. What more could we ask for in a YA novel? Girl, Serpent, Thorn arrives in print, ebook, and audiobook format on July 7.