Fun Guaranteed: 16 Books We Love for Young Readers


You know what they say: Nothing softens the blow of back-to-school season like a new book.

Well, we say it.

Here in Nashville, school starts back as early as this week, but there’s still plenty of fun to be had at the bookstore! Summer’s not over as long as you have something exciting to read. Come check out our latest favorites for young readers, from tots to teens:

Recommended by Katherine

The Secret Life of Squirrels: Back to School! Cover ImageThe Secret Life of Squirrels: Back to School! 

Join Rosie and Mr. Peanuts as they ready their classroom for another squirrelly school year! I loved the attention to detail. The author painstakingly assembles the scenes herself with homemade props and real squirrels found in her backyard!

Recommended by Rae Ann

Trevor Cover ImageTrevor 

This is the delightful story of Trevor, a bird on a quest for a friend. It’s a picture book for anyone who needs a friend to sing the silences while they sing the notes.

Recommended by Jackie

Harriet Gets Carried Away Cover ImageHarriet Gets Carried Away 

Harriet loves to wear costumes, but her penguin outfit lands her in a bit of trouble when she wears it shopping for party hats with her dads!

Recommended by Jackie

How to Be a Lion Cover ImageHow to Be a Lion 

A sweet story about being yourself, even when bullies question your choices.

Recommended by Jackie

Can Somebody Please Scratch My Back? Cover ImageCan Somebody Please Scratch My Back? 

This is a hilarious tale about Elephant, who needs help scratching an itchy spot.

Recommended by Katherine

The Brilliant Deep: Rebuilding the World's Coral Reefs Cover ImageThe Brilliant Deep: Rebuilding the World’s Coral Reefs 

Equal parts stunning and informative, The Brilliant Deep shows that scientific books for kids can be as aesthetically pleasing as they are educational.

Recommended by Katherine

Super Rabbit Boy Blasts Off!: A Branches Book (Press Start! #5) Cover ImageSuper Rabbit Boy Blasts Off!: A Branches Book (Press Start! #5) 

The latest in this interactive and fast-paced chapter book series will hold the interest of even the most impatient, screen-time-oriented kids who love adventure.

Recommended by Ella

Denis Ever After Cover ImageDenis Ever After 

This book is a thrilling mystery about a boy, Denis, haunting his twin brother, Matt, to solve his own murder. I love this book for showing how deep family ties run, and the amazing concept of the afterlife. This is for anyone who loves mysteries.

Recommended by Rae Ann

Courage Cover ImageCourage 

T’Shawn’s life is all about diving practice and hanging out at the local pool . . . until his older brother returns. Perfect for fans of Ghost by Jason Reynolds.

Recommended by Ella

Illegal Cover ImageIllegal 

A harrowing, timely story following the path two brothers take to get from Africa to Europe, Illegal shows the fight that many make to reach a better life. This graphic novel is for anyone who enjoyed Refugee or Ruta Sepetys’s books.

Recommended by Ella

I'm Not Missing: A Novel Cover ImageI’m Not Missing: A Novel 

Miranda and Syd have been best friends since forever, tied together by their mothers‘ abandonment. By senior year, Syd has everything figured out, combined into one, big plan to escape the small town they live in. One night, Syd inexplicably vanishes, leaving Miranda to pick up the pieces of her disappearance. This is a wonderful story about family, love, and loss that is perfect for anyone who loved Paper Towns.

Recommended by Devin

Save the Date Cover ImageSave the Date 

Charlie’s family of four older siblings, two parents, and a borrowed dog come together for a huge wedding weekend and the last big event in their home before it is sold. What could possibly go wrong?

Recommended by Ginger

The Loneliest Girl in the Universe Cover ImageThe Loneliest Girl in the Universe 

I read this book faster than anything I have read in a long time. It had enough twists and turns to keep me guessing. I absolutely loved it!

Recommended by Carla

The Other Side of Lost Cover ImageThe Other Side of Lost 

This is a book about figuring out who you are, deciding if you like that person, and finding a willingness to change. It’s a great reminder that there is freedom in being exactly who you are and that there is a peacefulness only found on a nice, long walk in nature.

Recommended by Katherine

The Cheerleaders Cover ImageThe Cheerleaders 

A great young adult novel (that would also suit adult fans of Megan Abbott’s thrillers who might want to venture into YA), The Cheerleaders is a must-read.

ParnassusNext — August Selection


9780525552963.jpgDarius the Great Is Not Okay 

Adib Khorram’s novel, Darius the Great Is Not Okay, is a heartfelt exploration of friendship and family that’s become one of the fall’s most highly anticipated debuts. It’s the story of Darius Kellner, “Fractional Persian,” who speaks better Klingon than Farsi, who embarks on a trip to Iran with his family to visit the grandparents he’s never met. When Darius meets Sohrab, the boy who lives next door, he develops an unexpected friendship, and begins to uncover truths within himself and his family — the kind of truths that could change his life forever. Fans of Becky Albertalli, Benjamin Alire Sáenz, and Adam Silvera will love getting to know Darius. See more praise below:

“I love this story, and the way it combines the bitter of adolescence with the sweet of friendship and family. Brewed together they make a beautiful, memorable book.”
–Laurie Halse Anderson, award-winning author of Speak

“Heartfelt, tender, and so utterly real. I’d live in this book forever if I could.”
–Becky Albertalli, award-winning author of Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda

“I’ve never read a book that so powerfully demonstrates how connecting with where you come from can illuminate who you are and help you figure out where you’re going. From its deadpan Star Trek humor to its brilliant examination of mental health, Darius the Great is Not Okay is a supernova of heart and hope that’s sure to become a classic.”
–Nic Stone, New York Times bestselling author of Dear Martin

Darius the Great is Not Okay is a total knockout. This story of identity and friendship–and how one can inform and reveal the other–will stay with me for a long time. And challenge me too, as a person and artist, which all great books should do. For its exploration of male friendship and cultural expectations alone, Adib Khorram’s lovely debut should be required reading.”
–John Corey Whaley, Michael L. Printz award-winning author of Highly Illogical Behavior

“A love letter to anyone who has felt uncomfortable in their own skin and wondered where exactly they belonged. A big-hearted and marvelous debut.”
–Jasmine Warga, author of My Heart and Other Black Holes


ParnassusNext is the book subscription box for YA lovers. Every member of ParnassusNext receives a first edition hardcover of each month’s selected book, signed by the author. There is no membership fee to join — and no line to stand in for the autograph. Not only will you have one of the best YA books of the month when it comes out, you’ll have it straight from the author’s hands, with an original, authentic signature! Set up a subscription for yourself or buy a gift membership for your favorite YA reader for 3, 6, or 12 months.