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Platypus Police Squad: The Frog Who Croaked

Jarrett J. Krosoczka (HarperCollins/Walden Pond)

Readers who have grown out of Krosoczka’s popular Lunch Lady books—but who are still hankering for his signature blend of action and comedy—will get a kick out of this funny faux police procedural, which riffs on the best clichés of the genre. Parents with a DVR queue full of Law and Order episodes will be happy to read along with them.

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P.S. Be Eleven

Rita Williams-Garcia (HarperCollins/Amistad)

Middle-graders looking for historical fiction that’s as funny as it is powerful need look no further than this sequel to Williams-Garcia’s Newbery Honor book, One Crazy Summer (which itself belongs at the top of their summer reading piles). In this book, the Gaither sisters have returned to Brooklyn from their summer with their mother (and the Black Panthers) in California, as the tumultuous year of 1968 continues to bring upheaval into their lives.

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The 5th Wave

Rick Yancey (Putnam)

Summer means blockbuster action flicks, and Yancey offers the YA equivalent with this blistering take on the alien-invasion genre, in which survivors regroup after a multiple-stage assault on Earth. Don’t expect over-the-top camp: Yancey brings the same insight, smarts, and big questions to this novel as he did his Monstrumologist books.

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Gorgeous

Paul Rudnick (Scholastic Press)

Screenwriter and playwright Rudnick makes a hilarious and meaningful YA debut with a contemporary, fashion-forward twist on the classic fairy tales of yore. In lieu of three wishes, 18-year-old Becky Randle receives three couture gowns as she makes a magical (and rocky) transition from life in a Missouri trailer park to becoming the most beautiful woman in the world.

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The Lucy Variations

Sara Zarr (Little, Brown)

Multifaceted and brilliantly written characters, both teenage and adult, are the hallmark of Zarr’s latest YA novel, about a 16-year-old piano prodigy trying to reclaim her life, nearly a year after giving up music in the wake of a family tragedy. Zarr’s pared-down prose offers profound insights and observations throughout, making this a story to savor.

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The Moon and More

Sarah Dessen (Viking)

For many teens, it isn’t summer without a new Sarah Dessen novel, and they’ll be thrilled to return to the seaside tourist haven of Colby, N.C., in this story of local girl Emaline, whose relationship, family, and future plans are thrown into flux by some new arrivals to town. As always, Dessen skillfully blends romance and self-discovery with characters that readers will wish were their best friends.

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This Is What Happy Looks Like

Jennifer E. Smith (Little, Brown/Poppy)

When a typo leads to an candid e-mail exchange between 16-year-old smalltown girl Ellie and teenage Hollywood heartthrob Graham Larkin, it’s the beginning of a relationship that will change the lives of both of them—especially when the paparazzi gets wind of it. Smith knows her way around an ultraromantic premise, and this one is sure to hook teens.

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