Summer is the time where we have no excuse for not cracking open a book and getting lost in someone else’s life. The days are longer and responsibilities are few. Here are two books that I won’t categorize as beach reads (because, really, what does that even mean) but fun must-haves for July and August.

Most books feature young, heterosexual, thin, white girls, but sometimes, sometimes you get something a bit different and if you’re a guy, or a girl who occasionally likes to read from the guy’s perspective or even just a parent who is looking for some good reads to drop into your lazy kid’s lap, you’ll love these.

Drift by M.K. Hutchins

Inspired  by Maya mythology, Drift is set in a world where people live on an island that is set atop a massive turtle floating on top of “Hell”. Sounds awesome, right? Well, it is. We follow that exploits of Tenjat, who as a farmer, is at the bottom of the class ladder as he strives to make a better life for himself as a Handler, essentially warrior/rulers who defend the island against the ravenous naga monsters who haunt the shores and waterways.

In Tenjat’s world Handler’s and Artisans are the people with power and money and prestige and he wants in. They are also celibate, which makes relationships….complicated. But what if there was another way of life? What if the myths about a life without fear of the nagas and a chance at love and children were real?

The world building in Drift is fantastical and lush and spiritual. The reader is drawn into, not just Tenjat’s story, which is full of death and love and pain, but also the rules of the world and the very real danger that is as a part of their lives as the seasons.

I’m not sure if there is anyone who won’t find something to love in this novel. Did I mention that the characters are of color? Yeah, that’s a bonus. Pick it up!

Fake ID by Lamar Giles

Nick Pearson is on the run while standing in place. You see, Nick is really Tony, he’s also a few other people. Nick is in the WitSec, the witness protection program, a result of his ne’er-do-well Dad’s involvement with the mob and unfortunately, this is his last stop. After ruining their last few placements, Nick’s family has to make this placement work. He’s got to keep his head down and his profile low if he wants to stay under the radar and stay alive. Too bad his only friend at school is murdered less than a month after he arrives…and he’s the one who finds the body.

Good YA mysteries don’t come around to often, but this one is really top-tier and keeps the pages turning late into the night. Nick is a regular guy, he’s not the hero with the good looks and girls at his feet, and he isn’t the underdog. He’s a kid who is trying to make the best of a bad situation that just keeps getting worse and worse. He’s relatable and anyone who reads the book will be able to tap into that. He’s also dealing with a situation that’s new and exciting, being someone you’re not while trying to stay true to yourself and what you believe. Well, what do you believe if you can’t be yourself?

Full of political twists, murder, a dash a of romance and high school drama, Fake ID is an essential for the Summer.

Look out for more recommendations for me as I wade through my submissions for the GA Peach Award.

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