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For Readers

YA Books for Summer Reading

By: Hidden Gems on August 9, 2022

Hidden Gems Books ARC service.

By: Hidden Gems on August 9, 2022


Are your young adult readers looking for books to fill the summer break? Our Hidden Gems ARC readers recently loved the following YA books, and we bet the young adult reader in your life will, as well. Who knows – you may find yourself a fan of the following titles, too.


The Five Shields

The Five Shields: The Sands of Infinity by Ilan Dvir

With 27 ratings and a 4.8 average star rating, The Five Shields is certainly a hidden gem. Per the Amazon listing, this is suggested for ages 12-17, and is the third volume in The Five Shields series. The series is described as a fantasy series which combines history, science, mythology, philosophy, adventure, magic, adventure, and humor.

“The threads of storytelling are so expertly woven in this fantasy adventure that it guarantees the attention of the reader,” Piaras raves in their five star Amazon review. “Skillfully constructed, this creative and imaginative tale will have you turning the pages from beginning to end…I enjoyed the story, character development, and dialogue. There were plenty of plot twists that I didn’t see coming and that added to the book’s mystique. When I stopped reading to work, I found myself wondering what happened in the book, and replaying parts of the story in my head to see if I could figure more out. It has been a while since I enjoyed a book series this much. It’s a first class fantasy adventure with perfect pacing.”

Abbigail H. seconds these sentiments, and recommends this book for the adult reader, as well, in her five star Amazon review, “I llike this trilogy because this is not only a great story about five teenagers brought together to save the world but because it is all a great opportunity to learn about the countries they are coming from and about cultures they are part of. It was thrilling to read another of their adventure, even I know that this would be their last adventure. All around the world, strange things start to happen and, thanks to the author’s writing skills, we are able to become a part of the story, following the main characters during their gathering and quest. Even this is a book for young adults, I still find it interesting to read, as I find all well-written YA books. I hope I’m not the only one, so, for all those who don’t care how old the heroes are, this is a great book.”


Lazarus by Maryanne Melloan Woods

Another hidden gem, with 32 ratings and a 4.9 star rating, Lazarus is recommended on Amazon for readers ages 12-18. This tale is a twist on the detective tale, with reviewers raving about the YA whodunit; though this story seems to have as many adult fans, as young adults.

J. Schoknecht writes in their five star Amazon review, “My 15 year old daughter and I both read this book and we both loved it! I couldn’t put it down. It’s a fast-paced whodunnit featuring a would-be teen detective and her recently departed apparition of a boyfriend. But it’s also the story of a small town with richly drawn characters and plenty of dark secrets waiting to be discovered. And, most importantly, it’s a story about love and loss and the lengths to which people will go to hold onto those they love, for better or worse.”

Rajiv agrees in his five star Amazon review, “This was an intense novel that had a bit of everything, like mystery, supernatural, crime, romance thriller all rolled into one. The author did a wonderful job in telling the story…there is never a dull moment. This is a serious book, and a bit depressing at times because the characters mourn the loss of their loved ones. However, it is emotional, beautiful and haunting too.” 


Darkwitch by Kat Kinney

With 21 ratings and a 4.7 average star rating, Darkwitch is book two of two in the Dyrwolf series. This YA fantasy romance seems to be better suited for older readers, or adult fans YA books.

“As in Dyrwolf, Kat Kinney creates an immersive experience for her reader in Darkwitch,” Lavendar Lilly writes in their five star Amazon review. “Kinney’s descriptions made me feel as if I were running through snowy, moon-lit woods, with unspoken dangers snapping at my heels…Kinney summons magic with her words, and her syntax choices increase tension during moments of action. I was also drawn to the characters. I could feel Lea’s angst as she struggled with how to help Henrick and do good for all. There is beauty in this book in spite of the carnage. In sum, I loved this YA fantasy read.”

Emma J. seconds this sentiment in her five star Amazon review, “Not since Twilight have I been so invested in wolf shifters since I discovered Kat Kinney’s fabulous Dyrwolf novel. Then she wrote a sequel and gave us Darkwitch, so we could continue the story of archer Lea and the literal white wolf from her dreams, Henrik…I love the beauty of Kat’s writing, which offers complete escapism and the right amount of YA romance and drama.”

The Oasis Trials

The Oasis Trials by Tamar Sloan and Heidi Catherine

With 41 ratings and a 4.6 average star rating, The Oasis Trials is a must-read for fans of The Hunger Games and Divergent. In this YA dystopian novel, youth compete for the opportunity to leave the ravaged earth for a better life. This is the first of three books, which will have readers rapidly devouring each installment.

Tina S. raves in her five star review, “The Oasis trials is one of the best dystopian stories I have read in a long time! Solid world building and amazing characters. You will feel their struggle, pain, and hope with every page you turn! This is an adventure I would love to watch in the movies!”

Katie B. shares her fervor in her five star review, “A Dystopian that reminded me of Maze Runner! Lots of mystery built into traditions of these people living on an island. The island is a trash pile. It has virtually no resources and the residents live a life of constantly fighting for survival. They compete in a series of tournaments to hope they will have the option of a better future. The characters were well written and you either loved the heros or hated the villains. There are a few grey characters too and I’m ready to learn more about them! There is a little love story but no spice. Great middle grade or up! I got sucked in and had ti stay up late for those last few chapters! Nail bitters! Book two needs to get here fast!”

A Journey Unveiled

A Journey Unveiled: Daughter of Venus Book 1 by Amy Maltman

A final hidden gem on this list, with 17 ratings and a 4.7 average star rating, A Journey Unvelied is the first of two books in the Daughter of Venus series. This tale follows Lexi as she falls through a portal to a parallel world and adjusts to a new world of magic and mythical beings.

“I felt swept up in an instant by Lexi’s story as she is thrown into a strange world and bound to a prophecy she must fulfill,” raves RDD  in their five star Amazon review. “A Journey Unveiled begins Lexi’s quest to save the people she grows to love as she discovers newly found strengths and magical abilities. Everyone around her is keeping secrets and watching her expectantly as they pin all their hopes to her and her unlikely partner, the unwilling and ill-tempered Prince Aeric. An exciting and joyful read that had me laughing out-loud as the author masterfully pieced together the tale of a modern girl in a magical otherworld.”

Adam J. shares in his five star review, “I really enjoyed this book. It’s a bit different from a lot of fantasy I’ve read in that, although there is a journey present, much of the story happens in one place, but I think that works in its favor. We get to understand the world and the two main characters (Lexi and Aeric, the ‘chosen ones’) because of the interactions and experiences they share. What follows is a story about magic, friendship and betrayal, with a couple of really heartbreaking/brutal scenes thrown in for good measure…”

Hidden Gems readers got to read these novels first, so if you want more stories to add to your summer reading list, sign up today! Subscribers to Hidden Gems receive invitations to read books like these – plus other titles from any of up to 15 other genres – for free. Authors send these out in the hopes that the readers will write an honest review on Amazon once they’re done.

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