This is not your school's summer reading list

About Meg and Gigi

Meg Medina is a Cuban-American writer who works in picture books, middle grade, and YA. She is the winner of the 2014 Pura Belpré prize in fiction, the 2013 CYBILS award winner in fiction, and the winner of the 2012 Ezra Jack Keats New Writers Award. Her books are Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass (Candlewick Press, 2013), which earned numerous awards and distinctions including being named to Top Ten YALSA Quick Pick, Best Fiction for Young Adults 2013, and Las Américas Highly Commended List; The Girl Who Could Silence the Wind (Candlewick Press, 2012), a Bank Street Best Books of 2012 and finalist in the International Latino Book Awards 2014 ; Tia Isa Wants a Car (Candlewick Press 2011), a Junior Library Selection that was included on numerous lists, including Amelia Bloomer, ALSC Notable Books 2012, and Charlotte Zolotow Highly Commended Books; and Milagros, Girl from Away (Christy Ottaviano Books: Henry Holt BYR, 2009), which is available in e-book format on Amazon. You can read more about Meg’s books here. 

Meg loves to write about strong girls in tough circumstances. She lives in Richmond, Virginia, with her family.  Connect with Meg on Twitter, Facebook, or at










Gigi Amateau’s first book for young adults, Claiming Georgia Tate, was published by Candlewick Press in 2005. That title was selected as a New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age and hailed by author Judy Blume: “It’s rare and exciting to discover a talented new writer like Gigi Amateau.” The Wall Street Journal called the book “an ambitious push into the young adult market.”

Gigi is also the author of A Certain Strain of Peculiar, a Bank Street College Best Children’s Book of the Year; Chancey of the Maury River, A William Allen White Masters list title for grades 3-5; and Come August, Come Freedom, her first work of historical fiction, which was selected by the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance as a Fall 2012 Okra Pick, chosen by Bank Street College as a Best Children’s Book of the Year, selected by the Virginia Library Association as a Jefferson Cup Honor book, and won the Library of Virginia’s People’s Choice Award for Fiction. In 2012, Gigi received a Theresa Pollak Prize for Excellence in the Arts from Richmond Magazine.

Gigi likes to write about inter-generational relationships and girls who find solace, strength, and inspiration from their faith and in the natural world. A Mississippi native, she grew up in Mechanicsville, Virginia and lives in Richmond with her family. Connect with Gigi on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or at


Claiming Georgia Tate

Chancey of the Maury RiverA Certain Strain of Peculiar

Come August, Come FreedomMacadootwoforjoyhires







21 responses

  1. Mary Hall

    This site is amazing. Beautiful to look at and informative. Really makes one want to read every book. Wish there was a site like this for adult books. This is an unbias remark from GiGi’s aunt.

    July 1, 2011 at 5:31 pm

    • Hi Mary! An unbiased comment from your niece: YOU are beautiful and amazing and I love you.

      July 13, 2011 at 2:53 pm

  2. Thanks so much for creating this space…as a mother I sometimes struggle to find books with strong female characters for my girls. I have already requested the two you have listed for younger children from the library and hopefully you’ll have more to add soon!

    July 13, 2011 at 2:12 pm

    • Hi Brittany! Thank YOU for stopping by and commenting. We enjoyed making this site together so much! Let us know which books you like and if you have any others to suggest.

      July 13, 2011 at 2:52 pm

  3. Agree — I knew I’d like this site when I saw one of my favorite authors – Edwidge Danticut — included (check out her short story in Haiti Noir — she also edited), which is a captivating story of a young Haitian girl and her widowed father (fairy tale overtones in my opinions make it even more heart-breaking). However, I am going to be bold and suggest my new young adult novel to you — LIE — about the immediate aftermath of a hate crime against two Hispanic brothers. LIE is told in 10 distinct voices — a story of race – hate – and even love. Set on Long Island, inspired by true events, I hope you will consider highlighting LIE. More at

    May 30, 2012 at 5:37 pm

    • Thanks for visiting Girls of Summer, Caroline. Congrats on your new novel!

      May 30, 2012 at 7:23 pm

  4. A Facebook friend just directed me here. Phenomenal site, and many of my own personal favorites. Very inspirational. Thank you.

    June 19, 2012 at 3:00 pm

    • Hi Beth! Thank you so much for checking us out. We have a great time all year long reading strong-girl books and getting ready to share them. I think there was an error in your blog address, so I’m reposting the url here, as you also have a phenomenal site! Happy summer reading!

      June 19, 2012 at 3:29 pm

  5. Robin

    I came to this site after reading a number of the Girls of Summer choices for 2012. The books were great, some funny, some sad, some thrilling–and overall just a great mix of wonderful titles. I also found this site to be incredibly helpful, especially in the author interviews. I love when I get to discover what the creators of the novels I devoir really meant when writing, and it helps me with my own writing endeavors. Thanks for a wonderful site and a summer FULL OF BOOKS!

    July 6, 2012 at 8:15 pm

    • Robin!! Oh, thank you so much for your positive feedback. Meg and I have such a great time all year working on this site together. If you have any books with strong girls that you really love, please share. Good luck with your writing, too!

      July 6, 2012 at 8:48 pm

  6. Kamilah

    So excited to share this list with my daughters. Just wondering if you have a link for a printable list?

    June 12, 2013 at 4:51 pm

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