It’s the end of the year, which means it’s officially
look back at all the amazing YA books you read this year time. Or, perhaps you’re something of a procrastinator and your vibe is more along the lines of, time to find the best YA books of the year and use the cool winter weather to play catch-up. Or maybe you’re a holiday shopper whose loved one has finally finished reading everything on their nightstand, and you’re hoping to buy a few books to help them build that pile up again. Whatever the reason, you’re here and you should know that 2020 was a great year for Young Adult fiction.
Some new stories hail from first time published authors while other books this year are number two (or even three) in a ongoing series. There’s something for everyone’s YA fancy, whether you like stories of teens overcoming the odds to face their fears (and right wrongs), meet cutes and first loves, or mystical, fantastical stories that take you to far off places and into new worlds. And, let’s not forget, the classics: 2020 brought us more
Hunger Games. Leave it to 2020 to bring back everyone’s favorite dystopian book series at full speed.
Here’s some of the best YA from 2020 to catch up on now. Happy reading!
Cinderella Is Dead by Kalynn Bayron It’s been 200 years since Cinderella found her prince at the ball, and now, in her kingdom girls are expected to attend a ball at age 16 to find suitors. The girls who don’t find suitors? They’re never heard from again. This doesn’t sit well with Sophia, who decides to flee the kingdom instead, along the way uncovering more to Cinderella’s story than anyone knew. Available on Amazon.
The Queen’s Assassin by Melissa de la Cruz All his life Caledon has fought for, and protected the Queen, and all her life Shadow has wanted to do that, too, except her mother and aunts expect her to serve the crown as a lady of the court. After a surprise attack, Caledon and Shadow are forced to work together to unravel the lies they’ve led to believe and also fight off something even worse — their attraction for one another. Available on Amazon.
A Phoenix First Must Burn Edited by Patrice Caldwell Dive into a collection of 16 short stories focused Black women and gender nonconforming individuals, ranging from retold folktales and futuristic landscapes. Edited by Patrice Caldwell, her introduction to the stories reminiscences about being gifted Octavia Butler’s Wild Seed . Available on Amazon.
Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender Felix, a Black, queer, and transgender teenager, feels like he’s looking for love in all the wrong places. After a fellow student starts sending him transphobic messages, Felix tries to figure out who’s behind it, and instead winds up in a love triangle. As he tries to navigate these feelings he also learns to truly love himself. Available on Amazon.
Girl Crushed by Katie Heaney When Jamie dumps Quinn shortly before their senior year, Quinn is, needless to say, heartbroken. Not only has Jamie her girlfriend, but her best friend, too. When Ruby, a singer in an up-and-coming band, catches Quinn’s eye, she starts to believe she can move on from Jamie once and for all. But getting closer to Ruby just makes her miss Quinn more. Available on Amazon.
Burn Our Bodies Down by Rory Power Searching for answers about her family and her past, Margot finds herself in a new town where everyone seems to know who she is. If that’s not enough, she stumbles upon a girl who could be her long-lost twin sister and quickly learns that maybe there’s a reason she was kept away from this place her whole life. Available on Amazon.
How It All Blew Up by Arvin Ahmadi Coming out to his Muslim family was an absolute failure so Amir decides to do the only thing he can: Run away to Rome. Things are going great for him until a US Customs agent comes calling forcing Amir to be honest — about himself, too – again. Available on Amazon.
Breathless by Jennifer Niven By the author of All the Bright Places , Breathless finds Claudine at one of her lowest points after her parents announce they’re divorcing. Adding to that, her mother takes her away to a remote Island off the coast of Georgia without any wifi. Things only start to look up for Claudine after she meets the mysterious Jeremiah and the two begin to grow closer with the limited time they have. Available on Amazon.
You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson Liz has a plan to get out of her small town for college, but when her scholarship falls through that dream is quickly dashed. However, she could just run for prom queen and because that title comes with a scholarship. The last thing Liz wants to do is subject herself to her social-media obsessed classmates, but now this looks like her only way out. Available on Amazon.
Super Fake Love Song by David Yoon Hoping to impress his new crush, Sunny Dae tells a huge lie: he’s part of a rock band. In reality, he’s just pretending to be his older brother, Gary, but this crush, Cirrus, doesn’t know the difference. But she will soon enough, as Cirrus can’t wait to see Sunny play something for her. Available on Amazon.
Admission by Julie Buxbaum Yes, this story is ripped right from the headlines of the college admission scandal. And honestly, that makes it that much juicer. Chloe believes she got into her dream college, but after she learns her mom cheated to get her in, her whole world comes crashing down. Not only does Chloe now feel she’s a cheater too, she has to grapple with the fact that her parents didn’t believe in her enough to succeed at life on her own. Available on Amazon.
Black Canary: Breaking Silence by Alexandra Monir Add this one to your “must read” list for the end of the month, as it comes out in late December. You might think you know the story of Dinah Lance — aka Black Canary — but this updated origin story has her living in a new version of Gotham. In this world, the Court of Owls rules over everything and has stripped women of their right to work, to make music, to learn, to be free. Can Dinah learn how to find her voice, and then use it? Available on Amazon.
American Royals II: Majesty by Katharine McGee Pick up the sequel to American Royals , which envisions a world where America also has a king and queen on the throne. As a new queen gets ready to ascend to power, her family (and those on the outside looking in) work to figure out their own place of power — some want it, some don’t. Available on Amazon.
Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo Camino lives in the Dominican Republic and Yahaira lives in New York City. Worlds apart and unaware of the other, the two are brought together after learning that their father has died in a plane crash and they now must pick up the pieces of his life. Available on Amazon.
The Vanishing Deep by Astrid Scholte Tempe and her sister Elysea have lived in and around the ocean their whole life, so it’s surprising when Elysea mysteriously drowns. After Tempe manages to get Elysea’s life back for 24 hours, she has other plans for how to spend them: getting to the bottom of another mystery, and figuring out the reason behind their parents death. The two sisters race against time and fight off outside forces to uncover the truth. Available on Amazon.
We Used to Be Friends by Amy Spalding This is a story told in two parts: Kat and James used to be best friends, but by the time senior year is over they just aren’t. With alternating chapters from each perspective, and one narrative moving forward while the other goes in reverse, the two explain what happened as they grew up and grew apart. Available on Amazon.
The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins This Hunger Games prequel set way before Katniss Everdeen takes us on a journey as we watch Coriolanus Snow — yes, that Snow — compete in the games. But back then, things were run differently for the tributes and with Snow involved, and learning as he goes, they’re going from bad to worse in the future. Available on Amazon.
Midnight Sun by Stephenie Meyer Are you a fan of Twilight ? Or are you a fan of the Twilight memes that have taken over the internet this year? The Twilight fandom is alive and kicking in the year 2020, so dive into it again this time from Edward’s perspective. Midnight Sun gives us his version of the original Twilight events. Available on Amazon.
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