Last year was so bizarre for me — after so many years of reading and blogging about YA — I BARELY read any young adult books last year. It was so strange but I just went where my reading whims took me. I don’t know what happened but I just wasn’t drawn to YA until the end of last last year again which was a VERY good thing as I started to make my list of most anticipated YA books to read for 2020.
Now, after compiling this of new young adult/teen reads, all I want to DO is read YA — which is great except I also have an amazing list of adult fiction books to read in 2020!! So basically I need to clone myself a la one of the releases I talk about down below.
This list is also only the FIRST half of 2020 so be on the lookout for the second half of the year list closer to May/June.
Of note: Check the pre-order prices of some of these books if they aren’t out yet!! Some of them are even $5+ off. I find I save SO much money that way if I know I really want that book. Another way I save money on brand new releases is through YA Book of The Month club — I feel like every month there is always at least *ONE* of my anticipated reads to pick from plus sometimes I’m discovering ones that weren’t on my radar at all for some reason.
So let’s get to all these exciting anticipated YA books for 2020!! I’d love to hear what you are most excited about and what you’ve already read already. Are there any that you think should be on my must-read list but isn’t?
My Anticipated Young Adult Books For 2020
(January – first half of June)
[Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links which means that if you click on a link and purchase something I’ve talked about or recommended, I’ll receive a very small percentage of the sale (which I’m always so appreciative of). Please see my disclosure policy for more info]
2020 YA Books from some of my all time favorite authors whose books I would read no matter what they are about:
The Map From Here To There by Emery Lord — Out January 7
Emery Lord is one of my ALL TIME FAVE authors of YA contemporary/realistic fiction. This one is a sequel to The Start of Me & You which continues with Paige’s senior year! HIGHLY recommend and this is one that can’t be missed! Also check out: Open Road Summer by Emery Lord (review)
The Kingdom of Back by Marie Lu — Out March 3
A new Marie Lu book!!! And a historical fantasy at that!! About Mozart’s sister. Yes…THAT Mozart. Inspired by the secret kingdom that Mozart and his sister made up as kids! I could not want this any more than I do!!!! Also check out: Legend series by Marie Lu (review) & The Young Elites by Marie Lu (review)
The Midnight Lie by Marie Rutkoski — Out March 3
A new MARIE RUTKOSKI!!! And set in the same world as The Winner’s Trilogy!!! It’s not a sequel or anything but is set in the world from what I hear. I could NOT be more ecstatic.
We Are The Wildcats by Siohban Vivian — Out March 31
Siohban Vivian’s books are criminally underrated — really smart, thought-provoking reads!! This one looks to be no difference. It’s about a high school girl’s field hockey team, their friendship and loyalty to each other and a sleepover that puts that to the test. This one looks seriously amazing! Also check out: Not That Kind of Girl (review)
The Enigma Game by Elizabeth Wein — Out May 26
A new book in the Code Name Verity world — featuring Jamie Beaufort-Stuart!!! I am so stinking excited. Code Name Verity is one of my favorite historical books ever. Also check out: Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein (review)
You Say It First by Katie Cotugno — Out June 16
Katie Cotugno has written, like Emery Lord above, some of my favorite contemporary YA out there. Katie’s books are just so layered and always hit me emotionally. This one looks like a delight also! It’s about a girl who is doing some politically phone banking, ends up on a call with a guy who completely gets under her skin and that call leads, after some heated calls, to a long-distance friendship and then to something more. It’s always a good year when Katie has a new book out!!! Also check out: my review of How To Love by Katie Cotugno & my review of 99 Days by Katie Cotugno
Rebel Spy by Veronica Rossi — Out June 23
I feel relieved to have a new Veronica Rossi book!!! And this one is HISTORICAL???? It’s “a reimagining of the story behind Agent 355–a New York society girl and spy for George Washington during the Revolutionary War.” I don’t know about you but I am ECSTATIC.
Also check out: Review of Under The Sky trilogy by Veronica Rossi
10 Things I Hate About Pinky by Sandhya Menon — Out June 30
A new book in the Dimple & Rishi universe!! A must read series for contemporary YA lovers! This one follows Pinky and Samir and features a fauxmance!! One of my fave tropes!
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2020 YA Fantasy On My Reading List:
Woven in Moonlight by Isabel Ibanez — Out January 7
This is a Bolivian-inspired YA fantasy! From what I’ve heard it takes the Andean history and politics of the Spanish and Inca but puts it in a fantasy world about two warring races — one who used to rule and the other, formerly oppressed, but currently have power after the revolution. The main character is a decoy for the last remaining royal of the people who used to rule and has to go undercover to pretend to be the real Condesa and go be the wife to the usurper and try, using her own magic, to find the magic relic he used to drive her people out with. I am SO here for the politics and the magic and the inspiration for the fantasy setting.
Dark and Deepest Red by Anna-Marie McLemore — Out January 14
If fairy-tale inspired fantasies are your thing (this one = The Red Shoes) check this one out. It’s alternating perspectives — 1500’s and then present day — where the dancing sickness first originates where women can’t stop dancing in the streets and then the girl 500 years later who puts on a pair of red shoes that have her dancing towards the ancestor of the person who made the shoes, and was blamed for what happened, all those years earlier. Together they find out what happened back then to figure out how to help her survive the shoes.
All The Stars and Teeth by Adalyn Grace — Out February 4
I’m here for this fantasy but I’m not going to lie I got really excited when I saw pirates and mermaids — always looking for more books with those elements. It’s about a girl who has to prove that she’s fit to be heir on her kingdom by showing her mastery of soul magic but her demonstration goes awry and she has to flee and ends up making a mutually beneficial arrangement with a pirate who will help her prove she’s fit to rule and she will help him get magic that was stolen from him. Sounds like an epic journey on the sea!
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In Shadow Of The Sun by EM Castellan — Out February 11
If historical fantasy is your jam, check this one out! It’s set in 1660’s France and is a magical re-imagining of Louis XIV court! I am 1000% here for this.
The Shadows Between Us by Tricia Levenseller — Out February 25
I really enjoyed Daughter of A Pirate King (review) by Tricia Levenseller so I’m very excited for this new fantasy duet. Getting some strong villain queen vibes with this one as the main character is feisty and tired of being overlooked so she plans to woo the Shadow King, marry him and then kill him to get the kingdom for herself. I mean, VERY AMBITIOUS GOALS. I can’t wait to read how she executes THAT.
Elysium Girls by Kate Pentecost— Out April 14
DUST BOWL INSPIRED FANTASY. A GIRL GANG OF WITCHES. I need it now. Like right now.
Incendiary by Zoraida Cordova — Out April 28
This book is loosely based on 15th century Spain and is a re-imagining of the Inquisition!! I mean, yes. The main character has the ability to steal memories and as a child was forced to use them for the King’s agenda which as resulted in the death of her own people. But now she’s on the other side of things after being rescued and is helping the resistance but when things go awry she has to go undercover back where she escaped from and convince them she’s loyal to them. This book looks full of espionage and secrets and political intrigue!!
Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust — Out May 12
If you love fairy tales, this one should be on your list!! It’s about a girl who is poisonous to the touch and has been isolated because of it but there’s a demon who offers her a choice to maybe leave her isolation. Apparently it’s a Persian inspired myth about monsters and princesses and I needed it yesterday.
The Gilded Ones by Namina Forma — Out May 26
This one is a West African inspired new feminist fantasy series being pitched as for fans of Black Panther and Children of Blood and Bone about a girl whose blood condemns her but is offered a choice to become a warrior rather than stay and live out the fate her blood will bring in her village. This looks unique and fantastic!
A Song Below Water by Bethany C. Morrow — Out June 2
Love more contemporary type fantasy? Check this one out — it’s got a contemporary Portland setting but there’s mythical type creatures like sirens and sprites and stuff. The main character is a siren and has to keep that secret under wraps unlike some of the mythical creatures who can be open about their identity. This novel also explores timely social issues like racial profiling and Black Lives Matter woven into this mythical story.
The Court of Miracles by Kester Grant — Out June 2
A re-imagining of Les Mes and The Jungle Book? All of the yes.
Young Adult Contemporary Books In 2020 I Can’t Wait For:
We Used To Be Friends by Amy Spaulding — Out January 7
As soon as I saw “friend breakup” I insta-added it. The times that my heart has hurt the most is with the loss of a friendship — even more than any romantic relationship. This dual, not-so-linear story explores the friendship and breakup of two childhood best friends.
Loveboat, Taipei by Abigail Hing Wen — Out January 7
I feel like I always crave international settings in YA that aren’t London or Paris so I’m excited for a book that takes place in Taiwan. It’s about a girl who is sent to Taiwan by her super strict parents to study Mandarin as part of a program with over-achieving kids that her parents wished she was. The program is NOT what her parents think it is — in reality it is just one giant party and hookup central for teens.
Don’t Read The Comments by Eric Smith — Out January 28
If you like all things geeky and gaming, you gotta add this one to your reading list. Two teens are brought together by an online game called Reclaim The Sun — one a casual player who wants to write RPGs and the other who is a celebrity within the game and uses her celebrity to make money to help her mom pay rent. This looks like a cute romance and ode to gaming while exploring some of the not-so-great toxic aspects — especially when it comes to how women gamers are treated and some of the doxxing campaigns.
Tweet Cute by Emma Lord — Out January 21
I’ve been all about the rom-coms lately and this one is giving me some modern teen You’ve Got Mail vibes — but trade bookstores for restaurants warring on social media! The love interests are rivals when it comes to their family businesses but are also, unknowingly, falling for each other on an anonymous app? COUNT ME IN.
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When You Were Everything by Ashley Woodfolk — Out March 10
Another friendship breakup focus book and I am seriously excited because someone I trust said it broke their heart and well, you see, I like reading those types of books. It is told in the past and the present of their friendship and then after the implosion when they get put in each other’s lives again.
Look by Zan Romanoff — Out March 31
This is a queer coming of age story about a girl who is a social media influencer who has carefully crafted the image of herself she wants out there but it’s not at all representative about her real life and how she feels and she has to confront all that when everything blows up after a viral post. It seems to be a thoughtful and nuanced look into social media from what I’ve seen.
Now That I’ve Found You by Kristina Forest — Out June 2
If you like your contemporary YA with a dose of Hollywood, check out this book about a girl poised to be the next big thing, like her grandmother before her, but is blacklisted after a betrayal by a friend. To help get herself back in the limelight she’s set to present an award for her grandmother, who has been a recluse for the past 20 years, in front of the Hollywood elite but on that day her grandmother is missing. She sets out to look for her grandmother, reluctantly, with a young (and very cute) musician who was the last one to see her. This looks adorable and fun!
Again Again by E Lockhart — Out June 2
I’ve enjoyed the E Lockhart I’ve read (We Were Liars & The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau Banks) so I’m excited for a new one! It poses the question if you could live your life over again what would you do differently? And it looks like main character gets to do just that!
Today Tonight Tomorrow by Rachel Lynn Solomon — Out June 16
I know sometimes the marketing comparisons can burn you but omg “The Hating Game meets Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist by way of Morgan Matson” — that is everything I want in a romcom okay!!! What better than a rivals/hate to love romcom??? The two main characters have always been rivals all throughout school but end up having to team up in order to win the big city-wide farewell game the senior class does every year! I’m in!!
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YA Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic Reads For 2020
The Ballad of Ami Miles by Kristy Dallas Alley — Out May 26
I’ve been really craving post-apocalyptic books recently so this really piqued my interest. Ami has grown up in a survival compound — a safe place to be after the old world ended. During this time, most women became unable to bear children and it became more of an important duty for those who still could. Because Ami’s mom was fertile, and they think she could be too, her grandfather has quickly begun to arrange a marriage for her and she’s not here for that — so she flees with the help of her aunt and goes out to the world in search of her mother.
Love dystopian reads? Check out my review of The Grace Year!
Agnes At The End of the World by Kelly McWilliams — Out June 2
“The Village meets Octavia Butler’s After the Fire.” This one sounds interesting. Looks like there is a cult element to it and a viral pandemic! I heard this one is more character/voice driven which I am very excited for!
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New & Exciting Teen Thrillers/Mysteries For 2020
No True Believers by Rabiah York Lumbard – Out February 11
This mystery/detective type story also seems like a heavy hitter when it comes to the Islamophobia and white supremacy rampant in our country also. It’s about a Muslim teen who is being framed for a crime that she didn’t commit and she uses her detective skills to get to the bottom of it. It sounds riveting but also like there’s a great deal of character development and exploring some of the things she is subject to.
All Your Twisted Secrets by Diana Urban – Out March 17
A group of teens (think: Breakfast Club vibes with the fact they are from all different cliques) all show up to what they think is a scholarship dinner they’ve been invited to ...but it’s really a trap and they have to choose one of them to die within an hour or else they all die. Sounds FANTASTIC.
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Girl, Unframed by Deb Caletti – Out June 23
Deb Caletti is a YA staple so I’m excited for this thriller from her — especially because it looks like, in addition to being a murder-y thriller, it’s also about the patriarchy and unwanted attention from men and how young girls have to exist in this world that doesn’t want them to always have a voice.
Take Me With You by Tara Altebrando – Out June 23
Oooh I’m intrigued by this one. A group of teens are summoned to a room through a messaging app and they find a small cube with instructions — that they can’t tell anyone and that it must always be with them (OR ELSE). They follow along even though they think it might be a prank or something but soon the group starts to splinter as this device intrudes into their lives. This is what really got me interested though: “This timely thriller probes our dependence on personal technology and challenges the notion that our devices are keeping us connected.” I’ve been really into tech-inspired stuff lately.
2020 Young Adult Historical Fiction To Get Swept Up In:
The Silence of Bones by June Hur – Out April 21
This is a historical mystery set in 1800’s Korea and follows an orphaned teen girl, Seol, becomes indentured to the police department and is tasked with assisting a young inspector who is heading the case of a murdered noblewoman. As they try to find out who killed the woman, loyalty is called into question when the inspector himself becomes a suspect and she must find out what really happened that night.
We Are Not Free by Traci Chee – Out June 9
I don’t know that I’ve ever encountered a book with this setting in YA (not saying there hasn’t been, I just haven’t encountered one). It’s set after the bombing of Pearl Harbor when over 100,000 Japanese-Americans were forced into internment camps in the US. This follows the POV of a few teens who are forced into these camps and how this act of racism and injustice changes their lives and forces them to rally together.
New YA Sci-Fi in 2020 I Can’t Wait For:
Bent Heavens by Daniel Kraus — Out February 25
Ooh this one looks so unique! It’s about a girl whose dad believes in aliens and says he was abducted by them. He went missing 2 years ago, she knows in her heart he’s dead, but they still check the alien traps every weekend on tradition despite her disbelief — until one day she decides she is DONE and goes to destroy them only to find an alien. Wracked with guilt that she never believed him, she has to decided to alert authorities or take matters into her own hands.
Half Life by Lillian Clark — Out June 9
This one looks to be a fun one– more sci-fi lite it seems! Do you ever wish there was like 1 or 2 more of you to get done all the things you have to do plus all the things you WANT to do? Yeah, same with the MC of this book so she signs up for an experimental clone study. But if it sounds too good to be true…it probably is…and her clone takes on a life of her own!
The exciting sequels I’m DYING for in 2019
Girls With Razor Hearts by Suzanne Young — Out March 17
So, there you have it — those are my most anticipated YA books for 2020! What books are your must read YA books for 2020? I’d love to hear what books you are excited about reading this year! There’s so many new YA releases for 2020 and I’m sure I overlooked some or will be thinking later MAAAAN that summary didn’t do it for me but all these reviews are.
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