The end of the year is always bittersweet. So many books, so little time.

1. Midnight Sun by Stephanie Meyer

Released: August 4, 2020

This was a very highly anticipated companion novel to the bestselling Twilight series by Stephanie Meyer. It has remained the #1 bestseller in 2020 in the young adult category since it was released in August. Midnight Sun transports readers back into the world of vampires within Twilight, but this time from Edward’s perspective when we had only previously seen the story from Bella’s point of view. The novel not only lets fans return to a well-loved world, but offers further insight into Edward’s past, giving a better understanding of his struggle once he meets and falls for Bella. 

2. The Cousins by Karen M. McManus

Released: December 1, 2020

Karen M. McManus is the NYT bestselling author of the young adult mystery One of Us Is Lying. She has returned with another anticipated mystery novel about three cousins who barely know one another and are invited to work at their grandmother’s island resort, who none of them have ever met. The cousins begin to discover that their family’s past might not be what they thought it was, and dark secrets are unveiled about why the family has fallen out of touch. Whatever pulled them apart still haunts the family, and the cousins will soon discover everything in this page-turning mystery.

3. Punching in the Air by Ibi Zoboi and Yusef Salaam

Released: September 1, 2020

This powerful book for teens is written in verse by an award-winning author and a prison reform activist of the exonerated five case. It’s an extremely relevant and timely story of a young black man who is wrongly incarcerated. The protagonist must fight for the truth and a way to maintain his humanity when he is living a story not meant for him in this emotional and profound novel. 

4. Crave by Tracy Wolff

Released: April 7, 2020

This is the first book in the NYT bestselling series. Crave is a new vampire story with fresh twists and angles on the well-loved topic. This is a thrilling paranormal romance and there is much more going on in the life and mind of the protagonist, as well as Katmere Academy, than what is initially exposed to the reader.

5. You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson

Released: June 2, 2020

This is a powerful and sweet contemporary story that is both timely and representative. The protagonist is Liz, a young black woman, who has never felt like she fit in with the rest of her town. She has a plan to move away for college but when her financial aid falls through, she wonders if she should try for the scholarship awarded to prom queen, despite her fear of the spotlight. The story takes us on an emotional exploration of friendship, love, and identity.

6. The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins

Released: May 19, 2020

The highly anticipated Hunger Games novel released this year, which serves as a prequel to the bestselling series by Suzanne Collins. This story follows Coriolanus Snow, opening on the morning of the reaping of the tenth annual Hunger Games. Snow is to mentor the female tribute from District 12 who is doomed from the start. The reader gets to observe Snow’s feelings of confliction as he empathizes with his tribute, though his desire to survive and follow the rules may be stronger in this tense world that Collins has returned us to.

7. Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko

Released: August 18, 2020

Raybearer is set in an intriguing and detailed fantasy world. We follow the protagonist Tarisai who has always longed for family after being raised in isolation. She is sent on a morally corrupt mission that she considers completing because she has always wanted to belong somewhere and to someone. The story explores loyalty, fate, and how far we are willing to go for the ones we love.

8. The Enigma Game by Elizabeth Wein

Released: November 3, 2020

The Enigma Game is a historical fiction mystery novel set in 1940 amidst the backdrop of the war. Fifteen-year-old Louisa wants to do something meaningful to help, but she is given a job that feels unimportant. That is until a German pilot lands in her small village in Scotland under mysterious circumstances. Suddenly, Louisa finds herself right in the middle of the action with the enemy. She must work to unravel a code that could turn the whole war around. This is a wonderful re-imagining of a familiar time in history.

9. Tweet Cute by Emma Lord

Released: January 21, 2020

This is a witty and timely romantic comedy that takes a classic story and updates it for the technological generation. The story follows Pepper and Jack. Pepper is a perfectionist juggling way too much, including her family’s fast-food restaurant’s Twitter account. Jack is the class clown, and when he suspects the fast-food joint has stolen his grandmother’s grilled cheese recipe, he starts a Twitter war with them—aka with Pepper. Only, they might just be falling for each other anonymously on a different dating app. This is such a feel-good romance that touches on real emotional trials that all young people can relate to.

10. Dear Justyce by Nic Stone

Released: September 29, 2020

This is the highly anticipated sequel to the NYT bestseller Dear Martin by Nic Stone. The novel is timelier than ever in the wake of recent police brutality and injustice against the black community. In the first novel, Justyce wrote letters to Martin Luther King, Jr. and now Quan, a childhood friend, writes letters to Justyce about his experience with the juvenile justice system. The story is told through a series of flashbacks, vignettes, and letters, and we see Quan, a bright kid who is misunderstood, charged with murder. 

11. The Ravens by Kass Morgan and Danielle Paige

Released: November 3, 2020

This is a dark, contemporary fantasy novel by bestselling authors. The story follows two sorority sisters at Westerly College. One has always known she is a witch, the other has no idea, and a rivalry between the girls ensues. A dark power soon rises on campus, threatening to expose secrets and destroy everything. This is a page-turning and thrilling read that readers won’t be able to put down until they see how it all unfolds for the Raven sisters.

12. The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Released: September 1, 2020

This is a NYT bestselling novel with tons of twists, thrills, and stakes. Avery is ready to graduate and get out, but her circumstances become mysterious when a billionaire who she has never met leaves her his entire fortune. To receive the inheritance, she must move into the house where the billionaire’s dispossessed relatives live, including the grandson who wants to take Avery down, and another grandson who believes she is one final riddle for them to figure out. Avery never imagined she’d be caught in this twisted world of wealth and secrets where she now has to fight for survival against the danger she encounters within.

My first and ever love is young adult fiction because those books I read then at that time of my life changed, terrified, saved, pained, enriched – made my life so much more.

Here’s hoping the same for you.

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