40 YA Novels to Get Pumped for in 2020

Because 20 + 20 = 40. Get it?


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A Love-Hate Thing by Whitney D. Grandison (official blurb)

An enemies-to-lovers story, but with the added twist of them being forced to actually live together. THERE IS NO ESCAPE. The fact that the male lead is constantly trying to stay one step ahead of the trouble that dogs him might add a more serious tone to what sounds like, for all other purposes, a rom-com.

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Seven Deadly Shadows by Courtney Alameda and Valynne E. Maetani (official blurb)

Okay, so this sounds like Death Note meets shoujo manga. I personally cannot get enough Japanese-mythos-tinged fantasy. And Maetani is Japanese. Who is here for this book? (raises both hands)

Furious Thing by Jenny Downham (official blurb)

I love the idea of a girl who gets angry because of emotional abuse. I’m sure it’s something we’ve all experienced, but it can be one of the toughest things to identify, especially because those who perpetrate it try to manipulate their victims even further than they already do, to the point of tricking them into believing that they’re overreacting or that they deserve the abuse. More stories like these need to be told because they speak, to some extent, for everyone.

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Tweet Cute by Emma Lord (official blurb)

ANOTHER enemies-to-lovers rom-com… only this one involves so many platforms (hah) where the two main characters interact. They’re polar opposites at school, anonymous kindred spirits on a chat app, and Twitter adversaries representing their families’ businesses. *Chandler voice* Could this be any more fraught?

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Every Other Weekend by Abigail Johnson (official blurb)

I love stories like this about unexpected friendships blooming amidst turmoil. I love the idea that someone you have seemingly nothing in common with can be the person who actually understands you best. It seems like a quietly poignant and slow-burn sort of novel.

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When You Trap a Tiger by Tae Keller (official blurb)

This one has already received about a zillion starred reviews. And that cover is gorgeous. But overall, this sounds like a story about family and courage, and it incorporates Korean folklore. It seems like a winner!

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Lucky Caller by Emma Mills (official blurb)

Some key phrases from the blurb that got me:
– “haphazardly formed radio team” (I love stories about ragtag groups).
– “but maybe control is overrated?” (I love having control of my life, but there really is something to be said for embracing the mess).
– “believing in yourself, owning your mistakes, and trusting in human connection” (That is a beautiful trifecta).

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How to Speak Boy by Tiana Smith (official blurb)

Also, this cover is very similar to the previous one…

This Light Between Us: A Novel of World War II by [Fukuda, Andrew]

This Light Between Us by Andrew Fukuda (official blurb)

I’m a complete sucker for WWII stories. Especially when they come from perspectives I’m not used to hearing about. Persecuted pen pals from opposite sides of the globe sounds like an amazing premise.


All the Stars and Teeth (All the Stars and Teeth Duology Book 1) by [Grace, Adalyn]

All the Stars and Teeth by Adalyn Grace (official blurb)

This one sounds as delicious as its cover looks. It’s a pirate story with a unique magic system. You may have heard of a necromancer, someone who can raise and control the dead, or a pyromancer, someone who can control fire, but have you heard of an animancer, someone who can control SOULS? I must know what this means.

Below (North Book 1) by [Warwick, Alexandria]

Below by Alexandria Warwick (official blurb)

*Ugly screeching noises* This sounds like Inuit folklore meets Labyrinth, with a dash of Avatar: The Last Airbender (Koh the Face-Stealer, anyone?). It’s also available on Kindle for $3.99 at the time that I’m writing this. Scoop. It. Up.

In the Shadow of the Sun by [Castellan, EM]

In the Shadow of the Sun by E.M. Castellan (official blurb)

This is an alternate historical fantasy set in the 1600s French court, and it sounds FASCINATING. I’m kind of hoping for a romance between the main character and the sorcerer she has to defeat…

The Shadows Between Us by Tricia Levenseller (official blurb)

I am drooling shamelessly over both the cover and the premise. This book was pitched as a Slytherin romance, and, although I’m a Gryffindor myself, I love the sound of that. The idea of a person who can command shadows makes it seem like the world-building will be ace. However, based on some reviews, it seems like *SPOILER ALERT* the protagonist kills her first boyfriend for breaking up with her, which is the sort of domestic violence we would never condone in real life or from a male protagonist, and this significantly dampens my initial through-the-roof enthusiasm for this book.


Thorn (Dauntless Path Book 1) by [Khanani, Intisar]

Thorn by Intisar Khanani (official blurb)

So this one was actually published already several years ago, but apparently it’s been significantly revamped. I’m reading the original now, and it’s decent so far. I can’t wait to compare the two. Also, this is a retelling of the Grimm’s “The Goose Girl.”

The Edge of Anything by Nora Shalaway Carpenter (official blurb)

This is a no-romance, friendship-only book. Yay! We see a lot of novels about the development of a romance, but rarely do we see novels about the development of a new friendship. We need more novels like this because *whispering my own personal opinion* friendship is more important than romance. It’s a also an exploration of different mental illnesses and is an #ownvoices book. Again, sounds like a much-needed story.


Rules for Being a Girl by Carrie Bushnell and Katie Cotugno (official blurb)

This is for all the girls and women out there who somehow “led a guy on” without even realizing it, have been hit on by an authority figure, who weren’t believed when they told their stories, or who have been blamed for something that was totally not their fault. Walking on eggshells like that is an awful feeling, and being preyed on is even worse. I’m a bit skeptical about Candace Bushnell and Katie Cotugno writing this because the premises of their previous books haven’t appealed to me, but I will read this nonetheless.

Somebody Told Me by Mia Siegert (official blurb)

I was raised Catholic, and when I was little, I took comfort in the idea that once I confessed my sins to the priest, he couldn’t tell anyone else. Then again, my crimes were pretty much limited to occasionally snapping at people when I was in a bad mood, stealing a couple small things, and getting into a few physical fights with the boys. Well, what happens when an ADULT confesses to something horrible, says some prayers, and is then absolved of his sins? He gets away with his crime, essentially. I’m really glad that there’s a YA novel challenging this practice and challenging the idea of what a “sinner” really is. With a bigender protagonist, no less. I NEED this novel.

Meet Me at Midnight by [Pennington, Jessica]

Meet Me at Midnight by Jessica Pennington (official blurb)

I love pranks. I love lakes. I love summer. I love the enemies-to-lovers trope. I will probably love this book.

Elysium Girls by Kate Pentecost (official blurb)

The early blurb for this book was “Pitched as Mad Max: Fury Road meets Caraval in an alternate history American Dust Bowl, the book features a girl gang of witches and a wildcard demon who are the most valuable players in a deadly game between the Goddesses of Life and Death, one with possibly apocalyptic consequences.” Which sounded almost too awesome to actually be written. Now that I’ve read the expanded premise, I must admit that it sounds a bit confusing, but I’m hoping the original blurb still holds true for the book.

Unscripted by Nicole Kronzer (official blurb)

I hate it when I hear men describe female comedians as “not funny” and express outright hatred for certain ones. Fair enough if your humor doesn’t line up with theirs. But women are trying to make a space for themselves in a field that often makes sexist jokes about women that many men just lap right up. Can you blame women if that’s not their type of humor and they want to see/listen to comedians they find more relatable? I’m beyond excited for this book, as well as the other feminist books about comedians coming out this year. Maybe I’ll make a list about that at some point…


The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea by Maggie Tokuda-Hall (official blurb)

An Asian folklore-based pirate story? With a lesbian romance? And mermaid rights? This sounds wonderfully unique. And look at everything going on in that cover! It’s as multi-faceted as this book seems to be.

Girl, Serpent, Thorn by [Bashardoust, Melissa]

Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust (official blurb)

You know what this doesn’t sound like? A predictable novel. A hearty thumbs up for that. This book is based on a Persian tale, but the “poisonous to the touch” element reminds me of the story of King Midas, whose touch turned everything (including people) to gold in Greek mythology.

When You Get the Chance by Tom Ryan (official blurb)

As a Canadian and an ally, I absolutely HAD to include this book. From the blurb, I can already tell that these characters will be complex and well-developed, not stereotypes. I’ve seen a lot of novels whose only unique factor seemed to be queerness, and judging from the reviews for them, I was correct. You can’t just write a book with a trite plot and flat (but queer) characters and call that representation. Come on. THIS seems like it’ll be a great book for queer rep.


Hood by Jenny Elder-Moke (official blurb)

I had a Robin Hood reimagining in my 2019 list, so you know I had to have another one in my 2020 list. I think the blurb hints at a crossover with “Little Red Riding Hood,” as well. There was a movie called Princess of Thieves made back in the early 2000s that was also about Robin Hood’s daughter. I loved that movie as a kid, but it’s a bit cheesy now. I hope this book can surpass that movie.

Forest of Souls by Lori M. Lee (official blurb)

If you take the time to read the blurb, please also take the time to read the author’s own words about her book immediately below it. Her notes are super interesting. The book has an Asian protagonist, but this isn’t an Asian fantasy. It’s a Western fantasy. Lee relates this to her own experience of growing up Asian in a Western country. Pretty bomb.

Seasons of the Storm by [Cosimano, Elle]

Seasons of the Storm by Elle Cosimano (official blurb)

I am in love with the concept and the cover. I love mythology surrounding the seasons more than I love almost any other type of mythology. Hopefully the actual novel measures up.

Today Tonight Tomorrow by [Solomon, Rachel Lynn]

Today Tonight Tomorrow by Rachel Lynn Solomon (official blurb)

If I’ve said I love enemies-to-lovers once, I’ve said it a thousand times. But this one also just sounds so stinking cute. The protagonist secretly wants to write romance novels. There is a senior class outside-of-school game (sounds a bit folklorish!) that puts nostalgia at the forefront. It just sort of sounds like a chick flick meets a Wes Anderson film and I want it.

Where Dreams Descend by Janella Angeles (official blurb)

This was originally pitched as The Phantom of the Opera meets Moulin Rouge! What. A. Brilliant. Idea. And there is, of course, the magical show element, which puts it in the same category as The Night Circus and Caraval. Sign me up!!!

Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas (official blurb)

A ghost romance. A queer ghost romance. A queer ghost romance with a bad-boy love interest. A queer ghost romance with a bad-boy love interest, based on Latin-American folklore. Is that Santa Muerte on the cover?! This book is STACKED.

The State of Us by [Hutchinson, Shaun David]

The State of Us by Shaun David Hutchinson (official blurb)

The gay son of the Republican candidate and the gay son of the Democratic candidate falling in love? YESSSSS. Yes. Not for the star-crossed love factor, but because it seems like it’s a novel about staying true to yourself and fighting for love even in the face of bigotry. And hopefully teaching bigots everywhere a lesson.


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Loveless by Alice Oseman (official blurb)

Do I smell a book with an aromantic asexual protagonist? If so, I NEED it. Plus, “LOVELESS is a journey of identity, self-acceptance, and finding out how many different types of love there really are.” Be still, my heart. I love love stories that aren’t about romance, especially if they include self love.

All These Monsters by [Tintera, Amy]

All These Monsters by Amy Tintera (official blurb)

Okay, but you had me at “international monster fighting squad.” Still, I wonder who the “real” monsters are… Does this mean the Scrabs are just misunderstood? Or that mindless monsters are not as harmful as sadistic people?


The Whitsun Daughters by [Mesrobian, Carrie]

The Whitsun Daughters by Carrie Mesrobian (official blurb)

Okay, so that’s a weird blurb, but it’s a feminist ghost story with intriguing prose, so those are definitely pluses!

Star Daughter by [Thakrar, Shveta]

Star Daughter by Shveta Thakrar (official blurb)

This sounds truly epic. This is THE definition of celestial fantasy. This might be one of my most anticipated books, um, ever?

All Our Worst Ideas by Vicky Skinner (official blurb)

This novel sounds like it’ll be much more character-driven than plot-driven. I often like stories like that, the introspective, quietly emotional ones. But please, no insta-love. I beg this story not to have insta-love. If the story itself is slow-burn, the romance must also be slow-burn.


Recommended for You by Laura Silverman (official blurb)

The very first blurb pitched this book as The Office meets something else. I don’t remember what that something else was because a YA version of THE OFFICE, right? And Jewish YA rep.


Blazewrath Games by [Ortiz, Amparo]

Blazewrath Games by Amparo Ortiz (official blurb)

Dragon riding. Puerto Rican rep. International conspiracy. Is it wrong that I’m also hoping for a romance between the protag and the legendary, somewhat villainous-sounding dragon cursed into human form?


Instant Karma by Marissa Meyer (official blurb)

I love Marissa Meyer! And okay, I have to admit, I am one of those holier-than-thou types like the protagonist. Not in a religious way, just in a way that I usually don’t understand why it seems to be so hard for people to just do the right thing. I don’t get it. I think I’ll see a lot of myself in this book. I also like the idea of the protagonist’s karmic powers not working on her worst enemy. Interesting…


These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong (official blurb)

This is a retelling of Romeo and Juliet. I hate Romeo and Juliet. But I love all the other elements in this book, namely the 1920s, Shanghai, the Capulets and Montagues being recast as gangs, enemies-to-lovers (of course), and monsters. I will gobble it up.

What are your most anticipated YA books of 2020?

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