There are so many great books to look forward to that we fear our To-Be-Read piles will finally tip over in 2020. From exciting thrillers and magical fantasy worlds to coming-of-age rom-coms and a high anticipated prequel, we preview what 2020 has to offer in young adult literature.
Here is our list of 20 books we are anticipating the most to read in 2020.
The Night Country (The Hazel Wood, #2) by Melissa Albert (January 7)
Why You Should Be Excited: This series is becoming a new modern classic that is delightfully creepy in the ways that fairy tales used to be! — Gabrielle Bondi
Official Description: The highly anticipated sequel to Melissa Albert’s beloved, New York Times bestselling debut The Hazel Wood!
In The Night Country, Alice Proserpine dives back into a menacing, mesmerizing world of dark fairy tales and hidden doors. Follow her and Ellery Finch as they learn The Hazel Wood was just the beginning, and that worlds die not with a whimper, but a bang. With Finch’s help, Alice escaped the Hinterland and her reclusive grandmother’s dark legacy. Now she and the rest of the dregs of the fairy tale world have washed up in New York City, where Alice is trying to make a new, unmagical life. But something is stalking the Hinterland’s survivors―and she suspects their deaths may have a darker purpose. Meanwhile, in the winking out world of the Hinterland, Finch seeks his own adventure, and―if he can find it―a way back home…
The Conference of the Birds by Ransom Riggs (January 14)
Why You Should Be Excited: Ransom Riggs never disappoints, and after the taste of American peculiars we got in Map of Days, I can’t wait to learn more. I also adore Jacob as a character and can’t wait to spend more time inside his brilliant mind. — Abby Petree
Official Description: “Do you trust me?”
An instant bestseller, A Map of Days launched readers into the previously unexplored world of American peculiars, one bursting with new questions, new allies, and new adversaries.
Now, with enemies behind him and the unknown ahead, Jacob Portman’s story continues as he takes a brave leap forward into The Conference of the Birds, the next installment of the beloved, bestselling Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children series.
Tweet Cute by Emma Lord (January 21)
Why You Should Be Excited: I was sold on this book as soon as I saw that it’s about an iconic grilled cheese recipe. The fact that it has major comp vibes to the beloved 1998 Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan rom-com, You’ve Got Mail might have made this book my most-anticipated read of 2020 instantly. — Brianna Robinson
Official Description: A fresh, irresistible rom-com from debut author Emma Lord about the chances we take, the paths life can lead us on, and how love can be found in the opposite place you expected.
Meet Pepper, swim team captain, chronic overachiever, and all-around perfectionist. Her family may be falling apart, but their massive fast-food chain is booming ― mainly thanks to Pepper, who is barely managing to juggle real life while secretly running Big League Burger’s massive Twitter account.
Enter Jack, class clown and constant thorn in Pepper’s side. When he isn’t trying to duck out of his obscenely popular twin’s shadow, he’s busy working in his family’s deli. His relationship with the business that holds his future might be love/hate, but when Big League Burger steals his grandma’s iconic grilled cheese recipe, he’ll do whatever it takes to take them down, one tweet at a time.
All’s fair in love and cheese ― that is, until Pepper and Jack’s spat turns into a viral Twitter war. Little do they know, while they’re publicly duking it out with snarky memes and retweet battles, they’re also falling for each other in real life ― on an anonymous chat app Jack built.
As their relationship deepens and their online shenanigans escalate ― people on the internet are shipping them?? ― their battle gets more and more personal, until even these two rivals can’t ignore they were destined for the most unexpected, awkward, all-the-feels romance that neither of them expected.
Ember Queen (Ash Princess #3) by Laura Sebastian (February 4)
Why You Should Be Excited: The finale of the edge-of-your-seat Ash Princess trilogy is almost here — and I am so ready! We finally get to find out what happens to Theo and if her relationships with Søren, Blaise, and Crescentia are bridged — or burned. — Marena Galluccio
Official Description: The thrilling conclusion to the series that began with the instant New York Times bestseller “made for fans of Victoria Aveyard and Sabaa Tahir” (Bustle), Ember Queen is an epic fantasy about a throne cruelly stolen and a girl who must fight to take it back for her people.
Princess Theodosia was a prisoner in her own country for a decade. Renamed the Ash Princess, she endured relentless abuse and ridicule from the Kaiser and his court. But though she wore a crown of ashes, there is fire in Theo’s blood. As the rightful heir to the Astrean crown, it runs in her veins. And if she learned nothing else from her mother, she learned that a Queen never cowers.
Now free, with a misfit army of rebels to back her, Theo must liberate her enslaved people and face a terrifying new enemy: the new Kaiserin. Imbued with a magic no one understands, the Kaiserin is determined to burn down anyone and everything in her way.
The Kaiserin’s strange power is growing stronger, and with Prinz Søren as her hostage, there is more at stake than ever. Theo must learn to embrace her own power if she has any hope of standing against the girl she once called her heart’s sister.
Yes No Maybe So by Becky Albertalli and Aisha Saeed (February 4)
Why You Should Be Excited: Two of my favorite authors teaming up for a coming-of-age romance? That is all YES, no “no” or “maybe so.” — Gabrielle Bondi
Official Description: New York Times bestselling authors Becky Albertalli and Aisha Saeed have crafted a resonant, funny, and memorable story about the power of love and resistance.
YES: Jamie Goldberg is cool with volunteering for his local state senate candidate—as long as he’s behind the scenes. When it comes to speaking to strangers (or, let’s face it, speaking at all to almost anyone), Jamie’s a choke artist. There’s no way he’d ever knock on doors to ask people for their votes…until he meets Maya.
NO: Maya Rehman’s having the worst Ramadan ever. Her best friend is too busy to hang out, her summer trip is canceled, and now her parents are separating. Why her mother thinks the solution to her problems is political canvassing—with some awkward dude she hardly knows—is beyond her.
MAYBE SO: Going door to door isn’t exactly glamorous, but maybe it’s not the worst thing in the world. After all, the polls are getting closer—and so are Maya and Jamie. Mastering local activism is one thing. Navigating the cross-cultural romance of the century is another thing entirely.
Of Curses and Kisses by Sandhya Menon (February 18)
Why You Should Be Excited: Lovers of Menon’s sweet romances, fairy tale retellings, and boarding schools — this one seems perfect for me and you. Menon’s new series starts with a Beauty and the Beast story with a modern-day twist set at St. Rosetta’s Academy. How amazing does that sound? — Marena Galluccio
Official Description: From the New York Times bestselling author of When Dimple Met Rishi comes the first novel in a brand-new series set at an elite international boarding school, that’s a contemporary spin on Beauty and the Beast.
Will the princess save the beast?
For Princess Jaya Rao, nothing is more important than family. When the loathsome Emerson clan steps up their centuries-old feud to target Jaya’s little sister, nothing will keep Jaya from exacting her revenge. Then Jaya finds out she’ll be attending the same elite boarding school as Grey Emerson, and it feels like the opportunity of a lifetime. She knows what she must do: Make Grey fall in love with her and break his heart. But much to Jaya’s annoyance, Grey’s brooding demeanor and lupine blue eyes have drawn her in. There’s simply no way she and her sworn enemy could find their fairy-tale ending…right?
His Lordship Grey Emerson is a misanthrope. Thanks to an ancient curse by a Rao matriarch, Grey knows he’s doomed once he turns eighteen. Sequestered away in the mountains at St. Rosetta’s International Academy, he’s lived an isolated existence—until Jaya Rao bursts into his life, but he can’t shake the feeling that she’s hiding something. Something that might just have to do with the rose-shaped ruby pendant around her neck…
As the stars conspire to keep them apart, Jaya and Grey grapple with questions of love, loyalty, and whether it’s possible to write your own happy ending.
House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. Maas (March 3)
Why You Should Be Excited: Throne of Glass and ACOTAR fans — *raises both of her hands* — the drought is nearly done. Maas is back with a new adult series filled with fae, angels, demons, a murder mystery, and a steamy romance. Can it be March already? — Marena Galluccio
Official Description: #1 New York Times bestselling author Sarah J. Maas launches her brand-new CRESCENT CITY series with House of Earth and Blood: the story of half-Fae and half-human Bryce Quinlan as she seeks revenge in a contemporary fantasy world of magic, danger, and searing romance.
Bryce Quinlan had the perfect life—working hard all day and partying all night—until a demon murdered her closest friends, leaving her bereft, wounded, and alone. When the accused is behind bars but the crimes start up again, Bryce finds herself at the heart of the investigation. She’ll do whatever it takes to avenge their deaths.
Hunt Athalar is a notorious Fallen angel, now enslaved to the Archangels he once attempted to overthrow. His brutal skills and incredible strength have been set to one purpose—to assassinate his boss’s enemies, no questions asked. But with a demon wreaking havoc in the city, he’s offered an irresistible deal: help Bryce find the murderer, and his freedom will be within reach.
As Bryce and Hunt dig deep into Crescent City’s underbelly, they discover a dark power that threatens everything and everyone they hold dear, and they find, in each other, a blazing passion—one that could set them both free, if they’d only let it.
With unforgettable characters, sizzling romance, and page-turning suspense, this richly inventive new fantasy series by #1 New York Times bestselling author Sarah J. Maas delves into the heartache of loss, the price of freedom—and the power of love.
The Midnight Lie by Marie Rutkoski (March 3)
Why You Should Be Excited: Marie Rutkoski’s Winner’s trilogy is one of the most stunning and well-written series I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. This new romance featuring a sapphic relationship is bound to be as gorgeous and romantic as her last. — Brianna Robinson
Official Description: Where Nirrim lives, crime abounds, a harsh tribunal rules, and society’s pleasures are reserved for the High Kith. Life in the Ward is grim and punishing. People of her low status are forbidden from sampling sweets or wearing colors. You either follow the rules, or pay a tithe and suffer the consequences.
Nirrim keeps her head down and a dangerous secret close to her chest.
But then she encounters Sid, a rakish traveler from far away who whispers rumors that the High Caste possesses magic. Sid tempts Nirrim to seek that magic for herself. But to do that, Nirrim must surrender her old life. She must place her trust in this sly stranger who asks, above all, not to be trusted.
Set in the world of the New York Times–bestselling Winner’s Trilogy, beloved author Marie Rutkoski returns with an epic LGBTQ romantic fantasy about learning to free ourselves from the lies others tell us—and the lies we tell ourselves.
Ghost Squad by Claribel A. Ortega (April 7)
Why You Should Be Excited: I’ve followed Claribel on Twitter for a while, so I’ve been hyped about Ghost Squad since the very beginning. I know it’s bound to be a fun adventure with charming characters and a very amazing cat, Chunk. — Brianna Robinson
Official Description: Coco meets Stranger Things with a hint of Ghostbusters in this action-packed supernatural fantasy.
For Lucely Luna, ghosts are more than just the family business.
Shortly before Halloween, Lucely and her best friend, Syd, cast a spell that accidentally awakens malicious spirits, wreaking havoc throughout St. Augustine. Together, they must join forces with Syd’s witch grandmother, Babette, and her tubby tabby, Chunk, to fight the haunting head-on and reverse the curse to save the town and Lucely’s firefly spirits before it’s too late.
With the family dynamics of Coco and action-packed adventure of Ghostbusters, Claribel A. Ortega delivers both a thrillingly spooky and delightfully sweet debut novel.
The Empire of Dreams by Rae Carson (April 7)
Why You Should Be Excited: When I found out that Rae Carson was returning to the world of the Girl of Fire and Thorns, I was so excited! Carson is one of my favorite writers, as her stories capture such captivating journeys with characters that feel real and familiar. — Gabrielle Bondi
Official Description: New York Times-bestselling author Rae Carson makes a triumphant return to the world of her award-winning Girl of Fire and Thorns trilogy in this extraordinary stand-alone novel. With action, adventure, and a heroine set on destroying the patriarchal limits meant to keep her in her place, The Empire of Dreams once again proves that Rae Carson is a master of epic fantasy.
Even though Red Sparkle Stone is a foundling orphan with an odd name and a veiled past, she’s about to be adopted into the royal family—by Empress Elisa herself. Sixteen-year-old Red can hardly believe her luck. Then, in a stunning political masterstroke, the empress’s greatest rival blocks the adoption, and Red is left with no family and no future.
Grieving and lost, but determined to find her place, Red hatches a daring plan: she will prove herself as a recruit for the world’s most elite fighting force, the legendary Royal Guard—something no woman has done before. But it’s no coincidence that someone wanted her to fail as a princess, someone whose shadowy agenda puts everything she loves at risk. As danger closes in, it will be up to Red and her new friends—and maybe some new enemies—to save the empire. If they can survive recruitment year.
Incendiary (Hollow Crown #1) by Zoraida Córdova (April 28)
Why You Should Be Excited: I am always looking for fantasy epics that draw on Spanish culture and traditions. This new series from Zoraida Córdova sounds like it will take readers on an incredible journey. — Gabrielle Bondi
Official Description: I am Renata Convida. I have lived a hundred stolen lives. Now I live my own.
Renata Convida was only a child when she was kidnapped by the King’s Justice and brought to the luxurious palace of Andalucia. As a Robari, the rarest and most feared of the magical Moria, Renata’s ability to steal memories from royal enemies enabled the King’s Wrath, a siege that resulted in the deaths of thousands of her own people.
Now Renata is one of the Whispers, rebel spies working against the crown and helping the remaining Moria escape the kingdom bent on their destruction. The Whispers may have rescued Renata from the palace years ago, but she cannot escape their mistrust and hatred–or the overpowering memories of the hundreds of souls she turned “hollow” during her time in the palace.
When Dez, the commander of her unit, is taken captive by the notorious Sangrado Prince, Renata will do anything to save the boy whose love makes her place among the Whispers bearable. But a disastrous rescue attempt means Renata must return to the palace under cover and complete Dez’s top secret mission. Can Renata convince her former captors that she remains loyal, even as she burns for vengeance against the brutal, enigmatic prince? Her life and the fate of the Moria depend on it.
But returning to the palace stirs childhood memories long locked away. As Renata grows more deeply embedded in the politics of the royal court, she uncovers a secret in her past that could change the entire fate of the kingdom–and end the war that has cost her everything.
The Notorious Virtues by Alwyn Hamilton (May 5)
Why You Should Be Excited: The premise alone—a thriller set against a high stakes magical competition—for The Notorious Virtues sounds so good! — Gabrielle Bondi
Official Description: Bestselling Rebel of the Sands author Alwyn Hamilton is back with a glittering thriller about a glamorous media darling, a surprise heiress, and the magical competition of a lifetime.
At sixteen, Honora “Nora” Holtzfall is the daughter of the most powerful heiress in all of Walstad. Her family controls all the money–and all the magic–in the entire country. But despite being the center of attention, Nora has always felt like an outsider. When her mother is found dead in an alley, the family throne and fortune are suddenly up for grabs, and Nora will be pitted against her cousins in the Veritaz, the ultimate magical competition for power that determines the one family heir.
But there’s a surprise contestant this time: Lotte, the illegitimate daughter of Nora’s aunt. When Lotte’s absent mother retrieves her from the rural convent she’d abandoned her to, Lotte goes from being an orphan to surrounded by family. Unfortunately, most of them want her dead.
And soon, Nora discovers that her mother’s death wasn’t random–it was murder. And the only person she can trust to uncover the truth of what happened is a rakish young reporter who despises everything Nora and her family stand for.
With everyone against her, Lotte’s last hope is hunting for the identity of her father. But the dangerous competition–and her feelings for Theo, one of the Holtzfalls’ sworn protectors–turns her world upside down.
Incredible tests, impossible choices and deadly odds await both girls. But there can only be one winner.
The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins (May 19)
Why You Should Be Excited: It almost goes without saying that we are all excited for a new book set in the world of The Hunger Games. What new things will we learn from this prequel? We can’t wait to find out. — Gabrielle Bondi
Official Description: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes will revisit the world of Panem sixty-four years before the events of The Hunger Games, starting on the morning of the reaping of the Tenth Hunger Games.
Where Dreams Descend by Janella Angeles (June 2)
Why You Should Be Excited: A magical and risky competition that promises to be romantic and intense? What more can a reader want? I can’t wait to be enchanted by this debut. — Brianna Robinson
Official Description: In a city covered in ice and ruin, a group of magicians face off in a daring game of magical feats to find the next headliner of the Conquering Circus, only to find themselves under the threat of an unseen danger striking behind the scenes.
As each act becomes more and more risky and the number of missing magicians piles up, three are forced to reckon with their secrets before the darkness comes for them next.
The Star: Kallia, a powerful showgirl out to prove she’s the best no matter the cost
The Master: Jack, the enigmatic keeper of the club, and more than one lie told
The Magician: Demarco, the brooding judge with a dark past he can no longer hide
Where Dreams Descend is the startling and romantic first book in Janella Angeles’ debut Kingdom of Cards fantasy duology where magic is both celebrated and feared, and no heart is left unscathed.
Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas (June 9)
Why You Should Be Excited: Every time I see the cover and synopsis of this book, I want to scream because it sounds amazing. I’m really happy to see more own voices books that explore the intersectionality of the Latinx identity. I can’t wait to fall in love with Yadriel and Julian! — Andrea Gomez
Official Description: Yadriel has summoned a ghost, and now he can’t get rid of him.
When his traditional Latinx family has problems accepting his gender, Yadriel becomes determined to prove himself a real brujo. With the help of his cousin and best friend Maritza, he performs the ritual himself, and then sets out to find the ghost of his murdered cousin and set it free.
However, the ghost he summons is actually Julian Diaz, the school’s resident bad boy, and Julian is not about to go quietly into death. He’s determined to find out what happened and tie up some loose ends before he leaves. Left with no choice, Yadriel agrees to help Julian, so that they can both get what they want. But the longer Yadriel spends with Julian, the less he wants to let him leave.
Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia (June 30)
Why You Should Be Excited: I can not put into words how much I want this book in my hands. Moreno-Garcia is one of my favorite authors! Her books have always had gothic elements to them, so I’m so excited to see her fully take on the genre, especially in a book that takes place in Mexico! — Andrea Gomez
Official Description: From the author of Gods of Jade and Shadow comes a reimagining of the classic gothic suspense novel, a story about an isolated mansion in 1950s Mexico — and the brave socialite drawn to its treacherous secrets.
He is trying to poison me. You must come for me, Noemí. You have to save me.
After receiving a frantic letter from her newly-wed cousin begging for someone to save her from a mysterious doom, Noemí Taboada heads to High Place, a distant house in the Mexican countryside. She’s not sure what she will find — her cousin’s husband, a handsome Englishman, is a stranger, and Noemí knows little about the region.
Noemí is also an unlikely rescuer: She’s a glamorous debutante, and her chic gowns and perfect red lipstick are more suited for cocktail parties than amateur sleuthing. But she’s also tough, smart, and has an indomitable will, and she is not afraid: Not of her cousin’s new husband, who is both menacing and alluring; not of his father, the ancient patriarch who seems to be fascinated by Noemí; and not even of the house itself, which begins to invade Noemi’s dreams with visions of blood and doom.
Her only ally in this inhospitable abode is the family’s youngest son. Shy and gentle, he seems to want to help Noemí, but might also be hiding dark knowledge of his family’s past. For there are many secrets behind the walls of High Place. The family’s once colossal wealth and faded mining empire kept them from prying eyes, but as Noemí digs deeper she unearths stories of violence and madness.
And Noemí, mesmerized by the terrifying yet seductive world of High Place, may soon find it impossible to ever leave this enigmatic house behind.
Sía Martínez and the Moonlit Beginning of Everything by Raquel Vasquez Gilliland (August 4)
Why You Should Be Excited: Aliens, small desert towns, and a story about a Mexican American family? This book speaks to all of my interests! I love seeing Latinx voices in sci-fi and I’m so excited to see how the author interweaves the genre with immigration. — Andrea Gomez
Official Description: Aristotle & Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe meets Roswell by way of Laurie Halse Anderson in this astonishing, genre-bending novel about a Mexican American teen who discovers profound connections between immigration, folklore, and alien life.
It’s been three years since ICE raids and phone calls from Mexico and an ill-fated walk across the Sonoran. Three years since Sia Martinez’s mom disappeared. Sia wants to move on, but it’s hard in her tiny Arizona town where people refer to her mom’s deportation as “an unfortunate incident.”
Sia knows that her mom must be dead, but every new moon Sia drives into the desert and lights San Anthony and la Guadalupe candles to guide her mom home.
Then one night, under a million stars, Sia’s life and the world as we know it cracks wide open. Because a blue-lit spacecraft crashes in front of Sia’s car…and it’s carrying her mom, who’s very much alive.
As Sia races to save her mom from armed-quite-possibly-alien soldiers, she uncovers secrets as profound as they are dangerous in this stunning and inventive exploration of first love, family, immigration, and our vast, limitless universe.
The Nobleman’s Guide to Shipwreck and Scandal by Mackenzi Lee (August 18)
Why You Should Be Excited: Monty, Monty, Monty! Most of my excitement about this book comes from a desire to spend more time with Monty and his delightful wit — but I’m also excited to see how Mackenzi Lee portrays mental illness in a time when it was just as heavily stigmatized as being gay. She has a talent for making historical fiction come alive and sparkle like no other author I’ve read, dealing with hard issues seriously, but also with a significant amount of levity. — Abby Petree
Official Description: Return to the enchanting world of the Montague siblings in the finale to the New York Times bestselling and Stonewall Honor-winning series, featuring a teenage Adrian Montague as he desperately seeks the now adult Monty and Felicity—the older siblings he never knew he had.
The sole heir to his family’s fortune, Adrian Montague desperately wants to be free—from his father’s high expectations; the grief of losing his beloved mother; and the constant war being waged inside his mind. Adrian was diagnosed with hysteria at a young age and it’s always been kept a secret. But when he has a breakdown at his engagement party, the public learns Adrian’s worst fear: he might not be fit to run the Montague estate.
Thankfully, Adrian is given an opportunity to avoid the impending scandal: a trip to the Caribbean to claim the last of his mother’s possessions. But along the way, Adrian discovers another secret lurking in his family tree. He is actually the youngest of three children—his sister Felicity and brother “Monty” went missing over a decade ago. Now Adrian has the chance to find them and offer to pass the estate back to the rightful heirs.
Adrian expects to win his long-lost brother over with the promise of wealth and inheritance, while dreaming of a quiet life where Adrian doesn’t feel like a burden to anyone. But when Adrian finally tracks him down, Monty refuses to return home. The only thing he can convince Monty of is to accompany him across the ocean as an act of tribute to their mother, hoping that during the voyage he can persuade Monty into taking the weight of inheriting the estate off his shoulders.
When they reach their destination, Adrian and Monty find something hidden in their mother’s belongings—a clue pointing to a valuable artifact that could potentially save the Montague siblings from a curse that threatens their lives. But to retrieve it, they must chase an infamous myth through the wild sugar fields of Barbados to the haunting streets of New Orleans to mysterious uncharted islands off the edge of the map.
Blood & Honey by Shelby Mahurin (September 1)
Why You Should Be Excited: We get to spend more time with the handsome hunk that is Reid. I need Louise and Reid to live happily ever after; that is all I want! — Meagan Stanley
Official Description: Blood & Honey is the highly anticipated sequel to Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin.
Fable by Adrienne Young (September 1)
Why You Should Be Excited: I love scuba diving, and so I’m excited to read a fantasy with a treasure diving protagonist. Adrienne has said this story was her favorite to write, so it must be absolutely amazing. — Meagan Stanley
Official Description: TRADER. FIGHTER. SURVIVOR. Her story has just begun.
A new YA fantasy duology from New York Times bestselling author of Sky in the Deep. Seventeen-year-old Fable is a dredger—a freediver who excavates rare gemstones from the coral reefs that fill The Narrows. For the last four years, she’s been trying to get off the island of Jeval, find the father who abandoned her there, and claim her mother’s place on his trading crew. But when she finally makes it off the island, she discovers it may have been the safest place for her.