We’re already looking ahead to a new year of exciting Young Adult releases. From a Hunger Games prequel novel to fresh series from some of our favorite authors, there are many must-read books hitting shelves in 2020. Narrowing hundreds of upcoming releases down for this list was a challenge, but we know you’re going to want to read the 10 below the day they come out.
Release Date: January 7th from Disney-Hyperion
Why You’ll Love It: Tara Sim’s Timekeeper series is one of our favorite YA trilogies of all time. Her diverse, inclusive fantasy worlds are beautifully built, and her romances feel real no matter the imaginative setting. So when she announced that her new duology is a gender-swapped retelling of The Count of Monte Cristo, we were elated! Promising high stakes and intense adventure, Scavenge the Stars is the perfect read to kick off 2020.
For Fans of: Sabaa Tahir and Leigh Bardugo
Description: When Amaya rescues a mysterious stranger from drowning, she fears her rash actions have earned her a longer sentence on the debtor ship where she’s been held captive for years. Instead, the man she saved offers her unimaginable riches and a new identity, setting Amaya on a perilous course through the coastal city-state of Moray, where old-world opulence and desperate gamblers collide. Amaya wants one thing: revenge against the man who ruined her family and stole the life she once had. But the more entangled she becomes in this game of deception—and as her path intertwines with the son of the man she’s plotting to bring down—the more she uncovers about the truth of her past. And the more she realizes she must trust no one.
Release Date: January 14th from HarperTeen
Why You’ll Love It: We’re huge Adam Silvera fans at Paste, and his contemporary sci-fi genre-blending books, like More Happy Than Not and They Both Die at the End, are eternal favorites. Silvera’s latest novel in his first foray into fantasy, marking the start of an exciting duology about two brothers who find themselves in the middle of a magical war. His books consistently deliver powerful stories about relationships set against the backdrop of the fantastic, so we can’t wait to see how this story of brotherhood rolls out.
For Fans of: Melissa Grey and Ryan La Sala
Description: Growing up in New York, brothers Emil and Brighton always idolized the Spell Walkers—a vigilante group sworn to rid the world of specters. While the Spell Walkers and other celestials are born with powers, specters take them, violently stealing the essence of endangered magical creatures. Brighton wishes he had a power so he could join the fray. Emil just wants the fighting to stop. The cycle of violence has taken a toll, making it harder for anyone with a power to live peacefully and openly. In this climate of fear, a gang of specters has been growing bolder by the day. Then, in a brawl after a protest, Emil manifests a power of his own—one that puts him right at the heart of the conflict and sets him up to be the heroic Spell Walker Brighton always wanted to be.
Release Date: January 21st from HarperTeen
Why You’ll Love It: Lamar Giles has garnered critical acclaim for his YA thrillers, including two Edgar Award nominations. So we’re intrigued about what he’ll do with Not So Pure and Simple, his first contemporary novel. Promising a story that digs into toxic masculinity and societal pressures, it follows a boy learning to consider what someone else wants instead of thinking only of his own needs. We can’t wait for this one.
For Fans of: Brandy Colbert and Rebecca Barrow
Description: Del has had a crush on Kiera Westing since kindergarten. So when Kiera volunteers for an opportunity at their church, Del’s right behind her. Though he quickly realizes he’s inadvertently signed up for a Purity Pledge. His dad thinks his wires are crossed, and his best friend, Qwan, doesn’t believe any girl is worth the long game. But Del’s not about to lose his dream girl, and that’s where fellow pledger Jameer comes in. He can put in the good word. In exchange, Del just has to get answers to the Pledgers’ questions…about sex ed. With other boys circling Kiera like sharks, Del needs to make his move fast. But as he plots and plans, he neglects to ask the most important question: What does Kiera want?
Release Date: February 4th from Balzer + Bray
Why You’ll Love It: After reading an advance copy of Becky Albertalli and Aisha Saeed’s first co-written novel, we’ve already decided it’s one of our favorite books of 2020. This funny and heartwarming novel follows two teens going door to door as local activists, weaving a YA romance that will lift you up, page after page. It’s an absolute must-read, so make sure to pre-order it.
For Fans of: Amy Spalding, Julie Murphy and Meg Medina
Description: Jamie Goldberg is cool with volunteering for his local state senate candidate—as long as he’s behind the scenes. There’s no way he’d ever knock on doors to ask people for their votes…until he meets Maya Rehman. Maya’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 is beyond her. 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.
Release Date: April 28th from Disney-Hyperion
Why You’ll Love It: From her novels about witches to her books on mermaids, Córdova packs amazing world-building into her gorgeous prose. She’s another Paste favorite, and her stories are impossible to put down. Córdova’s latest, an epic fantasy set in a world in which magic is being hunted down through a horrifying inquisition, sounds like yet another incredible read in her collection. (Also, the third novel in her Labyrinth Lost series, Wayward Witch, publishes in 2020 as well as her first Middle Grade novel, The Way to Rio Luna!)
For Fans of: Melissa Grey, Sabaa Tahir, and Tomi Adeyemi
Description: Renata was only a child when she was kidnapped by the King’s Justice and brought to the luxurious palace of Andalucia. As a memory thief, the rarest and most feared of the magical Moria, Renata was used by the crown to carry out 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. When Dez, the commander of her unit—and the boy she’s grown to love—is taken captive by the notorious Principe Dorado, Renata must return to Andalucia and complete Dez’s top secret mission herself. Can she keep her cover, even as she burns for vengeance against the brutal, enigmatic prince? Her life and the fate of the Moria depend on it.
Release Date: May 12th from Balzer + Bray
Why You’ll Love It: Kacen Callender’s beautiful and inclusive reads are absolute must-haves for any YA reader. Any book Callender writes will be a highly anticipated title for us, including Felix Ever After. You don’t want to miss this story of a transgender teen wrestling with harassment and romance in the digital space.
For Fans of: Becky Albertalli and Meredith Russo
Description: Felix Love has never been in love—and, yes, he’s painfully aware of the irony. What’s worse is that, even though he is proud of his identity, Felix also secretly fears that he’s one marginalization too many—Black, queer and transgender—to ever get his own happily-ever-after. When an anonymous student begins sending him transphobic messages—after publicly posting Felix’s deadname alongside images of him before he transitioned—Felix comes up with a plan for revenge. What he didn’t count on: his catfish scenario landing him in a quasi-love triangle. But as he navigates his complicated feelings, Felix begins a journey of questioning and self-discovery that helps redefine his most important relationship: how he feels about himself.
Release Date: May 19th from Scholastic Press
Why You’ll Love It: There’s not much to go off of yet; we just know that Suzanne Collins is revisiting the world of The Hunger Games. That’s all we need to be excited for this one.
For Fans of:
The Hunger Games
The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes will revisit the world of Panem 64 years before the events of The Hunger Games, starting on the morning of the reaping of the Tenth Hunger Games.
Release Date: June 9th from Swoon Reads
Why You’ll Love It: After reading an advance copy of this one, we can confirm it’s a wildly memorable novel. Aiden Thomas’ novel follows a teen readying himself to become a witch, while wrestling with identity and first love. What makes it unique is that the love interest is, well, a ghost.
For Fans of: Zoraida Córdova and Michelle Krys
Description: 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. But the longer Yadriel spends with Julian, the less he wants to let him leave.
Release Date: August 11th from HarperTeen
Why You’ll Love It: We’ve been fans of Shveta Thakrar’s short stories for a while now (you can find them online in Uncanny Magazine and Mothership Zeta; they’re also in anthologies like Toil & Trouble and A Thousand Beginnings and Endings). And now we’re finally getting a look at her debut novel, which is a diverse fantasy tale that weaves Hindu mythology into what will inevitably be a gorgeous book.
For Fans of: Sangu Mandanna and Neil Gaiman
Description: The daughter of a star and a mortal, Sheetal is used to keeping secrets. But when a flare of starfire injures her human father, Sheetal needs a full star’s help to heal him. A star like her mother, who returned to the sky long ago. Sheetal’s quest will take her to a celestial court of shining wonders and dark shadows, where she must act as her family’s champion in a competition to decide the next ruling house of the heavens—or risk never returning to Earth at all.
Zara Hossain Is Here by Sabina Khan
Release Date: November 10th from Scholastic Press
Why You’ll Love It: Last but certainly not least is Sabina Khan’s latest, which digs into what it means to be an immigrant in today’s political landscape. Her debut, The Love and Lies of Rukhsana Ali was a wildly moving novel, and we’re expecting more of that heartstring-pulling here.
For Fans of: Aisha Saeed and Jenny Torez-Sanchez
Description: Seventeen-year-old Pakistani immigrant, Zara Hossain, has been leading a fairly typical life in Corpus Christi, Texas, since her family moved there for her father to work as a pediatrician. While dealing with the Islamophobia that she faces at school, Zara has to lay low, trying not to stir up any trouble and jeopardize their family’s dependent visa status while they await their green card approval, which has been in process for almost nine years. But one day her tormentor, star football player Tyler Benson leaves a threatening note in her locker and gets suspended. As an act of revenge against her for speaking out, Tyler and his friends vandalize Zara’s house with racist graffiti, leading to a violent crime that puts Zara’s entire future at risk. Now she must pay the ultimate price and choose between fighting to stay in the only place she’s ever called home or losing the life she loves and everyone in it.
Looking for even more reading recommendations? Check out our lists of the most anticipated novels and the most anticipated nonfiction books of 2020.