Another year has come and gone and young adult literature has thrived and basked under the sun, especially in these last few months. Diversity in literature has been a focal point of the genre this year, with books on inclusion and LBGTQ+ teens finding their way in the world. This year’s coming-to-age tales have inspired and given teens the courage to rise and find their voice among the already existing loud crowd ahead of them.
Young adult literature has always been written to motivate the next generation of readers. Still, it has been limited to the different types of people the stories were reaching in the past. Despite 2020 being a challenging year, young adult literature has hardened under pressure, turning into a real diamond in the rough.
With the added diversity and the unique storylines, people of different cultures and backgrounds worldwide feel more included and motivated to achieve greatness in today’s literature. Here are ten of the best books of 2020 that readers could not put down. These are the top books that blew up the literary world and, despite their newness, are already loved by fans everywhere.
the queen of nothing by holly black
The Queen of Nothing is what Jude is, after the Wicked King Cardan’s betrayal. She has been exiled, deemed powerless, and she now bides her time, determined to reclaim everything that the king she loves took from her. Jude knows her time will come when immense power and opportunity will once again be at her fingertips, and when Taryn shows up asking for a favor, Jude jumps at the chance to reclaim everything that was taken from her. Of course, Jude knows that helping Taryn will mean facing Cardan again, but the former mortal Queen of Faerie does not care. She trudges into Elfhame with conviction, only to find that it is not as she had left it. War is brewing, and a dormant yet powerful curse is on the brink of being unleashed. In times of turmoil, Jude has to figure out if reclaiming her power is all that it is cracked up to be while Elfhame is on the brink of destruction and lingering feelings for Cardan are still very much alive in her ambitious yet broken heart.
Felix ever after by Karen Callender
Despite his name, Felix Love has never been in love, but that does not mean he’s not searching for it. Sadly, the only problem is that Felix does not know if anyone will be able to love him for who he is. He has been marginalized too many times for being black, queer, and transgender, and the anonymous transphobic messages he’s been getting have not been helping his self-esteem. When Felix comes up with a plan for revenge to get back at all the people that have been bullying him for who he is, he did not expect to find himself in a quasi-love triangle and for complicated feelings to emerge. Now, Felix finally has a chance at love, but will his self-esteem issues get in the way?
chain of gold by Cassandra Clare
In a world where nightmares are a reality, live the Shadowhunters- humanity’s secret hunters who kill the demons that fester in the shadows causing destruction. Cordelia Carstairs is one of these Shadowhunters who had pledged her life to exterminate the evil from her world. She lives off a strict moral code and will do anything in her power to protect the mundanes and her people from Hell’s spawn. When Cordelia’s father is accused of a terrible crime, Cordelia puts her current Shadowhunter duties on pause to travel to London, hoping to prevent their family’s ruin. While there, Cordelia rekindles with her childhood friends, James and Lucie Herondale, and finds herself face to face with demons that walk in the daytime and kill with an incurable poison that penetrates the bloodstream. If Lucie wants to save her childhood home and her family from the evil that has taken over London’s streets, the young Shadowhunter must go on a hero’s journey to right the wrongs that have plagued her world and unlock a power that she never knew existed behind her skin and bones.
clap when you land by Elizabeth Acevedo
Planes- they are supposed to get you someplace safe. Their job is to descend into the airport gracefully, and humble passengers are allowed to clap when the plane lands and skids to a stop. The day a father got on a plane, however, the engines aboard failed him, and the plane descended early and crashed. There were no survivors, and Camino Rios and Yahaira Rios, two different girls in two different parts of the world, are left fatherless. To top it off, they have no idea that the other exists. The girls try to live without their father’s unwavering presence in their life and, in the process, they uncover the secret of one another’s existence. When the girls come together to mourn as one, they discover things about themselves they never knew and they become stronger in the process.
the Ballad of SOngbirds and snakes by Suzanne collins
The time has come for the tenth annual Hunger Games and Coriolanus Snow is preparing for his one shot at glory as a mentor in this year’s tournament to the death. Snow is hoping for a tribute to give him a quick victory this year because hard times have befallen the Snow family. It is up to Coriolanus to reclaim his house to its former glory. The only problem is that Snow has been given the female tribute from District 12, and the odds, well… they are heavily stacked against him. Snow knows that every choice he makes will affect this girl’s fate in the games and his own, and it is now or never in this fated game where only one tribute will remain standing at the end of the day.
You should see me in a crown by Leah johnson
Liz Lighty has always felt like an outcast, believing she was too black, too poor, and too awkward to be anything in her small, affluent, prom-obsessed midwestern town. She is okay with her status, though, knowing she is about to kiss Indiana goodbye and attend the exclusive Pennington College. Liz has her future all mapped out, and she is ready to navigate the halls of Pennington and no longer fulfill the outcast role that has been handed to her. There is just one problem. Liz’s financial aid, the aid she has been counting on, unexpectedly falls through, and Liz’s plans abruptly get thrown in the backseat. If Liz wants to go to Pennington, her only option is to get some scholarship money, and the one available scholarship is for prom king and queen. Liz is not too thrilled about competing in her school’s catty competition, but she knows she will receive enough loot to go to Pennington if she wins. Liz quickly signs up for the competition; the only problem is that the new girl, Mack, is running for queen and changes everything. Will Liz’s feelings for the new girl get in the way of her winning the crown, or will it propel her to achieve her goal and obtain the crown she was destined to wear?
midnight sun by Stephenie Meyer
Edward Cullen walks on earth as a vampire. He lives a pretty mundane life, living the façade as a seventeen-year-old high school student and then feasting on the blood of animals at night. He is pretty fed up with his existence and tired of trying to grapple with his rough past until he meets Bella Swan, a human whose blood sings to him in the most dangerous way possible. Bella is something Edward has never encountered before in his long life, and he is unsure if he wants to kill the young human girl or find a way to wiggle his way into her life. With his vampire family’s help, Edward goes on a journey of self-discovery as he finds himself falling in love with a human despite who he is and the forbidden nature of their relationship.
a good girl’s guide to murder by Holly Jackson
When Pip was in middle school, a perfect, pretty high school senior named Andie Bell was murdered. The killer – her boyfriend, Sal Singh – took his own life after he committed the crime. Pip and everyone else in Fairview’s town were shocked that Sal Singh was the murderer who ended Andie Bell’s life. But, when the police abruptly closed the case, the town quickly moved on. They deemed it a problem of the past and tried to move forward with a forced smile on their face. Now, five years later, the only one in Fairview that cannot let it go is Pip. She still cannot believe kind Sal Singh was the mastermind behind Andie Bell’s murder. It just does not seem logical to her. So, as a budding high school senior, Pip has decided to reexamine the case and see if the police falsely connected the dots to Sal. When Pip does find something the police missed, and dark secrets are unearthed five years late, Pip finds her life in danger just like Andie’s was all those years ago. Someone in Fairview does not like that Pip is digging around, and they might try to end her life to prove people should not poke their nose in other people’s deadly business.
Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas
Yadriel, a transgender boy determined to prove his gender to his traditional Latinx family, decides to summon a ghost with his cousin and best friend Maritza’s help. Of course, this summons of the undead is not a random act of boredom. Yadiel is set on resurrecting the ghost of his murdered cousin and setting it free. The summoning, however, does not go as planned. Instead of Yadriel once again being reunited with his cousin, he seems to have awakened his school’s resident bad boy instead, Julian Diaz, and he is not taking his death lightly. Julian is dead set on tying up some loose ends before passing on to the next life, and he has enlisted Yadriel to help him in his final hurrah. Yadriel finds himself going on an adventure with Maritza to help put Julian to rest. In the process, Yadriel finds himself getting a little more than he bargained for – including falling in love and becoming the man he always knew himself to be.
One of us is next by Karen m. McManus
It has been a year since the Bayview Four were cleared of Simon’s murder, and since then, Bayview High has been quiet… too quiet. Of course, some copycat gossip apps have popped up since Simon’s death, but none have been able to fill the gossip void quite as he could. Still, things are starting to change at Bayview High again, and this time, it is not an app that will wreak havoc through the high school’s halls, but a game of truth or dare. And, the targets- Phoebe, Maeve, and Knox- have no idea what is about to hit them and which secrets of theirs will get exposed if they don’t play along with Bayview’s newest game.