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Best Young Adult Fiction of 2020 according to 5 sources

Best Young Adult Books of 2020

2020 has been a great year for books if nothing else. I read a lot more young adult fiction than ever before and found that these books to more literary than I expected.

I went through 5 different lists to compile the ultimate list of best young adult fiction of 2020. The books in the main list are the ones which were more than one list and the rest are the ones which were only on one list.

I have not counted any young adult fantasy because that genre deserves a list of its own

1. Felix Ever After

Author – Kacen Callender

Best Young Adult Books of 2020

“Felix Love has never been in love. He desperately wants to know what it’s like and why it seems so easy for everyone but him to find someone. Felix also secretly fears that he’s one marginalization too many—Black, queer, and transgender. When an anonymous student begins sending him transphobic messages. Felix comes up with a plan for revenge.”

2. You Should See Me in a Crown

Author – Leah Johnson

Best Young Adult Books of 2020

“Liz Lighty has always believed she’s too black, too poor, too awkward to shine in her small, rich, prom-obsessed midwestern town. But it’s okay, Liz has a plan that will get her out of Campbell, Indiana. But when the financial aid she was counting on unexpectedly falls through, Liz’s plans come crashing down . . . until she’s reminded of her school’s scholarship for prom king and queen.”

3. We Used to be Friends

Author – Amy Spalding

Best Young Adult Books of 2020

We Used to Be Friends explores the most traumatic breakup of all: that of childhood besties. At the start of their senior year in high school, James (a girl with a boy’s name) and Kat are inseparable, but by graduation, they’re no longer friends. James prepares to head off to college as she reflects on the dissolution of her friendship with Kat while, in alternating chapters, Kat thinks about being newly in love with her first girlfriend and having a future that feels wide open.”

4. Grown

Author – Tiffany D. Jackson

Best Young Adult Books of 2020

“Korey Fields is dead. When Enchanted Jones wakes with blood on her hands and zero memory of the previous night, no one—the police and Korey’s fans included—has more questions than she does. All she really knows is that this isn’t how things are supposed to be. Korey was Enchanted’s ticket to stardom. Enchanted is dazzled by Korey’s luxurious life but soon her dream turns into a nightmare. Behind Korey’s charm and star power hides a dark side, one that wants to control her every move, with rage and consequences.”

5. Tweet Cute

Author – Emma Lord

Best Young Adult Books of 2020

“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?? â€• 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.”

6. Clap When You Land

Author – Elizabeth Acevedo

Best Young Adult Books of 2020

“Camino Rios lives for the summers when her father visits her in the Dominican Republic. But this time, on the day when his plane is supposed to land, Camino arrives at the airport to see crowds of crying people. New York City, Yahaira Rios is called to the principal’s office, where her mother is waiting to tell her that her father, her hero, has died in a plane crash.Separated by distance—and Papi’s secrets—the two girls are forced to face a new reality in which their father is dead and their lives are forever altered.”

7. Today Tonight Tomorrow

Author – Rachel Lynn Johnson

Best Young Adult Books of 2020

“It’s the last day of senior year. Rowan Roth and Neil McNair have been bitter rivals for all of high school, clashing on test scores, student council elections, and even gym class pull-up contests. While Rowan, who secretly wants to write romance novels, is anxious about the future, she’d love to beat her infuriating nemesis one last time. As Rowan spends more time with Neil, she realizes he’s much more than the awkward linguistics nerd she’s sparred with for the past four years. And, perhaps, this boy she claims to despise might actually be the boy of her dreams.”

8. Furia

Author – Yamile Saied Mendez

Best Young Adult Books of 2020

“In Rosario, Argentina, Camila Hassan lives a double life. At home, she is a careful daughter, living within her mother’s narrow expectations, in her rising-soccer-star brother’s shadow, and under the abusive rule of her short-tempered father. On the field, she is La Furia, a powerhouse of skill and talent. When her team qualifies for the South American tournament, Camila gets the chance to see just how far those talents can take her. In her wildest dreams, she’d get an athletic scholarship to a North American university. But the path ahead isn’t easy. Her parents don’t know about her passion. They wouldn’t allow a girl to play fĂştbol—and she needs their permission to go any farther.”

9. This is My America

Author – Kim Johnson

“Every week, seventeen-year-old Tracy Beaumont writes letters to Innocence X, asking the organization to help her father, an innocent Black man on death row. After seven years, Tracy is running out of time—her dad has only 267 days left. Then the unthinkable happens. The police arrive in the night, and Tracy’s older brother, Jamal, goes from being a bright, promising track star to a “thug” on the run, accused of killing a white girl. Determined to save her brother, Tracy investigates what really happened between Jamal and Angela down at the Pike. But will Tracy and her family survive the uncovering of the skeletons of their Texas town’s racist history that still haunt the present?”

10. A Song Below Water

Author – Bethany C. Morrow

Best Young Adult Books of 2020

“Tavia is already at odds with the world, forced to keep her siren identity under wraps in a society that wants to keep her kind under lock and key. At least she has her bestie Effie by her side. But everything changes in the aftermath of a siren murder trial that rocks the nation; the girls’ favorite Internet fashion icon reveals she’s also a siren, and the news rips through their community.”

11. The Gravity of Us

Author – Phil Stamper

Best Young Adult Books of 2020

“Seventeen-year-old Cal is used to sharing his life online. But when his pilot father is selected for a highly publicized NASA mission to Mars, Cal and his family relocate from Brooklyn to Houston and are thrust into a media circus.Amidst the chaos, Cal meets sensitive and mysterious Leon, another “Astrokid,” and finds himself falling head over heels—fast.”

12. One of Us is Next

Author – Karen M. McManus

Best Young Adult Books of 2020

“A ton of copycat gossip apps have popped up since Simon died, but in the year since the Bayview four were cleared of his shocking death, no one’s been able to fill the gossip void quite like he could. The problem is no one has the facts. Until now. This time it’s not an app, though—it’s a game. Truth or Dare. Phoebe’s the first target. If you choose not to play, it’s a truth. And hers is dark. Then comes Maeve and she should know better—always choose the dare. But by the time Knox is about to be tagged, things have gotten dangerous.”

13. Majesty

Author – Katherine McGee

“As America adjusts to the idea of a queen on the throne, Beatrice grapples with everything she lost when she gained the ultimate crown. Samantha is busy living up to her “party princess” persona…and maybe adding a party prince by her side. Nina is trying to avoid the palace–and Prince Jefferson–at all costs. And a dangerous secret threatens to undo all of Daphne’s carefully laid “marry Prince Jefferson” plans.”

14. Yes No Maybe So

Author – Aisha Saeed/Becky Albertalli

“Jamie Goldberg is cool with volunteering for his local state senate candidate—as long as he’s behind the scenes. 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. Going door to door isn’t exactly glamorous, but maybeit’s not the worst thing in the world. After all, the polls are getting closer—and so are Maya and Jamie.”

15. Punching the Air

Author – Ibi Zoboi

“Amal Shahid has always been an artist and a poet. But even in a diverse art school, he’s seen as disruptive and unmotivated by a biased system. Then one fateful night, an altercation in a gentrifying neighborhood escalates into tragedy. “Boys just being boys” turns out to be true only when those boys are white. Suddenly, at just sixteen years old, Amal’s bright future is upended: he is convicted of a crime he didn’t commit and sent to prison.”


HONORABLE MENTIONS

  1. Dear Justyce – Nic Stone
  2. Watch Over Me – Nina LaCour
  3. They Wish They Were Us – Jessica Goodman
  4. Of Curses & Kisses – Sandhya Menon
  5. This Is Your Fault – Amina Mae Safi
  6. A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder – Holly Jackson
  7. The Henna Wars – Adiba Jaigirdar
  8. Darius the Great Deserves Better – Adib Khorram
  9. Woven in Moonlight – Isabel Ibanez
  10. Camp – L. C. Rosen

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