December 2020

Best Books of 2020: Young Adult

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December 2020

Best Books of 2020: Young Adult

Feature by
December 2020

Best Books of 2020: Young Adult

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Should you pick up one of the best young adult books of 2020, we can make you a promise: Each and every one of them will defy your expectations.


10. The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea by Maggie Tokuda-Hall

Tokuda-Hall’s first YA novel reads like an undiscovered classic with impressive modern flair.

9. Girl, Unframed by Deb Caletti

Girl, Unframed is a perceptive story of a young woman’s journey to understanding the persistent contradictions that govern the lives of women.

8. Kent State by Deborah Wiles

This slim verse novel, narrated from multiple perspectives, serves as a historical record of a national tragedy and a call to action for every American.

7. Not So Pure and Simple by Lamar Giles

Giles’ novel is a masterful exploration of gender roles and toxic masculinity, anchored in an authentic teen boy’s voice.

6. The Gravity of Us by Phil Stamper

"The Gravity of Us has all the ingredients I love in a truly great love story. It made my heart sing."—Stephanie, Associate Editor

5. Elatsoe by Darcie Little Badger, illustrated by Rovina Cai

Little Badger’s first book wraps a page-turning mystery up in some of the most inventive and clever world building of the year.

4. We Are Not From Here by Jenny Torres Sanchez

This lyrical, visceral tale of three teens forced to leave their homeland in search of a better life is jaw-droppingly, heart-stoppingly powerful.

3. Foreshadow, edited by Emily X.R. Pan and Nova Ren Suma

"This anthology of new voices exemplifies the best of what short stories and young adult literature can be."—Stephanie, Associate Editor

2. Legendborn by Tracy Deonn

Deonn’s debut is an extremely satisfying contemporary fantasy novel that upends the tropes of the genre.

1. Dragon Hoops by Gene Luen Yang

Dragon Hoops is the “Friday Night Lights” of graphic literature: It’s a story about a basketball team, but it’s also a brilliant story about storytelling itself.

ALSO IN BOOKPAGE: Discover all of BookPage’s Best Books of 2020.

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