In Retrospect: Best YA Books of 2020
By Shani Asokan Ceylon Today Features
Last year may not have been the best year in many ways, but if there’s a silver lining, it’s that 2020 was a good year for books. From science fiction to fantasy to feel good romances, last year saw a spate of new young adult book releases in a whole range of genres. So regardless of what you’re craving, be it drama, romance, mystery, magic or adventure, this list will help you find something to fit your reading palate.
Watch Over Me by Nina Lacour
Raised in the foster kid, Mia is used to being alone. So when a job opportunity comes her way to live alone on a remote farm on an isolated part of the Northern California coast she takes it without a second thought. Among the flowers and fog and waves crashing far below her, she hopes to finally find a new home, a real home. However, Mia isn’t told about the ghosts. The farm is a refuge, haunted by the past traumas of its young residents, traumas that will bring Mia’s own buried memories to the surface. Watch Over Me is a modern ghost story told in lyrical prose with overarching themes of resilience and rebirth.
The Kingdom of Back by Marie Lu
Musically gifted Nannerl Mozart has just one wish: to be remembered. However, while she delights audiences with her musical prowess, she has little hope of becoming the acclaimed composer she dreams of being.
Being a young woman in the 18th century Europe means composing is forbidden to her. All she can do is perform until she is of a marriageable age, and then her dreams will die just as they are, dreams. Nannerl’s hopes grow dim as her brother Wolfgang continues to excel, eclipsing her as he does. Until one day, a mysterious stranger arrives with a tempting offer: he can make her wish come true. There’s a catch though, his help may cost her everything.
They Wish They Were Us by by Jessica Goodman
In Gold Coast, Long Island, with its expensive shops and beautiful beaches, everything may appear to be perfect, but as Jill Newman found out three years ago, nothing is really as it seems. In Jill’s freshman year of high school, her best friend Shaila was killed by her boyfriend Graham. Soon after the incident, he confessed and the case was closed.
Jill tried to move on as best she could, but now three years later, it’s her senior year and the past comes back to haunt her. Jill’s senior year is set to be perfect; she’s a Player, a member of a not-so-secret society where members have the best parties, the highest grades and the admiration of the entire school. However, when Jill starts getting texts claiming Graham’s innocence, she is taken back to that fateful night on a dark beach. If Graham didn’t kill Shaila, it means her killer is still out there and Jill vows to find out who it is.
The Queen’s Assassin by Melissa De La Cruz
The Kingdom of Renovia has a deadly weapon and it’s Caledon Holt. No one can best him, be it brains or brawn, and that’s exactly why he’s the Queen’s best and only assassin. He’s also bound by an unbreakable vow to find a set of missing scrolls, stolen years ago during an uprising. Shadow is a young
assassin-in-training, trained by her mother and aunts. Though magic has been forbidden since the uprising, Shadow has been training in secret with hopes of one day becoming as good as the lauded Caledon Holt. When an attack on the Kingdom brings Cal and Shadow together, they’re forced to team up and hunt down this new threat. With war on the horizon, they must risk everything, even true love, to save what they hold dear.
The Cousins by Karen M. McManus
The Story kids, Milly, Aubrey and Jonah are cousins, but they barely know each other and have never met their grandmother- she disinherited their parents before they were born. So when they each receive a letter inviting them to work at her island resort for the summer, it’s a surprise. Their parents make it clear, they must go. This might be the one chance to get back into her good graces.
But when the three teenagers arrive on the island, they soon realise that their recluse grandmother has different plans. The longer they stay on the island, the darker and more sinister things get; the Story family is full of secrets and mystery and whatever it was that pulled them apart years ago isn’t over.