What's Up in YA

đź“š Add These 2020 YA Novels To Your TBR Now

Hey YA Readers: Let’s talk 2020 reads!

“What’s Up in YA?” is sponsored by Penguin Teen.

Eighteen-year-old Gu Miyoung has a secret—she’s a gumiho, a nine-tailed fox who must devour the energy of men in order to survive. Miyoung crosses paths with Jihoon, a human boy, being attacked by a goblin deep in the forest. Against her better judgment, she rescues the boy, losing her gumiho soul in the process. Miyoung and Jihoon develop a tenuous friendship that blossoms into something more. When a shaman tries to reunite Miyoung with her gumiho soul, the consequences are disastrous and reignite a generations-old feud . . . forcing Miyoung to choose between her immortal life and Jihoon’s.

It’s half-way through 2019, which means it’s the perfect time to begin pining for the YA books that’ll hit shelves next year. Certainly, we’ll be highlighting more books out this year, too, but there’s nothing nicer than planning even further ahead.

Take a peek at these six amazing-sounding YA titles you’ll be able to read next year. Since I (obviously!) haven’t read them yet, I’m pulling from Amazon descriptions. But you better believe I’ve just increased my TBR.

I’ve included beloved authors in this list, as well as new voices, to offer up a rich tapestry of stories.

Every Reason We Shouldn’t by Sara Fujimura (March 3)

Fifteen-year-old, biracial figure skater Olivia Kennedy’s Olympic dreams have ended. She’s bitter, but enjoying life as a regular teenager instead of an athlete… until Jonah Choi starts training at her family’s struggling rink. Jonah’s driven, talented, going for the Olympics in speed skating, completely annoying… and totally gorgeous. Between teasing Jonah, helping her best friend try out for roller derby, figuring out life as a normal teen and keeping the family business running, Olivia’s got her hands full. But will rivalry bring her closer to Jonah, or drive them apart?

The King’s Questioner by Nikki Katz (January 14)

Kalen is a mental picklock, able to access a person’s memories and secrets by touch. His skills make him the perfect questioner to the king, and he spends his days interrogating prisoners of the crown.

But when Kalen’s estranged childhood friend, Prince Cirrus, falls into a sudden coma, the king begs Kalen to intervene. By accessing Cirrus’s mind, Kalen saves his life―and uncovers a terrifying secret. The prince has a sister, banished long ago, and she is the key to the destruction or survival of the kingdom.

With the help of Cirrus and a silver-haired thief named Luna, Kalen must find the princess and bring her home. Or risk death at the hands of his king.

Not So Pure and Simple by Lamar Giles (January 21)

I’ve spent a good chunk of time looking for a description of this one and cannot find it as of this writing.  But…it’s Lamar Giles and that cover is on fire. This is one of those “just trust me” situations.



A Phoenix First Must Burn edited by Patrice Caldwell (March 10)

In 2018, sixteen unique, distinctive voices on the cutting edge of young adult fiction embarked on a challenge: together, to depict the past, present, parallel, and future of the Black female and gender nonconforming (GNC) experience. Their goal was to weave worlds where Black women are centered, and the result is a stunning collaboration filled with stories of love and betrayal, folktales and magic, from retellings of legends to explorations of yet-to-be invented technologies. In fantasy and science fiction, these sixteen acclaimed authors introduce us to unforgettable characters like Solange, who sheds her skin nightly to transform into a ball of fire and fly above her Caribbean island, or Abigail Crow, a girl armed only with her smarts and her .38 who must defend her New Mexico homestead from marauders, or Mae Mitchell, a Brooklyn-born, space-bound alien interrogator. Witches and scientists, sisters and lovers, priestesses and rebels: the heroines of A Phoenix First Must Burn are on fire, and they shine brightly. You won’t soon forget their stories.

Reverie by Ryan La Sala (January 7)

Inception meets The Magicians, except with better wigs and a maniacal drag queen sorceress attempting to unravel the reality of Connecticut (yes, the state) and replace it with something…well something better than Connecticut.

Ryan La Sala’s debut fantasy is an #OwnVoices story following Kane Montgomery, a gay teenager piecing his life back together after an attack robs him of his memories. As Kane searches for who he was, he uncovers a war for the creative rights to reality itself, each battle played out in an imagined world turned real: a reverie.

Reveries are worlds born from a person’s private fantasies, and once they manifest they can only be unraveled by bringing their conflicts to resolution. Reveries have rules and plots, magic and monsters, and one wrong step could twist the entire thing into a lethal, labyrinthine nightmare. Unraveling them is dangerous work, but it’s what Kane and The Others do.

Or did, until one of The Others purged Kane of his memories. But now Kane is back, and solving the mystery of his betrayal is the only way to unite his team and defeat reality’s latest threat: Poesy, a sorceress bent on harvesting the reveries for their pure, imaginative power.

But what use might a drag queen sorceress have with a menagerie of stolen reveries? And should Kane, a boy with no love for a team that betrayed him, fight to stop her, or defect to aid her?

Reverie is about the seduction of escaping inwards, about the worlds we hide within ourselves, and the danger of dreams that come true.

*Note: this description comes from Goodreads because there’s simply not one at Amazon at the time of writing.

Wicked As You Wish by Rin Chupeco  (March 3)

Tala Warnock has little use for magic – as a descendant of Maria Makiling, the legendary Filipina heroine, she negates spells, often by accident. But her family’s old ties to the country of Avalon (frozen, bespelled, and unreachable for almost 12 years) soon finds them guarding its last prince from those who would use his kingdom’s magic for insidious ends.

And with the rise of dangerous spelltech in the Royal States of America; the appearance of the firebird, Avalon’s deadliest weapon, at her doorstep; and the re-emergence of the Snow Queen, powerful but long thought dead, who wants nothing more than to take the firebird’s magic for her own – Tala’s life is about to get even more complicated….

*Note: Goodreads description.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t also highlight my Hey YA podcast cohost Eric Smith’s 2020 novel, too. I got to read Don’t Read The Comments super early and loved it and I suspect you will, too.

Don’t Read The Comments by Eric Smith (January 28)

Divya Sharma is a queen. Or she is when she’s playing Reclaim the Sun, the year’s hottest online game. Divya—better known as popular streaming gamer D1V—regularly leads her #AngstArmada on quests through the game’s vast and gorgeous virtual universe. But for Divya, this is more than just a game. Out in the real world, she’s trading her rising-star status for sponsorships to help her struggling single mom pay the rent.

Gaming is basically Aaron Jericho’s entire life. Much to his mother’s frustration, Aaron has zero interest in becoming a doctor like her, and spends his free time writing games for a local developer. At least he can escape into Reclaim the Sun—and with a trillion worlds to explore, disappearing should be easy. But to his surprise, he somehow ends up on the same remote planet as celebrity gamer D1V.

At home, Divya and Aaron grapple with their problems alone, but in the game, they have each other to face infinite new worlds…and the growing legion of trolls populating them. Soon the virtual harassment seeps into reality when a group called the Vox Populi begin launching real-world doxxing campaigns, threatening Aaron’s dreams and Divya’s actual life. The online trolls think they can drive her out of the game, but everything and everyone Divya cares about is on the line…

And she isn’t going down without a fight.


Thanks for hanging out and we’ll see you again soon!

— Kelly Jensen, @veronikellymars on Instagram and editor of (Don’t) Call Me Crazy and Here We Are.