Written by Kendall Olson
As an avid lifelong reader, library employee, and hopeful future librarian, I see hundreds of different books in a week. While it is always difficult to discern from the summary and book cover if it will truly be a good read or not, my motto is that it is always a good idea to check it out just in case!
However, since I spend a good chunk of free time reading so much, I have compiled a list of some of my favorite 2020 releases for far, so that you don’t have to sift through so many back covers.
1. Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins
Who isn’t excited for a return to the world of the Hunger Games. A prequel set before the time of Katniss and Peeta, focusing on the young life of President Snow, known as Coriolanus. Although this book has been getting a lot of mixed reviews, it showed a completely different, but just as complex world, of early Panem. There was a lot of world building and the characters will grow on you, and doesn’t fail to bring the excitement and intrigue of the first series.
2. Be Not Far From Me by Mindy McGinnis
An exciting adventure survival story in the point of view of teenage Ashely who has grown up in the forest learning about survival. This is an exciting and quick moving standalone novel.
There isn’t a huge emphasis on romance, which is not the norm for many YA novels, but is part of what makes the story so refreshing. The importance is placed more on family, friendships, and having your own inner strength.
3. Scavenge the Stars by Tara Sim
My only to-read on this list, which I am including due to very high recommendation from several of my fellow librarians! Everything about it sounds fantastic, the cover is beautiful, and its the perfect quick read at just about 300 pages. A retelling of the Count of Monte Cristo, but with a female main character, what could be more exciting?!
4. Almost American Girl: An Illustrated Memoir by Robin Ha
Released in January, this graphic novel tells the story of the author's life. The characters are all very endearing, with intricate and colorful art that makes this an easy read. The story is an important one, showing the struggles of immigrating to a new country, especially as a young girl.
5. The Kingdom of Back by Marie Lu
This book is a great read for all ages. It is a very cute story, but with plenty of serious moments to keep the plot moving. Lu writes the story of Nannerl Mozart, the sister of famous composer Wolfgang Mozart. Eighteenth century family dynamics combined with a magical world makes for an interesting read.
6. The Betrothed by Kiera Cass
If you’re like me and absolutely cannot resist a cliche historical romance, then this is the book for you! The first in a duology, Hollis Brite is engaged to the King, only to realize she truly loves another. Full of mushy, predictable romance, but is a comfortable and quick read.
Honorable Mention #1: Crescent City by Sarah J. Maas
While technically not a young adult novel, Maas is an extremely popular YA author. This book definitely fits in with her other books, featuring several badass female main characters and exciting faerie worlds filled with fantasy-inspired powers. This book is confusing at first, having a lot of information to absorb in the beginning, but becomes difficult to put down very quickly.
Honorable Mention #2: Chosen Ones by Veronica Roth
There must be a trend this year of YA authors branching out into adult fantasy! Author of the Divergent series creates a whole new world. Chosen Ones tells the story of teenage heroes who saved the world and are now recognized everywhere they. It humanizes heroes and explores several difficult problems.