Finding Normalcy in Reading: Top 5 YA Novels of 2020

YA Fans Can Rejoice This Year With Legends, Magic, Mystery, and of Course, a Little Forbidden Romance
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Finding Normalcy in Reading: Top 5 YA Novels of 2020

Finding Normalcy in Reading: Top 5 YA Novels of 2020

We can all agree that 2020 was a challenging year filled with things we’d like to forget. I personally found a lot of solace in a lot of the books I lost myself in, and I think many readers would agree. With adjusting to the new normal of pandemic living, I found myself looking for anything that could help me establish that sense of normalcy. Lucky for me, I’ve always been an avid reader, and venturing to new worlds and experiencing epic stories are what—funny enough, helped me discover that regularity. Who would’ve thought that fictional lands and imaginary characters could help me regain my routine so much?

I’m sure YA authors didn’t know what was in store for 2020 when their books hit the shelves, but their readers would be truly thankful. This year’s batch of YA books tells the stories of epic highs and lows that readers can immerse themselves in to find that connection to that quirky character or that magical plot twist. The books released in this difficult year were nothing short of thrilling page-turners that provided a sense of comfort that we all needed. Here are our top five YA novels of 2020 in no particular order.


1. Legendborn by Tracy Deonn (512 Pages) (Published September 15, 2020)


After Bree witnesses a magical attack at her residential program for bright highschoolers, she meets the “Legendborn”—a secret society of students who hunt evil creatures. After her own magic unlocks and new memories about her mother’s death come to light, she must immerse herself into this secret society to uncover the dark truth. 

Why You Should Read It

Legendborn by Tracy Deonn is a thrilling story of mystery and magic. Bree is a strong and relatable protagonist who has to cope with her mother’s death while uncovering secrets about it. Deonn does an excellent job of letting the characters be unapologetically themselves. 


2. Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas (352 Pages) (Published September 1, 2020)


In order to prove to his Latinx family that he is a transgender boy, Yadriel performs a ritual to summon the ghost of his murdered cousin. The problem? He accidentally summons Julian Diaz, the bad boy who is determined to figure out what happened. Yadriel reluctantly agrees to help Julian so they can both get what they want, but as they work together, Yadriel finds himself growing closer to Julian.

Why You Should Read It

Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas is an empowering story that represents the transgender Latinx community and also, being true to yourself. The beautiful writing balances funny and joyful aspects paired with heartbreaking and painful moments that many people can relate to. Thomas tells the groundbreaking story of a gay, transgender Latinx boy who will stop at nothing to show his family who he is. 

3. These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong (464 Pages) (Published November 17, 2020)

Eighteen-year-old Juliette Cai returns to Shanghai to continue her role as the heir of the infamous Scarlet Gang. But as whispers and theories of a certain madness flow through the streets, Juliette must reluctantly join forces with Roma Montagov—the heir of her rival gang, the White Flowers. As long lost feelings of love and betrayal begin to arise, Juliette and Roma must work against all odds to bring down the monster hiding in the dark. 

Why You Should Read It

A Romeo and Juliet retelling set in 1926 Shanghai, need I say more? Chloe Gong’s fast-paced, gripping story entraps you from the very beginning. These Violent Delights will have readers rooting for these relentless characters, especially Juliette with her brave and reckless behavior as she does what she needs to do to get the job done. And that cliffhanger? I need book two IMMEDIATELY.


4. Fable by Adrienne Young (357 Pages) (Published September 1, 2020)


After her mother’s drowning and father’s abandonment, seventeen-year-old Fable has relied on her skills and quick-thinking to survive on an island inhabited by thieves. With the sea being the only home she’s ever had, Fable sets out on a journey with a young trader named West to find her father, and demands a place in his crew. Only, now her father’s dangerous rivalries have increased since she last saw him and her voyage becomes much more treacherous than she thought.

Why You Should Read It

Fable by Adrienne Young has spectacular world building and fleshed-out characters. Young is a master of her craft as she weaves difficult topics of abandonment and survival throughout Fable’s story, shining a light on her courage and strength. Fable is relentless in her pursuits to find her father and with West along for the ride, she’ll find that she needs to uncover some mysteries of her own. 


5. A Song of Wraiths and Ruin by Roseanne A. Brown (480 Pages) (Published June 2, 2020)

With being the underestimated Princess of Ziran, Karina doesn’t feel like she has what it takes to perform a resurrection ritual to bring back her murdered mother. Mustering up all the strength she has, Karina devises a diabolical plan to obtain the heart of a king to complete the ritual. All Malik wants is to start fresh with his sisters away from the only dreadful home he’s ever known. When Malik’s youngest sister is kidnapped by an evil spirit, Malik must kill Princess Karina by winning the Solstasia Competition put on by the princess herself.

Why You Should Read It

Roseanne A. Brown does an excellent job weaving relatable characters into a high fantasy setting. A Song of Wraiths and Ruin doesn’t shy away from difficult topics like anxiety, panic attacks, and abuse as we follow Karina and Malik on their journey to save their loved ones. With a unique magic system, incredible world-building, and three-dimensional characters, A Song of Wraiths and Ruin is not one you want to miss!

YA Books Aren’t Afraid to Tell a Real Story

As someone who has been reading young adult books for as long as I can remember, it’s wonderful to see them weaving real-world topics into their fictional settings. YA authors aren’t afraid to intertwine sensitive topics and issues into their books, which is important for young readers in today’s society. When readers look to escape into fictional worlds, they are looking for something they can relate to. The power of good storytelling roots itself in empathy where readers can find that one thing they can connect with. And readers can find that in these stories.

2020 has been nothing short of a difficult year for all of us, but in YA fiction, it has been a turning point. Now, when we pick up a YA book, we expect to find something that resonates with us in each story, something that will make us feel something. So I want to shout out all the YA authors out there who have written these fierce stories for their readers. Thank you for giving us a little joy this year. 

Interested in hosting a BooknBrunch event with one of our Top 5 YA Novels in 2020? Learn more by clicking here!

Brittany Amalfi

Brittany Amalfi is a 20- something- year- old developmental specialist living in Massachusetts where she loves all things New England. Brittany is currently pursuing her MFA in Creative Writing, and working on her young adult fantasy novel. When she isn’t writing, you can find her reading, working with awesome kiddos, and spending time with friends and family.

Favourite book: I can only choose one? Shadow and Bone by Leigh bardugo
                                 Favourite brunch spot: Primavera

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