Exciting YA books to look out for in 2020

The annual YA Showcase at State Library Victoria is a must-attend event, as a host of publishers give a tantalising peek at what’s being published for teen readers in the following year.

Here are some of the biggest and buzziest books from last night’s 2020 YA Showcase (and also a few other upcoming titles we’re excited about).


Contemporary & coming-of-age


  • Break the Fall by Jennifer Iacopelli - A fiercely told novel about one girl’s determination to push her body to win gold at the Olympics, and the power of uniting as women to speak out. (February)

  • A New Kind of Everything by Richard Yaxley - After their father’s reckless death, the two Gallagher brothers are drawn in dangerous directions, trying to overcome the trauma and violence they’ve known. (February)

  • And the Stars Were Burning Brightly by Danielle Jawondo - A debut novel about following the effect of one boy’s suicide on two people who were close to him. (March)

  • The Map from Here to There by Emery Lord - A high school senior contemplates the big life changes and decisions coming up in this companion novel to The Start of Me and You. (March)

  • How to Grow a Family Tree by Eliza Henry-Jones - A teenager has to cope with the chaos caused by her father’s gambling addiction at the same time as she receives a letter from her birth mother. (March)

  • Please Don’t Hug Me by Kay Kerr - Erin writes letters to her brother during her confusing and challenging final year of school in this Own Voices depiction of life on the cusp of adulthood – and on the autism spectrum. (April)

  • Taking Down Evelyn Tait by Poppy Nwosu - When her best friend starts dating her nemesis, Lottie seeks to bring Evelyn Tait down…with goodness. (April)

  • Peta Lyre’s Rating Normal by Anna Whateley - Peta tries to follow her therapist’s rules for ‘normal’ behaviour during an intense year of change in this Own Voices novel with a neurodiverse protagonist. (May)

  • When it Drops by Alex Dyson - Secretive teen musician Caleb has to deal with instant celebrity when his little brother leaks a very personal song online and it goes viral. (May)

  • Metal Fish Falling Snow by Cath Moore - When Dylan’s adored mother dies, she goes to live with her estranged father and his Guyanan family, in this powerful Own Voices novel that examines identity and grief. (May)

  • The F-Team by Rawah Arja - A rugby league competition helps a group of high school boys from Punchbowl and Cronulla choose to overcome their own prejudices and learn the true meaning of brotherhood. (June)

  • Again, Again by E. Lockhart - Adelaide Buchwald finds herself catapulted into a summer of wild possibility, during which she will fall in and out of love a thousand times – a smart, funny, Sliding Doors-style story. (June)

  • Stars Like Us by Frances Chapman - A young musician embarks on a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity with her band, leading to overnight fame, complicated friendships and a compelling love triangle. (July)

  • The Great Godden by Meg Rosoff - The story of one family, one dreamy summer – the summer when everything changes. In a holiday house by the sea, a watchful narrator sees everything, including many things they shouldn’t. (August)

  • The History of Mischief by Rebecca Higgie - Two siblings lose their parents in an accident and turn to the power of stories to cope with their grief. (September)

Crime, mystery & thriller


  • One of Us Is Next by Karen M. McManus - Return to Bayview High, the scene of One Of Us Is Lying, for a truly deadly game of Truth or Dare. (January)

  • Oasis by Katya de Becerra - After a sandstorm sweeps through the archaeological dig, Alif and her friends are stranded and turn against each other. (January)

  • The Girl with the Gold Bikini by Lisa Walker - A screwball heroine in the quick-quipping tradition of beloved girl detectives Veronica Mars and Nancy Drew. (February)

  • Deep Water by Sarah Epstein - A suspenseful mystery about a missing boy and a group of teenagers, one of whom knows something but isn’t telling. (April)

  • Before the Beginning by Anna Morgan - Four friends on Schoolies Week are enchanted by a mysterious newcomer, and are convinced to join her camping in a remote location. (September)

  • None Shall Sleep by Ellie Marney - Two teens are recruited to a special youth FBI unit that interviews convicted juvenile killers to glean insight and provide advice on cold cases. (October)

Romance


  • Loveboat, Taipei by Abigail Hing Wen - A serious summer study experience in Taiwan unexpectedly turns into hook-ups and romance on a party boat. (January)

  • Yes No Maybe So by Becky Albertalli & Aisha Saeed - Two teens meet door-knocking for an upcoming election in this sweet, intercultural political rom-com. (February)

  • 19 Love Songs by David Levithan - A witty, honest and romantic collection of short stories featuring familiar characters from Levithan’s world. (February)

  • The Gravity of Us by Phil Stamper - A smart romance about two boys whose lives are thrown together when their parents' are chosen for the NASA mission to Mars. (March)

  • Only Mostly Devastated by Sophie Gonzales - Ollie and Will were a summer fling; now they’re classmates. But only one of them is out… A modern-day, queer re-imagining of Grease. (March)

  • Anna K by Jenny Lee - A Korean-American ‘it’ girl gets caught between her family-approved boyfriend and the guy who might just be her one true love in this modern retelling of Anna Karenina. (March)

  • You Were Made for Me by Jenna Guillaume - This is billed as Weird Science meets Jenny Han, and that’s all we need to know this will be a must-read rom-com. (September)

Sci-fi, fantasy, speculative fiction & dystopia


  • Infinity Son by Adam Silvera - A gritty, fast-paced adventure about two brothers caught up in a magical war generations in the making; the first in an exciting new series. (January)

  • Euphoria Kids by Alison Evans - A gorgeous and gentle novel about three queer friends who come into their power with magic and spellwork. (February)

  • The Between by David Hofmeyr - In this rip-roaring, world-bending adventure across the grand multiverse, one girl will stop at nothing to bring her best friend home. (February)

  • Havenfall by Sara Holland - Maddie discovers that her uncle’s Inn at Havenfall is the safe haven at the nexus of multiple hidden realms in this thrilling new contemporary fantasy series. (March)

  • The Vanishing Deep by Astrid Scholte - After her sister drowns, Tempest scavenges the ruins of her underwater world alone, driven to collect enough Notes to buy her sister’s life for 24 hours, and to finally learn the secret she had kept until her last breath. (March)

  • Snow by Gina Inverarity - A post-climate-change retelling of Snow White, in a future where survival comes first, but freedom means everything. (May)

  • Burn by Patrick Ness - After Sarah and her father hire a dragon to work their farm they are caught up in a prophecy that involves a deadly assassin, a cult of dragon worshippers, two FBI agents in hot pursuit and Sarah herself. (May)

  • The End of the World is Bigger Than Love by Davina Bell - Set on a remote island in a world that has been devastated by climate change, identical twin sisters Summer and Winter prove that love can survive the end of the world. (June)

  • The Dark Tide by Alicia Jasinska - A witchy, enemies-to-lovers story on an island threatened by inundation; two young women in love must decide whether to save themselves, each other, or the island city relying on them both. (June)

  • The Lost Soul Atlas by Zana Fraillon - A boy awakens in the Afterlife, with a pocketful of vague memories, a key, a raven, and a mysterious Atlas to guide him as he sets out to piece together the mystery of his final moments… (July)

  • The Left-Handed Booksellers of London by Garth Nix - A thrilling fantasy adventure follows an art student drawn into the arcane business of booksellers whose sideline is to ensure that the mythic entities and dormant legends of the Old World do not intrude. (October)

  • The Other Side of the Sky by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner - A genre-bending romance in which the prince of a hi-tech city in the sky falls into a goddess’s ancient land ruled by magicians and prophecy. (October)

Memoir


  • Fourteen by Shannon Malloy - A moving coming-of-age memoir about Molloy’s fourteenth year of life as a gay kid at an all-boys rugby-mad Catholic school in regional Queensland. (April)

  • Father of the Lost Boys by Yuot A. Alaak - Told by his son, this is the story of Mecak Ajang Alaak, a teacher who assumed command of 20,000 of the Lost Boys of South Sudan during the Second Sudanese Civil War and led them thousands of kilometres to safety. (2020)

Sequels & series


There are also a lot of sequels and books in series slated for 2020, here’s what we know so far:

  • The Night Country by Melissa Albert (sequel to The Hazel Wood) (January)
  • The King of Crows (The Diviners, Book 4) by Libba Bray (February)
  • This Vicious Cure (This Mortal Coil, Book 3) by Emily Suvada (February)
  • A Heart So Fierce and Broken by Brigid Kemmerer - sequel to A Curse So Dark and Lonely (March)
  • Aurora Burning (The Aurora Cycle, Book 2) by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff (May)
  • True Life (Lifel1k3, Book 3) by Jay Kristoff (June)
  • Rebel Gods (Monuments, Book 2) by Will Kostakis (August)

Something slightly younger


You could call these books tween books, upper middle grade, or lower YA. They would be ideal for teen readers who lack confidence in their reading…

  • Jane Doe and the Key of All Souls by Jeremy Lachlan (February)
  • The Republic of Birds by Jessica Miller (March)
  • The List of Things that Will Not Change by Rebecca Stead (April)
  • Ottilie Colter and the Withering World by Rhiannon Williams (May)
  • The Chameleon Thief by Mat Larkin (November)
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Infinity Son

Infinity Son

Adam Silvera

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