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The Best Books of 2020: Teenage & Young Adult

Posted on 6th December 2020 by Mark Skinner

This year we welcomed back two iconic Young Adult series that had been missing for too long; Suzanne Collins revealed President Snow's gripping origin story in The Hunger Games prequel, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, whilst Stephenie Meyer retold the events of Twilight from Edward's perspective in Midnight Sun. Lyra Silvertongue also made a very welcome re-appearance in the His Dark Materials novella, Serpentine, and Jacqueline Wilson delivered a heartfelt LGBT story with Love Frankie. But the old guard didn't have it all their own way as stunning debuts from Leah Johnson, Kalynn Bayron and George Lester amply demonstrate.  



 

Fantasy & Dystopia

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The Eldest Curses dives even deeper into Magnus Banes's exciting and mysterious life and unleashes a sinister showdown in Shanghai.
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£7.99
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A standalone novella from the incandescent imagination of Philip Pullman, Serpentine takes place after the conclusion of His Dark Materials and finds Lyra and Pan on a perilous journey North in search of an old friend. This book contains content suitable for middle grade readers looking for a more challenging reading level.
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£20.00
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Recounting the vampiric love story at the heart of Stephenie Meyer’s epic series from Edward’s point of view, Midnight Sun casts a whole new light on Twilight's central romance. This book contains content suitable for middle grade readers looking for a more challenging reading level.
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£18.99
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Return to the world of The Hunger Games in a compelling prequel that both informs the original trilogy and stands alone as a powerful, breathlessly exciting science fiction thriller.

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£16.99
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A handsome reproduction of a book pivotal to Bardugo's Shadow and Bone series, The Lives of Saints chronicles figures from Sankta Lizabeta to the Starless Saint in richly evocative prose.
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£7.99 £6.99
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A thrilling new direction for Adam Silvera, Infinity Son is a kinetic tale of celestial warfare, brotherly love and superhero angst set against the pulsating backdrop of a futuristic New York City.
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£7.99 £6.99
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A pulsating twist on the story of Cinderella, Bayron repurposes the fairy-tale it for the twenty-first century and proves that happy ever after definitely does not depend on Prince Charming.
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£12.99 £9.99
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Set in an alternate 1950s America where dragons double as farmhands and sinister conspiracies spread like wildfire, Burn is a story of friendship and bravery in a world on the brink of its own destruction.

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Brimming with Black’s customary faerie magic, this atmospheric prequel to the events of The Folk of the Air trilogy digs deep into Cardan’s past to unearth some incredible revelations.
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From the author of Tangleweed and Brine comes a dark, hypnotic retelling of the Irish myth, The Children of Lir, framed by the narration of Aife, the witch who transformed children into swans.
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A bewitching new series from the author of Everless, Havenfall envisions a sprawling Colorado mansion as a fragile portal between worlds, and its guardian, Maddie, locked in a life-threatening battle against unknown foes.
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£8.99 £7.49
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A rollicking fusion of magical fantasy and campus novel, Deonn’s debut features secretive societies, flying demons and teenage mages locked in a deadly battle between good and evil.
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Contemporary Fiction

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The peerless Jacqueline Wilson serves up another pitch-perfect slice of fiction with this tender tale of first love and blossoming sexuality. This book contains content suitable for middle grade readers looking for a more challenging reading level.
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£7.99
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Set during the Los Angeles race riots of 1992, Hammonds-Reed’s incendiary novel brilliantly captures the moment when circumstances force your hand and make taking a stand a necessity.
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£12.99 £10.99
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Filled with the heat and illicit passion of long summer days, The Great Godden is a shimmering coming-of-age tale from the trailblazing Young Adult author.

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Following a Black teenager who is sent to prison for a crime he didn’t commit, this deeply affecting verse novel explores systemic racism in today’s America and the power of art to transform lives.
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A scintillating queer update of Grease, Only Mostly Devastated follows the repercussions of Ollie and Will’s summertime romance, exploring heartache and coming out in an utterly fresh, funny and heartfelt way.
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Smart, sassy and addressing issues of race, class and sexuality with a freshness and lightness of touch, Johnson’s sparkling rom com finds black teen Liz forced to run for prom queen in her very white neighbourhood. This book contains content suitable for middle grade readers looking for a more challenging reading level.
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£7.99 £6.99
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A tender account of Georgia and her vexed quest for first love, Loveless is a sprightly, affecting work from the author of Solitaire and Nick and Charlie.
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Albertalli and Saeed weave a quirky love story of awkward teens and cultural difference with this bittersweet gem set in the vexed world of local activism.
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Mapping 15-year-old Nathan’s quest for answers in the aftermath of his brother’s suicide, All the Stars Were Burning Brightly is a powerful and arresting debut about loss and courage to speak out.
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Sassy, sexy and spectacular, Lester’s irresistibly gleeful YA debut is a sequin-saturated coming-of-age tale about embracing your true self and having a ball.
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Nobody writes verse novels quite as accomplished as Elizabeth Acevedo and the latest electrifying offering from the author of the award-winning The Poet X is an intensely powerful tale of family, grief and rediscovering your roots.
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Addressing issues of mental health, gender and privilege, Dawson's novel is an irrepressibly stylish take on Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
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Thrillers

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Boasting incredibly assured plotting and an involving, credible cast of characters, Good Girl, Bad Blood is a terrifically engaging sequel to the bestselling A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder.
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Going deep undercover to investigate the shadowy Nightshade organisation, Alex Rider, legendary teen spy, returns in another high-octane, blockbuster adventure from the pen of storytelling maestro Anthony Horowitz. This book contains content suitable for middle grade readers looking for a more challenging reading level.
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Former Waterstones Children’s Book Prize category winner Patrice Lawrence serves up a deftly constructed YA thriller centred on a missing girl and the eight clues which may, or may not, help her stepsister find her.
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Based on the true story of an eighteenth-century slave uprising, Wheatle’s propulsive novel centres on the teenage Moa and the challenging decisions he must make as a ‘cane warrior’ fighting for freedom from the Jamaican plantations.
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Deftly plotted and unbearably tense, Pitcher’s twisty whodunit centres on a group of friends who will stop at nothing to protect each other, and is perfect for fans of Karen McManus and Holly Jackson.
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The queen of YA wartime intrigue returns with another nuanced and gripping thriller centred on three courageous and intelligent young women who find themselves with the opportunity to turn the tide of the Second World War. This book contains content suitable for middle grade readers looking for a more challenging reading level.
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A neatly structured girl-on-the-run thriller pulsating with menace and intrigue, The Rules features a formidable female protagonist forced to evade her survivalist father – by employing his extreme methods.
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