The Best YA Books of 2020


The best YA books of 2020, as chosen by the Bookstacked reviews team.

2020 was a year we won’t soon forget, but that didn’t stop authors from introducing readers to new stories, each filled with unique characters, settings and themes.

Readers explored new worlds — both magical and off-planet — and even (surprisingly) returned to familiar ones. Bookstacked was there every step of the way, but only a handful stood out from the rest.

Here are the best YA books of 2020, as selected by Bookstacked’s reviews team.

Best YA Books of 2020

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Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko

‘Raybearer’ by Jordan Ifueko (Blackstone Publishing)

Steeped in West African mythology, Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko is a phenomenal story that follows a young woman’s struggle with her identity. Ifueko crafts a larger-than-life story about family, friendship and identity in this rich, excellent debut.

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Where Dreams Descend by Janella Angeles

‘Where Dreams Descend’ by Janella Angeles (Wednesday Books)

Harkening back to classics like ‘Moulin Rouge’ and ‘Phantom of the Opera,’ Janella Angeles has penned a strong mystery centered on a trio of magicians that highlights women and doesn’t fail to shy away from current issues of today.

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Bonds of Brass by Emily Skrutskie

‘Bonds of Brass’ by Emily Skrutskie (Del Rey Books)

Bonds of Brass is much more than “gay Star Wars.” In a post-imperialist galaxy, two teens make a mad dash for a neighboring kingdom in a bid to claim their birthright. Or, at least, one birthright. This book is, quite simply, out of this world.

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A Curse of Roses by Diana Pinguicha

‘A Curse of Roses’ by Diana Pinguicha (Entangled: Teen)

In Diana Pinguicha’s A Curse of Roses, Yzabel of Aragon is cursed with a power that turns food into flowers. The story, based on Portuguese legend, is one of growth and self-acceptance in the face of a cruel world.

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The Silvered Serpents by Roshani Chokshi

‘The Silvered Serpents’ by Roshani Chokshi (Wednesday Books)

Chokshi returns to the world first introduced in The Gilded Wolves with this mesmerizing sequel. Darker but also deeper, the pages are brimming with action, suspense and mystery.

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Those Who Prey by Jennifer Moffett

’Those who Prey’ by Jennifer Moffett. (Atheneum, Simon & Schuster)

In Jennifer Moffett’s Those Who Prey, the cult isn’t real. But it really could be. This heart-pounding story warns readers about how easy it is to become a cult member, and how painful it is to get out. It’s a raw YA debut.

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Kingdom of the Wicked by Kerri Maniscalco

‘Kingdom of the Wicked’ by Kerri Maniscalco (Jimmy Patterson Books)

There’s no stronger bond than the one shared between twin witches Emilia and Vittoria. But after finding her sister’s dead body, Emilia will stop at nothing to find her murderer. Kerri Maniscalco takes readers on a dark, spooky adventure full of vengeance in her new series.

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The Shadow of Kyoshi by F.C. Yee

‘Avatar: The Shadow of Kyoshi’ by F.C. Yee (Abrams Books)

In a year that saw a comeback for Nickelodeon’s ‘Avatar the Last Airbender,’ Yee’s final piece in the story of Avatar Kyoshi widens the scope of the world and characters with themes of power, friendship and the importance of recognizing one’s imperfections.

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