We’ve made it to the finish! If you’ve made it this far, thanks for sticking with me x
This entire post will be my favorite YA reads of 2020. Let’s get right into it.
The Best Laid Plans, Cameron Lund
It seemed like a good plan at first.
When the only other virgin in her group of friends loses it at Keely’s own eighteenth birthday party, she’s inspired to take things into her own hands. She wants to have that experience too (well, not exactly like that–but with someone she trusts and actually likes), so she’s going to need to find the guy, and fast. Problem is, she’s known all the boys in her small high school forever, and it’s kinda hard to be into a guy when you watched him eat crayons in kindergarten.
So she can’t believe her luck when she meets a ridiculously hot new guy named Dean. Not only does he look like he’s fallen out of a classic movie poster, but he drives a motorcycle, flirts with ease, and might actually be into her.
But Dean’s already in college, and Keely is convinced he’ll drop her if he finds out how inexperienced she is. That’s when she talks herself into a new plan: her lifelong best friend, Andrew, would never hurt or betray her, and he’s clearly been with enough girls that he can show her the ropes before she goes all the way with Dean. Of course, the plan only works if Andrew and Keely stay friends–just friends–so things are about to get complicated.
I felt this one deserved more love. It’s smart, funny, and swoony. Full Review Here
Blurb for Book 1:
Ceony Twill arrives at the cottage of Magician Emery Thane with a broken heart. Having graduated at the top of her class from the Tagis Praff School for the Magically Inclined, Ceony is assigned an apprenticeship in paper magic despite her dreams of bespelling metal. And once she’s bonded to paper, that will be her only magic…forever.
Yet the spells Ceony learns under the strange yet kind Thane turn out to be more marvelous than she could have ever imagined—animating paper creatures, bringing stories to life via ghostly images, even reading fortunes. But as she discovers these wonders, Ceony also learns of the extraordinary dangers of forbidden magic.
An Excisioner—a practitioner of dark, flesh magic—invades the cottage and rips Thane’s heart from his chest. To save her teacher’s life, Ceony must face the evil magician and embark on an unbelievable adventure that will take her into the chambers of Thane’s still-beating heart—and reveal the very soul of the man.
This is the series that got me hooked on Charlie. It’s incredibly imaginative and so much fun. Full Review Here
The Queen of Veils, S. Usher Evans
The final installment in the spellbinding Princess Vigilante series takes readers back to the city of Forcadel as Brynna makes her final play to reclaim her kingdom. Full of twists and turns, this final book will keep readers guessing until the very end.
This is such a fun series, you need to start with book 1. It was hard saying goodbye to this cast of characters, they were fantastic.
This was the final book in the series, so you do need to start with book 1. This was an incredibly emotional read. Full Review Here
More Than Maybe, Erin Hahn
Growing up under his punk rocker dad’s spotlight, eighteen-year-old Luke Greenly knows fame and wants nothing to do with it. His real love isn’t in front of a crowd, it’s on the page. Hiding his gift and secretly hoarding songs in his bedroom at night, he prefers the anonymous comfort of the locally popular podcast he co-hosts with his outgoing and meddling, far-too-jealousy-inspiringly-happy-with-his-long-term-boyfriend twin brother, Cullen. But that’s not Luke’s only secret. He also has a major un-requited crush on music blogger, Vada Carsewell.
Vada’s got a five year plan: secure a job at the Loud Lizard to learn from local legend (and her mom’s boyfriend) Phil Josephs (check), take over Phil’s music blog (double check), get accepted into Berkeley’s prestigious music journalism program (check, check, check), manage Ann Arbor’s summer concert series and secure a Rolling Stone internship. Luke Greenly is most definitely NOT on the list. So what if his self-deprecating charm and out of this world music knowledge makes her dizzy? Or his brother just released a bootleg recording of Luke singing about some mystery girl on their podcast and she really, really wishes it was her?
In More Than Maybe, Erin Hahn’s swooniest book yet, Luke and Vada must decide how deep their feelings run and what it would mean to give love a try.
This is a slow burn with all the feels and is completely relatable. Full Review Here
The Loop, Ben Oliver
It’s Luka Kane’s 16th birthday and he’s been inside The Loop for over two years. Every inmate is serving a death sentence with the option to push back their execution date by six months if they opt into “Delays,” scientific and medical experiments for the benefit of the elite in the outside world.
But rumors of a war on the outside are spreading amongst the inmates, and before they know it, their tortuous routine becomes disrupted. The government-issued rain stops falling. Strange things are happening to the guards. And it’s not long until the inmates are left alone inside the prison.
Were the chains that shackled Luka to his cell the only instruments left to keep him safe? In a thrilling shift, he must overcome fellow prisoners hell-bent on killing him, the warden losing her mind, the rabid rats in the train tunnels, and a population turned into murderous monsters to try and break out of The Loop, save his family, and discover who is responsible for the chaos that has been inflicted upon the world.
The dystopian setup for this is incredibly disturbing and it’s perfect. It would have been a one sit read if it wasn’t well past bedtime. It’s fantastic. Full Review Here
The Order of the Key, Justine Manzano
Jacklyn Madison never expected to be attacked by a beast on an evening snack run. Add a rescue mission enacted by a trained regiment of teenaged warriors, and her night officially becomes just like a scene from one of her beloved comic books. Turns out, her parents were once members of the Order of the Key, gifted humans that protect humanity from creatures spilling through inter-dimensional rifts. Unable to control her newfound abilities, Jacklyn and her family rejoin the Order.
After an attack on their headquarters leaves Jacklyn questioning their leadership, Kyp—the boy who led her initial rescue—reveals a darker secret. The Order’s leader may be corrupt, and Jacklyn’s questions could put her family in danger. Drawn into the search for proof, Jacklyn must use her guts and magical brawn to protect her family, her friends, and herself from the monsters spilling from rifts, and those hiding within the Order.
The storyline is incredibly creative. It’s fun and addicting and I’m ready for more. Full Review Here
Throwaway Girls, Andrea Contos
Caroline is only three months from her great escape — leaving behind her rigid prep school and the parents who think they can convert her to being straight — when her best friend, Madison, goes missing. There’s no question that Caroline will get involved in the investigation. After all, she has her own reasons for not trusting the police, and she owes Madison big time. But Caroline uncovers a wider mystery as she follows the clues, with other missing girls and no one on the case. Why isn’t anyone looking for these girls? And what’s the connection between them and Madison? Could it be . . . Caroline herself?
This is a fantastically done, multi-layered storyline. Caroline is amazing. Full Review Here
White Fox, Sara Faring
After their world-famous actor mother disappeared under mysterious circumstances, Manon and Thaïs left their remote Mediterranean island home—sent away by their pharma-tech tycoon father. Opposites in every way, the sisters drifted apart in their grief. Yet their mother’s unfinished story still haunts them both, and they can’t put to rest the possibility that she is still alive.
Lured home a decade later, Manon and Thaïs discover their mother’s legendary last work, long thought lost: White Fox, a screenplay filled with enigmatic metaphors. The clues in this dark fairytale draw them deep into the island’s surreal society, into the twisted secrets hidden by their glittering family, to reveal the truth about their mother—and themselves.
The storyline came together in pieces like a puzzle and is so beautifully told. Full Review Here
The Inheritance Games, Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Blurb: Avery Grambs has a plan for a better future: survive high school, win a scholarship, and get out. But her fortunes change in an instant when billionaire Tobias Hawthorne dies and leaves Avery virtually his entire fortune. The catch? Avery has no idea why — or even who Tobias Hawthorne is.
To receive her inheritance, Avery must move into sprawling, secret passage-filled Hawthorne House, where every room bears the old man’s touch — and his love of puzzles, riddles, and codes. Unfortunately for Avery, Hawthorne House is also occupied by the family that Tobias Hawthorne just dispossessed. This includes the four Hawthorne grandsons: dangerous, magnetic, brilliant boys who grew up with every expectation that one day, they would inherit billions. Heir apparent Grayson Hawthorne is convinced that Avery must be a conwoman, and he’s determined to take her down. His brother, Jameson, views her as their grandfather’s last hurrah: a twisted riddle, a puzzle to be solved. Caught in a world of wealth and privilege, with danger around every turn, Avery will have to play the game herself just to survive.
I slipped with this one and made no notes because it was a one sit read. The blurb says it all. The review is incredibly short, you can read it here.
It’s no one’s fault that Hallie Jacob is alone. That her grandpa got sick half a world away and so her parents yanked her to Colorado the last semester of her senior year. That career-wise, she’s specialized in fighting fire, and now she’s surrounded by ice, snow, and a thousand cousins she’s half-banned from hanging around with. But that’s what’s happened. That’s what her December looks like.
On one big family weekend in the freaking tundra, Hallie sneaks off with those cousins to an abandoned ski slope. But they get caught in a random mudslide, and what started as a Secret Bonfire Party goes in a Potential Donner Party direction real fast. With some cousins in desperate need of medical attention, Hallie leaves their camp for help—and is surprised when Jonah Ramirez (her cousin’s extremely off-limits—absurdly hot—best friend) joins her.
Facing paralyzing temperatures, sharp-toothed animals strong enough to survive a climate with hardly any water or air, and weather phenomena so wicked they’ll wreck a mountain before you can blink, Jonah and Hallie have no choice but to trust each other as they search for the way to town to send help back to their stranded friends and family. And THAT may be more impossible, even, than making it out alive.
This is incredibly inclusive. It gives you both laughs and feels. Full Review Here
Second Survivor, Leah Moyes
Isabel Fontaine’s lavish lifestyle came to a crashing halt the night the General Chanzy sank. At 18, she had everything—fine luxuries, a prominent family, and an extravagant estate in Marseille. The one thing she didn’t have was her freedom. As the sole heir to the Fontaine fortune, her future was forged with a betrothal to a stranger from a foreign country, but when her family perishes at sea, Isabel sees this as a chance to hide her identity and change her fate.
Taken in by poor, elderly farmers on the Spanish island of Menorca, Isabel is torn between the growing affection for a neighbor and the guilt of living a lie. The simplicity and genuine goodness of this life take her on a journey she never believed was possible, yet, as time passes and the threat of her untruths face exposure, Isabel must make an agonizing choice.
When that choice is taken from her prematurely and danger cultivates from an implausible guise, will Isabel accept the outcome, or fight to save those she loves?
I loved the research that went into this. The characters were multidimensional and the storyline was engaging. Full Review Here
We’ve made it to the end! Thank you again for sticking with me through these 3 posts, it was definitely a lot of books. And to think this is the narrowed down version! I have high hopes for my reading adventures for 2021.
Now that we’re at the end, I really want to know some of your favorite reads of the year. Were there any genres you read more than others?