10 New YA Books to Put on Your Wishlist

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Tirzah Price

Senior Contributing Editor

Most of Tirzah Price's life decisions have been motivated by a desire to read as many books as humanly possible. Tirzah holds an MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts, and has worked as an independent bookseller and librarian. She’s also the author of the Jane Austen Murder Mysteries, published by HarperTeen, and Bibliologist at TBR: Tailored Book Recommendations. Follow her on Twitter @TirzahPrice.

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Oh, December! It feels hardly possible—yet very right—that we have finally reached the end of a very, very long year. Normally, December is light on YA releases as publishing takes a little breather over the holidays, but this year we’ve got a number of great releases hitting shelves this month that had been pushed from earlier this year thanks to COVID—and I imagine that you’re pretty excited about some of them! Make sure you put these December 2020 YA books on your holiday wishlists or library holds lists, because they’re going to be awesome!

A Sky Beyond the Storm by Sabaa Tahir

Finally, it is here! The conclusion to the Ember in the Ashes series! The novels picks up a few months after A Reaper at the Gate ends, with the jinn wreaking havoc across the land and Commandant Keris Veturia calling for revenge on the Blood Shrike and all aligned with her—which includes Laia. Knowing Tahir, this is sure to be a pulse-pounding and heartbreaking conclusion to an epic series, and I can’t wait!

The Cousins by Karen M. McManus

The newest thriller from McManus is about Milly, Aubrey, and Jonah, three cousins who barely know one another because their grandmother disinherited their parents years ago. Now, she’s invited all three cousins to work at her resort for the summer, and their parents have made it clear that they must go and get back in their grandmother’s good graces. But once they arrive, they discover that their grandmother has something very different in store for them…

Coming Up for Air by Nicole B. Tyndall

Hadley is an art student too afraid to take any creative or personal risks after her mom’s cancer scare. Braden is impulsive and outgoing, the swim team star and exactly the kind of guy that Hadley would normally avoid. But when they click, Hadley finds herself opening up again…until devastating family news and a dark secret that Braden has been hiding threatens to ruin it all.

Heiress Apparently by Diana Ma

Gemma Huang is an aspiring actress who’s said no to college to head to L.A. When she lands a lucky break in a role that is filming in Beijing, she’s ecstatic. But when she arrives, she discovers that she bears a striking resemblance to one of the country’s most famous socialites…and that’s no coincidence. Gemma must discover a hidden legacy that her parents fled from years earlier, and has the power to completely change her life. I’m getting some serious Princess Diaries vibes from this book, and I can’t wait to dive in!

Finding My Voice by Marie Myung-ok Lee

Hailed as the first YA #OwnVoices novel about an Asian American teenager, Finding My Voice is finally come back to print with a gorgeous new cover! Ellen Sung can never forget that she’s different. As the only Korean American student in her small town, she sticks out constantly. But when she falls for Tomper, the blond football star, and he falls for her, Ellen is going to have to be brave and find her voice in order to speak up against racism, and for what she wants.

The Love Curse of Melody McIntyre by Robin Talley

Melody McIntyre is cursed in love. Every time this stage manager falls for someone involved in the show she puts on, the relationship and their production end in disaster. So Melody decides to swear off dating and romance, at least until Les Mis is a wrap. But she doesn’t count on Odile Rose to audition for the musical, nor does she expect that they’ll both fall for each other so quickly. How can Melody protect her heart, and the show?

Admission by Julie Buxbaum

It hardly seems possible that the college admissions scandal broke only a year ago, but what is time? This new novel from Julie Buxbaum is about Chloe Wynn Berringer, a good student and daughter of a B-list celebrity who is excited for graduation and to be headed to the college of her dreams…until the FBI raids her house and she discovers that her parents bribed the admissions board of her college. As her life falls apart around her, Chloe must examine her privilege, the things that she’s taken for granted, and what it means to be complicit.

A Universe of Wishes Edited by Dhonielle Clayton

In this new anthology, published in collaboration with We Need Diverse Books, some of the best YA writers publishing today have contributed magical and fairytale-like stories about wishes, social justice, princesses who save themselves, and more. Contributors include Samira Ahmed, Jenni Balch, Libba Bray, Dhonielle Clayton, Zoraida Córdova, Tessa Gratton, Kwame Mbalia, Anna-Marie McLemore, Tochi Onyebuchi, Mark Oshiro, Natalie C. Parker, Rebecca Roanhorse, V.E. Schwab, Tara Sim, and Nic Stone.

For Better or Cursed by Kate Williams

Esme Pearl has just started to get the hang of being a Sitter—a supernaturally gifted teen who is tasked with protecting the kids and keeping demons at bay—when things get weird again. Sitterdom wants to hold a summit, so that Esme and Cassandra can get some much-needed training and answers about their calling, but Esme is starting to feel like something about the summit is off, and danger is imminent. And when her dad goes MIA and Cassandra starts acting weird, Esme knows her instincts are right!

What If We Were… by Axelle Lenoir

Nathalie and Marie has been best friends since they were kids, and they’ve been playing the same game almost as long. It’s called “What If We Were…” and they imagine different wild scenarios where they’re aliens, fruit, pirates, and more. The game has become very complex, but for all the hours they’ve spent imagining themselves in different scenarios, they’re not prepared for imagining what if someone new joined in, changing everything. This looks like a fantastic graphic novel, and I can’t wait to get my hands on it!

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