One of my favorite things is the YA earworm. What’s that, you ask? It’s a YA book title that gets a song stuck in your head, either because it shares its name or because it uses familiar lyrics to grab your attention. I’ve highlighted some excellent YA earworms before, and I’m excited to show a pile of 2020 YA books that will give that same sense of music to your reading life.
Grab your headphones and your TBR and prepare to get these book titles on your playlist and in your mind.
2020 YA Book Titles That’ll Get Stuck In Your Head
Breathless by Jennifer Niven (October 6)
There’s not a cover yet for Niven’s upcoming romance novel, but it’s about a summer romance that happens amidst a teen girl working through the divorce of her parents before she leaves for college.
Of course, The Corrs’s “Breathless” was a hit in 2000 and so easy to get stuck in your head.
Going The Distance by Beth Reekles (Available Now)
If you loved the Netflix show The Kissing Booth or its eponymous book from Beth Reekles, chances are you’re well aware of the sequel which hit shelves earlier this year.
Chances are you also have this song stuck in your head every time you see the title: “Going The Distance” by Cake.
I’ll Be The One by Lyla Lee (June 16)
I cannot wait to read this book. It’s the first in a romcom series about a girl named Skye Shin who dreams of becoming the world’s first fat K-Pop star. Doing so would defy every expectation of her family, as well as their culture, and yet she’s driven to defy those stereotypes of what it is to be a fat girl (and a fat Korean girl to boot).
Technically, the beloved Backstreet Boys song is called “The One,” and not “I’ll Be The One,” but you know what the chorus is. If Lee’s book title is a reference to this classic ditty, it’s so dang clever.
I Think I Love You by Auriane Desombre (September)
This is a queer enemies-to-lovers story hitting shelves this fall. Two girls are fighting for a coveted spot to attend a film festival in Los Angeles and though they’re bitter rivals…turns out they might be falling for one another. Desombre’s book is billed as one for fans of Becky Albertalli so I’ll be over here waiting for it.
Enter, The Partridge Family.
Now That I’ve Found You by Kristina Forest (August 25)
I’m obsessed with the book cover for this one, but even more than that, this book features an eccentric, famous grandmother, which is a weakness I have in YA books (see: Only Mostly Devastated by Sophie Gonzales, The Last Summer of the Garrett Girls by Jessica Spotswood, and Scarlett Epstein Hates It Here by Anna Breslaw). Evie is supposed to be a star, following in her grandmother’s footsteps, but a friend betrays her and puts her reputation in jeopardy. Grandma then disappears, a really cute dude appears, and the story only goes from there.
There are a few songs by the same title, but it’s Alison Kraus’s “Now That I’ve Found You” which pops into my head first.
One Way or Another by Kara McDowell (October 6)
Come November and December, one of the most popular book requests I see pop up is for holiday-themed stories. Add this one to your list—it’s pitched as “Sliding Doors meets To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before” and is about a girl who has to learn to control her anxiety in order to find love.
If Blondie’s “One Way or Another” didn’t land in your head immediately, let me rectify that for you.
Somebody Told Me by Mia Siegert (Available Now)
I do not believe I’ve ever seen a YA book use the identity of “bigender” in a description, and I do believe that’s going to be a huge thing for so many readers. This is a book about sexual assault, as well as the history of sexual abuse in the Catholic church. It sounds like an intense but powerful read. The title is a nod to the role Aleks/Alexis plays in helping victims find solace.
I’m not entirely sure the Killers song of the same title fits the same feel of Siegert’s book, but the title absolutely parallels (and if you were a college student in a certain era, raise your hand if this was The Party Song).
Time Of Our Lives by Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka (April 21)
I haven’t yet read one of the Wibberley and Siegemund-Broka collaborative YA books yet, but I definitely have them on my TBR. This is their third book together, and it’s the first which isn’t identifiably a remastering of Shakespeare (though there’s a little Much Ado in it anyway!). The book follows a boy and girl who cross paths on a college tour and, despite dealing with some heavy stuff in each of their respective lives, begin to fall for one another.
I’m picking two songs for this one, and please note that neither is exactly the title. But both are pretty close.
Here’s your Green Day musical break, readers.
And for everyone in the world who agrees that the Dirty Dancing soundtrack is the best one in existence, Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes. This song is just perfect, like the movie and all of the rest of the music for it.
What I Like About You by Marisa Kanter (Available Now)
This is a story about when an internet relationship becomes an IRL relationship and I am 1000% here for it. The main female character is a book blogger! Her crush is a graphic novelist! They’re both super awkward. Yes, please.
“What I Like About You” by The Romantics just exudes that slightly-awkward feeling, doesn’t it?
We Used To Be Friends by Amy Spalding (Available Now)
As soon as I learned the title of Amy Spalding’s latest novel, I got the theme song to Veronica Mars stuck in my head, and I suspect many other readers did as well. The book is an excellent and immersive story told in dual timelines—before and after—of a falling out between former best friends.
Let’s wrap up this series of earworms with a little Dandy Warhols.