Teens' Top Ten 2020

Published Thursday, July 16, 2020

Here they are: the contenders for the Teens' Top Ten of 2020! The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) hosts this "teen choice" competition each year. Select teen books clubs from fifteen school and public libraries around the country nominated 25 books to vie for your affection in the hopes of being voted the top ten of the past year. Readers from age 12 to 18 can vote for their favorites starting August 15 through October 12. If you fall in that category, you can join in and cast your vote, too! Which ten will win?

Read more about the nominees below, and look for them on our display shelf in the Teen section of the library!

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#murderfunding
by Gretchen McNeil

After Becca's mom's death, a mysterious girl shows up at Becca's school. With theories floating around the internet about the true identity of some famous serial killers, Becca goes on a mission to figure out her mom's past.

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Are You Listening?
by Tillie Walden

Bea encounters Lou, a talented mechanic escaping her past life. On a winding road trip through West Texas, they discover more about themselves and each other, and are finally able to come to terms with their past. Along with friendship and emotional struggles, this novel uncovers a whimsical magic.

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Aurora Rising
by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

When Tyler Jones saves Aurora Jie-Lin O'Malley, he doesn't expect to be pulled into an intergalactic adventure that threatens the living universe and puts his very values to the test. Instead, he's more worried about the rag-tag squad of Aurora Academy dredges that he's been assigned after missing the Draft. But together they embark on a mission to understand Aurora's paranormal behavior, and in the process become more than just friends.

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The Beast Player
by Nahoko Uehashi

Orphaned Elin learns to use her ability to communicate with animals as she navigates through political unrest. The beauty and power of the natural world are at the heart of this captivating, nimbly translated Japanese fantasy.

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Between Worlds: Folktales of Britain and Ireland
by Kevin Crossley

Between Worlds is a book full of many wonderful and interesting folktales from both Britain and Ireland. There are many stories of different genres, including Magic and Wonder, Adventures and Legends, and even about ghosts! While some stories last up to 13 pages, there are others that only last as long as one to three pages!

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Broken Throne: A Red Queen Collection
by Victoria Aveyard

Mare Barrow's world is divided by blood—those with common, Red blood serve the Silverblooded elite, who are gifted with superhuman abilities. Mare is a Red, scraping by as a thief in a poor, rural village, until a twist of fate throws her in front of the Silver court. Before the king, princes, and all the nobles, she discovers she has an ability of her own. Follow Mare in this series collection, with three new unpublished novellas!

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Dreamland: The True Tale of America's Opiate Epidemic
by Sam Quinones

Dreamland tells the tale of America's opiate epidemic in a way that feels as though you are hearing it firsthand; it weaves the stories of addicts and activists alike into a novel that is enticing and shocking. Quinones writes a novel that shows the behind the scenes of an epidemic that hits close to the heart of many Americans, yet he tells it in a way that takes you on an adventure rather than a report.

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The Field Guide to the North American Teenager
by Ben Philippe

Norris Kaplan, a hilarious, snarky black French-Canadian teen, has to move from Montreal to Austin, Texas with his single mother. In his less-than-ideal new environment, he meets new people and starts categorizing them with his trademark Kaplan-wit in a notebook, for his own amusement. He makes new friends and experiences brief romance but is overall hilarious and painfully honest about his experience on uncharted grounds.

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Frankly in Love
by David Yoon

Frank Li’s parents are traditional Korean parents—only Korean girls are acceptable for dating and marriage. The problem is, Frank falls in love with a white girl, Brit, and he knows his parents will not approve. So to cover up his dating scheme and please his parents, he pretends he’s dating a family friend—Joy, the perfect Korean girl for his parents. Of course, Frank is stuck in a messy love triangle, but when cancer hits his father, Frank is forced to reconsider his life and who he actually is and wants to be.

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The Grace Year
by Kim Liggett

Tierney lives in a world where women are treated like something men have control over but at the same time must be careful of, for they have a mysterious magic. All girls at the age of 16 must complete something called the Grace Year, a year of banishment from greater society. Tierney wants to make it out of the Grace year alive and go to work on the fields. But things don't exactly go according to plan. She and the girls she's with, in fact, uncover some of the biggest secrets of their world.

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Last Bus to Everland
by Sophie Cameron

Brody Fair is a teenager that not many people understood – not his parents, siblings, and obviously not the girls in his neighborhood that make his life a living nightmare. But one day he meets Nico who takes him into a very bizarre world that only opens at 11:21pm and in there he meets a few people that become his friends. But when the doors start to close, Brody needs to make a choice of either staying in Everland with Nico and risking not seeing his family again or going home and having to say goodbye to Nico and Everland forever.

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Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me
by Mariko Tamaki

Reeling from her latest break up with Laura Dean, Freddy's best friend, Doodle, introduces her to the Seek-Her, a mysterious medium, who leaves Freddy some cryptic parting words: break up with her. But Laura Dean keeps coming back, and as their relationship spirals further out of her control, Freddy has to wonder if it's really Laura Dean that's the problem. Maybe it's Freddy, who is rapidly losing her friends, including Doodle, who needs her now more than ever.

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Lovely War
by Julie Berry

In the perilous days of World Wars I and II, the gods held the fates -- and the hearts -- of four mortals in their hands. Hazel, James, Aubrey, and Colette. A classical pianist from London, a British would-be architect turned soldier, a Harlem-born ragtime genius in the US Army, and a Belgian orphan with a gorgeous voice and a devastating past. Their story, as told by goddess Aphrodite, who must spin the tale or face judgement on Mount Olympus, is filled with hope and heartbreak, prejudice and passion, and reveals that, though war is a formidable force, it's no match for the transcendent power of love.

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The Memory Thief
by Lauren Mansy

In the city of Craewick, the power-obsessed ruler, Madame, has cultivated a society in which memories are currency, citizens are divided by ability, and Gifted individuals can take memories from others through touch as they please. Etta Lark grapples with the guilt of an accident that has left her mother bedridden in the city’s asylum. When Madame threatens to put her mother up for auction, her memories sold to the highest bidder before being killed, Etta will do whatever it takes to save her. It means rejoining the Shadows, the rebel group she swore off in the wake of the accident years earlier. To prove her allegiance, Etta must steal a memorized map of the Maze, a formidable prison created by the bloodthirsty ruler of a neighboring Realm.

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My Ideal Boyfriend is a Croissant
by Laura Dockrill

Bluebelle, also known as BB or Big Bones, lives her life unapologetically. She loves life! She loves food! When BB has a worse-than-usual asthma attack, her mom insists she go to the doctor. Being told that she is overweight is no surprise, but being prediabetic is. BB agrees to keep a food diary, move more, and try to lose weight. When a tragedy occurs in the family, her own health is the least of her worries. The food diary begins to document what she's feeling-- and she has a lot to say!

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Opposite of Always
by Justin A. Reynolds

Jack, a nerdy, quirky, and lovable high school senior falls in love with Kate, only to find that she dies a couple of months later. Every occurrence of her death sends him back in time to the night they first met to give Jack another chance to save Kate.

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Pumpkinheads
by Rainbow Rowell

Josiah and Deja have been working the Succotash Hut together for the past three years and this is their last night working together before they go off to college. Deja is on a mission to help Josiah talk to his dream girl and eat snacks along the way. This dreamy graphic novel tells the cute story of these two teens’ last night at the pumpkin patch.

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Stolen Time
by Danielle Rollins

Dorothy has been raised her whole life as a con artist. Her surprisingly sheltered life leaves her struggling to escape without knowing what she is looking for, and here is where Ash comes in with a time machine. Dorothy believes she is simply sneaking onto a plane, but imagine her surprise when she ends up in 2077 instead of 1913.

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Stronger Than a Bronze Dragon
by Mary Fan

Seventeen-year-old Anlei wants to protect her village from the shadow spirits called Ligui – even if that means marrying the local viceroy and giving up her own freedom. But on the day before her wedding, she meets a secretive thief named Tai, and the two of them embark on an epic quest to destroy the Ligui and save the world. Their journey will take them to Hell and back, but the mysteries of the shadow spirits are not so easily solved.

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These Witches Don't Burn
by Isabel Sterling

Hannah, a teen witch in Salem, has to keep her identity a secret so she doesn’t lose her magic forever. Out of nowhere, a bloody accident finds its way to a school event and Hannah is convinced it has to do with a blood witch that haunted her past. She’s forced to team up with her stubborn ex-girlfriend, Veronica, and together they go through a thrilling adventure to try to find whoever is behind this dark magic.

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Warhead: The True Story of One Teen Who Almost Saved the World
by Jeff Henigson

When Jeff, an average 15-year-old learns he has brain cancer, his plan of getting a girlfriend and a new car goes falling. While Jeff is fighting for his life, the leaders of the United States and the Soviet Union are in a standoff. When Jeff is given a wish, he wishes to meet the leader of the Soviet Union to discuss ending the Cold War. Will he be able to achieve World Peace?

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Wayward Son
by Rainbow Rowell

Simon Snow did everything he was supposed to do. He beat the villain. He won the war. He even fell in love. Now comes the good part, right? Now comes the happily ever after… So why can’t Simon Snow get off the couch? What he needs, according to his best friend, is a change of scenery. He just needs to see himself in a new light…That’s how Simon, Penny, and Baz end up in a vintage convertible, tearing across the American West.

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We Hunt the Flame
by Hafsah Faizal

In a world inspired by ancient Arabia, seventeen-year-old huntress Zafira must disguise herself as a man to seek a lost artifact that could return magic to her cursed world.

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Wilder Girls
by Rory Power

Raxter school has been under quarantine for eighteen months. Nobody knows what caused the mysterious outbreak of the tox. Everyone at the school started getting infected and makes them feel like strangers in their own body. Hetty has been dealing with her own demons since this began and waiting for a cure seems pointless. Once her friend Byatt goes missing, she becomes restless and wants answers.

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With the Fire on High
by Elizabeth Acevedo

Navigating the challenges of finishing high school while caring for a daughter, talented cook Emoni Santiago struggles with a lack of time and money that complicate her dream of working in a professional kitchen.

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About the Author

Kristen is the Youth Services Librarian and has been working at EPL since 2013. She is a wannabe gardener who loves movies, the night sky, and avoiding the claws of her cat, Sandman. Her reading interests tend toward short story collections, as well as novels that are a blend of eerie, insightful, and magical.