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Features | 3 Great Young Adult Novels Released in 2020 So Far

One of the things I'm very fortune to be able to do is review books for a couple of publishing companies here in New Zealand. This means that I'm often getting books either a little bit earlier than the public, or just as they are released. I've never been more up to date with Young Adult books (published by those that I work with anyway) before, and have really been enjoying reading books in the months they're released.

I thought I'd share just a few of books that I've read and really enjoyed which have been published in the last four months. Perhaps you've already read them, or perhaps they're on your TBR list. Either way, do let us know in the comments!

1. The Vanishing Deep, by Astrid Scholte

"Seventeen-year-old Tempe was born into a world of water. When the Great Waves destroyed her planet, its people had to learn to survive living on the water, but the ruins of the cities below still called. Tempe dives daily, scavenging the ruins of a bygone era, searching for anything of value to trade for Notes. It isn't food or clothing that she wants to buy, but her dead sister's life. For a price, the research facility on the island of Palindromena will revive the dearly departed for twenty-four hours before returning them to death. It isn't a heartfelt reunion that Tempe is after; she wants answers. Elysea died keeping a terrible secret, one that has ignited an unquenchable fury in Tempe: Her beloved sister was responsible for the death of their parents. Tempe wants to know why.

But once revived, Elysea has other plans. She doesn't want to spend her last day in a cold room accounting for a crime she insists she didn't commit. Elysea wants her freedom and one final glimpse at the life that was stolen from her. She persuades Tempe to break her out of the facility, and they embark on a dangerous journey to discover the truth about their parents' death and mend their broken bond. But they're pursued every step of the way by two Palindromena employees desperate to find them before Elysea's time is up--and before the secret behind the revival process and the true cost of restored life is revealed."

After reading Four Dead Queens by Astrid Scholte last year and absolutely loving it (must read it again!) I knew that The Vanishing Deep was going to be a good one. The Vanishing Deep was such a great concept. The description does a great job at giving you the low down on the setting and over all plot so I won’t go into it too much, for fear of giving anything away. Like Four Dead Queens, Scholte’s second book was a combination of great characters, imaginative settings, wonderful plot lines and even surprising twists. If you’re up for “a story of sisterhood, love and loss, and the lengths we will go to for the people we care about” then this is for you.

*Not the actual cover. Also look at that sad post damage! * cry *

2. Yes No Maybe So, by Becky Albertalli and Aisha Saeed

"Jamie Goldberg is cool with volunteering for his local state candidate - as long as he’s behind the scenes. There’s no way he’d ever knock on doors to ask people for their votes…until he meets Maya.

Maya Rehman’s having the worst Ramadan ever. Her best friend is too busy to hang out, her summer trip is cancelled, her parents are separating and now her mother thinks the solution to her problems is political canvassing - with some awkward guy she hardly knows ...

Going door to door isn’t exactly glamorous, but maybe it’s not the worst thing in the world. After all, the polls are getting closer - and so are Maya and Jamie. Mastering local activism is one thing. Navigating the cross-cultural crush of the century is another thing entirely."

I think I’ll read pretty much read anything by Becky Albertalli; her books are always a fun read. I’ve never read anything by Aisha Saeed before, but now I want to look into what else she’s written. Yes No Maybe So was co-written by the two authors, with each taking a character, alternating chapters.  It wasn't quite as sweet as Simon vs the Homospaiens Agenda or What If It’s Us, but it was still a fun read.

3. Only Mostly Devastated, by Sophie Gonzales 

"When Ollie meets his dream guy, Will, over summer break, he thinks he’s found his Happily Ever After. But once summer’s ended, Will stops texting him back, and Ollie finds himself one prince short of a fairytale ending. To complicate the fairytale further, a family emergency sees Ollie uprooted and enrolled at a new school across the country—Will’s school—where Ollie finds that the sweet, affectionate and comfortably queer guy he knew from summer isn’t the same one attending Collinswood High. This Will is a class clown, closeted—and, to be honest, a bit of a jerk.

Ollie has no intention of pining after a guy who clearly isn’t ready for a relationship. But as Will starts ‘coincidentally’ popping up in every area of Ollie’s life, from music class to the lunch table, Ollie finds his resolve weakening.

The last time he gave Will his heart, Will handed it back to him trampled and battered. Ollie would have to be an idiot to trust him with it again.



In many ways Only Mostly Devastated was your classic Young Adult romance novel. Teens meet, fall in love, but oh no something/s happen and it’s not all roses, but don’t worry, it all works out in the end. It was very predictable, but that worked okay for this story I think. I really enjoyed reading Only Mostly Devastated and managed to read it in just a few hours. The side-characters were your classic American high school stereotypes, with a few additional surprises and twists thrown in to zhoosh it up a little bit.

What books have you enjoyed so far this year?

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