September’s Most Anticipated Young Adult Books

Posted by Sharon on September 1, 2020

As dedicated readers already know, some of the best and most innovative stories on the shelves come from the constantly evolving realm of young adult fiction. Every month our team looks at the books being published and how they’re resonating with early readers. We use this information to put together a roundup of soon-to-be favorites.

This September is so full of amazing new reads that we actually gave the big series sequels their own post. (Talk about an embarrassment of riches!)

Meanwhile, in the month’s best standalones and first-in-a-series books: A teenage pirate fights the good fight in Fable, flying demons menace a college town in Legendborn, and a best friend comes back from the dead in Early Departures. Also watch for aspiring R&B singers, obstinate ghosts, and some cleverly concealed sci-fi allegory.  

Add the books that catch your eye to your Want to Read shelf and let us know what you’re reading and recommending in the comments!

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Author Aiden Thomas’ debut novel tells the story of Yadriel, an aspiring teenage sorcerer (or brujo) whose stubbornly traditional Latinx family is having a difficult time accepting his gender. So Yadriel sets out to prove himself with the help of his best friend Maritza. But when the ritual goes wrong, the aspiring young mages find that they’ve got a ghost on their hands—a new spectral partner with some scores of his own to settle.

Read our exclusive interview with Thomas.

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Pirates! The entire history of publishing suggests that you can’t go wrong with pirate stories, and this new one from Adrienne Young (Sky in the Deep) looks like serious fun. Seventeen-year-old Fable has been abandoned on a dangerous island and piratical hideout, but she’s determined to fight her way back to the top in a world dominated by men. The good news is that the male of the species is notoriously easy to trick.

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Enchanted Jones not only has an exceptionally cool name, she also has the talent to be a world-famous R&B singer. But life isn’t easy when you’re the lone Black girl in your suburban high school. When a famous music mogul takes interest, things start looking up. But when the mogul is found dead, things get complicated—especially since evidence suggests Enchanted is the killer.

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Recommended for fans of Claudia Gray and Laini Taylor, this first installment in a planned new series tells the story of two people—and two peoples. Prince North comes from a glittering city in the sky. Nimh is the goddess of the people on the surface below. A dark prophecy brings these two leaders together with the fate of both societies in the balance. At least their love isn’t forbidden! Oh, wait. It is.

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The author duo behind Five Feet Apart returns with another tearjerker teen romance. On the day that Kyle Lafferty graduates from high school, he has a long-term girlfriend and a bright football future. But a fateful car crash changes everything, including how Kyle understands his past. Will he be able to find healing and new love? Maybe. Will you need a box of tissues while you read? Definitely.

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Chapel Hill, North Carolina, is a great little college town. Unfortunately, it’s being menaced by a flying demon that feeds on human energy. Sixteen-year-old Bree Matthews finds herself in the middle of a magical war when she infiltrates the Legendborn, an ancient group dedicated to hunting down demonic entities. As a community, though, the Legendborn have some secrets to keep. The college experience has never been so much fun.

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The sinister Karensa Federation has conquered dozens of countries with an astoundingly cruel tactic: The Federation turns refugees into Ghosts, mutant war beasts genetically designed for battle. Talin Kanami serves the resistance as part of the Strikers, an elite fighting force defending the nation of Mara, one of the last free countries of the world. It’s action with a side of allegory—aka what sci-fi does best.

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Winner of this month’s unofficial Coolest Book Title award, The Left-Handed Booksellers of London imagines a kind of slightly alternate history in which the myths and monsters of Old World England intrude upon London circa 1983. The Booksellers—right-handed and left-handed—are magical beings who patrol the border between the worlds. Young Susan Arkshaw is caught in the middle with a terribly attractive young man who calls himself Merlin...

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Ibi Zoboi, a National Book Award finalist for American Street, has partnered with prison reform activist Yusef Salaam for this innovative novel in verse about a 16-year-old poet who is incarcerated for a crime he didn’t commit. Can one lone voice, deep in the system, speak the truth? Can it even be heard? Punching the Air is a unique YA initiative, recommended for fans of Jason Reynolds, Walter Dean Myers, and Elizabeth Acevedo.

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How’s this for an intriguing premise: Jamal’s friend Q has just died in a terrible drowning accident. For Jamal, who recently lost his parents, it may be one burden too many. But an experimental technology can bring Q back to life—temporarily. The catch is that Jamal can’t tell Q he already died, and that he will soon die again, this time for real. Author Justin A. Reynolds (Opposite of Always) brings a speculative fiction twist to a fascinating moral dilemma.

Which new releases are you looking forward to reading? Let’s talk books in the comments!

Check out more recent articles, including:
Don’t Miss This Month’s Blockbuster YA Sequels
September’s Most Anticipated New Releases
Aiden Thomas Creates Joyful Magic in ‘Cemetery Boys’

Comments Showing 1-21 of 21 (21 new)

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message 1: by Elena (new)

Elena Crownchasers by Rebecca Coffindaffer!

message 2: by Katherine (new)

Katherine Hayward Pérez Looking forward to everything on this list except Fable and am currently listening to the ARC of Skyhunter Skyhunter (Skyhunter, #1) by Marie Lu since I have a blog tour coming up.

message 3: by Cindy (new)

Cindy The summaries of the books were really well written. They had me snort a few times. Thanks for fun article!

Kate (Feathered Turtle Press) I got a LegendBorn ARC and it was amazing! Definitely recommend it!

message 5: by Tam (new)

Tam LegendBorn and Skyhunter!!!!!

message 6: by andrew (new)

andrew I think i will try grown by tiffany. D jackson

message 7: by DeAja (new)

DeAja Looking forward to reading Grown and Punching the Air!

message 8: by [deleted user] (new)

I think there are more books that needs to be one this list

message 9: by spiderboox (new)

spiderboox Super keen for Skyhunter, evrything Marie Lu writes is great! :D

message 10: by Brina (new)

Brina My daughter is excited for punching the air. She enjoyed American street.

message 11: by nitya (new)

nitya The summaries for these are A+++

Looking forward to Skyhunter and Cemetery Boys!!!

message 12: by Anilaury (new)

Anilaury Costa The cover of Grown is sooo beautiful

message 13: by Em (new)

Em there are so many awesome YA novels being released this month :) None Shall Sleep, The Art of Saving the World and Even If We Break are the one's I'm still waiting on

I'm also super pumped for Lauren James's new novel The Reckless Afterlife of Harriet Stoker which came out on the 3rd ^.^

message 14: by ClaraBelle (new)

ClaraBelle I’m excited about Fable, Legendborn, and Grown!

message 15: by Sean (new)

Sean A Curse of Gold by Annie Sullivan, the sequel to A Touch of Gold! It comes out Sep. 21! Can't wait!

message 16: by Laian (new)

Laian Looking forward to the other side of the sky and all third time!!😍😍

message 17: by Liam (new)

Liam Ward Oh look, another cis woman making money off the backs of us trans folk.

message 18: by Em (new)

Em Liam wrote: "Oh look, another cis woman making money off the backs of us trans folk."

which book are you referring to??

message 19: by Jacob (new)

Jacob Rudolph looking forward to #tsiasos, it's coming out in less than a week.

message 20: by Millay (new)

Millay FABLE!!!!! I can't wait to read this book! It sounds so alluring with the pirates, sea-faring, and dangerous twist and turns of the story!

message 21: by Jill (new)

Jill Grown is a gripping read. Really fantastic!

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