The Most Anticipated YA Books of December

Posted by Sharon on December 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.

New in December: The famous fictional game Quidditch makes an unexpected return in This Is How We Fly. Rampaging jinn threaten to overrun the world in A Sky Beyond the Storm. And love blossoms in the backstage world of high school musicals with The Love Curse of Melody McIntyre. Also new this month: Revamped Portuguese legends, postapocalyptic survival bunkers, and a fictional take on those real-world college admissions scandals.
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 Sabaa Tahir’s epic An Ember in the Ashes series concludes with humankind in a perfect storm of serious trouble. The long-imprisoned jinn are on a rampage, attacking villages and cities under the banner of the Nightbringer. Laia of Serra is determined to stop the impending cataclysm, but to do so she will need to awaken an ancient power and bring it forth into the land of the living. That kind of maneuver is what series finales are all about.

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Milly, Aubrey, and Jonah have never met their grandmother. In fact, the cousins barely even know one another. Nevertheless, they have agreed to work at grandma’s island resort for the summer. That’s where things get confusing. Grandma disinherited her children long ago, so why is she inviting her children’s children out for the summer? And why would their parents let them go? Here’s a hint: A substantial inheritance is at stake. All that whispered family drama is about to get real.

Read our exclusive interview with Karen M. McManus.

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Remember that college admissions scandal from pre-pandemic days, back when we had time to worry about other things? Author Julie Buxbaum takes a fictionalized approach to the topic with the story of Chloe Berringer, whose mom has just been busted for fudging Chloe’s college applications. With U.S. attorneys at the door—and the neighbors in their windows and the press on the lawn—the prom is the least of Chloe’s problems.

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Recommended for fans of Becky Albertalli and Nina LaCour, The Love Curse of Melody McIntyre takes place in the whirlwind backstage environs of a high school musical production. Anyone who has participated in these can tell you: It’s all drama, all the time. Stage manager Melody has a thing for the sweet and funny new girl, Odile. But staging a production of Les Mis is, like, seven full-time jobs. “To love another person is to see the face of God.” Victor Hugo said that.

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Quidditch, it turns out, is a real thing. Well, kind of. “Muggle Quidditch” is an approximation of the famous game from the Harry Potter books, only using PVC pipes and dodgeballs. Graduating high school senior Ellen Lopez-Rourke has unexpectedly found a new group of friends in the local league, and adventures await. But then complications emerge: Her home life is getting hairy, and her two BFFs are heading to different colleges. To top it all off, Anna Meriano’s book is also a loose retelling of the Cinderella legend.

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YA authors have been splashing about in the waters of dystopian science fiction for several decades now, but never quite like this: Ami Miles is one of the few young women at the survival compound Heavenly Shepherd, the last safe place in a world gone mad. Or so she’s been told. Her grandfather has arranged for her marriage to a cold-eyed stranger, but Ami is having none of that. With the help of her aunt, she flees into the chaos of the outside world in a quest to find her long-lost mother.

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Based on an ancient Portuguese legend, A Curse of Roses chronicles the fate of Princess Yzabel, whose strange magical gift has become a terrible curse. Everything Yzabel touches turns to flowers, which is a nice trick—but what her starving people really need is food. The beautiful enchantress Fatyan can reverse the curse (and make food from flowers), but only if Yzabel frees her with a kiss. Fooling around with supernatural entities is a dangerous business, but Yzabel really liked that kiss…

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Ousted by a scandal at her private school in New York City, Magdalena has retreated to her family home to get her head together. Long hikes in the woods are helping her heal, and when she meets the wild and gorgeous Bo, Magdalena can suddenly see a real future again. But when a mutilated body is discovered in the woods, Magdalena is back to square one. Isn’t there anyone she can trust?

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What a great idea: This anthology of short fiction features fantasy stories from a broad array of YA authors, with an eye toward illuminating underrepresented points of view. Among the tales: a princess who doesn’t need a prince; a monster long misunderstood; victims of injustice who refuse to stay silent. The goal is to generate a universe of wishes for “a braver and more beautiful world.” Everybody wins!

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

Check out more recent articles, including:
Readers' Most Anticipated Books of December
Goodreads Staffers Share Their Top Three Books of the Year
Karen M. McManus Delves into Dark Family Legacies with 'The Cousins'

Comments Showing 1-14 of 14 (14 new)

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message 1: by Joyce (new)

Joyce Ortiz I just finished listening to the audiobook of The Cousins and loved it! I hope there will be a second book on this one!

message 3: by Savannah (new)

Savannah Lancaster Definitely reading The Cousins!!!

message 4: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth the cousins for suree!!!!!

message 5: by Malika Gulfraz (new)

Malika Gulfraz Hi

message 6: by Savannah (new)

Savannah Lancaster Elizabeth wrote: "the cousins for suree!!!!!"


message 7: by Claire (new)

Claire Can't wait for This is How We Fly!!!!

message 8: by Hazel (new)

Hazel Marlene I'm definitely reading A Sky Beyond the Storm!! Sounds awesome!!! 😍

message 9: by Kelly (new)

Kelly Santana-Banks Will be adding some of these books to my list for sure!

message 10: by aisha (new)

aisha i’m literally waiting to be able to get the cousins

message 11: by Savannah (new)

Savannah Lancaster Ajani wrote: "Hello everyone. My name is Ajani from South Africa.  I want to give a testimony about my HIV virus that was cured by a great spell caster called Dr Sahabi. Since the last 6 months I have been HIV p..."

Well I am glad your better now

message 12: by Dylan (new)

Dylan Clark I am very exited to read Admission by Julie Buxbaum, This Is How We Fly by Anna Meriano and The Love Curse of Melody McIntyre
by Robin Talley. They all seem very good and exiting i think this month is going to be a great one for books!

message 13: by Eva (new)

Eva I am really exited to read The Cousins!
I just got the book One of us is lying and its sequel One of us is next.
I already started reading One of us is lying and it is so cool!

message 14: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth Eva wrote: "I am really exited to read The Cousins!
I just got the book One of us is lying and its sequel One of us is next.
I already started reading One of us is lying and it is so cool!"


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