I love this theme on Top Ten Tuesday. Much like the seasonal #tbrs, I’m love making lists of what I want to read… and less good at sticking to them. But! For my most anticipated releases from January-June 2020, I did read 7… out of 20.
For today’s post, I’m including 10 YA books, 2 middle grade books, and 1 adult book that I’m looking forward to reading in the second half of this year, plus 7 books that I’ve already read and loved!
And now without any further ado, here’s this week’s Top Ten Tuesday!
BOOKS I’M LOOKING FORWARD TO READING
Cinderella Is Dead by Kalynn Bayron
Published by Bloomsbury YA on July 7, 2020
Genres: YA, Fantasy, Retellings, LGBTQIA+
It’s 200 years after Cinderella found her prince, but the fairy tale is over. Teen girls are now required to appear at the Annual Ball, where the men of the kingdom select wives based on a girl’s display of finery. If a suitable match is not found, the girls not chosen are never heard from again.
Sixteen-year-old Sophia would much rather marry Erin, her childhood best friend, than parade in front of suitors. At the ball, Sophia makes the desperate decision to flee, and finds herself hiding in Cinderella’s mausoleum. There, she meets Constance, the last known descendant of Cinderella and her step sisters. Together they vow to bring down the king once and for all–and in the process, they learn that there’s more to Cinderella’s story than they ever knew . . .
Eva Evergreen, Semi-Magical Witch by Julie Abe
Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers on August 4, 2020
Genres: Middle Grade, Fantasy
Sometimes all you need is a pinch of magic...
Eva Evergreen is determined to earn the rank of Novice Witch before she turns thirteen years old. If she doesn't, she'll lose her magic forever. For most young witches and wizards, it's a simple enough test:
ONE: Help your town, do good all around.
TWO: Live there for one moon, don't leave too soon.
THREE: Fly home by broomstick, the easiest of tricks.
The only problem? Eva only has a pinch of magic. She summons heads of cabbage instead of flowers and gets a sunburn instead of calling down rain. And to add insult to injury, whenever she overuses her magic, she falls asleep.
When she lands on the tranquil coastal town of Auteri, the residents expect a powerful witch, not a semi-magical girl. So Eva comes up with a plan: set up a magical repair shop to aid Auteri and prove she's worthy. She may have more blood than magic, but her "semi-magical fixes" repair the lives of the townspeople in ways they never could have imagined. Only, Eva's bit of magic may not be enough when the biggest magical storm in history threatens the town she's grown to love. Eva must conjure up all of the magic, bravery, and cleverness she can muster or Auteri and her dreams of becoming a witch will wash away with the storm.
Six Angry Girls by Adrienne Kisner
Published by Feiwel & Friends on August 18, 2020
Genres: YA, Contemporary, LGBTQIA+
Raina Petree is crushing her senior year, until her boyfriend dumps her, the drama club (basically) dumps her, the college of her dreams slips away, and her arch-nemesis triumphs.
Things aren’t much better for Millie Goodwin. Her father treats her like a servant, and the all-boy Mock Trial team votes her out, even after she spent the last three years helping to build its success.
But then, an advice columnist unexpectedly helps Raina find new purpose in a pair of knitting needles and a politically active local yarn store. This leads to an unlikely meeting in the girls’ bathroom, where Raina inspires Millie to start a rival team. The two join together and recruit four other angry girls to not only take on Mock Trial, but to smash the patriarchy in the process.
The Assignment by Liza M. Wiemer
Published by Delacorte Press on August 25, 2020
Genres: YA, Contemporary
SENIOR YEAR. When an assignment given by a favorite teacher instructs a group of students to argue for the Final Solution, a euphemism used to describe the Nazi plan for the genocide of the Jewish people, Logan March and Cade Crawford are horrified. Their teacher cannot seriously expect anyone to complete an assignment that fuels intolerance and discrimination. Logan and Cade decide they must take a stand.As the school administration addressed the teens' refusal to participate in the appalling debate, the student body, their parents, and the larger community are forced to face the issue as well. The situation explodes, and acrimony and anger result. What does it take for tolerance, justice, and love to prevail?
Sources Say by Lori Goldstein
Published by Razorbill on September 8, 2020
Genres: YA, Contemporary
Two exes. One election. All the drama.
At Acedia High School outside of Boston, student council has always been nothing more than a popularity contest. Nobody pays attention. Nobody cares.
But all that changes when the Frankengirls show up. During the very first week of school, someone plasters the halls with Photoshopped images of three "perfect tens"--images of scantily clad girls made from real photos of girls at school. The student body is livid. And the two presidential candidates, Angeline Quinn and Leo Torres, jump on the opportunity to propose their solutions and secure votes. After their messy break up, Leo and Angie are fighting tooth and nail to win this thing and their constituents are mesmerized as they duke it out.
As if things couldn't be more dramatic, the school's two newspapers get involved. The Red & Blue is run by Angie's sister Cat and she prides herself on only reporting the facts. But her morals are tested when The Shrieking Violet--written by an anonymous source and based less on facts and more on fiction--blatantly endorses Leo. Rumors fly, secrets are leaked, and the previously mundane student election becomes anything but boring.
Smash It! by Francina Simone
Series: Smash It! #1
Published by Inkyard Press on September 22, 2020
Genres: YA, Contemporary, Retellings, LGBTQIA+
Olivia "Liv" James is done with letting her insecurities get the best of her. So she does what any self-respecting hot mess of a girl who wants to SMASH junior year does. She makes a list—a F*ck It list.
Be bold—do the things that scare me.
Learn to take a compliment.
Stand out instead of back.
Now she's got a part in her school's musical production of Othello, new friends and the attention of three very different boys. In Liv's own words, “F*ck it. What’s the worst that can happen?" The answer is . . . a lot. #SMASHIT
The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Series: The Inheritance Games #1
Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers on September 29, 2020
Genres: YA, Contemporary, Mystery, Thriller
Avery Grambs has a plan for a better future: survive high school, win a scholarship, and get out. But her fortunes change in an instant when billionaire Tobias Hawthorne dies and leaves Avery virtually his entire fortune. The catch? Avery has no idea why--or even who Tobias Hawthorne is. To receive her inheritance, Avery must move into sprawling, secret passage-filled Hawthorne House, where every room bears the old man's touch--and his love of puzzles, riddles, and codes.
Unfortunately for Avery, Hawthorne House is also occupied by the family that Tobias Hawthorne just dispossessed. This includes the four Hawthorne grandsons: dangerous, magnetic, brilliant boys who grew up with every expectation that one day, they would inherit billions. Heir apparent Grayson Hawthorne is convinced that Avery must be a con-woman, and he's determined to take her down. His brother, Jameson, views her as their grandfather's last hurrah: a twisted riddle, a puzzle to be solved. Caught in a world of wealth and privilege, with danger around every turn, Avery will have to play the game herself just to survive.
The Tower of Nero by Rick Riordan
Series: The Trials of Apollo #5
Published by Disney-Hyperion on October 6, 2020
Genres: Middle Grade, Fantasy, Retellings, LGBTQIA+
At last, the breathtaking, action-packed finale of the #1 bestselling Trials of Apollo series is here! Will the Greek god Apollo, cast down to earth in the pathetic moral form of a teenager named Lester Papadopoulos, finally regain his place on Mount Olympus? View Spoiler »Lester's demigod friends at Camp Jupiter just helped him survive attacks from bloodthirsty ghouls, an evil Roman king and his army of the undead, and the lethal emperors Caligula and Commodus. Now the former god and his demigod master Meg must follow a prophecy uncovered by Ella the harpy. Lester's final challenge will be at the Tower of Nero, back in New York. Will Meg have a last showdown with her father? Will this helpless form of Apollo have to face his arch nemesis, Python? Who will be on hand at Camp Half-Blood to assist? « Hide SpoilerThese questions and more will be answered in this book that all demigods are eagerly awaiting.
One Way or Another by Kara McDowell
Published by Scholastic Press on October 6, 2020
Genres: YA, Contemporary, Science Fiction
The average person makes 35,000 decisions every single day. That's about 34,999 too many for Paige Collins who lives in debilitating fear of making the wrong choice. The simple act of picking an art elective is enough to send her into a spiral of what ifs. What if she's destined to be a famous ceramicist but wastes her talent in drama club? What if there's a carbon monoxide leak in the ceramics studio and everyone drops dead? (Grim, but possible!)
That's why when Paige is presented with two last-minute options for Christmas vacation, she's paralyzed by indecision. Should she go with her best friend (and longtime crush) Fitz to his family's romantic mountain cabin? Or should she accompany her mom to New York, a city Paige has spent her whole life dreaming about?
Just when it seems like Paige will crack from the pressure of choosing, fate steps in -- in the form of a slippery grocery store floor -- and Paige's life splits into two very different parallel paths. One path leads to New York where Paige falls for the city... and the charms of her unexpected tour guide. The other leads to the mountains where Paige might finally get her chance with Fitz... until her anxiety threatens to ruin everything.
However, before Paige gets her happy ending in either destiny, she'll have to face the truth about her struggle with anxiety -- and learn that you don't have to be "perfect" to deserve true love.
Lightbringer by Claire Legrand
Series: Empirium #3
Published by Sourcebooks Fire on October 13, 2020
Genres: YA, Fantasy
In this epic finale to the Empirium Trilogy from New York Times bestselling author Claire Legrand, two queens, separated by a thousand years must face their ultimate destinies. View Spoiler »
Queen Rielle, pushed away from everything she loves, turns to Corien and his promises of glory. Meanwhile, whispers from the empirium slowly drive her mad, urging her to open the Gate. Separated from Audric and Ludivine, she embraces the role of Blood Queen and her place by Corien’s side, determined to become the monster the world believes her to be.
In the future, Eliana arrives in the Empire’s capital as a broken shell of herself. Betrayed and abandoned, she fights to keep her power at bay—and away from Corien, who will stop at nothing to travel back in time to Rielle, even if that means destroying her daughter.
But when the mysterious Prophet reveals themselves at last, « Hide Spoiler everything changes, giving Rielle and Eliana a second chance for salvation—or the destruction their world has been dreading.
This Is All Your Fault by Aminah Mae Safi
Published by Feiwel & Friends on October 13, 2020
Genres: YA, Contemporary, LGBTQIA+
Set over the course of one day, this smart and voice-driven YA novel follows three young women determined to save their indie bookstore.Rinn Olivera is finally going to tell her longtime crush AJ that she’s in love with him.
Daniella Korres writes poetry for her own account, but nobody knows it’s her.
Imogen Azar is just trying to make it through the day.
When Rinn, Daniella, and Imogen clock into work at Wild Nights Bookstore on the first day of summer, they’re expecting the hours to drift by the way they always do. Instead, they have to deal with the news that the bookstore is closing. Before the day is out, there’ll be shaved heads, a diva author, and a very large shipment of Air Jordans to contend with.
And it will take all three of them working together if they have any chance to save Wild Nights Bookstore.
The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow
Published by Orbit on October 13, 2020
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Historical Fantasy, Alternate History
In 1893, there's no such thing as witches. There used to be, in the wild, dark days before the burnings began, but now witching is nothing but tidy charms and nursery rhymes. If the modern woman wants any measure of power, she must find it at the ballot box.
But when the Eastwood sisters--James Juniper, Agnes Amaranth, and Beatrice Belladonna--join the suffragists of New Salem, they begin to pursue the forgotten words and ways that might turn the women's movement into the witch's movement. Stalked by shadows and sickness, hunted by forces who will not suffer a witch to vote-and perhaps not even to live-the sisters will need to delve into the oldest magics, draw new alliances, and heal the bond between them if they want to survive.
There's no such thing as witches. But there will be.
Red, White, and the Blues by Rysa Walker
Series: CHRONOS Origins #2
Published by 47North on November 17, 2020
Genres: Adult, Historical Fiction, Alternate History, Thriller
History is turned inside out when off-world travelers challenge Tyson Reyes and Madi Grace to a real-life game of Temporal Dilemma. Three rounds from the opponents and Hitler takes Europe, Pearl Harbor never happens, a fascist cloud hangs over the postwar United States, and CHRONOS itself is erased from existence.
Now Tyson, Madi, and a team of seasoned players must make their moves—in 1930s New York. Jazz and the blues waft from Village clubs. The World’s Fair draws assassins. Madison Square Garden hosts Nazis. And the Manhattan Project never gets off the ground.
Tyson and Madi have only three days to undo the strategy that changed the tides of war and the fate of the world. A surprise survivor from CHRONOS could be their best hope for flipping the timeline. If he’s on their side. But can they risk trusting him when the past, the future, and the lives of millions hang in the balance?
How the King of Elfhame Learned to Hate Stories by Holly Black
Series: The Folk of the Air #4
Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers on November 24, 2020
Genres: YA, Fantasy
An illustrated addition to the New York Times bestselling Folk of Air trilogy, that started with The Cruel Prince, from award-winning author Holly Black.
An irresistible return to the captivating world of Elfhame.
Once upon a time, there was a boy with a wicked tongue.
Before he was a cruel prince or a wicked king, he was a faerie child with a heart of stone. #1 New York Times bestselling author, Holly Black reveals a deeper look into the dramatic life of Elfhame's enigmatic high king, Cardan. This tale includes delicious details of life before The Cruel Prince, an adventure beyond The Queen of Nothing, and familiar moments from The Folk of the Air trilogy, told wholly from Cardan's perspective.
This new installment in the Folk of the Air series is a return to the heart-racing romance, danger, humor, and drama that enchanted readers everywhere. Each chapter is paired with lavish and luminous full-color art, making this the perfect collector's item to be enjoyed by both new audiences and old.
BOOKS I’VE ALREADY READ AND LOVED
The Mall by Megan McCafferty
Published by Wednesday Books on July 28, 2020
Genres: YA, Contemporary, Historical Fiction
The year is 1991. Scrunchies, mixtapes and 90210 are, like, totally fresh. Cassie Worthy is psyched to spend the summer after graduation working at the Parkway Center Mall. In six weeks, she and her boyfriend head off to college in NYC to fulfill The Plan: higher education and happily ever after.
But you know what they say about the best laid plans...
Set entirely in a classic “monument to consumerism,” the novel follows Cassie as she finds friendship, love, and ultimately herself, in the most unexpected of places. Megan McCafferty, beloved New York Times bestselling author of the Jessica Darling series, takes readers on an epic trip back in time to The Mall.
The Game by Linsey Miller
Published by Underlined on August 4, 2020
Genres: YA, Mystery, Thriller, LGBTQIA+
Every year the senior class at Lincoln High plays assassin. Lia Prince has been planning her strategy for years and she's psyched that not only does she finally get to play, she's on a team with Devon Diaz. But this year, the game isn't any fun--it's real. Abby Ascher, Ben Barnard, and Cassidy Clarke have all turned up . . . dead. Can Lia stop the ABC killer before he reaches D?
The Tea Dragon Tapestry by Katie O'Neill
Series: Tea Dragon #3
Published by Oni Press on September 1, 2020
Genres: Middle Grade, Graphic Novels, LGBTQIA+
Join Greta and Minette once more for the heartwarming conclusion of the award-winning Tea Dragon series!
Over a year since being entrusted with Ginseng's care, Greta still can't chase away the cloud of mourning that hangs over the timid Tea Dragon. As she struggles to create something spectacular enough to impress a master blacksmith in search of an apprentice, she questions the true meaning of crafting, and the true meaning of caring for someone in grief. Meanwhile, Minette receives a surprise package from the monastery where she was once training to be a prophetess. Thrown into confusion about her path in life, the shy and reserved Minette finds that the more she opens her heart to others, the more clearly she can see what was always inside.
Told with the same care and charm as the previous installments of the Tea Dragon series, The Tea Dragon Tapestry welcomes old friends and new into a heartfelt story of purpose, love, and growth.
The Camelot Betrayal by Kiersten White
Series: Camelot Rising #2
Published by Delacorte Press on November 10, 2020
Genres: YA, Fantasy, Retellings, LGBTQIA+
EVERYTHING IS AS IT SHOULD BE IN CAMELOT: King Arthur is expanding his kingdom’s influence with Queen Guinevere at his side. Yet every night, dreams of darkness and unknowable power plague her.
Guinevere might have accepted her role, but she still cannot find a place for herself in all of it. The closer she gets to Brangien, View Spoiler »pining for her lost love Isolde, Lancelot, fighting to prove her worth as Queen’s knight, and Arthur, everything to everyone and thus never quite enough for Guinevere–the more she realizes how empty she is. She has no sense of who she truly was before she was Guinevere. The more she tries to claim herself as queen, the more she wonders if Mordred was right: she doesn’t belong. She never will.
When a rescue goes awry and results in the death of something precious, a devastated Guinevere returns to Camelot to find the greatest threat yet has arrived. Not in the form of the Dark Queen or an invading army, but in the form of the real Guinevere’s younger sister. « Hide Spoiler Is her deception at an end? And who is she really deceiving–Camelot, or herself?
This Is Not the Jess Show by Anna Carey
Series: This is Not the Jess Show #1
Published by Quirk Books on November 17, 2020
Genres: YA, Contemporary, Historical Fiction, Thriller
Like many teens, sometimes it feels as though everything in Jess Flynn's life has been engineered for maximum drama--from her performance at the school talent show, to the reappearance of her childhood best friend and perennial crush Jeremy, to her friends trying to set her up with one of the hottest guys in school. It's almost as if everything might finally be going her way...until one day a tiny black phone with an apple logo on its screen falls out of her best friend's backpack and lands at Jess's feet.
The problem is, it's 1998, and the first iPhone isn't due out for another nine years.
Jess's friends refuse to acknowledge the strange device. Her sister Sara, on hospice care with a terminal blood disease, for once can't tell Jess what she should do. It's almost as if everyone is hiding something from her. Even her beloved dog Fuller seems different...like, literally different, because he definitely didn't have that same pattern of spots on his stomach last week...
Nothing in Jess Flynn's world is as it seems, and as the cracks begin to show, Jess will discover her entire life is nothing more than someone else's entertainment. Except in this reality, the outside world is no place anyone would want to escape to.
Admission by Julie Buxbaum
Published by Delacorte Press on December 1, 2020
Genres: YA, Contemporary
It's good to be Chloe Wynn Berringer. She's headed off to the college of her dreams. She's going to prom with the boy she's had a crush on since middle school. Her best friend always has her back, and her mom, a B-list Hollywood celebrity, may finally be on her way to the B+ list. It's good to be Chloe Wynn Berringer--at least, it was, until the FBI came knocking on her front door, guns at the ready, and her future went up in smoke. Now her mother is under arrest in a massive college admissions bribery scandal. Chloe, too, might be facing charges, and even time behind bars. The public is furious, the press is rabid, and the US attorney is out for blood.
As she loses everything she's long taken for granted, Chloe must reckon not only with the truth of what happened, but also with the examination of her own guilt. Why did her parents think the only way for her to succeed was to cheat for her? What did she know, and when did she know it? And perhaps most importantly, what does it mean to be complicit?
What books are you most looking forward to in the second half (finally!) of 2020? Let me know in the comments and have a splendiferous week!