Welcome back Wallflowers! Thank you all for staying patient with me while waiting for the second half of this list to be published. (If you haven’t read part one yet, you can do so here!) I didn’t want to overwhelm you all with so many recommendations all in one post so I thought that separating them would be my best option. (Narrowing my top books down to 20 was difficult enough!) Without further ado….
Top 20 Books of 2020 (Part 2!)
(In order of publication)
You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson
Now, let’s begin with one of my favorite queer rom-coms! In a prom-obsessed town in Indiana where the competition for becoming the prom queen or king is fierce, Liz Lighty, a Black, bisexual girl enters the competition, her sights set on the scholarship that comes with being chosen as the queen. Liz’s heart is set on attending the college of her dreams and she is determined to win, but her priorities change when she begins to fall for the new girl at school, Mack, who also happens to be her competition… I loved this book and there are a few scenes that make me laugh just thinking about them. Leah Johnson has created amazing characters, a heart stopping romance, and a book that I will remember forever.
The Falling in Love Montage by Ciara Smyth
Saoirse isn’t looking for a relationship. Her mother is suffering from dementia, and there is the possibility that someday Saoirse will too, and after her last breakup, she isn’t ready to give her heart to another girl. When she meets Ruby and she proposes a loophole to Saoirse’s rule of not falling in love, everything begins to change. For fans of summer romances, wlw rom coms, and lots of kissing!
Cinderella is Dead by Kalynn Bayron
It has been 200 years since Cinderella was married to her prince, and being chosen at the ball is now a matter of life or death. Sophia doesn’t want to go. She would rather be with her childhood best friend, Erin, but that isn’t an option. When Sophia escapes the ball and meets Constance, the last known descendant of Cinderella and her stepsisters, the two begin a journey to discover the truth of Cinderella’s story and take down the King once and for all. This is such a magical (and slightly eerie) reinvention of the story of Cinderella and I was truly captivated by it. It is one of the most AMAZING Cinderella stories I’ve ever read, and if you are a fan of fairytale retellings, queer love stories, and tales with a dark twist, then this book is a must-read!
The Voting Booth by Brandy Colbert
I love books that take place all in one day, and The Voting Booth is one of those masterpieces. It is told from the perspectives of Marva and Duke, two Black teens on their first Election Day, who embark on an adventure that shows them the injustices of the American election system as they race against the clock to get Duke to the voting booth. This was a quick read about the importance of voting and what it means to be a Black voter in the U.S.
Beetle & the Hollowbones by Aliza Layne
This graphic novel has stolen my whole heart. The art is beautiful and the characters come to life and explode off the pages. Beetle and the Hollowbones is perfect for fans of magic, Halloween aesthetics, beautiful friendships, and coming-of-age stories. I loved the LGBTQ+ representation in this graphic novel and I am already longing to learn more about this world and the creatures who live in it. The goblincore vibes were so comforting, and the friendships and familial relationships were so loving and pure. This book felt both like an adventure and like coming home and I recommend it to anyone who needs some comfort, an escape, or a little bit of both.
Six Angry Girls by Adrienne Kisner
Told from the perspectives of two girls on their school’s all-new female mock trial team. A tale of friendship, heartbreak, fighting the patriarchy, and using crafting and the arts as a medium for change. If the glorious cover isn’t enough to get you to read this book, I don’t know what is!
Lightfall #1: The Girl and the Galdurian by Tim Probert
Bea and her cat live with their adoptive grandfather, AKA the pig Wizard, and one day he mysteriously goes missing on an adventure, leaving Bea behind. With the help of Cad the Galdurian, of a species that is supposed to be extinct, she sets out on an adventure of her own so she can find him. I loved this graphic novel so much! The art was beautiful, I loved the story, world-building, and all the characters, and I flew through it so, so fast! I recommend this to any fans of fantasy, gorgeous artwork, and worlds that you want to take you away.
We Are Not Free by Traci Chee
I listened to this book on audio and it was so incredible that I am working on a post dedicated completely to it. We Are Not free is the story of a group of Japanese American teenagers who had their lives uprooted after Pearl Harbor and were sent to internment camps. This story is has a beautiful balance of heartbreak and humor, fact and fiction, and I recommend it to absolutely anyone, especially teens of any race who live in the U.S. It is time to truly learn our history.
The Boys in the Back Row by Mike Jung
This book made me laugh so hard that I finished it over the course of an afternoon. It is a middle grade novel about two boys in their school band and the time they spend together before one of them has to move away. The humorous and NON-TOXIC masculine role models in this book are everything and if you want a fun, precious lil read that you can fly through, this one is for you!
The Love Curse of Melody McIntyre by Robin Talley
Ah, the final book on my list! Hooray! This book is a fun YA wlw rom-com about Melody, who is the stage manager of her school theatre, and her challenge of not falling in love in order to save the production of the spring musical. Of course, things don’t go completely according to plan… If you are a theatre fan, or lover of queer romances, I highly recommend that you read this!
Thank you so much for making it to the end, and I hope you found some things that you are excited to read! Have you read any of the books on this list? What were your favorite releases of 2020? Share them with the community in the comments below!
The Woodland Wallflower