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YA Book Reviews by Amy


YA Book Reviews by Amy: 2020 Releases that Sound Amazing

This year I have read over 100 books; a feat I am proud of, but there are always some books that ‘got away’ from me. Books that sound amazing and that are on my list, but I lost track of time or had to return early because I knew I wasn’t going to anytime soon or forgot about it until now.

So, I wanted to list my top 7 books that I most want to read in 2021 that came out this year. Of course, I will not be able to review the books like I usually do, but I would like to explain why it sounds appealing or if it was recommended to me.

I hope to come back to this list in the upcoming months and update everyone about my thoughts!


Chain of Gold by Cassandra Clare

Cordelia and her brother travel to London to save their family from financial and social ruin when their father is suspected of a hideous crime. There they meet up with fellow shadowhunters–humans with runes on their bodies to help fight against paranormal creatures and demons–and childhood friends, the Herondales. Cordelia must hide her crush on James Herondale because he is promised to another. When the supernatural closes the entire city, the shadowhunters must come together.

I love Cassandra Clare and you should give her books a read if you enjoy paranormal creatures in our modern and historical worlds. I would recommend reading her books in publication order (and this is a daunting task once you see the number of books and the size of these tomes), but she is a fast read and a good one. I hope to catch up with her books soon and this is a solid pairing of historical fiction and fantastic writing that seems right up my alley.

Available on Overdrive and at the library* for checkout.


The Cousins by Karen M. McManus

This follows three cousins that might as well be strangers; when each one receives a mysterious letter from their grandmother that they never met, inviting them to her resort for the summer, it sounds promising to each teen for different reasons.

This sounds like a very suspenseful and smart mystery that will have me on the edge of my seat. I think that Karen M. McManus deserves all the hype she gets for her YA mysteries (One of Us Is Lying series and Two Can Keep a Secret) and from fellow librarian Sarah says, The Cousins fit right in! If you like mysteries or want to start reading some, Karen M. McManus is a great start.

Available on Overdrive and at the library* for checkout.


I Killed Zoe Spanos by Kit Frick

Anna spends the summer babysitting in a new town that has been reeling since the disappearance of Zoe Spanos, a teenaged girl that Anna looks very similar to. When Anna begins her own investigation, she would have never thought that she would become the prime suspect in Zoe’s murder, 2 months later when the body is found. Anna has to prove her innocence, but there are too many questions that make her look more suspicious. Will a podcast host uncover the truth that will either condemn Anna or free her?

I absolutely love a good YA mystery especially since I have made it my mission recently to find the best YA mysteries and thrillers. This novel looks interesting because it may contain an unreliable narrator and a who-done-it. The cover is absolutely gorgeous, and it just looks like it would be a great summer read or just trying to escape the cold.

Available on Overdrive and at the library* for checkout.


A Song Below Water by Bethany C. Morrow

Tavia must hide her identity because she is a siren– a mythical creature that can lure by song. Magic is rare in Portland, but there are prejudices against sirens and racism in which Tavia must deal with both. Tavia navigates through normal teenage issues like relationships, high school, and her family, while the world around her is blowing up from the results of a nationwide siren trial. Will Tavia’s secret be revealed?

This book sounded amazing after listening to my fellow librarians rave about it on Book Banter earlier this year; I take their options very seriously and since they had such positive things to say, I want to pick it up soon; I will most likely agree, but I want to form my own opinions. A great mix of contemporary with a mythical twist.

Available on Overdrive and at the library* for checkout


The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games have been not as successful and poignant as the leaders of Panem would like it to be because there is still defiance among the 12 districts. The Capitol decides to enlist the minds of brilliant students that will act as mentors to the children competing in this deadly ‘game’. Coriolanus Snow is the mentor to the district 12 girl that seems have captured the hearts of watchers; and thus, the idea of the districts to feel sympathy for the children and have them connect to them begins. Is the 10th Annual Hunger Games going to be the start of a new terror that will last for decades? Readers will see pieces of how the Hunger Games became the terrifying monster that it is.

I actually picked up this book earlier this year because I was super excited to read the prequel to The Hunger Games. While I was enjoying the story thus far, life got in the way and I never got back to reading this book. This book has strong characters and answers a lot of questions that I had during my reading of the original series. I liked The Hunger Games and I think I’m going to enjoy this book.

Available on Overdrive, an eAudiobook on Hoopla and at the library* for checkout.


Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender

Love is not easy for most teenagers, but for Felix, it’s beyond complicated. When an anonymous bully posts transphobic comments about Felix and outing old images and his dead name, Felix knows that he must do something—revenge. Felix plans on catfishing this bully but ends up being a part of a romance he did not expect.

Another Book Banter book that my friends and colleges recorded that sounded amazing. I love reading books that have LGBTQ+ representation with main and side characters. It sounds like a very emotionally and stressful contemporary read that will have me turning pages in anticipation and nervousness.

Available on Overdrive and at the library* for checkout.


Jane Anonymous by Laurie Faria Stolarz

A teenager is called “Jane,” as her name has been withheld after a traumatic experience; she was kidnapped by what the public is calling a “monster” and is still going through difficulty after surviving the events. Are there pieces from her past that connect to the reason why she was chosen? And does Jane feel the same as the public or does she remember things differently?

I have read other books by Laurie Faria Stolarz before and she is really good at writing thrilling and suspenseful books and it seems like Jane Anonymous is not the exception. A friend of mine read this book earlier this year and highly suggested it to me; so this book is definitely high on my list.

Available on Overdrive.


Hello everyone! I’m Amy and I am a Youth Services Librarian at the Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County. When I’m not trying to reach my reading goal for the year, I like to talk about what I’m reading to my family, friends, and coworkers. You could say I am a little obsessed with reading Young Adult books. I enjoy most genres, but my favorites include: Westerns, Historical Fiction, Contemporary, Fantasy, and Mystery. I am always looking for the next great book that makes me connect to its characters and hits me in the feels.