2020 Staff Picks: Teen

By Skokie Staff Advisory Services

Our expert staff members look back at the year and share their favorite titles.

  • Clap When You Land

    2020 by Acevedo, Elizabeth

    We were swept away by this powerful, dynamic novel in verse. The—sisters find out about each other after their father dies in a plane crash—was the hook that pulled us in, but the narrators' performance is what blew us away. Connection, forgiveness, and family win the day. Also, it's short. Recommended by Lukie and Allyson.

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  • You Should See Me in a Crown

    2020 by Johnson, Leah

    Sometimes you finish a book and it just makes you feel better. This was that book. Full of strong friendships, a beginning romance, and all the craziness of senior year, we couldn't put it down. If you need a book where you're wholeheartedly rooting for the main character, this is it. Recommended by Denise and Tiffany.

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  • Yes No Maybe So

    2020 by Albertalli, Becky

    This book made me feel hopeful. I love stories about people becoming more comfortable in their own skin, stories about standing up for what you believe in, and sweet "will they or won't they" romances. This book has all that. Recommended by Rachael.

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  • So Done

    2018 by Chase, Paula

    Tai and Mila are 13-year-olds who've been best friends forever. But things are starting to change, and they are changing their own goals as well. This is a great story of two girls who love each other but have a friendship that is threatened. Recommended by Mary M.

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  • You Know I'm No Good

    2020 by Foley, Jessie Ann

    There is so much that I loved about this book. The writing brilliantly explores a teenager's experience with grief, shame, rebellion, sexuality, and trauma. The themes are heavy, but when I think of this book, I think of resilience and empowerment. Beautiful, vivid storytelling. Recommended by Laurel.

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  • Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You

    2020 by Reynolds, Jason

    Racism, money, and power are intertwined. Reynolds lays out the facts in ways that scare me and at the same time give me hope, because some of what was taught can be retaught, especially by Jason Reynolds. Recommended by Cathy.

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  • Not So Pure and Simple

    2020 by Giles, L. R.

    This book made us laugh so hard. We felt like we knew every character and were rooting for everyone, even when they wanted different things. It's a great book for teens to explore their viewpoints. Recommended by Cathy and Rachael.

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  • Raybearer

    2020 by Ifueko, Jordan

    I absolutely adored this book. It is everything I want in a fantasy novel and everything I didn't know I wanted until I had read it. It's a vivid, gorgeous story and I cannot wait for the next installment. Recommended by Becca.

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  • Don't Ask Me Where I'm From

    2020 by De Leon, Jennifer

    A realistic portrayal of immigration in this country. The book with Liliana being afraid of everything. She eventually finds her voice. The contrast between Liliana and the wealthy kids who attend the school, and Lili's own feelings about her family and their background, make for a wonderful read. Recommended by Cathy and Mary M.

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  • This Is My Brain in Love

    2020 by Gregorio, I. W.

    I’m not a huge romance fan, but I may have fallen in love with this book, which deals with lots of topics and themes—mental health, race, economic insecurity, and identity—without being preachy or heavy-handed. Told thoughtfully and realistically in alternating perspectives, the book was full of chemistry between Jocelyn and Will. Recommended by Mandy.

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  • Felix Ever After

    2020 by Callender, Kacen

    A heartwarming story about identity, falling in love, and recognizing the love you deserve. Recommended by Becca.

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  • The Thousand Steps

    2019 by Brain, Helen

    A dystopian page-turner. Set in South Africa in 2055, the world as we know it is gone. Ebba was supposed to be dead, but now she is the key to improving the lives of many. I loved it. Recommended by Cathy.

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  • The Iron Will of Genie Lo

    2020 by Yee, F. C.

    One of my all-time favorite young adult series and an incredible follow-up and ending to The Epic Crush of Genie Lo. Genie is funny, warm, sharp, and incredibly relatable, and the story is the perfect blend of slapstick humor and genuinely tense stakes. Recommended by Perry.

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  • This Is My America

    2020 by Johnson, Kim

    This powerful debut novel is a teen-centered story dealing with several issues, such as the criminal justice system, social change, inequality, racism, activism, and not staying silent. I was glued to the narrative from beginning to end. Recommended by Sharon.

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  • Running

    2020 by Sylvester, Natalia

    What's it really like to be in a presidential campaign? Teen Mariana Cruz finds out when her father runs for President, and her life is turned upside down by the process. I love this book because it gives us a close-up view of what candidates go through and makes readers aware of the flaws in our political system—through the eyes of a candidate's daughter. Recommended by Mary M.

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  • Dragon Hoops

    2020 by Yang, Gene Luen

    I am not always a fan of graphic novels, but I am of this one. Yang's book is written about the school where he was teaching, and he puts himself in it, as well as all of his former colleagues. It feels like you were there, and I found myself dreaming of a basketball championship! Recommended by Cathy.

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  • Fushigi Yûgi: Byakko Senki

    2020 by Watase, Yuu

    A long-awaited sequel to Fushigi Yûgi: Genbu Kaiden. Ever since Genbu Kaiden ended, I’ve been desperately wanting to read Byakko Senki, and now that it’s here, it did not disappoint. I love Yuu Watase’s art style and stories. They’re always beautiful, eventful, and well-paced. Her characters are also interesting and have a lot of depth. Recommended by Penny.

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