The 2020 Teen Reading List is Here!

OPL's Teen Services department puts out an annual Teen Reading List of recommended Young Adult titles, and 2020's is here!

Staff members carefully curated and personally recommend these titles, published from March 2019 to March 2020.

Our libraries are currently closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but you can still read these books through the library!

Search our catalog for a hardcopy and pick it up with our sidewalk pickup service

Electronic copies can be found on hoopla and OverDrive. We link to the hoopla copy, below, if there is one. 

The electronic versions are eBooks you can read on your computer, phone, or tablet and/or audiobooks that you can download and listen to.

If you haven't tried hoopla yet, the app is free, the library pays for the content, and your library card will get you 10 downloads per month. There's no wait list for items so you can read or listen to these right now.  All you need is your library card! 

If you don't have a library card, or you do, but it's not working for any reason, we can help you.  While the library is closed, please complete an online application and email eanswers@oaklandlibrary.org to set up your account or resolve any account issues.

If you have any questions, please email eanswers@oaklandlibrary.org or call 510-238-3134 Monday thru Saturday, 10 am - 3 pm .

The print copies of this list will be available soon! 

 

FICTION

GRAPHIC NOVEL, FANTASY, LGBTQ+

Are You Listening?
Tillie Walden
Acquaintances Bea and Lou, on the run from the struggles of ordinary life, find themselves on a surreal road trip together.

DYSTOPIAN, MYSTERY, SCI-FI

Aurora Rising
Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff
Rescued after two centuries of cryo-sleep in interdimensional space, Aurora is determined to outrun the evil that hunts her and a band of misfits.

  
GRAPHIC NOVEL, LGBTQ+

The Avant-Guards 
Carly Usdin, Noah Hayes 
As the new kid at college, Charlie makes connections—and might even find love—when she joins her school’s mediocre basketball team.

LGBTQ+, REALISTIC FICTION

Birthday 
Meredith Russo 
Through six years of shared birthdays, best friends, Eric and Morgan, navigate their relationship, as well as their evolving sexual and gender identities.

MANGA

Blank Canvas: My So-Called Artist’s Journey 
Akiko Higashimura 
Akiko creates manga and expects to attend art school. Through her studies with an exacting teacher, she discovers she still has much to learn.

   
FANTASY, HORROR, MYSTERY

Brown Girl Ghosted 
Mintie Das 
As one of the few Indian-Americans on campus, Violet just wants to survive high school, not face her destiny as an Aiedeo, a powerful woman warrior.

 
FANTASY, SCI-FI

Caster
Elsie Chapman
Invited to an underground magic tournament, Aza must now use illegal magic to save her family’s legacy and to solve her sister’s death.

MYSTERY, ROMANCE

A Castle in the Clouds
Kerstin Gier
Sophie interns at a grand old hotel in the Swiss Alps, filled with cosmopolitan international Christmas guests, but not everyone is who they seem.

LGBTQ+, ROMANCE

Color Outside the Lines: Stories About Love
Sangu Mandanna (editor)
An anthology of fun, thoughtful love stories about difference. Also: Chinese pirate ghosts, black girl vigilantes, a garden of poisons and more.

FANTASY, LGBTQ+, SCI-FI

Crier’s War
Nina Varela
Sparks fly as the fires of rebellion rage around Crier, heir to the robot throne, and Ayla, her human court attendant who is secretly plotting vengeance.

FANTASY, MYSTERY

Dig.
A.S. King
How do white youth face and challenge racism in their families and themselves? This creative, surreal novel engages with this and other important questions.

 

HISTORICAL

The Downstairs Girl 
Stacey Lee
In 1890 Atlanta, Jo Kuan, a 17-year-old Chinese-American hat maker, takes an opportunity to be heard, leading to unexpected challenges that uncover undesired truths.

    

REALISTIC FICTION, ROMANCE 

Frankly in Love 
David Yoon 
Frank’s Korean, Brit’s white, and they’re in love. Frank’s parents won’t accept Brit, so he starts fake dating his friend Joy. A perfect plan. . .right?

MYSTERY, ROMANCE, THRILLER 

A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder 
Holly Jackson 
Budding journalist Pippa questions a murder verdict; someone is threatened by her snooping. Despite danger and dead ends, Pippa persists to uncover the truth.

                                      

FANTASY, HISTORICAL 

The Good Luck Girls 
Charlotte Nicole Davis
Five girls on the run from prostitution search for freedom in a Wild West that’s full of ghosts, robbers, and bounty hunters.

 

DYSTOPIAN, SCI-FI, THRILLER 

The Grace Year 
Kim Liggett 
Girls who are approaching womanhood in fictional Garner County experience a “grace year” of horror and strong sexual powers in this haunting tale.

URBAN FICTION 

Gravity
Sarah Deming 
For fierce Gravity Delgado, boxing is not just everything she needs to channel her anger and lift her family out of poverty—it’s the only thing.

LGBTQ+, REALISTIC FICTION, ROMANCE 

The Gravity of Us 
Phil Stamper
In this teen-saves-the-day story, Cal uses social media to aid NASA’s Mars mission and falls in love along the way.

LGBTQ+, ROMANCE, SCI-FI 

The Grief Keeper
Alexandra Villasante 
Marisol participates in a human study to cure PTSD in exchange for asylum for her sister and herself in New York.

  
GRAPHIC NOVEL, FANTASY, SCI-FI 

Harley Quinn: Breaking Glass 
Mariko Tamaki, Steve Pugh 
Fifteen-year-old Harleen moves to Gotham City, makes new friends, and battles against evil forces that threaten them all.

 

MYSTERY, THRILLER 

If You’re Out There 
Katy Loutzenhiser 
Zan’s BFF Priya moved away and ghosted her unexpectedly. Everyone’s telling Zan to move on, but she’s determined to solve the mystery: What happened?

LGBTQ+, ROMANCE, SCI-FI 

The Infinite Noise 
Lauren Shippen 
If you have extreme empathy, what do you do with it? Learn how Caleb uses his in an entangled story of love.

  
LGBTQ+, MYSTERY, REALISTIC FICTION, ROMANCE, THRILLER 

Keep This to Yourself 
Tom Ryan
In this terrifying page-turner, two boys are determined to catch a serial killer while also navigating dating. But can romance survive their mutual distrust?

GRAPHIC NOVEL, LGBTQ+, ROMANCE 

Kiss Number 8
Colleen AF Venable, Ellen T. Crenshaw 
Join Amanda on a journey through family secrets, gender surprises, love, and friendship. Regrettable behavior and changed relationships, for better and worse, await.

MANGA 

Komi Can’t Communicate 
Tomohito Oda 
Though charming and likable, Komi doesn’t communicate easily with others. Tadano helps her overcome her anxiety to achieve her goal of forming friendships.

  
LGBTQ+, REALISTIC FICTION, ROMANCE 

The Last True Poets of the Sea
Julia Drake 
The sea has a big role in this novel with a rebellious, queer protagonist dealing with the dysfunction and the legend of her family.

GRAPHIC NOVEL, LGBTQ+

Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me 
Mariko Tamaki 
Laura Dean is cute, popular, and charismatic, yet selfish and flaky. And Frederica can’t resist her—despite warnings from friends and strangers.

  
URBAN FICTION, HISTORICAL 

Let Me Hear a Rhyme 
Tiffany D. Jackson 
It’s 1998 Brooklyn— Steph has been killed. His friends and sister take risks to make sure his tracks, beats, and name live on.

MYSTERY, THRILLER 

Life is Short and Then You Die: Mystery Writers of America Presents First Encounters with Murder 
Kelley Armstrong (editor)
An anthology of 18 short— but definitely not sweet!— mystery stories featuring all sorts of murder. An opportunity to revisit favorite authors and discover new ones.

URBAN FICTION 

Light It Up 
Kekla Magoon 
A community comes together to bring justice to Shae Tatum, a 13-year-old shot in the back by a police officer.

REALISTIC FICTION, ROMANCE 

Loveboat, Taipei 
Abigail Hing Wen 
At Loveboat, a Taiwanese heritage program Ever’s parents enroll her in, adults turn a blind eye as students hang out and drink sake all summer.

GRAPHIC NOVEL, FANTASY 

Middlewest
Skottie Young, Jorge Corona, Mike Huddleston
In a world that’s slightly different from our own, Abel is on the run from his abusive father, with his talking fox in tow.

  
FANTASY, LGBTQ+ 

The Never Tilting World
Rin Chupeco 
Twin goddesses separated at birth must fulfill a prophecy to restore their broken world—but only at the cost of one of their lives.

 
MANGA, LGBTQ+

Our Dreams at Dusk 
Yuhki Kamatani 
Tasuku is struggling with his sexuality when he stumbles upon a mysterious house where he is offered acceptance and an escape from his troubles.

 

FANTASY, LGBTQ+, SCI-FI 

Pet
Akwaeke Emezi
Trans girl, Jam, grew up being told that there are “no more monsters.” But after accidentally unleashing one such creature, Jam goes on a quest to find more.

 

GRAPHIC NOVEL 

Pumpkinheads 
Rainbow Rowell, Faith Erin Hicks, Sarah Stern 
Deja and Josiah, best friends working at a pumpkin patch together, spend their final night on the job looking for love and other adventures.

MYSTERY, REALISTIC FICTION, THRILLER 

Run, Hide, Fight Back 
April Henry 
A diverse, disparate group of teens must work together to stay alive when they are trapped inside a shopping mall held hostage by gunmen.

REALISTIC FICTION, ROMANCE  

The Silence Between Us
Alison Gervais
Deaf teen Maya starts attending a hearing school. That won’t deter her dreams, though, not even when Beau learns American Sign Language to speak with her.

 

FANTASY, ROMANCE 

Spin the Dawn 
Elizabeth Lim
Disguised as a boy, Maia is a gifted tailor who dodges death threats and uncovers family secrets while embarking on the journey of a lifetime.

GRAPHIC NOVEL 

Stargazing 
Jen Wang 
Neighbors Christine and Moon become close friends, despite their many differences. But will their friendship survive hurt feelings and a life-threatening condition?

HORROR, MYSTERY, ROMANCE, THRILLER

That Night 
Cyn Balog 
Why did Hailey’s boyfriend kill himself when he had everything going for him? And who can she trust, when even her own memory’s unreliable?

 

GRAPHIC NOVEL, FANTASY 

This Was Our Pact 
Ryan Andrews 
Two boys find themselves on a fantastical adventure, involving a talking bear and other mysterious phenomena. Will they manage to find their way home?

   
HISTORICAL, MYSTERY, THRILLER 

Untamed Shore 
Silvia Moreno-Garcia 
1979, small-town Baja California. Viridiana takes a job for three rich Americans. When a suspicious death occurs, only Viridiana’s wits can match their deceit.

DYSTOPIAN, SCI-FI

War Girls 
Tochi Onyebuchi
In future Nigeria, civil war is fought Gundam style. Follow two sisters to see how the war has devastated both life and soul.

 

 
DYSTOPIAN, MYSTERY, ROMANCE, SCI-FI, THRILLER

Wilder Girls
Rory Power
Hetty and friends are quarantined for a disease that deformed their bodies. Will they find a cure?

                                        

MANGA

Witch Hat Atelier 
Kamome Shirahama 
Coco desperately wants to be a witch, and to help people with magic. But practicing her own spells is harder than it looks.

 

  
REALISTIC FICTION 

With the Fire on High 
Elizabeth Acevedo 
Teen mom Emoni navigates parenting a toddler, a passion for cooking, and relationships, all while trying to finish high school on her own terms.

FANTASY 

Woven in Moonlight 
Isabel Ibañez 
Ximena seeks revenge— and an ancient relic keeping her people from power. But her loyalties get tested after she infiltrates the other side.

 

URBAN FICTION 

Wrath 
K’wan 
Abused by family and bullies, Jonas, AKA Wrath, turns to the streets. When he finds love, he faces a tough question: Will love overpower money?

                                                    

 

                                                    

 NON-FICTION

     

The (Other) F Word: A Celebration of the Fat & Fierce
Angie Manfredi (editor)
Thirty-three contributors, some quite well-known, with diverse gender and racial identities, share their writing and art in this beautifully designed book celebrating fat bodies.

 

Brave the Page: A Young Writer’s Guide to Telling Epic Stories
Rebecca Stern, Grant Faulkner Motivation, inspiration, and information is presented with how-tos, practical tips, and encouragement from well-known YA authors in this guide to writing a novel.

  

Dissenter on the Bench: Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Life & Work
Victoria Ortiz
Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s life, work, and passions are shared through narratives of especially intriguing court cases that she has argued or heard.

 
POETRY

A Fortune for Your Disaster
Hanif Abdurraqib
Abdurraqib’s poetry speaks to his felt conflict among the identities he carries. Haunting, heartbreaking, and, at times, funny, his voice is unique and urgent.

 

Free Lunch
Rex Ogle
The author’s first semester of sixth grade is vividly told in this memoir that explores the shame of poverty and the pain of neglect.

 
GRAPHIC NOVEL, LGBTQ+

Gender Queer: A Memoir
Maia Kobabe A personal account of the feelings and experiences surrounding identity, gender, and sexuality from an author who identifies as nonbinary and asexual.

 
GRAPHIC NOVEL

I Was Their American Dream: A Graphic Memoir
Malaka Gharib
Growing up as a child of Filipino and Egyptian immigrants, the author shares her own unique American experience.

 

An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States for Young People
Debbie Reese, Jean Mendoza, Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz
This rendering of American History from the Native perspective is a needed counter to the Eurocentric version typically taught. It engages and enrages readers.

 

Know My Name: A Memoir
Chanel Miller
Miller reclaims her identity through telling the story of being sexually assaulted on Stanford University’s campus and the aftermath of media coverage and trials.

 

Ordinary Hazards: A Memoir
Nikki Grimes
Reading this poetic journal is like picking up a best friend’s heartfelt, wanting to-be-loved childhood diary and discovering the trauma she survived when she was small.

   

The Other Side: Stories of Central American Teen Refugees Who Dream of Crossing the Border
Juan Pablo Villalobos
Eleven harrowing stories of teens from Central America who survived river rapids, extreme desert heat, icy holding cells, and missing parents to migrate to the U.S.

 

Shout
Laurie Halse Anderson
The author’s deeply personal memoir in verse reveals how her past abuse and trauma impacted her life and led her to write Speak.

 
GRAPHIC NOVEL, HISTORICAL

They Called Us Enemy
George Takei, Justin Eisinger, Steven Scott, Harmony Becker
Actor George Takei recounts the injustice of being torn from his home and community during World War II—all because his family was Japanese-American.

 

This Book is Anti-Racist: 20 Lessons on How to Wake Up, Take Action, and Do the Work
Tiffany Jewell, Aurelia Durand
Want help standing up to racism in your life and community? This short, empowering, and visually appealing book will give you the tools you need.

LGBTQ+

Trans+: Love, Sex, Romance, and Being You
Katherine Gonzales, Karen Rayne
A comprehensive guide for transgender, nonbinary, and gender nonconforming youth and their allies covers a breadth of topics and includes teen voices.

 

Wait, What? A Comic Book Guide to Relationships, Bodies, and Growing Up
Heather Corinna, Isabella Rotman, Luke Howard
This good read answers all the questions you might be too afraid to ask. A fun and inclusive resource for young teens.

 

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