pop picks

You know that awful feeling when you finish your latest read and have no clue what book to pick up next? Us, too. These decisions are only made more difficult by the incredible number of books debuting on shelves. While we loved young adult (YA) novels growing up, the genre is definitely not just for teens and tweens. These books are chock full of complex characters, intricate plotlines, and mystical forces — plus some classic teenage love stories and tropes. Take a peek at some of our new YA picks that definitely belong on your to-be-read (TBR) list this year. Happy reading!


Rebelwing by Andrea Tang

What’s a YA science-fiction novel without a dystopian setting? In her debut novel, Andrea Tang takes readers to a futuristic Washington, D.C., where teenage heroine Prudence Wu has just fled from enforcers on the back of a cybernetic dragon called Rebelwing. Pru just wants to get back to normal school life, but somehow this dragon has imprinted on her and keeps showing up at her side. Rebelwing turns out to be an expensive government weapon, and Pru is the only one who can pilot it. *Gulp* — and you thought plain ol’ high school classes were hard.
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Release Date: Feb. 25

the Kingdom of Back

The Kingdom of Back by Marie Lu

Bestselling author Marie Lu’s debut historical fiction novel follows the tale of two musically talented siblings, both Mozarts in name and equally brilliant in their musical pursuits. Musical prodigy Nannerl wants to be forever remembered for her incredible talents, but as a woman in 18th-century Europe, such lofty goals are out of reach. As her hopes and dreams fade away each year, her younger brother Wolfgang’s gifts only seem to grow stronger. As the green monster of jealousy comes out, a mysterious stranger has a seemingly irresistible, magical offer to help Nannerl make her wish come true. But, as we all know well by now, magic comes at a steep price.
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Release Date: March 3

chain of gold

Chain of Gold by Cassandra Clare

The next book in the Shadowhunters franchise is finally here, fellow book nerds! Acclaimed author of the Mortal Instruments series Cassandra Clare kicks off a new trilogy with Chain of Gold, starring Shadowhunter and warrior Cordelia Carstairs as she and her brother journey to London to protect their family’s reputation when their father is accused of an unspeakable crime. Ever-determined to be a hero, Cordelia teams up with her childhood friends James and Lucie to save the day. Along the way, she encounters her friends’ mystical lives of fancy balls, secrets, and all things supernatural. All that glitters is not gold, and her new life is torn to bits when a series of demon attacks terrorize London in a new kind of battle that no Shadowhunter has ever seen before.
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Release Date: March 3


Havenfall by Sara Holland

We can hear summer calling our names already! This contemporary fantasy novel follows teenager Maddie Morrow’s picturesque summer at the Inn at Havenfall — until her ideal vacay is turned upside down. The inn’s position as a safe haven between the magical realms that Maddie is sworn to protect comes crashing down when new employees take over, her love story with the Fiorden soldier Brekken gets complicated, and a dead body is found on the premises. While the town grapples with who is responsible, Maddie soon discovers there are bigger dangers facing the residents.
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Release Date: March 3

 The Raven and the Dove

The Raven and the Dove by Kaitlyn Davis

Fates are colliding in this epic fantasy retelling of the medieval Celtic romance Tristan and Isolde. Star-crossed lovers set the scene as they flee their normal lives in favor of one last epic quest before taking on adult responsibilities. Dove Princess Lyana dreams of freedom, while Raven Prince Rafe desperately wants to belong. Fate brings these two together, but their destinies keep them apart. The Raven and the Dove is the perfect answer for any fantasy fans searching for their next read.
Publisher: Kaitlyn Davis
Release Date: March 9

super adjacent

Super Adjacent by Crystal Cestari

Let’s be real: What teen (OK fine, adults, too) doesn’t dream of becoming a superhero? In this contemporary novel, teenager Claire has nabbed a one-of-a-kind internship working alongside superheroes IRL and is desperate to suit up herself. On the flip side, one hero, Bridgette, is sick of the saving-the-day bit and always playing the sidekick. When the VIP, high-profile heroes suddenly go missing, it’s up to these two fierce gals to come together and save the day. There are daring rescues, realistic characters, banter-filled romance, and superhero antics. I mean, SOLD.
Publisher: Disney Book Group
Release Date: March 17

bonds of brass

Bonds of Brass by Emily Skrutskie

Report for duty, bookish friends! Young pilot Ettian must risk everything to save his BFF Gale Veres from an assassination attempt, only to discover that the man he’s sworn to protect is actually the heir to a merciless galactic empire — an empire to which he’s firmly opposed. As the duo figures out a way to bring Gale home safely, Ettian must reconcile his loyalty to his best friend with the important cause he was so dedicated to fighting.
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Release Date: April 7

hunger games

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins

When it comes to choosing your next read, may the odds be ever in your favor. This May, Suzanne Collins will drop the latest installment in her Hunger Games franchise, taking it all the way back to Panem, 64 years before Katniss’ involvement in the Games. The prequel picks up the morning of the reaping for the 10th Hunger Games during the dystopian country’s reconstructionist era and follows a young teenaged President Snow. We still stand with the Mockingjay, now and forever.
Publisher: Scholastic
Release Date: May 19

wicked magic

A Wicked Magic by Sasha Laurens

Things are getting witchy. Young supernaturals Dan and Liss must harness their powers to save missing teenagers who were stolen by an ancient demon, including Liss’ presumed-dead beau. To save her boyfriend, Liss must join forces with Dan and use their Black Book of magical skills to do so. However, each teen has big secrets of their own and other magical disasters on the horizon, making the situation a bit more complicated. When another teen suddenly disappears, the witches know it’s not a coincidence, and they must figure out a way to stop the sinister magic.
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Release Date: July 28

This article was originally published in the Pop Insider’s Winter 2020 Issue No. 6, click here to read more!

Photo: Simon & Schuster/ Scholastic

About the author

Miranda Siwak

Miranda Siwak

Miranda Siwak is an assistant editor at Adventure Media & Events, where she writes for the Pop Insider and the Toy Insider, and also contributes to The Toy Book. When she’s not covering the latest news and trends, she can usually be found reading a good book, searching for her next DIY project, or keeping up with all of her favorite must-watch TV.