I correctly predicted the killer in One of Us is Lying just by reading the first chapter, and I now think very highly of my guessing skills because of that achievement.
I’ve seen other bloggers do this before, and I thought I should give it a try! Sometimes I like to think I can guess plots based on their covers, but… I don’t know? These look pretty difficult to me!
I found these books from several different “Anticipated YA Books in 2020” website posts. These aren’t necessarily my anticipated releases (since I already know what my anticipated releases are about 😂), but they’re the only ones I didn’t already know the plots of. Some of these book have already been released, but I still don’t know what they’re about, so don’t worry – I’m not cheating or anything.
We Used to Be Friends, by Amy Spalding
My guess: Two friends were besties until high school, when they had some kind of boyfriend scandal and decided to quit their friendship. But they accidentally ended up at the same college (whoops), and now they have to deal with each other once more.
Real synopsis: Told in dual timelines—half of the chapters moving forward in time and half moving backward—We Used to Be Friends explores the most traumatic breakup of all: that of childhood besties.
At the start of their senior year in high school, James (a girl with a boy’s name) and Kat are inseparable, but by graduation, they’re no longer friends. James prepares to head off to college as she reflects on the dissolution of her friendship with Kat while, in alternating chapters, Kat thinks about being newly in love with her first girlfriend and having a future that feels wide open. Over the course of senior year, Kat wants nothing more than James to continue to be her steady rock, as James worries that everything she believes about love and her future is a lie when her high-school sweetheart parents announce they’re getting a divorce.
Not So Pure and Simple, by Lamar Giles
My guess: One boy is having family and school troubles. With the help of his friends and childhood crush, he is able to make a change at school while also making some very important personal discoveries. (Look, I know in my heart that this book has a lot more to it, but I cannot, for the life of me, guess at what it is. I guess this story is, truly, not so pure and simple as my prediction 😉 )
Real synopsis: Del has had a crush on Kiera Westing since kindergarten. And now, during their junior year, she’s finally available. So when Kiera volunteers for an opportunity at their church, Del’s right behind her. Though he quickly realizes he’s inadvertently signed up for a Purity Pledge.
His dad thinks his wires are crossed, and his best friend, Qwan, doesn’t believe any girl is worth the long game. But Del’s not about to lose his dream girl, and that’s where fellow pledger Jameer comes in. He can put in the good word. In exchange, Del just has to get answers to the Pledgers’ questions… about sex ed.
With other boys circling Kiera like sharks, Del needs to make his move fast. But as he plots and plans, he neglects to ask the most important question: What does Kiera want? He can’t think about that too much, though, because once he gets the girl, it’ll all sort itself out. Right?
All The Stars and Teeth, by Adalyn Grace
My guess: Um… Okay, this one is kinda hard…. This is some kind of mermaid x tooth fairy retelling. Someone collects teeth and takes them to an island in the sky (like Neverland from Peter Pan??) and uses them for… something. But one girl discovers this is not a good idea, and tries to stop this stealing of the innocent teeth. Don’t ask me when the mermaids come in, haha.
Real synopsis: As princess of the island kingdom Visidia, Amora Montara has spent her entire life training to be High Animancer—the master of souls. The rest of the realm can choose their magic, but for Amora, it’s never been a choice. To secure her place as heir to the throne, she must prove her mastery of the monarchy’s dangerous soul magic. When her demonstration goes awry, Amora is forced to flee. She strikes a deal with Bastian, a mysterious pirate: he’ll help her prove she’s fit to rule, if she’ll help him reclaim his stolen magic.
But sailing the kingdom holds more wonder—and more peril—than Amora anticipated. A destructive new magic is on the rise, and if Amora is to conquer it, she’ll need to face legendary monsters, cross paths with vengeful mermaids, and deal with a stow-away she never expected… or risk the fate of Visidia and lose the crown forever.
The Silence of Bones, by June Her
My guess: Years ago, a girl was found drowned in the lake. Now, her death and her story is still a mystery, but things get serious when the girl’s best friend is almost killed in a similar way. Now, the best friend must learn about the dangers of life and the problems of death, all while uncovering a mystery and any secrets the dead may hold.
Real synopsis: 1800, Joseon (Korea). Homesick and orphaned sixteen-year-old Seol is living out the ancient curse: “May you live in interesting times.” Indentured to the police bureau, she’s been tasked with assisting a well-respected young inspector with the investigation into the politically charged murder of a noblewoman.
As they delve deeper into the dead woman’s secrets, Seol forms an unlikely bond of friendship with the inspector. But her loyalty is tested when he becomes the prime suspect, and Seol may be the only one capable of discovering what truly happened on the night of the murder. But in a land where silence and obedience are valued above all else, curiosity can be deadly.
Clap When You Land, by Elizabeth Acevedo
My guess: Two best friends are separated when one of them has to leave the country. At one point in the book (probably the climax?) they see each other again and exchange their secret handshake. (I also know there’s a stereotype that Americans like to clap when the plane lands, but I really don’t think this is that type of book 😅)
Real synopsis: Camino Rios lives for the summers when her father visits her in the Dominican Republic. But this time, on the day when his plane is supposed to land, Camino arrives at the airport to see crowds of crying people… In New York City, Yahaira Rios is called to the principal’s office, where her mother is waiting to tell her that her father, her hero, has died in a plane crash.
Separated by distance – and Papi’s secrets – the two girls are forced to face a new reality in which their father is dead and their lives are forever altered. And then, when it seems like they’ve lost everything of their father, they learn of each other.
Papi’s death uncovers all the painful truths he kept hidden, and the love he divided across an ocean. And now, Camino and Yahaira are both left to grapple with what this new sister means to them, and what it will now take to keep their dreams alive.
Forest of Souls, by Lori M. Lee
My guess: There is myth about a dark-magic woman in the forest, and one girl is sent to find her and destroy her powers. There is some kind of fight between dark and light magic, and, of course, something to do with souls. Perhaps there are hidden souls within the trees, where the forest woman keeps the souls of the people she’s defeated?
Real synopsis: Sirscha Ashwyn comes from nothing, but she’s intent on becoming something. After years of training to become the queen’s next royal spy, her plans are derailed when shamans attack and kill her best friend Saengo. And then Sirscha, somehow, restores Saengo to life.
Unveiled as the first soulguide in living memory, Sirscha is summoned to the domain of the Spider King. For centuries, he has used his influence over the Dead Wood—an ancient forest possessed by souls—to enforce peace between the kingdoms. Now, with the trees growing wild and untamed, only a soulguide can restrain them. As war looms, Sirscha must master her newly awakened abilities before the trees shatter the brittle peace, or worse, claim Saengo, the friend she would die for.
Star Daughter, by Shveta Thakrar
My guess: A girl was born the daughter of the Star Queen, but she is different than her siblings, and strange compared to the other people in the kingdom. This is a fantasy set in space, and the Star Daughter must discover her inner powers before she is fully able to save her planet, kingdom, and family.
Real synopsis: The daughter of a star and a mortal, Sheetal is used to keeping secrets. But when a flare of starfire injures her human father, Sheetal needs a full star’s help to heal him. A star like her mother, who returned to the sky long ago.
Sheetal’s quest will take her to a celestial court of shining wonders and dark shadows, where she must act as her family’s champion in a competition to decide the next ruling house of the heavens—or risk never returning to Earth at all. Neil Gaiman’s Stardust meets a rich landscape of Hindu mythology and celestial intrigue in this sparkling YA fantasy debut.
All Your Twisted Secrets, by Diana Urban
My guess: I think this is a lot like… *reads notes again* no, I think this is exactly like One of Us Is Lying. Based on the cover, I literally can’t think of anything else. One of the friends is accused of something, but throughout the book you’ll be forced to think about who actually did it, and it turns out that all of them actually did something to contribute to the original accusation.
(Also, the top guy on the right looks like Justin Bieber, and I don’t know how I feel about that)
Real synopsis: What do the queen bee, star athlete, valedictorian, stoner, loner, and music geek all have in common? They were all invited to a scholarship dinner, only to discover it’s a trap. Someone has locked them into a room with a bomb, a syringe filled with poison, and a note saying they have an hour to pick someone to kill … or else everyone dies.
Amber Prescott is determined to get her classmates and herself out of the room alive, but that might be easier said than done. No one knows how they’re all connected or who would want them dead. As they retrace the events over the past year that might have triggered their captor’s ultimatum, it becomes clear that everyone is hiding something. And with the clock ticking down, confusion turns into fear, and fear morphs into panic as they race to answer the biggest question: Who will they choose to die?
Hey! What are your anticipated YA releases? How many of these did you know about before this year? Which of these books are you most excited for? Am I good at guessing?
Chat with me about it!
Happy reading, everyone! 💫 Have a lovely day!