20 Must-read YA books for Fall

2020 Fall YA Releases

Fall YA Books feature image credit: @the.magicalpages

We love YA books. They’re written in a way that we connect easily with, and the stories in these Fall YA books help us stay in touch with younger generations. Whether you naturally reach for YA books or are simply looking for a Fall YA book to read along with your student for their next book report, here are 20 Fall YA books to add to your reading list.


Fall YA books for your #TBR list

The Flyy Girls Series by Ashley Woodfolk 

Ashley Woodfolk’s Flyy Girls series follows a group of girls who don’t like to follow the rules. These Harlem highschool girls each have a sparkling personality and penchant for going against the book. Flyy Girls is a celebration of friendship, family and love. The first two books in the series, Lux: The New Girl and Micah: The Good Girl are releasing this Fall.


Something Happened to Ali Greenleaf by Hayley Krischer

A difficult discussion for girls and young women is opened up about coping with traumatic experiences in a world that denies their allegations. Blythe Jensen and Ali Greenleaf are at odds with one another. Blythe is the most popular girl in school, while Ali is the average, down-to-earth high school student. Their worlds collide when Blythe’s best friend and Ali’s crush, Sean Nessel, rapes Ali at a party. After the events, in an attempt to make it right for Sean, Blythe befriends Ali and initiates her into her popular girl group. But as Blythe begins to open up about her own dark secrets, the two begin to form an unusual friendship that results in them seeing one another in a completely different light in this empowering novel on surviving trauma.


Punching the Air by Ibi Zoboi and Yousef Salaam

Sixteen-year-old Amal Shahid is a gifted poet and artist who goes to a diverse school. Even so, he continues to be discriminated against by a biased justice system. After a brawl in the wrong neighborhood results in tragedy, Amal finds himself imprisoned for a crime he didn’t commit, and in a fight against a system that discriminates against him. Discouraged and enraged, Amal finds a voice in his art and he is determined to change his fate.



Grown by Tiffany D. Jackson

In this riveting mystery, Enchanted Jones is about to get her big break in music when the legendary R&B artist Korey Fields singles her out at an audition. All goes awry, however, when Enchanted wakes up covered in blood and with no recollection of the night before. Even more troubling, Korey Fields is dead and Enchanted is the prime suspect. An essential book for girls in the #MeToo era, Grown tackles the societal pressures on young Black women and the prominence of rape culture.


Early Departures by Justin A. Reynolds

Q is dead, but he doesn’t know it. What he also doesn’t know is that his best friend Jamal who tried to save him blames him for the death of his parents. A technology is introduced to give Jamal a second chance, one where he can bring his friend back to life weeks before his death happens and prevent his passing. However, Q’s mom elects to keep his death a secret from him, which complicates the process for Jamal. Early Departures is a YA must-read on loss, grief, friendship and the unique ties that bring people together.


Charming as a Verb by Ben Philippe

Henri “Haiti” Haitiwanger is the popular star-debater at his prestigious school, first-generation Haitian son and the dependable neighborhood dog walker. Most of all, he is charming in every way with a sweet smile and ambitions of going to Colombia University. Enter Corrine Troy, Henri’s neighbor and classmate and the only person who does not fall vulnerable to his charms. After Corrine learns a scandalous truth about Henri’s dog walking enterprise, Henri finds himself helping her change her image at school in order to keep her mouth shut. What began as a mutually beneficial bargain would transform into something neither of them expected in this wildly funny and insightful novel.


Malcolm and Me by Robin Farmer

Taking place in Philadelphia at the height of the Watergate scandal, Malcolm and Me focuses on Roberta Forest, a bright, Black thirteen year old with a poetic spirit and a rebellious attitude. When she criticizes Thomas Jefferson for enslaving people, a nun at her Catholic school makes a racist remark which spirals her into a question of the authority of adults and God. Plagued by her parents’ struggling marriage, Roberta copes with life’s difficulties through her poetry, writing, and The Autobiography of Malcolm X. However, the disappointment of ineligibility in her school’s essay contest puts Roberta into an enraged confrontation with her mother, and familial truths are revealed. Malcolm and Me is a coming-of-age in a brilliant thirteen-year-old girl’s perspective, as she battles her angst and questions the world around her.


This is How We Fly by Anna Meriano

In this modern variant of Cinderella, 17-year-old vegan feminist Ellen-Lopez Rourke finds herself grounded by her stepmother during the summer before she and her best friends part ways for college. Stricken with severe cabin-fever and the precollege blues, Ellen convinces her parents to let her join the local coed Quidditch team. Ellen suddenly finds herself dedicated to the strange sport, attending training with fellow Harry Potter fanatics. As Ellen attempts to cope with the distance her friends put between them, she further invests her time in Quidditch. But when her home life and friendships threaten her future, Quidditch becomes her method of redemption.

Read our interview with the author, Anna Meriano, here.


Dear Justyce by Nic Stone

A sequel to New York Times Bestseller Dear Martin, Dear Justyce takes a deep look into the American juvenile justice system. Nic Stone paints the stories of Vernell LaQuan Banks and Justyce Mcallister, two young men who grew up in the same neighborhood of Wynwood Heights in Southwest Atlanta. Their two paths are drastically different, as Quan finds himself in the Fulton Youth Detention Center, while Justyce attends Yale University. Quan’s letters to Justyce and a series of flashbacks tell the story of a boy’s troubled upbringing and misunderstandings with the law tell the story of how Quan’s promising future turned into his life behind bars.


Furia by Yamile Saied Mendez

Camila Hassan lives two lives in Rosario, Argentina. Her home life is troubled, as she lives in the shadow of her star soccer-player brother, and tiptoes around her strict mother and abusive father. On the soccer field, however, she is La Furia, a young woman with impeccable talent. Camila’s dreams of an athletic scholarship to a North American university are approaching when her team qualifies for a South American tournament. Camila’s plans to pursue her athletic career, however, are thwarted as her passion for soccer is hidden from her parents due to their denial of girls being allowed to play. Even more complicated, is the return of Diego, a boy she once loved who left to play soccer in Italy. While Camila’s goals begin to seem further away than she thought, she is determined to achieve her lifelong dream and will not let her gender or the distraction of any boy get in her way.

See our list of the most anticiapted Fall books by Latinx authors.


More Fall YA books to read this year

White Fox by Sara Faring

For a decade, Sisters Maron and Thaïs have been drifting apart from their home, their parents, and each other. However, they are drawn back to their Mediterranean island home when they find the long-lost work of their mother, whose disappearance had sent the girls apart in the first place. Their mother’s work is a screenplay titled White Fox filled with clues, secrets, and metaphors regarding her disappearance. The girls embark on a journey throughout the island to solve the haunting mystery behind the loss of their world-famous actor mother.


Blood and Honey by Shelby Mahurin

The second book in the Serpent & Dove trilogy continues the magical adventures and romantic pursuits of Lou, Reid, Coco, and Ansel. In order to survive, the group must split up and find allies to help them escape death, the coven, the kingdom, and the church. Follow their story as love and desperation yield deadly choices, and loyalty is tested.


Find Layla by Meg Elison

Layla Bailey lives her life in the shadows. She’s too preoccupied with pursuing her love of science and managing her underprivileged life filled with an unstable mother and dangerously dirty apartment. For a school competition, Layla combines the two. She makes a video showing the biome of her home, complete with black mold, mushrooms growing in her brother’s dresser, and all the toxic relationships in her life. When Layla’s honestly tragic recollection of her life goes viral, Child Protective Services whisks her away from her family and her home. Layla learns she must overcome her fear of being in the spotlight and learn the strength that comes with being thrust out of the shadows.


The Black Kids by Christina Hammonds Reed

Before the 1992 Los Angeles Rodney King riots started, Ashley Bennett was an average high school senior. She enjoyed hanging out with her friends at the beach and lived a peaceful life with her wealthy black family. Yet after the four LAPD officers were acquitted for brutally beating King, and violent protests riots for racial equality began, Ashley was outcast from her friends and felt judgement for the color of her skin. Despite her sister’s dangerous involvement in the protests, the destruction of her family’s reputation, and a vicious rumor about a fellow black classmate started by her friends, Ashley attempts to continue life as it once was. Still, she soon begins to question her place in society, and where she stands against the rest of her world.


Now That I’ve Found You by Kristina Forest

Just on the brink of stardom, a friend’s betrayal leads to Evie Jones’s demise. She desired to follow in the footsteps of her grandma Gigi, America’s most beloved actress, who’s been out of the spotlight for two decades. Still, Evie plans to salvage her reputation by making an appearance with Gigi in front of Hollywood royalty. Yet her plan is destroyed when Gigi disappears days before her comeback. Evie must team up with Milo Williams, the last person who saw Gigi before her disappearance. Despite not trusting Milo, the two make their way across New York City and learn about love, adventure, and finding oneself along the way. 


A Place Called Zamora by LB Gschwandtner

Zamora is only a myth, but it has the possibility to change Niko and El’s life for the better. Niko could have had safety in his city’s corrupt inner circle. Instead, he cast aside this opportunity in favor of El, and ran away from the city with her.  After disrupting the social fabric of their city, Niko and El are hunted by the regime and continue to run towards Zamora. As their journey progresses, El questions the reality of Zamora’s existence, and her love for Niko.


The Tinderbox: Soldier of Indira by Lou Diamond Phillips

Being stranded on the enemy planet and forced by traitors to overthrow their king is not what Everson planned. In fact, he never even wanted to be a soldier. During his mission to overthrow the king and capture the mysterious piece of technology, the Tinderbox, Everson encounters the King’s daughter Allegra. While they’re supposed to be enemies, Everson and Allegra bond over a mutual danger and fear of their surroundings. Will their forbidden love save their planets? Or will it destroy everything once and for all?


Everything I Thought I Knew by Shannon Takaoka

Collapsing at cross country practice and receiving a heart transplant changes more than just Chloe’s life plans. It changes her desires and her memories. As she’s stuck in summer school, a place she never thought she’d have to go to, all Chloe can dream about is going to surf with her attractive instructor Kai. Yet before the transplant, Chloe had no interest in surfing. She begins to experience memories of crashing a motorcycle and in those memories sees people and places she doesn’t know. Could Chloe have gotten more than a new heart? As she searches to answer this question, her basic understanding of life is completely changed.


Instant Karma by Marissa Meyer

The gift to instantly punish the ill-behaved residents of her town by the sea is a true gift to Prudence Daniels, who is constantly making judgements about those around her. This gift was bestowed around her after a night out with her friends, and she instantly uses it to put bad karma on the gossips and public vandals. However, much to Pru’s dismay, she cannot use this new magic on the one person she wishes to punish most: Quint Erickson, her lazy and frustrating lab partner. Pru’s an overachiever, so despite her detest for Quint, she goes to work at the rescue center for sea animals that he works at for extra credit. Soon, truths about the animals, the environment, and love are revealed.


Watch Over Me by Nina Lacour

Growing up in foster care taught Mila how to live alone. So, when she graduated high school and aged out of the foster system, she had no problems moving to a remote farm on the Northern California coast. However, Mila soon realizes loneliness has a dark side. The farm is haunted and flooded with the past trauma that it’s prior residents were escaping. Soon Mila’s trauma too comes to the surface to torment her.

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Tags: YA
Isabella Schneider

Isabella is a native of the Chicago suburbs but is now proud to call the sunny Phoenix area her home. She is a student at Arizona State University and is studying journalism with an emphasis on Public Relations and a minor in Spanish. When she's not working with the SheReads team, Isabella can be found reading the All Souls trilogy by the pool, working out, or FaceTiming her friends and family.

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