We suggest: Best of 2020 teen fiction

Introducing Oak Park’s Best of 2020, a librarian-curated selection of titles, featuring some of the titles most requested and checked out by Oak Parkers! See our teen fiction favorites on this page or browse more using the links below.

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Teen fiction


Be Not Far From Me by Mindy McGinnis

Why you should try it: “If you like thrillers and adventure fiction books then this story of survival is for you!”—Darcel, Teen Services Specialist

Description: Feeling more at home in the woods than under a roof, Ashley finds the limits of her survival abilities tested when a betrayal and an accident strand her in untracked territory.

Stream & download with: Hoopla (digital audiobook), Media on Demand/Libby (ebook, digital audiobook)

The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta

Why you should try it: “This novel-in-verse is absolutely stunning, and Michael is a character I won’t soon forget.”—Jenna, Collection Management Librarian

Description: A fierce coming-of-age novel about identity and the liberating power of drag follows the experiences of a mixed-race teen in London who struggles to connect with his heritage before coming out and establishing his place in Drag Society.

Stream & download with: Media on Demand/Libby (ebook, digital audiobook)

Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo

Why you should try it: “This is a beautiful novel about grief, love, and the difficulty of forgiveness.”—Darcel, Teen Services Specialist 

Description: An evocative novel in verse by the National Book Award-winning author of The Poet X follows the experiences of two grieving sisters who navigate the loss of their father and the impact of his death on their relationship.

Stream & download with: Media on Demand/Libby (ebook, digital audiobook)

Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender

Why you should try it: “A book about feelings, being LGBTQ+, and love, and all the good and complicated associated.”—Megha, Children’s Services Library Assistant

Description: Worrying that his combination of such marginalizing qualities as being Black, queer, and trans are too impossible to allow happiness, Felix turns vengeful in the face of transphobic hate messages before finding himself in a quasi-love triangle.

Stream & download with: Media on Demand/Libby (ebook, digital audiobook)

Goddess in the Machine by Lora Beth Johnson

Why you should try it: “Sci-fi fantasy mixed with a bit of fairytale tropes. Great for anyone interested in female protagonists, futuristic adventures, or classic fairytale format.”—Alexander, Teen Services Librarian

Description: Awakening from a cryogenic sleep 1,000 years later than planned, Andra is heralded as a goddess on a dying planet under the rule of a vicious monarch before teaming up with an exiled prince to help him claim his throne.

Stream & download with: Media on Demand/Libby (ebook)

Grown by Tiffany D. Jackson

Why you should try it: “Powerful and impossible to put down. Pairs especially well with the docuseries Surviving R. Kelly.”—Jenna, Collection Development Librarian

Description: When legendary R&B artist Korey Fields spots Enchanted Jones at an audition, her dreams of being a famous singer take flight. Until Enchanted wakes up with blood on her hands and zero memory of the previous night. Who killed Korey Fields? Before there was a dead body, Enchanted’s dreams had turned into a nightmare. Because behind Korey’s charm and star power was a controlling dark side. Now he’s dead, the police are at the door, and all signs point to Enchanted.

Stream & download with: Media on Demand/Libby (ebook)

The Invincible Summer of Juniper Jones by Daven McQueen

Why you should try it: “Fantastic novel that explores racial discrimination through the lens of a teen in the 1950s.”—Alexander, Teen Services Librarian

Description: Summer 1955: for Ethan Harper, a biracial kid raised mostly by his white father, race has always been a distant conversation but his Blackness is suddenly front and center while spending the summer with his aunt and uncle in small-town Alabama where he is not welcome. Enter Juniper Jones. The town’s resident oddball and free spirit, she’s everything the townspeople aren’t—open, kind, and accepting. Armed with two bikes and an unlimited supply of root beer floats, Ethan and Juniper set out to find their place in a town that’s bent on rejecting them.

Stream & download with: Media on Demand/Libby (ebook)

Lobizona by Romina Garber

Why you should try it: “Magic and werewolves and stuffy British boarding schools are nowhere in sight. But ICE is.”—Genevieve, Children’s Services Librarian

Description: When her mother is arrested by ICE, 16-year-old Argentinian Manu—who thinks she is hiding in a Miami apartment because she is an undocumented immigrant—discovers that her entire existence is illegal.

Stream & download with: Media on Demand/Libby (ebook)

Shadow of the Batgirl by Sarah Kuhn

Why you should try it: “I’m usually a Marvel person, but if anything would convert me to DC it’s this. Characterization is great, plot is fascinating, and it handles race and disability really well. Plus, excellent librarian representation.“—Shelley, Children’s Services Librarian

Description: Cassandra Cain is the daughter of supervillains and a living weapon trained to be the ultimate assassin, but when her father threatens the world she has grown to love, she will have to overcome that voice inside her head telling her she can never be a hero.

Stream & download with: Hoopla (ebook), Media on Demand/Libby (ebook)

A Song of Wraiths & Ruin by Roseanne A. Brown

Why you should try it: “This teen fantasy inspired by West African folklore pulled me out of a reading slump, and I haven’t stopped thinking about it since. I am anxiously awaiting the sequel.”—Jenna, Collection Development Librarian

Description: A first entry in a planned duology inspired by West African folklore finds a grieving crown princess and a desperate refugee on a collision course to destroy each other despite their growing attraction. 

Stream & download with: Media on Demand/Libby (ebook)

You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson

Why you should try it: “Such a fun contemporary teen novel that focuses on inclusivity, anxiety, queer narratives, and chronic illness. While that all sounds heavy this novel unfolds like a gift to be savored.”—Rose, Adult Services Librarian

Description: A Black, underprivileged misfit from a wealthy, prom-obsessed Midwestern community carefully plans to attend a prestigious medical college before the unexpected loss of her financial aid forces her to compete for her school’s prom-queen scholarship.

Stream & download with: Hoopla (digital audiobook), Media on Demand/Libby (ebook, digital audiobook)

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