Well, a new decade is officially upon us, and the holiday activities are slowing down. What’s a girl to do to keep the magic alive? Lose yourself in exciting books and literature by your favorite authors, of course! There are so many new books coming out this year, and excitingly enough, a lot of them are written by Muslim writers. I am extremely excited to dive into all of these books in the new year. A lot of these authors are established favorites for me anyway, and I have no doubt that you’ll enjoy all of their books, too. So here’s my top 20 for 2020:
1. “Yes No Maybe So” by Becky Albertalli and Aisha Saeed
What it’s about and why you should read it: Jamie Goldberg is fine with volunteering for his state senate candidate as long as he’s doing it behind the scenes. He wouldn’t be caught dead going door to door asking people to vote. At least, not until he met Maya. Maya’s been having the worst Ramadan. Her trip was canceled, her best friend is too preoccupied to hang out, and on top of that, she finds out her parents are separating. Her mom thinks she needs to channel her feelings through political canvassing with some awkward guy she doesn’t even know. But, as they get to know each other, they might find that they have more in common than they thought.
Both of these authors are incredible writers, and with a story with culturally diverse characters set against the background of politics? It’s bound to be a winner!
2. “Imagine Me” by Tahereh Mafi
What it’s about and why you should read it: Juliette Ferrars. Ella Sommers. Ella finally knows the truth but the lines between right and wrong are as blurry as Juliette and Ella are. And with enemies lurking around every corner, Ella doesn’t have much time. The day of Reckoning for the Re-Establishment is closer than she realizes, and she might not have a choice about whose side she fights for.
This book is the final one in the “Shatter Me” series, and no matter which side you’re on, I believe you’ll still enjoy this concluding book. I know I’m extremely excited for this one! Tahereh Mafi wrote her first book when she was 22, and I just love that a Muslim author wrote a series as breathtaking as this one.
3. “An Ember in the Ashes” by Sabaa Tahir
— No cover released yet.
What it’s about and why you should read it: I don’t know much about it yet, but I do know that Sabaa Tahir has finished the manuscript, according to her Instagram. However, if you’re a fan of high fantasy novels, or a fan of “The Wrath and the Dawn” series, then you’ll love this one.
4. “We Free the Stars” by Hafsah Faizal
What it’s about and why you should read it: This is the eagerly-awaited sequel to “We Hunt the Flame.” In this tale, Zafira and Nasir go back to Sultan’s keep, low on resources and allies. As Nasir struggles to fight his inner demons, Zafira’s fighting a completely different battle with Jawarat.
Fans of “The Candle and The Flame” by Nafiza Azad will enjoy this one. If you’re into fantasy and battles, then this novel is for you!
5. “That Can Be Arranged” by Huda Fahmy
What it’s about and why you should read it: An American Muslim writer uses her unique wit to talk about arranged marriages and suitors through a series of hilarious comic sketches. I believe this latest work of genius by Huda Fahmy will be perfect for everyone, but especially for those who need a good laugh. It’s a book that approaches life with a lick of comedy, so what’s not to love about that? I, for one, can’t wait to read it!
6. “Of Curses and Kisses” by Sandhya Memon
via Sandya Memon Books
What it’s about and why you should read it: It’s a contemporary romance twist on Beauty and the Beast. Will the princess save the beast this time? I’m a huge fan of fairytale retellings, so I think I’ll love this one.
Here’s why you should read it: If you’re a fan of fairytale retellings, then you need to read this!
7. “One of Us is Next” by Karen M. MacNamus
via Penguin Random House
What it’s about and why you should read it: There’s a new set of rules at Bayview High School, and it’s all on an app now. A “Truth or Dare” app. Each student becomes the next target. When they refuse to play, it’s a truth. Simon’s gone, but someone else is determined to live up to his legacy. Will they make it out alive?
This mystery thriller is perfect for fans of books and series like “Gossip Girl” or “Pretty Little Liars.” If you’re into intrigue, this book is for you!
8. “The Conference of the Birds” by Ransom Riggs
What it’s about and why you should read it: This is the next book in the “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children,” and if you’re into the series, then this will be a page turner for you!
9. “The Damned” by Renee Ahdieh
via Penguin Random House
What it’s about and why you should read it: This is the sequel to “The Beautiful.” The treaty between the Fallen and the Brotherhood is broken. Sebastian is learning the hard way that love comes at a price. However, he believes that love is worth the risk. But, is it worth destroying both him and his partner? If you’re a fan of Renee Ahdieh. this book will definitely be worth reading. She is proficient at writing fantasy novels.
10. “Yona of the Dawn (Volume 22)” by Mizuho Kusanagi
via Simon and Schuster
What it’s about and why you should read it: I actually received a free copy of this book and I just loved it! The series is about Princess Yona and how she’s lived a very sheltered life until the night of her father’s death. In order to survive, she runs away and is helped by her bodyguard, Hak. I highly recommend reading the manga and watching the anime. It’s perfect for fans of fantasy and medieval shows or books.
11. “Loveboat, Taipei” by Abigail Hing Wen
What it’s about and why you should read it: “Our cousins have done this program,” Sophie whispers. “Best kept secret. Zero supervision.”
And just like that, Ever Wong’s summer takes an unexpected turn. Gone is Chien Tan, the strict educational program in Taiwan that Ever was expecting. In its place, she finds Loveboat: a summer-long, free for all where hookups abound, adults turn a blind eye, snake blood sake flows abundantly, and the nightlife runs nonstop. But not every student is quite what they seem. Ever is working toward becoming a doctor, but nurses a secret passion for dance. Rick Woo is the Yale-bound child prodigy bane of Ever’s existence whose perfection hides a secret. Boy crazy, fashion obsessed Sophie Ha turns out to have more to her than meets the eye. And under sexy Xavier Yeh’s shell is buried a shameful truth he’ll never admit. When these students’ lives collide, it’s guaranteed to be a summer Ever will never forget.
I believe this thrilling read will be perfect for fans of Asian dramas and Maurene Goo’s “Somewhere Only We Know.” This is one of my highly-anticipated reads for next year, and I can’t wait to get my hands on it!
12. “All Your Twisted Secrets” by Diana Urban
What it’s about and why you should read it: “Welcome to dinner, and again, congratulations on being selected. Now you must do the selecting.”
This book is great if you’re an Agatha Christie fan. When a group of diverse students are invited to attend a scholarship dinner, they find out it’s a trap. Suddenly, they’re trapped in a room with a bomb, a syringe filled with poison, and a note that tells them to pick someone to kill in an hour, or everyone else will be killed. As they uncover secrets, time is ticking, and they need to pick a person to eliminate. This sounds like a modern day retelling of “And Then There Were None,” and I am so ecstatic about it!
13. “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” by Suzanne Collins
What it’s about and why you should read it: This is the highly-anticipated prequel to “The Hunger Games” series and it occurs 64 years before the events of the prequel unfold. It begins on the morning of the tenth Hunger Games. If you’re a fan of dystopian novels, then you’ll enjoy this. Yet another book I’m really excited for!
14. “Almost American Girl” by Robin Ha
What it’s about and why you should read it: This is an illustrated memoir about immigration, belonging, and how the arts can save a life. It’s something that piqued my interest, and I think if you’re into graphic novels or the subject matter of “The Sun is Also a Star,” then this graphic novel is for you!
15. “Thorn” by Intisar Khanani
What it’s about and why you should read it: “Princess Alyrra has never enjoyed the security or power of her rank. Between her family’s cruelty and the court’s contempt, she has spent her life in the shadows. Forced to marry a powerful foreign prince, Alyrra embarks on a journey to meet her betrothed with little hope for a better future. But powerful men have powerful enemies — and now, so does Alyrra. Betrayed during a magical attack, her identity is switched with another woman’s, giving Alyrra the first choice she’s ever had: to start a new life for herself or fight for a prince she’s never met. But Alyrra soon finds that Prince Kestrin is not at all what she expected. While walking away will cost Kestrin his life, returning to the court may cost Alyrra her own. As Alyrra is coming to realize, sometimes the hardest choice means learning to trust herself.” via Amazon
The premise of this novel kind of reminds me of “Yona of the Dawn” but with a twist, and I’m here for it! I think you’ll love it if you were a fan of the show, “Reign.”
16. “Chain of Iron” by Cassandra Clare
What it’s about and why you should read it: This is the last book in the “Last Hours” trilogy! Fans of Cassandra Clare knows that her books always get better and better, which makes it worth a read.
17. “A Song of Wraiths and Ruin” by Roseanne A. Brown
What it’s about and why you should read it: Malik believes the Solstasia festival will give him the opportunity to escape his war-stricken home with his sisters. But, when his sister Nadia is kidnapped, he strikes a deal — kill the Crown Princess of Ziran, Karina, in exchange for Nadia. Meanwhile, Karina’s mother passed away and she wants her back. Karina is willing to use ancient magic to do it. In order to get her hands on this ancient magic, Karina wants to offer her hand in marriage to whoever wins the festival. Fans of Sabaa Tahir and Stephanie Garber will enjoy this novel.
18. “Night of the Dragon” by Julie Kagawa
What it’s about and why you should read it: This is the final book of the “Shadow of the Fox” series. If you’re a fan of Julie Kagawa, then you know she is incredible when it comes to writing fantasy and romance. I highly recommend reading her books, if you haven’t already.
19. “Once Upon An Eid” by S.K. Ali and Aisha Saeed (featuring other YA authors)
What it’s about and why you should read it : This fascinating anthology will feature stories told through the voices of 15 other Muslim authors. It is edited by Canadian-Muslim author, S.K. Ali, the talented writer behind “Love from A to Z” and “Saints and Misfits,” as well as Aisha Saeed. So if you’re a fan of these authors, then no doubt, this carefully curated anthology of stories is for you!
20. “Court of Lions” by Somaiya Daud
— No cover released yet.
There is no cover or general information release about this novel yet. All we know if that it is the sequel to “Mirage,” so if you loved that book, you’re sure to enjoy this one!
Overall, I believe all of these books will be worth buying or borrowing from a local library. There are a lot more books written by Muslim authors than I expected, and I’m especially excited for those! And in the meantime, to keep yourselves busy until these novels hit the bookshelves, why not check out my 10 favorite young adult novels from the past decade:
- “The Body Finder” by Kimberly Derting (2010)
- “What Happened to Goodbye” by Sarah Dessen (2011)
- “The Fault in Our Stars” by John Green (2012)
- “Fangirl” by Rainbow Rowell (2013)
- “Isla and the Happily Ever After” by Stephanie Perkins (2014)
- “An Ember in the Ashes” by Sabaa Tahir (2015)
- “The Sun is Also a Star” by Nicola Yoon (2016)
- “The Hate U Give” by Angie Thomas (2017)
- “Restore Me” by Tahereh Mafi (2018)
- “Love from A to Z” by S.K. Ali (2019)