White Oak Teen Librarians’ Top Reads of 2020

White Oak Teen Librarians have compiled a list of our 11 favorite reads of 2020! See if one of your favorites is on this list, or if you missed something amazing. (This list is in no particular order.)


Cinderella Retellings: So two really good Cinderella retelling came out this year! If you love a good Cinderella retelling like Cinder by Marissa Meyer, you will love these books!

Cinderella is Dead by Kalynn Bayron

Sophia is in love with her best friend Erin, who happens to be a girl. Unfortunately, Sophia lives in a kingdom where girls are taught to follow the example of Cinderella; girls are expected to be kind, civil, and obedient. Each girl is forced to attend a ball in which, if they are “Lucky”, an eligible bachelor will choose them as their obedient wife, just like Cinderella. Starting at age 16, a girl has three chances to get chosen, after that the girls mysteriously disappear. Sophia’s family has lined up a suitor, who like her prefers the same gender, but Sophia does not want to hide who she loves or who she is. At the ball she has the bad luck to get the king’s attention, so she runs away. Along the way she finds a girl, Constance, who claims to be a descendant from Cinderella’s wicked stepsisters. Constance knows the tale of Cinderella, but her tale claims that Cinderella came to the ball to kill the prince. Read this fun twist of Cinderella where there is more to her story than a simple shoe. Sophia is a great character and this twist on this beloved fairy tale is so fun and new.

So This Is Love: A Twisted Tale by Elizabeth Lim

This is a twist on the classic Disney’s Cinderella. Disney has released a bunch of these Twisted Tales in which they change one key fact from the original story, and these books are so good! The twist for this tale is: What if Cinderella never tried on the slipper? That’s right Cinderella’s mice friends fail to get the door unlocked, and the Grand Duke comes and goes. Cinderella, believing she has lost her chance at love, leaves home. She ends up meeting new friends and gets a job, as a seamstress at the palace! Cinderella also discovers a conspiracy about why her fairy godmother had to wait to help her. Turns our fairies are banned from the kingdom. Cinderella is determined to help her fairy godmother who gave her a wonderful night even if she didn’t end up with the prince. But maybe their love story isn’t over just yet. It had such great additions to Cinderella’s mythology and it explored the fairy godmother! Such a good Cinderella read!

~Miss Faith


LegendBorn by Tracy Deonn

If you love Camelot, King Arthur, and the Sword in the Stone, try this book! It is a new retelling of King Arthur with a twist. Bree, who just lost her mom, goes to a university’s outreach program for high schoolers. There she discovers a secret world of magic that might be tied to her mother’s death. Bree enlists the help of Nick, one of the Legendborn who has been trying to reject his heritage, to help her infiltrate the society and find out the truth about her mother’s death.  However, the more Bree dives into the world, the more danger she puts herself in. Legendborns also find any magic different from theirs as dangerous and a threat. Bree discovers magic from her family roots that differs from Legendborn and must hide her new abilities if she wishes to find out what happened to her mom. But the more she hides, the more present her abilities become and she must embrace her destiny.  This book realistically portrays racial tensions people face, especially in the South. It added a magical element, but still took the race issues seriously. Enjoy this twist on King Arthur read more in the series soon!

~Miss Faith


Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo

This book is written in prose, (a poetry format). If you have issues reading prose, try listening to the audiobook. However you choose to read this book, it such a powerful read.  This book was dedicated to the passengers on Flight 587, a real flight to the Dominican Republic from New York that crashed in 2001, killing everyone on board. For everyone else, the world went on after a week, but for Elizabeth Acevedo’s community so many people lost someone or knew someone who was lost. It shocked the Dominican Republic community so she wrote a book to help them be remembered. The story focuses on two girls who both lost their father on the same flight only to slowly discover that the father both girls lost was the same person. Warning this book does deal with sexual assault. If you are sensitive or triggered by the issue, skip this book. Elizabeth Acevedo was trying to remember such a sad event in her history while telling such a powerful story with two amazing protagonists, Yahira and Camino.

~Miss Faith


The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Barnes

Avery Grambs is currently living in her car. After her sister’s boyfriend beats her sister up, and her sister still takes him back, Avery decided to leave to encourage her sister to dump the guy. Too bad that leaves her with no place to call home, that is until Tobias Hawthorne, billionaire, leaves his entire fortune to Avery! Suddenly Avery not only does not have to live in her car, she inherits one of his many mansions. Avery just has one issue, she has never met Tobias Hawthorne. Puzzled why he would leave his fortune to a complete stranger, Avery tries to figure out why he left everything to her especially when he had four grandsons who aren’t happy Avery has inherited everything. Meet the four intriguing grandsons and solve the mystery of why Tobias Hawthorne chose Avery! This is such a good story, such a good mystery that leave you wanting more!  Fans of Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson will enjoy this book!

~Miss Faith


Ghosted in L.A. by Sina Grace and Siobhan Keenan

This graphic novel started out with drama and interactions typical of a story about moving away for college, and continued with the addition of ghostly roommates and action sequences! I would definitely recommend Ghosted in L.A. to anyone who loves ghostly fiction, especially if you find yourself wanting to get to know the ghosts better. I can’t wait to read volume 2 and volume 3! Warning: There are scenes that involve coercion in this graphic novel.

~Mr. Linden


Imaginary Borders by Xiuhtezcatl Martinez

This book in the Pocket Change Collective series is truly pocket sized! I loved the way it was presented in a way that is simple to understand and fast to get through. Xiuhtezcatl Martinez is an environmental activist I’d heard a bit about, and now I want to learn even more about what he’s working on! I highly recommend this book for any reader who cares about climate justice, or wants to learn more. The author presents a way forward for the movement that includes everyone using their skills and passions to contribute in their own way.

~Mr. Linden


Long Way Down: the Graphic Novel by Jason Reynolds

Most of this graphic novel takes place in a sixty second elevator ride as Will tries to decide whether to take revenge as he’s been taught to do. If you loved Jason Reynolds’ Long Way Down, the graphic novel is an amazing way to experience the story. The illustrations add to the flow of the verse, and you won’t want to put it down until you’ve finished.

~Mr. Linden


You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson

2020 has been a very hard year, and that’s what makes You Should See Me in a Crown SO WONDERFUL! It’s a lighthearted romance that stars a Black teen named Liz Lighty who is trying to become prom queen so she can go to her dream school. Liz did not think she would fall in love with one the other girls she is competing against. It is a delight and full of hope that 2020 needs. 

~Miss Cindy


Girls Save the World in This One by Ash Parsons

If you like fandoms and comic conventions, this is a super cool book you will want to check out. June is so excited to go to ZombieCon and she is even more excited to be able to see the panel for her all-time favorite zombie show, Human Wasteland. But when she is at the panel, things start to go wrong. There are people trying to push open the door and they look like the really cool zombie cosplayers she saw earlier, but now there are more. Oh no! Zombies have taken over ZombieCon and now June and her friends will have to fight to survive along with her favorite cute actor from the show. This is one exciting adventure!

~Miss Cindy


This Is My America by Kim Johnson

Tracy is trying to save her father. Every week she has been writing Innocence X, to help to get her dad off death row but just as she gets in contact with them, her brother is now accused of murder. In order to save her family, she and her friends must find out what really happened. This is an amazing look at the criminal justice system. If you like this book, check out the middle grade novel From the Desk of Zoe Washington by Janae Marks.

~Miss Cindy

We’d love to hear what your favorite books are this year – leave us your top favorites for 2020 in the comments below.

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