The 10 Best Young Adult Books of March 2020

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The 10 Best Young Adult Books of March 2020

There are many Young Adult novels to get excited about in March, especially new series hitting shelves from authors you already adore. This month boasts magical worlds written by acclaimed authors like Rin Chupeco, Marie Lu and Sara Holland, as well as debuts from voices you’re sure to love.

Let’s jump in.

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Be Not Far from Me by Mindy McGinnis

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Release Date: March 3rd from Katherine Tegen Books

Why You’ll Love It: I inhaled this novel in a single evening, which is what I tend to do with most books by Mindy McGinnis. A dark novel set in the wilderness, Be Not Far from Me follows a teen girl wrestling to survive after an evening of partying, betrayal and abandonment. Don’t miss out on this amazing book!

For Fans of: Thrilling books about survival by authors like Kate Alice Marshall.

Description: The world is not tame. Ashley knows this truth deep in her bones, more at home with trees overhead than a roof. So when she goes hiking in the Smokies with her friends for a night of partying, the falling dark and creaking trees are second nature to her. But people are not tame either. And when Ashley catches her boyfriend with another girl, drunken rage sends her running into the night, stopped only by a nasty fall into a ravine. Morning brings the realization that she’s alone—and far off trail. Lost with nothing but the clothes on her back, Ashley must figure out how to survive despite the infection creeping up her leg.

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Havenfall by Sara Holland

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Release Date: March 3rd from Bloomsbury YA

Why You’ll Love It: Sara Holland’s New York Times bestselling series, Everless, was an exciting fantasy saga with amazing time mechanics and world-building. She returns to weaving epic magical worlds with Havenfall, set in a magical inn that keeps a peace between magical worlds—until it doesn’t. We’ve been anxiously awaiting this enchanting novel.

For Fans of: Anyone who enjoys a good story about hidden magic and authors like Melissa Grey.

Description: Hidden deep in the mountains of Colorado lies the Inn at Havenfall, a sanctuary that connects ancient worlds—each with their own magic—together. For Maddie Morrow, summers at the inn are more than a chance to experience this magic first-hand. It’s where Maddie fell in love with handsome Fiorden soldier Brekken, and it’s where one day she hopes to inherit the role of Innkeeper from her beloved uncle. But this summer, the impossible happens—a dead body is found. Maddie will do anything to uncover the truth, even if it means working together with an alluring new staffer, who seems to know more than she’s letting on. As dark secrets are revealed, one thing becomes clear to Maddie—no one can be trusted, and no one is safe.

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The Kingdom of Back by Marie Lu

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Release Date: March 3rd from G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers

Why You’ll Love It: Marie Lu has jumped genres plenty of times, from her dystopian Legend series to her sci-fi virtual reality worlds found in Warcross. Now I’m wildly excited to read her first historical fantasy novel about Wolfgang Mozart’s sister, Nannerl, and her drive to be a legendary composer.

For Fans of: Melissa Albert

Description: Born with a gift for music, Nannerl Mozart has just one wish—to be remembered forever. But even as she delights audiences with her masterful playing, she has little hope she’ll ever become the acclaimed composer she longs to be. She is a young woman in 18th century Europe, and that means composing is forbidden to her. As Nannerl’s hope grows dimmer with each passing year, the talents of her beloved younger brother, Wolfgang, only seem to shine brighter. His brilliance begins to eclipse her own, until one day a mysterious stranger from a magical land appears with an irresistible offer. He has the power to make her wish come true—but his help may cost her everything.

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The Night of Your Life by Lydia Sharp

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Release Date: March 3rd from Scholastic

Why You’ll Love It: I’ve been excited about this novel ever since I heard it was sold. A teen finds himself reliving prom night over and over again, delivering a story that sounds like a YA Groundhog Day mashed together with…well, prom!

For Fans of: Justin A. Reynolds’ Opposite of Always

Description: All year, JJ’s been looking forward to going to prom with his best friend, Lucy. It will be their last hurrah before graduation, but nothing goes according to plan. When a near-car crash derails JJ before he even gets to prom and Lucy can’t figure out what happened to him, things spiral out of control. That is…until JJ wakes up the next day only to find that it’s prom night all over again. At first, JJ thinks he’s lucky to have unlimited chances at perfecting the night of his life. But each day ends badly for him and Lucy, no matter what he does. Can he find a way to get the perfect prom and move forward into the rest of his life?

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Wicked As You Wish by Rin Chupeco

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Release Date: March 3rd from Sourcebooks Fire

Why You’ll Love It: The first book in Rin Chupeco’s new A Hundred Names for Magic series, Wicked As You Wish promises to be packed full of fairytales and magic in an alternate history that sounds absolutely captivating.

For Fans of: Zoraida Córdova

Description: Many years ago, the magical Kingdom of Avalon was left encased in ice when the Snow Queen waged war. Its former citizens are now refugees in a world mostly devoid of magic. Which is why the crown prince and his protectors are stuck in…Arizona. Prince Alexei, the sole survivor of the Avalon royal family, is hiding in a town so boring, magic doesn’t even work there. Few know his secret identity, but his friend Tala is one of them. A new hope for their abandoned homeland reignites when a famous creature of legend, the Firebird, appears for the first time in decades. Alex and Tala must unite with a ragtag group of new friends to journey back to Avalon for a showdown that will change the world as they know it.

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Harley in the Sky by Akemi Dawn Bowman

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Release Date: March 10th from Simon Pulse

Why You’ll Love It: Akemi Dawn Bowman is a favorite here at Paste. Bowman’s debut, Starfish, was one of the best YA novels of 2017, and I’ve loved every title since. Bowman’s latest promises to be a perfect novel for fans of The Greatest Showman and, of course, cathartic crying. (You can read an excerpt from the first chapter here.)

For Fans of: Anna-Marie McLemore

Description: Harley Milano has dreamed of being a trapeze artist for as long as she can remember. With parents who run a famous circus in Las Vegas, she spends almost every night in the big top watching their lead aerialist perform, wishing with all her soul that she could be up there herself one day. After a huge fight with her parents, Harley leaves home, betrays her family and joins the rival traveling circus Maison du Mystère. There, she is thrust into a world that is both brutal and beautiful, where she learns the value of hard work, passion and collaboration. But at the same time, Harley must come to terms with the truth of her family and her past—and reckon with the sacrifices she made and the people she hurt in order to follow her dreams.

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A Phoenix First Must Burn edited by Patrice Caldwell

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Release Date: March 10th from Viking Books for Young Readers

Why You’ll Love It: I obviously love anthologies (I’ve worked on a few), and this one promises to be enthralling. Literary agent Patrice Caldwell collected 16 retold folktales from amazing authors, and you’ll want to check out every story.

For Fans of: Anyone who loves a good anthology.

Description: Evoking Beyoncé’s Lemonade for a teen audience, these authors have woven worlds to create a stunning narrative that centers Black women and gender nonconforming individuals. A Phoenix First Must Burn will take you on a journey from folktales retold to futuristic societies and everything in between. Filled with stories of love and betrayal, strength and resistance, this collection contains an array of complex and true-to-life characters in which you cannot help but see yourself reflected. Authors include Elizabeth Acevedo, Amerie, Dhonielle Clayton, Jalissa Corrie, Somaiya Daud, Charlotte Davis, Alaya Dawn Johnson, Justina Ireland, Danny Lore, L.L. McKinney, Danielle Paige, Rebecca Roanhorse, Karen Strong, Ashley Woodfolk and Ibi Zoboi.

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When You Were Everything by Ashley Woodfolk

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Release Date: March 10th from Delacorte Press

Why You’ll Love It: While there are plenty of novels about romantic breaks, it’s the friendship breakups that can be the most devastating. And Ashley Woodfolk’s novel about the loss of a friend makes for one beautifully painful read. When You Were Everything is already one of my favorite novels of the year, and it will be one of yours, too.

For Fans of: Amy Spalding and Brandy Colbert

Description: It’s been 27 days since Cleo and Layla’s friendship imploded. Now, Cleo wants to erase every memory, good or bad, that tethers her to her ex-best friend. But pretending Layla doesn’t exist isn’t as easy as Cleo hoped, especially after she’s assigned to be Layla’s tutor. Despite budding new friendships with other classmates—and a raging crush on a gorgeous boy named Dom—Cleo’s turbulent past with Layla comes back to haunt them both.

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All Your Twisted Secrets by Diana Urban

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Release Date: March 17th from HarperTeen

Why You’ll Love It: I’ve been waiting for this thriller since it was announced! Diana Urban’s novel sounds like a wild mix of Saw and The Breakfast Club, blended with an escape room. With six teens trapped in a room with a decision to make—which of them will die—the stakes are insanely high.

For Fans of: Karen M. McManus and Caleb Roehrig

Description: 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. 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?

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Music from Another World by Robin Talley

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Release Date: March 31st from Inkyard Press

Why You’ll Love It: Robin Talley’s inclusive and moving LGBTQ+ novels are among some of my favorites. Her latest dive into historical fiction is set in the late ‘70s as protests are mounting in California, promising to be another fantastic novel of love and resistance. You don’t want to miss this release at the end of March!

For Fans of: David Levithan and Nina LaCour

Description: It’s summer 1977 and closeted lesbian Tammy Larson can’t be herself anywhere. Not at her strict Christian high school, not at her conservative Orange County church and certainly not at home. Tammy’s only outlet is writing secret letters in her diary to gay civil rights activist Harvey Milk…until she’s matched with a real-life pen pal who changes everything. Sharon Hawkins bonds with Tammy over punk music and carefully shared secrets, and soon their letters become the one place she can be honest. But as antigay fervor in America reaches a frightening new pitch, Sharon and Tammy must rely on their long-distance friendship to discover their deeply personal truths, what they’ll stand for…and who they’ll rise against.

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