Looking Forward: Ten Sequels to Watch for in 2020

Mystery, Magic, and Muscle Shine in These Hotly-Anticipated Sequels
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Looking Forward: Ten Sequels to Watch for in 2020

With the new year come and gone, I’m quickly looking for new books to add to my TBR list.  I have a relatively (read: very) obsessive personality, so I love to dive headfirst into new worlds. This is probably why I love Harry Potter, Star Wars, and A Song of Ice and Fire so much. What do these franchises have in common? None of them are standalone stories. Sometimes one book or movie isn’t enough to tell the whole story. Read below for the  YA Sequels to Look Out for in 2020. 

This list includes ten of my most anticipated sequels for this year.  I fell in love with these authors and the first parts of their stories and cannot wait to see where their characters go this year. In order of release, here is my list of sequels to pre-order immediately. SPOILER WARNING: There are a few light spoilers about the predecessors to these sequels

1. A Heart So Fierce and Broken by Brigid Kemmerer (Release date: January 7, 2020)

The second installment in the Cursebreakers series, A Heart so Fierce and Broken brings readers back to Emberfall. With the curse finally broken, Prince Rhen was hoping for a bit more time to relax. Even with Harper supporting him, Rhen is still plagued by mystery and threats to his inheritance. With his guard Grey missing, Rhen must not only discover his whereabouts but also fend off another incoming attack.

Who Should Read It
Brigid Kemmerer is the rare type of author that can write successfully in both the fantasy and contemporary genres. Her novel Call it What You Want is incredibly poignant and the characters feel entirely real (read my full review here). This series, however, is a dark yet fun fantasy series full of all the elements that make or a great story: action, adventure, and of course, love. Also, check out Kemmerer’s social media pages; she’s wonderful to interact with!

Anticipation Level 
****

2. One of Us is Next by Karen M. McManus (Release date: January 7, 2020)

One of Us is Lying, the first in this series, is a fast-paced multiple-perspective mystery that will keep you guessing until the very end. After the scandal of Simon’s death finally begins to wind down, Bayview High School is plagued by new drama: a merciless game of truth or dare. Copycats trying to fill the hole left by Simon’s blog have finally found a foothold and our new characters will have to choose whether a truth or a dare is more dangerous.

Who Should Read It
One of Us is Lying was (and still is) one of the most popular books in my classroom library. What makes McManus’s work so great? She’s quite good at balancing multiple POVs with unique perspectives while also driving the plot forward. If you’re interested in the social dynamics of teens and looking for a fast-paced mystery, this one’s for you.

Anticipation Level
*****

3.  Deathless Divide by Justina Ireland (Release date: February 4, 2020)

In its predecessor Dread Nation, readers find themselves following Jane through tumultuous times in the wake of the Civil War. To make matters more complicated, all of the dead soldiers from the war suddenly sprang back to life and began devouring any survivors. A student at Miss Preston’s School of Combat, Jane was trained to send the dead back where they belong. Now that the initial threat is over, Jane finds herself in a safe haven. This safe haven, though, has its own dangers.

Who Should Read It
This series is a bit of alternate history mixed with some zombie sci-fi. Not only are the sci-fi elements interesting but Ireland also works in the historical context. If you’re looking for an action-packed zombie novel with a bit more weight, check out Deathless Divide.

Anticipation Level  
***

4. Heart of Flames by Nicki Pau Preto  (Release date: February 11, 2020)

Set in a world ruled by fierce female warriors, this series centers on Veronyka, who dreams of becoming a Phoenix Rider, heroes that once ruled the skies riding wings of fire. When Veronyka is unexpectedly reunited with her cunning sister, Veronyka learns truths that shock her. With the empire on the hunt for the newly formed Phoenix Riders, Veronyka is forced to find her place in this epic fantasy world. Heart of Flames picks up right after the events of Crown of Feathers and finds our characters balancing precariously at the tip of the fight between the empire and the Phoenix Riders. Veronyka and her friends, Tristan and Sev, must push themselves to their limits in order to shape the future of their world as they know it.

Who Should Read It
Anyone who enjoys epic world-building and fiery fantasy will immediately be drawn to this series. Pau Preto’s novels traverse the intersections of independence and friendship, family and love, and fighting for freedom.

Anticipation Level
****

 

5. Ruthless Gods by Emily A. Duncan (Release date: April 7, 2020)

The Something Dark and Holy series follows Nadya, a girl who can call on the gods, as she begins to dabble in the forbidden arts of blood magic in order to save her ostracized people. The first novel, Wicked Saints, introduces readers to Duncan’s dark and intoxicating world through Nadya’s eyes as she must fool everyone around her in order to save her people. The wrinkle? Nadya discovers that her enemy Prince Serefin is much more complicated than she initially thought. Together with Malachiasz, an unlikely ally, Nadya must pass judgment on Serein. You can read my full review here! Ruthless Gods picks up with Nadya, Serefin, and Malachiasz still intertwined. While each has their own demons to fight, they must work together to discover their roles in a new game orchestrated by a mysterious force.

Who Should Read It
Duncan’s work is dark, mysterious, and intoxicating. If you’re looking for fantasy with a flair, this is it. Duncan draws much of her inspiration from Polish and Russian lore giving the Something Dark and Holy series a unique feel. These stories are dark and a bit gory, so add this to your list if you’re looking for something with a bit more heft.

Anticipation Level
*****

6.  Aurora Burning by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (Release date: May 7, 2020)

Back together again, the wildly popular Kaufman and Kristoff take readers back to the world of the Aurora Squad. This ragtag team of misfits came together to save Aurora, a survivor of a mysterious event that left her planet devoid of life. You can read my full review of Aurora Rising here! Now this dysfunctional team must come back together to fight a new big bad; this one’s threatening to wipe out all life in the galaxy.


Who Should Read It
If you’re a fan of The Illuminae Files or any other works by Kristoff or Kaufman, you’ll fall right into this story. With a large cast of characters, you’ll be able to find someone to love, to hate, and to be utterly frustrated by. The worldbuilding is thorough enough to understand the stakes but also relatable enough to our own world.

Anticipation Level
***

7. This Coven Won’t Break by Isabel Sterling (Release date: May 19, 2020)

In her sequel to These Witches Don’t Burn, Sterling picks right back up with Hannah and Morgan after narrowly escaping the Witch Hunter that was after the coven. Not only did Hannah have to contend with the Witch Hunter, but she was also dealing with the fallout of her breakup with Veronica, another member of her coven. With terrible news that other Hunters are springing up around the country, Hannah might be the only hope the covens have to beat them. Hannah, of course, is the only witch alive that’s escaped a Hunter before – but not entirely unscathed.

Who Should Read It
What I loved about These Witches Don’t Burn was that the story felt like these witches could actually be hiding in plain sight. Because I live so close to Salem as it is, I’m a bit predisposed to these types of stories. Sterling does a solid job of balancing friendship, romance, and familial responsibility and I’m very much looking forward to seeing how this story plays out.

Anticipation Level 
****

8. The Damned by Renée Ahdieh  (Release date: June 9, 2020)

Ahdieh’s The Beautiful follows Celine Rousseau, a teenage girl living in a convent in New Orleans in 1872. Celine quickly discovers a dark force that’s working through the city and leaving death in its wake. With both a sensuous romance with Sebastien Saint Germain, the leader of the city’s underworld, and a thrilling mystery, the end of The Beautiful will leave you asking for more. The good news? The Damned looks like it will deliver. With an irrevocable rift opened between the Fallen and the Brotherhood, Sebastien and Celine must deal with the repercussions of their actions. While they work together to stay safe, they’ll discover that there are much more powerful forces at work.

Who Should Read It
Ahdieh’s novels offer not only intriguing characters but also artful settings. Her worlds are easy to fall into and her characters will garner your undivided attention. If you’re looking for a story set in a sultry city that clearly has some darkness lurking beneath its surface, then this set of novels is for you.


Anticipation Level
****

 9. The Faithless Hawk by Margaret Owen (Release date: July 28, 2020)

Owen’s debut The Merciful Crow blends a few ideas we’ve seen before: a caste-based fantasy setting, royals behaving badly, and unexpected bonds. When Fie, an undertaker, comes to claim the body of Crown Prince Jasimir, she discovers that he faked his death. Unsure of what to do next, Fie agrees to help Jasimir in exchange for royal protection. After the events of The Merciful Crow shake out, Fie finds herself hoping that Jasimir will stick to his word. Unfortunately, with a magical black smoke descending on the city, they have bigger issues.

Who Should Read It
Although Owen uses some familiar tropes, she creates a world that is  easy to understand and feels familiar. Her characters are strong and independent but also understand the strength in forging new relationships. The Merciful Crow was a quick read with its unexpected turns and fast-paced action.

Anticipation Level 
***

10. The Silvered Serpents by Roshani Chokshi (Release date: September 22, 2020)

 

After successfully thwarting the Fallen House, Severin and his band are still recouping from the heavy losses sustained while securing their victory. Hoping to make up for what he can, Severin follows a lead to a priceless and powerful artifact that gives the power of God to its possessor. Leaving Paris behind, our characters must make their way to the frozen tundra of Russia where they find a whole new host of creatures and secrets. They’ll need to work together if they hope to survive this quest.

Who Should Read It

The Gilded Wolves, the first book in this series, is a great combination of magic, history, and a solid heist. Chokshi creates complex characters that behave believably even in unbelievable situations. You can read my full review here! If you’re looking for a fun, fast-paced read with genuine relationships like I am, then we’ll both enjoy The Silvered Serpents.

Anticipation Level 
****

An Argument for Duologies, Trilogies, and Series

Standalone YA novels are sort of difficult to come by these days. Most authors are capitalizing on readers’ desire to dive into a world and spend some quality time with its characters. This certainly isn’t surprising when you look at the popularity of the aforementioned Star Wars, Harry Potter, and A Song of Ice and Fire series. Readers, especially devoted teen readers, are voracious in their search for more content regarding their favourite characters. Planning for a series rather than a single story also allows authors to expand their vision and tackle more varied and complex topics while also giving those issues the time they deserve. Another benefit? Many authors become an auto-buy for their devoted fans. 

Other contributing factors to the increase in series are #bookstagram, social media in general, and book subscription boxes. Because so many teens are spending so much time on social media, authors are really increasing their presence there. I often find myself tagging, messaging, and having conversations with YA authors, many of whom are on this list! Interacting with readers can help authors see what those readers want more of and also build a level of trust with audiences. Book subscription boxes are also incredibly popular and help readers find new and upcoming authors. These boxes also often include specialty boxes for new releases in a series, adding an exclusivity factor. 

Looking for some great titles you might have missed in 2019? Check out more of our reviews here!

 

Rachel Gomes is a 20-something high school English teacher who lives with her high school sweetheart-turned-husband and their two cats and two dogs. Rachel is a voracious reader who loves to learn and is currently pursuing her Ed.D. in Curriculum and Instruction.

Favourite book: Don’t make me choose between A Song of Ice and Fire and Harry Potter
Favourite brunch spot: The Farmer’s Table

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