Noteworthy 2020 YA Debut Authors

By Allison Riggs

While writing this blog post, I changed my mind about which books I wanted to highlight more times than I can count. There are just too many amazing-sounding YA books coming out this year! All I knew for sure was that I wanted to feature some upcoming 2020 young adult releases for collection development and readers’ advisory purposes. I was originally going to highlight some prequels and sequels, but I soon realized that those are already pretty well-known. Therefore, I finally decided on featuring some YA debut authors instead. I find that these titles are more likely to be missed and deserve the extra attention. Although I have not read any of these titles yet, I selected ones that sounded unique and that I think will be popular at my library.

For further reference, there is a website with a large list of YA and MG debut titles called Roaring 20s Debuts.

Woven in Moonlight by Isabel Ibañez

Release Date: January 7, 2020

“A lush tapestry of magic, romance, and revolución, drawing inspiration from Bolivian politics and history.” This Goodreads description along with the beautiful cover is enough to convince me that this needs to be on my shelf.

Nameless Queen by Rebecca McLaughlin

Release Date: January 7, 2020

An unknown citizen becomes the queen, and everyone wants her dead. I think fantasy readers, especially fans of Red Queen, will want to read this one.

No True Believers by Rabiah York Lumbard

Release Date: February 11, 2020

“Fans of the riveting mystery in Courtney Summers’s Sadie and the themes of race and religion in Samira Ahmed’s Internment will be captivated by this exploration of the intersection of Islamaphobia and white supremacy as an American Muslim teen is forced to confront hatred and hidden danger when she is framed for a terrorist act she did not commit.”

The Lucky Ones by Liz Lawson

Release Date: April 7, 2020

“For fans of Thirteen Reasons Why, This Is How It Ends, and All the Bright Places, comes a new novel about life after. How do you put yourself back together when it seems like you’ve lost it all?”

The Perfect Escape by Suzanne Park

Release Date: April 7, 2020

Nate and Kate hit it off when they meet at a zombie-themed escape room and then decided to participate in a survivalist competition together for a big cash prize. This title sounds unique and like it’s going to be a whole lot of fun.

The Henna Wars by Adiba Jaigirdar

Release Date: May 12, 2020

This title is promoting itself as a mix of When Dimple Met Rishi and Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda. What more could you want?


Helpful Online Resources for the Teen Librarian

By Allison Riggs

As a newer librarian, I always love learning about new resources to help me be the best librarian I can be. It’s even more helpful when I have all of those resources in one spot to help remind myself what sites I should be regularly checking. I have made this list of resources over the past year and want to share it with you! You may already know a lot of these resources, but I hope you find at least one or two new ones that you can use. I have listed the resources in alphabetical order with each resource’s link and a short description of what it has to offer.

Book Riot

For this resource, I signed up for their Young Adult newsletter and it is forever helpful, and just plain fun to read. It sometimes features upcoming titles, book lists, and YA movie adaptation news.

Booklist Webinars

Looking for free webinars about upcoming teen titles? This site is for you! They offer hour long webinars, and if you can’t watch the webinar live you can access it whenever it is convenient for you. To make it even easier, you can sign up for their webinar newsletter and you’ll automatically get notified whenever they have an upcoming webinar.

Epic Reads

This site is run by Harper Collins Publishers. It features monthly new YA release round ups, fun quizzes, and a variety of bookish content. I get a lot of inspiration from this site for book displays. It also helps me keep up with the upcoming popular YA title announcements.


There are hundreds of bookish accounts that you can follow on Instagram. Just looking at the #bookstagram or #yalit tags are super helpful to see different books coming out, what’s popular on Instagram, and to find new gems you didn’t even know about! There are also some great library and librarian bookstagrams that are very helpful and fun to follow as well.


I couldn’t have a list of online resources for librarians and not include Pinterest. I get some great craft ideas for programming from Pinterest!

Programming Librarian

This is an ALA run site, and I have gotten some awesome programming inspiration from this site. You can browse programming ideas by price, audience, topic, or type of library.

School Library Journal

Their website is filled with wonderful articles and reviews. I love their Read Woke articles by Cicely Lewis! They also have a very helpful blog full of programming ideas and posts on challenges teen librarians face. It’s called Teen Librarian Toolbox.

Stacked Books

This blog is a great resource for us teen librarians in charge of their teen nonfiction collections. It also has a lot of other great readers’ advisory lists as well. This is a great collection development tool.

Teen Services Underground

Every teen librarian should be checking out this blog. They have a large amount of programming ideas, readers’ advisory lists, and they always have a steady stream of new posts being published.

We Need Diverse Books

If you haven’t checked out this website yet, you really should. They provide great resources!

YALSA (Young Adult Library Services Association)

YALSA has an abundance of information for teen librarians including book lists for collection development, information on teen growth and development, and more. Their site can be a little overwhelming, but worth a look. They also have a blog with book award announcements. It’s called The Hub.

Young Adult Services Forum (ILA) Facebook Group

Teen librarians use this space to discuss books, programming, upcoming conferences, and to ask for advice. The forum also runs a fun Tournament of Books at the beginning of the year!

Recent Teen Programming Successes

By Allison Riggs

How do I define a successful program?

This could be a whole post on its own, so I am just going to give a very short summary of how I define a successful program. Although still helpful and important, it’s not all about the numbers. I believe that what the patrons get out of the program is the most important thing, even if only three patrons show up. Did they have fun? Did they learn something new? Did they make a new friend? Did they learn an important life skill? If you can answer positively to any of these questions, you had a successful program. On the other hand, if you do similar programs over and over again with really low attendance, it may be time to try something new or try new ways to reach patrons. It is okay to admit when something isn’t working. We’ve all been there.

In today’s post, I want to share two successful teen programs I held over the summer. One of the things I truly value in our community is how wonderful librarians are at sharing their ideas, and I hope you can now add these to your own programming idea list. If you have any further questions about either of these programs please don’t hesitate to contact me and ask!

Nailed It – Summer Edition

Inspiration: Nailed It / Failed It: Holiday Snacks Edition By Kris Cram, Young Adult Specialist, Omaha (Neb.) Public Library

Quick Overview: Teens were tasked with recreating popular marshmallow pops I found on Pinterest just like the contestants on the popular Netflix show Nailed It. The new season aired in May 2019 and I held the program in June. The teens were given very minimal instructions and therefore had to get creative and problem solve on their own to try and recreate the summer themed marshmallow pops. I chose the Goldfish, Shark, and S’more marshmallow pops. They had one hour to create two of each pop. We had two microwaves so they could melt their chocolates; this step took the most amount of time. Not many teens finished all six pops, so one of each kind would have been enough. I had 15 teens attend this program. Some saved their creations to show their family and some ate them right away.

Sand Art Terrariums

Inspiration: Average But Inspired Blog

Quick Overview: Using Dollar Tree vases, colorful sand, plastic dinosaurs, paper straws, rocks, washi tape, and faux succulent plants, one can make a fun and affordable teen program. I gave the teens a few tips on how to keep their sand from mixing into a sad color along with different ways to make the sand designs. From there on out they needed very little help from me. I also always throw on some fun instrumental music of popular songs for background noise and some of the teens like to try and guess which song is playing. I had 17 teens attend this program, and they all said they had lots of fun! Here are a few terrariums the teens made. Each one was unique and used a variety of the supplies I gave  them.

Sand Art Terrarium – Allison Riggs