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All Ages

The Best Children’s and YA Books of December 2020

by the Brightly Editors

Background credit: Julia_Snova/Shutterstock

While you’re choosing the perfect holiday gifts this season, don’t forget to check off those reading wish lists. From board books about American icons to must-read middle grade series and YA books both thrilling and poignant, December’s best new titles will inspire holiday smiles.

  • YA

  • Admission

    by Julie Buxbaum

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    Chloe Wynn Berringer has lived a pretty charmed life. The daughter of a B-list actor, Chloe’s perfect senior year goes up in flames when the FBI arrest her mom in a massive college admissions bribery scandal. Not only may Chloe also face charges, but her inner turmoil — her parents’ total lack of faith in her success and the examination of her own complicity — is now the subject of endless headlines. Bestselling author Julie Buxbaum examines the hyperprivileged and the painful fallout that follows getting caught.
    (On Sale: 12/01/2020)

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  • The Cousins

    by Karen M. McManus

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    Thriller queen Karen M. McManus (author of One of Us Is Lying) is back at it with a dark and twisty ride. Cousins Milly, Aubrey, and Jonah are summoned to their grandmother’s island resort for the summer. While that might sound like a nice vacation, they’ve never met their grandmother — she disowned their parents years ago — and her intentions for the trio aren’t what you’d call grandmotherly.
    (On Sale: 12/01/2020)

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  • A Sky Beyond the Storm

    by Sabaa Tahir

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    The hair-raising finale of the An Ember in the Ashes series finds the apocalypse bearing down, led by the vengeful Nightbringer, and the self-elected Empress waging war on Laia and her people. Laia’s attempts to put an end to the evils around her wake an ancient and uncontrollable power that threatens to destroy everything in its path.
    (On Sale: 12/01/2020)

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  • This Is How We Fly

    by Anna Meriano

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    When Ellen Lopez-Rourke finds herself grounded for the entire summer before college, she negotiates one exception: she can join the local Quidditch team. Ellen has no idea what she’s gotten herself into — or if her Harry Potter knowledge is on par to spar with her teammates — but she’s in for a summer of finding herself, even as her world seems to be changing forever.
    (On Sale: 12/15/2020)

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  • A Universe of Wishes

    edited by Dhonielle Clayton

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    The fourth anthology from the wonderful organization We Need Diverse Books, A Universe of Wishes collects 15 YA fantasy stories from an all-star cast of exciting authors. Their tales are captivating and empowering, and together they crack open the genre and invite all readers to see themselves reflected. For more from WNDB, check out Fresh Ink, as well as middle grade collections The Hero Next Door and Flying Lessons & Other Stories.
    (On Sale: 12/08/2020)

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  • Black Canary: Breaking Silence

    by Alexandra Monir

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    The origin story of DC Comics superhero Dinah Lance is the girl-power read of the season. In the patriarchal Gotham City, women’s rights have been rolled back to zero — just singing is a crime punishable by death. Seventeen-year-old Dinah isn’t sure how much longer she can contain her voice, and she wants to help other girls and women, too, even though it would mean risking everything.
    (On Sale: 12/29/2020)

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