It's the most wonderful time of the year! And this year, Christmas morning seems like the best time to look back this month and see the last of the books released this year before we turn our eye forward to all of the wonderful books to come in 2021.
With thrilling finales in epic fantasy worlds, twisty murder mysteries in which nothing is as it appears, and some much-needed feel-good contemporary romcoms, the books released this month provide that much need little extra glimmer to round off what can at best be described as a challenging year.
December 2020 Releases
Coming Up for Air by Nicole Tyndall
Ever since her mom’s cancer scare, Hadley hasn’t been one for taking risks. And after seeing her sister go through one too many heartbreaks, she definitely has no interest in dating. Hadley just wants to keep her head down and enjoy the rest of high school with her friends, focusing on her photography and getting into the art school of her dreams.
Then enters Braden, star of the swim team and precisely the kind of person Hadley avoids, all bravado and charm and impulsivity. From their first moment together, they are perfect sparring partners, equally matched. And it’s intoxicating. Braden sees her, really sees her, and Hadley decides it might be time to break all her rules.
Braden shows Hadley how to live again, and soon Hadley is happier than she’ll ever admit out loud. But that’s before her family is faced with devastating news, and Braden starts hiding a growing, dark secret. As it threatens to shatter everything they’ve built, Hadley must confront her own actions and determine if she has the strength to walk away.
Just Our Luck by Julia Walton
"Bad luck follows lies."
That was the first rule for life that Leo's Greek grandmother, Yia Yia, gave him before she died. But Leo's anxiety just caused a fight at school, and though he didn't lie, he wasn't exactly honest about how it all went down--how he went down. Now Leo's father thinks a self-defense class is exactly what his son needs to "man up." But Leo would much rather knit, crochet, or take photographs instead. Still, he obliges.
"Leave the Paros family alone."
That was Yia Yia's second rule for life. But who does Leo see sitting at the front desk of the local gym? Evey Paros, great grand-daughter to the woman who supposedly cursed his family with bad luck. Seeing as Leo is desperate to enroll in anything but self-defense class, Evey cuts him a deal: she'll secretly enroll him in hot yoga instead--for a price. But what could the brilliant, ruthless, forbidden Evey Paros want from Leo?
The Love Curse of Melody McIntyre by Robin Talley
Melody McIntyre, stage manager extraordinaire, has a plan for everything. Does the lead actor need a breath mint? She’s on it. Understudy bust a seam? Mel’s sewing kit is at the ready. Not only is her Plan A foolproof, but she’s also got a Plan B and a Plan C because actors can be total fools.
What doesn’t she have? Success with love. Every time she falls for someone during a school performance, both the romance and the show ended in catastrophe. So, Mel swears off any entanglements until their upcoming production of Les Mis is over.
Of course, Mel didn’t count on Odile Rose, a rising star in the acting world, auditioning for the spring performance. And she definitely didn’t expect Odile to be sweet and funny and care as much about the play’s success as Mel.
This means that Melody McIntyre’s only plan now is trying desperately not to fall in love.
This is How We Fly by Anna Meriano
17-year-old vegan feminist Ellen Lopez-Rourke has one muggy Houston summer left before college. She plans to spend every last moment with her two best friends before they go off to the opposite ends of Texas for school. But when Ellen is grounded for the entire summer by her (sometimes) evil stepmother, all her plans are thrown out the window.
Determined to do something with her time, Ellen (with the help of BFF Melissa) convinces her parents to let her join the local muggle Quidditch team. An all-gender, full-contact game, Quidditch isn't quite what Ellen expects. There's no flying, no magic, just a bunch of scrappy players holding PVC pipe between their legs and throwing dodgeballs. Suddenly Ellen is thrown into a very different sports world: her life is all practices, training, and running with a group of Harry Potter fans.
Even as Melissa pulls away to pursue new relationships and their other BFF, Xiumiao, seems more interested in moving on from high school (and from Ellen), Ellen is steadily finding a place among her teammates. Maybe Quidditch is where she belongs.
But with her home life and friend troubles quickly spinning out of control--Ellen must fight for the future that she wants, now she's playing for keeps.
The Good Girls by Claire Eliza Bartlett
The troublemaker. The overachiever. The cheer captain. The dead girl.
Like every high school in America, Jefferson-Lorne High contains all of the above.
After the shocking murder of senior Emma Baines, three of her classmates are at the top of the suspect list: Claude, the notorious partier; Avery, the head cheerleader; and Gwen, the would-be valedictorian.
Everyone has a label, whether they like it or not--and Emma was always known as a good girl. But appearances are never what they seem. And the truth behind what really happened to Emma may just be lying in plain sight. As long-buried secrets come to light, the clock is ticking to find Emma's killer--before another good girl goes down.
Heiress Apparently by Diana Ma
Gemma Huang is a recent transplant to Los Angeles from Illinois, having abandoned plans for college to pursue a career in acting, much to her parents' dismay. Now she’s living with three roommates in a two-bedroom hovel, auditioning for bit roles that hardly cover rent. Gemma’s big break comes when she’s asked to play a lead role in an update of M. Butterfly filming for Beijing's summer. When she arrives, she’s stopped by the paparazzi at the airport. She quickly realizes she may as well be the twin of one of the most notorious young socialites in Beijing. Thus kicks off a summer of revelations, in which Gemma uncovers a legacy her parents have spent their lives protecting her from—one her mother would conceal from her daughter at any cost.