It’s time for us to say goodbye to 2019 and hello to 2020. But, although we’re leaving the 20teens, a lot of what these years gifted (or threw at) us seems to be following into the new year and decade. And as such, we’re bringing you the annual Teenplicity Team “Things We’re Excited For in the New Year” list filled with music, television, movies, and more that is expected to drop in 2020.
Note: These lists are ordered by scheduled release date given at the time of the post being made and are not completed lists (for in case we get some Beyoncé drops from someone, who knows…) Some dates may be subject to change.
You can view part I of our list featuring movies and television coming out in 2019 here.
2020 in Music
Halsey – Manic (January 17)
Halsey’s upcoming third album, Manic, has already garnered a lot of attention with quintuple Platinum single “Without Me.” Different from her first two albums, Halsey has described this project as, “less dystopian fantasy world” and more reflective of her current worldview. She’s also called it a surprisingly happy record. Manic is expected to be released on January 17th.
“What has me so excited for Manic to drop is that from what Halsey has given us, this album delivers what it means to feel all the joys and grief of youth especially while stepping into the big (often uncomfortable) shoes of maturity. From someone who I’ve felt has consistently been a strong lyricist since her Room 93 EP, the singles she’s given us thus far I’d argue is her best lyrics to date and I’m not just saying that because when I heard ‘Clementine’ for the first time on my way to bed, I cried. Third albums can be tricky, especially when the first two carried major success and I think Halsey going this route of stripping things back and not letting how others have decided to view her as an artist define her music is the exact move this album needed to go both for her as a person and for us as listeners. Also Alanis Morissette!!! She made this album for me. Thank you, Halsey.” – Brie
“Halsey really eneded 20-biteen by announcing she’d drop an album in 2020! And then fed us “Graveyard” for the absolute jam that it is in anticipation of her new music! We love to see it. She has such a fun sound to listen to and play with versus the many other pop vocalists of today. The album is supposedly her most personal yet, displaying that theme even further with a track even titled “Ashley”. Also, I bet Brie is crying because Halsey collaborated with Alanis Morissette.” – Mary
Kesha – High Road (January 31)
Kesha’s upcoming fourth album, High Road, finds her “reclaiming her love of life.” She’s explained that this album allowed her to reconnect with her pop roots and unrestrained joy/wildness that’s always been a part of her. High Road is expected to be released on January 31st.
“Considering we started this decade with Kesha taking over the radio and the charts talking about waking up in the morning feeling like P Diddy and reminding the world about the fun of glitter, it’s fitting that we’d close out the 10s and bring in the (roaring) 20s with a newly liberated Kesha reminding us that we all still have room in our hearts and bodies for joyfully wild pop music. Especially when that joyfully wild pop music includes Big Freedia and lyrics about how we deserve to march to our own beats and raise hell. Kesha’s artistry has always been a form of expression that meant a lot to me, she carried this level of fun and inviting weirdness while also not giving a fuck that I think young folks need to see exist. In 2009, it took the world by surprise in the likes of her, Nicki Minaj, and Lady Gaga to name a few. Now, it’s a lot more common, albeit less gimmicky but Kesha seems to have adapted with the best of them.” – Brie
“Kesha is a force to be reckoned with and she is owning everything she does. Her recent performance at the AMAs was exactly what I’d expect from Kesha – fun, wild, and a little questionable. She seems like she’s able to be carefree with this album while her last one Rainbow felt more like a cathartic piece of art for the singer. She took a deeper, more introspective dive into her music on her last go-around but High Road is giving the sense that she is embracing the joy of life. “Raising Hell” is already a fun lead single and it shows great potential for what to expect from the album.” – Mary
Hayley Williams Solo Music (January)
On her birthday, Hayley Williams shared that she’s been working on some new music with a taste of it being dropped in January while more would be released later throughout 2020. As of right now, no specific date(s) has been announced.
“As Naomi McPherson from the band, MUNA tweeted once this news was shared: ‘Black people found globally rejoicing.’ Hayley Williams truly is That Girl and her and the band Paramore are some of my favorite and most influential artists. The thing I’m most excited about in terms of this new project is what it’ll sound like. Hayley’s voice is so wonderfully powerful that to my novice ears, I think she could probably go anywhere she wants. And I’ll gladly see her through it all. I’m also interested in knowing if she’s collabing with anyone since she noted that friends were involved. I’m glad that Paramore is where they are where they can venture off in this way and if the masterpiece that is After Laughter is any indication of what is to come, we’re in for it and crying while dancing, mates.” – Brie
“Does this one really need an explanation? It’s Hayley Williams! Her vocals shaped the entirety of my pre-teen and teen years. Bop after bop was created by Paramore but now venturing into the solo field for an album with be an interesting test to what her sound is like. No doubt that she will show off her incredibly talented vocals with a variety of ranges and a multitude of abilities. I might even cry. It’s on.” – Mary
In 2020, AJR will find themselves on tour, working on their next album, and as we’ve already seen, having their song “Overture” joining the Disney/Pixar canon through the movie Soul. AJR’s Neotheater World Tour Part II kicks off January 17th in Chicago, IL at the Aragon Ballroom.
“2020 is going to be a big year for AJR. With a new tour starting in January (Neotheater World Tour Part II), Disney/Pixar’s Soul premiering later in the year, and already working on their next album, there will be no shortage of content. AJR is honestly one of my favorite bands ever. They continually reinvent themselves, changing their sound with every album while keeping the small aspects that is AJR. They work hard and are making it on their own for the most part. Their concerts are also the nights where I’ve had the most fun than I’ve ever had before. They continually make each concert as much of a visual experience as an audible one. Seriously, their talent is incredible and jaw-dropping and I can’t wait for the next album. Please don’t leave it next up, forever.” – Mary
Green Day – Father of All Motherfuckers (February 7)
Described by Billie Joe Armstrong as “the life and death of the party,” Green Day’s latest record is said to include hints of soul, Motown, and glam in their all-out alt-punk-rock. Father of All Motherfuckers is expected to be released on February 7th.
“We’ve all screamed our hearts out until our voices went hoarse to at least one Green Day song in our lives, right? I’d like to think that everyone has done this multiple times to multiple Green Day songs. (To make this more accessible, in any way that you consume and express your feelings about music–I’d hope that you were able to do that to at least one Green Day song or multiple times to multiple Green Day songs.) Green Day is another artist that I’m interested in seeing the way that they adapt and translate considering music isn’t where it was when they were at, what I’m assuming was, the height/peak of their genre. We’re finally growing comfortable with once again admitting that simply putting a group of white guys on a stage with instruments should not be the definitive definition of rock and that the message of rock gets muddled when rock is supposed to be this opposition to The Man and Power and yet, it’s just white men that just so happen to look a lot like The Man and Power. It’s not that reflective in award shows or media or alternative stations, but I’ve noticed it starting in fandom. Which isn’t shade thrown at Green Day, because I love Green Day and I’m excited to see them back. It’s more so a challenge that, given their pretty radical past, I’m assuming they’re willing to take on which is to show us they’re aware of this shift and interested in productively being a part of making it happen.” – Brie
The 1975 – Notes on a Conditional Form (February 21/March)
Part 2 of The 1975’s Music for Cars era, Notes on a Conditional Form has already seemed to take a number of different forms and shapes by outsiders before even being finished and released. It’s been hinted to be the band’s most diverse record to date as it furthers The 1975’s “create in the way we consume” artist statement. Notes on a Conditional Form has an expected release date of February 21st but rumored to be subject to change.
“Since it was first announced, there’s been this obsession with folks wanting Notes to just be done and put out into the world. Which I get, especially since the concept has existed for public consumption since even before A Brief Inquiry was released in its full form. But, I also value the band taking the time to work on the album so that it’s not just a done album but the album that Notes on a Conditional Form is supposed to be. Before performing ‘Its Not Living’ live, Matty sometimes intros the song by saying ‘We just keep getting better’ and whatever we get with Notes is going to be the way they’ve evolved from Brief Inquiry which is consistent with yet a contrast from their past two albums. So far, they’ve shown us their evolution with their updated ‘The 1975’ that put Greta Thunberg front and center speaking about the environment and demanding rebellious action over an instrumental in a way that shows the band’s awareness that the very young adults (predominantly young women and gender non-conforming folks) who are their target audience are capable in and of themselves to hold their own and have compelling things to say about the world we live in. We’ve also seen it through the scream-it-as-loud-as-you-can-and-feel-it-in-your-bones track ‘People’ which is as hardcore as it is hopeful in the way it reminds us that even though the world is hellishly on fire and we’re accountable for the ways in which we reached this point, we can still put the fire out so long as we’re willing. And then we’ve seen it in ‘Frail State of Mind’ which has been described by some as the anti-after party comedown of ‘TOOTIME,’ and is as keyed into the way we’re currently perceiving party culture as it is keyed into the way that we’re currently discussing mental health. Unless it’s changed, the album is supposed to be 22 tracks, so one can only guess where all it’s going to go and how they’re looking to define their music in the new decade when the industry has caught on to what they meant years ago when they said that consumers of music aren’t married to only one genre which means artists shouldn’t have to be either.” – Brie
Alanis Morissette – Such Pretty Forks in the Road (May 1)
Alanis Morissette’s ninth studio album, Such Pretty Forks in the Road, is her newest album since 2012. After co-composing and writing new original songs for the latest Broadway show Jagged Little Pill inspired by her Grammy-Award winning album, Such Pretty Forks in the Road will also be accompanied by a 2020 World Tour. Such Pretty Forks in the Road is expected to be released on May 1st.
“I spent so much time the past 2-3 years remembering the power of Jagged Little Pill that the thought hadn’t even occurred to me until very recently that Alanis could drop a new body of work to get us all through. She’s already dropped the first single, ‘Reasons I Drink’ which is a piano-driven confessional about being overwhelmed but not enough to give up. What I love about Alanis’ music is the way that she utilizes emotion. Her music always feels things fully, most notably, her music allows for the feeling of anger and disdain and discontent. Somehow, it’s still taboo when women put those perspectives in their music. People are still taken aback or surprised as if women don’t have a reason to ever feel that way when logically speaking, it should be spilling out of us. With artists like Alanis, it does. Which makes her music exciting. But, even when a song of hers isn’t about those emotions, they’re usually about reflection and growth and those are also exciting because she never looks at it as linear. It’s always muddied and hard but hopefully fine, fine, fine. And you know, maybe that’s what we need to be reminded about in 2020.” – Brie
RWBY Vol 7 soundtrack
“Jeff Williams and his daughter Casey Lee Williams have been absolutely hitting it out of the park with every new song they create and perform for RWBY. Volume 7 is no exception and, as difficult as it is to choose, so far might just be my favorite soundtrack yet. With more episodes still to come and sometime before the actual album release, I will just hardcore jam to the opening over and over again until the full album drop. For real, the talent they exude and the unique feel and sound for every song just elevate each moment. It is unmatched. Truly a favorite.” – Mary
Ghetto Sage Project + Individual Projects
Made up of Noname, Smino, and Saba, Ghetto Sage is continuing to prove the power of hip hop in the Midwest with the debut single, “Haagen Daez.” Announced a few months ago, the three common collaborators are making a collective album together expected to release in 2020. No expected release date or title has been announced.
“When Noname, Smino, and Saba announced they were forming Ghetto Sage and dropping a joint project, I immediately thought…oh, yes. Why or how couldn’t I? Their collabs are always amazing so of course, a whole project of the three of them is warranted. The three of them on their own have some of the strongest lyrics, charm, and charisma currently in the world of music…not even just hip hop and rap because it’s so clear how much hip hop and rap is influencing the rest of the music industry both through production and through lyricism. Along with what the three of them do on their own terms in the new year (such as Noname’s book club and gear towards spreading the word on socialism), I can’t wait for what this new project will sound like and be.” – Brie
Kid Cudi – Entergalactic
Announced earlier this year, Entergalactic is the latest Kid Cudi LP since 2016’s Passion, Pain, & Demon Slayin’. It’s also more than an LP. Entergalactic will serve not only as an album, but also an animated Netflix series executive produced, starring, and written by Kid Cudi. No date has been announced for Entergalactic’s release.
“This entire decade was Black artists redefining the music industry and music as a craft in numerous ways. And unsurprisingly, but still disappointing, not getting the credit for it. I say this entire decade, but in actuality, this is just a reminder that the music industry is still set in their ways of who is and isn’t considered ‘groundbreaking’ even when their actions are. In 2013, Beyoncé gave us her visual self-titled concept album and we immediately saw other artists taking notes. More Black artists in specific started putting out visual albums and artists, in general, were calling their records, “concept albums.” Beyoncé debuted Lemonade on HBO, Janelle Monae’s Dirty Computer was marketed as an “eMotion Picture” and aired on cable television bringing back the genuine excitement of music video premieres similar to that of Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’ while also turning their albums into literal movies. Vince Staples recently released ‘The Vince Staples Show’ which is not talked about nearly enough in the way that he utilized the web series format for his music. So it seemed logical that music would then reach what Cudi is doing with Entergalactic on Netflix. His music is cinematic already which just gives me even higher hopes for just how dope this project will be and what he’s going to do with it.” – Brie
Rihanna + R9
“I, along with many, was hoping that in 2019, we’d have a new Rihanna album. But Rihanna, ever hitting us with the power moves, said that we will end this decade relistening to the masterpiece that is ANTI again for the billionth time and we will enjoy it as if it was our first time hearing it. And you know what? Respect. Heard. Iconic. But still, I’m hopeful that in 2020 Rihanna deems us worthy of R9 because while ANTI would be a strong swan song, it was so much of Rihanna in her element that one could only believe that she has no choice but to musically go up from it. Also, we know that R9 is a thing because she literally posted about it last week as yet another power move that we can’t tell her what to do and we’re foolish to think otherwise. Which, once again, respect. Heard. Iconic.” – Brie
“Rihanna truly said that she’s sitting on her new album but she’s gonna make us suffer for it. As if we haven’t been asking and hoping for a new one for forever. I guess this is what we deserve? Anyway, her vocals are incredible and every time she comes out with a new song, it completely awes me. Her talent is indescribable. (pls don’t make us wait 87 more years for the new album thank u @ Rihanna)” – Mary
“To be honest, this list wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t include Laura. While she did release an EP earlier this year that is, of course, filled with bops, we are still waiting for a full-length album and an actual tour. Granted, she has been pretty busy the past couple of years as she focused on her acting career but it’s time to let musical!Laura shine once again (there’s a reference there; I’m brilliant). For real though, I’m really hyped for any music that she might drop as well as the possibility of a tour. Catch me front row all over again.” – Mary
“Beyoncé fed us ridiculously well in 2019. We got Homecoming the documentary, we got Homecoming: The Live Album, we got The Lion King: The Gift, we got another Dark Hair Yoncé era, we got pictures of her as Lisa Bonet for Halloween, we even got a couple of interviews. One could speculate that she’s about to go into complete hiatus in 2020 after this year. Except that A. We know she’s releasing new Ivy Park and collabing with Adidas, B. She’s been photographed with braids which is usually an indication that she’s plotting something, and C. We’ve consistently gotten new music from Beyoncé every year since Lemonade, BUT we haven’t had a solo project from Beyoncé since Lemonade which was in 2016. And 4 is Beyoncé’s lucky number. And 2020 will mark 4 years since Lemonade. Is this just me reading into things because I’m hopeful of something Beyoncé coming in 2020? Most likely. But you never know with her so you pull at loose strings when you can and if it leads you somewhere, it leads you somewhere. If not, well…don’t worry something’s still coming at some point.” – Brie
“We’re not even playing a game no more, we all know that Beyoncé is going to randomly drop something in 2020. What it is, who knows, but I know everyone will be hyped. Unless it’s another joint tour with Jay Z; Beyoncé pls don’t do that to us again.” – Mary
Tame Impala – The Slow Rush (February 14)
Bridgit Mendler if you’re reading this please also drop new music if you can thank you we miss you
Megan Thee Stallion
2020 in Books
One of Us is Next by Karen M. McManus (January 7)
A sequel to One of Us is Lying, it’s been a year since the Bayview four was cleared of the murder of Simon. Now, instead of an app posting gossip, someone has created a truth or dare game that forces the students of Bayview’s hands yet again between letting their truths spill out or taking the dare. One of Us is Next by Karen M. McManus is set to release January 7th.
“They say to never judge a book by its cover. But, I literally read One of Us is Lying because I thought the book cover was cool. And it turned out to be a pretty good book. I’m not much of a mystery reader because I have the brain of a goldfish and easily forget details and immediately make suspicions of who did what and then I just want the answer immediately instead of reading the buildup. But, One of Us is Lying kept my attention and while I did make about three guesses throughout (one of them was the right guess, not to brag. The details weren’t accurate but I guessed it right) it’s a feat that I didn’t skip directly to the end of the book to spoil myself and then return back to reading. (Yes, I’ve done this before.) My understanding of this sequel is that it’s new characters at the forefront this time which I’m a little torn on but also I get. I’m hoping maybe the OG characters get to make a cameo at least because I think their dynamic and seeing them grow to trust each other was my favorite part of the book. Hopefully, that’s here too.” – Brie
Hitting a Straight Lick With a Crooked Stick: Stories from the Harlem Renaissance by Zora Neale Hurston (January 14th)
Hitting a Straight Lick With a Crooked Stick is a collection of eight of Hurston’s “lost” Harlem stories reflecting love and migration, gender and class, racism and sexism in all the ways that Zora Neale Hurston did best. Hitting a Straight Lick With a Crooked Stick: Stories from the Harlem Renaissance by Zora Neale Hurston is set to release January 14th.
“Admittedly, I’m not the most well versed in Zora Neale Hurston, but that won’t stop me from stating that she’s one of the greatest writers in American literature. Her writing is beautiful and brilliant and shines the magnifying glass directly in reality’s face for us all to see and take in. A prominent Harlem Renaissance figure, it’s heartbreaking that she supposedly didn’t get her flowers in the mainstream until about a decade after her death. That said, it is a true testament to her writing that her words continue to carry on and connect to people, not because people are forced to study her in classes (because rarely have I seen her on a curriculum) but because her words are just that powerful. I’ve been trying to make it a goal of mines to read more of her things, up to this point, I’ve mostly just been able to engage with bits and pieces of her work, but those bits and pieces always felt like full meals. Maybe this will be a jumping-off point.” – Brie
When You Were Everything by Ashley Woodfolk (March 10)
The second book from Ashley Woodfolk, When You Were Everything is about friendship and moving on after a friendship breakup. Blending past and present, Cleo and Layla’s story is one of forgiveness, new beginnings, opening yourself to love, and adapting to change when heartbroken. When You Were Everything by Ashley Woodfolk is set to release March 10th.
“Friendship can be one of the best things in the world, it can also be so tricky and heartbreaking and hard. A book about a friendship breakup sold me right away. Everyone has gone through a friendship breakup before and I think it’s one of the hardest things to cope with because no one ever really talks about how different it can be when it happens. Friendships are one of the most impactful dynamics you can have and it can change you so much for better or worse. And when that’s gone, well, that moving on period is strange. Especially when in high school or an environment where you’re still going to see that person constantly. I’m excited about what Cleo and Layla’s joint and separate stories bring to this book and what it means to carry and end a friendship.” – Brie
All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson (April 28)
From journalist and LGBTQIA+ activist George M. Johnson, All Boys Aren’t Blue explores Johnson’s childhood, adolescence, and college years through the trials and triumphs existing as a Black queer boy. All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson is set to release April 28th.
“Just for a start, let’s give this beautiful cover some love. Because it’s so beautiful and deserves to be an art piece somewhere. I’m not sure who the artist was that made this cover, but you are a treasure if you just so happen to come upon this. I know George M. Johnson slightly in that I’ve seen some of his writing but it really was the cover and title of this book that jumped out for me when I first saw it on social media awhile back that made me decide to make a note to remember it and want to read it. And now, after having done a little more research to prepare for this post and write this blurb, I wish it was April 28th already and this book was in my hands. This being deemed as a memoir-manifesto that’s meant for queer, Black youth to see themselves and organize for their wellbeing while also being a book for those that are looking to support and protect those youth is much needed. There are bits and pieces in so many places to find these things, but when there are still cis-straight folks discussing if LGBTQIA+ folks deserve rights (while doubling down on this tenfold when they’re also Black) and making the community out to be a punchline or downgrading the struggles the community has to endure meanwhile youth of the community cannot picture a life where they get to grow up happy…clearly the bits and pieces that is already out in the world needs to be amplified more. I hope this book is able to save some lives and empower some lives and educate folks to do better. I really do. Even though I know it’s going to take more than just this book.” – Brie
Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo (May 14th)
When their father dies, Camino Rios and Yahaira Rios are forced to face a new reality when they learn more about their father’s secrets and come to terms with what this new sisterhood means while being separated by distance. Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo is set to release May 14th.
“Admittedly, I still have yet to get around to reading With the Fire on High. My plan in 2020 is to build my reading game back up. That said, when I heard about this book and read the description, I already felt my heart reach out for these two girls. From reading Elizabeth Acevedo’s first book The Poet X I know it’s going to be beautifully heartbreaking and styled. It’s different from her first book that this one has dual narratives, and to my knowledge, is not told in poetry like her first book is. Elizabeth is just such a dope person, artist, activist, writer, etc. that I’m so excited to see all the ways that she brings forth these young adult perspectives that I really wish were in books that I saw being displayed on shelves when I was a pre-teen/teen and looking for books.” – Brie
The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins (May 19)
A prequel to the critically acclaimed Hunger Games series, The Ballad of Songbird and Snakes returns readers to Panem sixty-four years before the events of the original Hunger Games series starting on the morning of the reaping of the Tenth Hunger Games. The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins is set to release May 19th.
“The world of The Hunger Games holds so much relevancy and is so intricate and interesting that honestly, Suzanne had a ton of places she could choose to go to make this new book. I think the trilogy holds up on its own without a prequel but still, when it was announced that we would be getting a prequel, I was excited for the potential and what it could say. (Sidenote: I reread the series a few months ago too just because and just…truly a work of literature lemme tell you.) For a lot of folks close to my age, reading The Hunger Games most likely in some way or another influenced your political understanding, I’m assuming. The books and movies are more radical than I think many are willing to give them credit for (even though Katniss being cast as a young Brown girl would have been *chef’s kiss* the galaxy brain that the start of this decade clearly wasn’t ready for). Many have theorized that this book will center on Mags because this was the Hunger Games she fought in. But, I do think to choose the tenth Hunger Games, aside from the fact that there’s a familiar character involved is interesting. It would have been interesting to see the very start of The Hunger Games. Or to see the world before Panem formed into what it was and the citizens were cruelly punished for rebelling. This means that there is a reason that Suzanne chose not to go that route and instead take us to the tenth. My guess is because it’s still new enough that the characters will be able to remember life before the Games while adjusting to this terrifying life with them…including at least some of those whose names are in the reaping bowl although they would have been very young. We shall see.” – Brie
The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna (May 26th)
The debut novel from screenwriter Namina Forna, The Gilded Ones is the first of a trilogy that tells the story of Deka, a “near-immortal” 16-year-old girl with “exceptional gifts” that lives in a world where girls bleed gold to determine whether or not she is fit to become members of Otera’s society. That is until she has the option of joining her fellow alaki in their fight of the Emperor or succumb. The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna is set to release May 26th.
“So, first of all, can we talk about this book cover? I love this book cover so much. This beautiful book cover is why I went, ‘Hmm…let’s see what this book is about’ and then got excited and decided I wanted to read it so I added it to this list. What excites me about this book is the world-building I’m imagining has to take place. Also, I’ve decided immediately to just take Deka in as my own. I know she’s a fighter, and most likely a much better fighter than I am, but I’ll fight for her regardless. The concept is also fascinating. Namina mentioned in her interview with Refinery29 that the concept for the girls to bleed gold represents the way that we are objectified–seen more as a thing or an object than a person. Taking that concept and turning it into this story not only of survival but of empowerment and worth where we get to see teen girls being the heroes…let’s be real, that’s actually what we’re seeing in real life, right now. So of course, it should continue being reflected in books and in books that center Black girls and put them on the cover so that you Know when you’re enjoying and rooting for this character, you’re enjoying and rooting for a Black girl.” – Brie
Now That I’ve Found You by Kristina Forest (June 2nd)
The second book from Kristina Forest, Now That I’ve Found You, is a rom-com about budding-turned-disgraced young actress Evie who enlists the help of Milo, a musician working as a delivery worker, to help her find her missing grandma in New York City. Now That I’ve Found You by Kristina Forest is set to release June 2nd.
“I Wanna Be Where You Are was such a joy to read earlier this year and I’m really glad/honored that I got to interview Kristina Forest about the book and getting to write a coming of age story centered on Black teens that we see every day in our lives and yet, are rarely reflected in coming-of-age stories. Also, romcoms are cute as hell and I love them. I’m excited to meet Evie and Milo in Now That I’ve Found You and learn more about them and see how their story forms because if I Wanna Be Where You Are is any indication, it’s going to be cute and adorable. Even more so, I love Kristina’s ability to not focus just on the romantic relationships of the characters but also allow them to be full people. In this case, it’s Evie searching for her missing grandma while feeling the pressure of her world as an actress tumbling down and for Milo, I’m assuming it’s the fact that he doesn’t get to pursue his music as his main focus the way he’d like to. Anyway, here’s to more books about Black youth getting to have these kinds of adventures and joy and conflicts!” – Brie
Cinderella is Dead by Kalynn Bayron (July 7th)
In a retelling of Cinderella, it’s been 200 years since Cinderella married her prince. Now, teen girls are required to attend an annual ball where men decide who they will marry based on looks. Sixteen-year-old Sophia would rather marry her childhood best friend Erin and on the day of the ball, she chooses to flee knowing the risks involved. With no other options, she teams up with the descendants of Cinderella to overthrow the kingdom and break down the construct. Cinderella is Dead by Kalynn Bayron is set to release July 7th.
“2020 is really going all out with these covers and I love it. It’s so wild to me to think about how it’s becoming more common for Black youth to be on the cover of young adult books. I’m taking it all in because I’m really not sure if younger!Me was fully aware that while she read quite a few middle school books about Black youth when she got to young adult fiction, it’d be centered on mostly white or assumed white characters until finally, it wasn’t. (Well, there’s still work to do but hopefully, you know what I mean.) I’m also excited about this being a Cinderella retelling. The last Cinderella retelling to pull me in was Cinder by Marissa Meyer (and subsequently the Lunar Chronicles series). This one is totally different though and what I really love about reading the synopsis for this one is A. Girls destroying awful systems and B. the way Kalynn Bayron is defining agency and autonomy and the lack of it in this world because it’s not all that different from the way it is in our world. I think a lot of poignant points can be made in this book and I’m really excited to read it.” – Brie
2020 in Broadway
The Music Man
Hugh Jackman returns to the stage as con man Harold Hill, who poses as a boys’ band organizer and leader and sells band instruments and uniforms to naïve Midwestern townsfolk, promising to train the members of the new band. The Music Man begins performances September 9th at The Winter Garden Theatre.
“Yeah, we won but at what cost? Noted as one of the reasons that Beetlejuice might be leaving Broadway – not because of ticket sales, definitely not – The Music Man will feature the incredibly talented and wonderful Sutton Foster back on Broadway. She is an absolute star and scene-stealer and I cannot wait to have her back on home turf. That being said, I wish all of this didn’t come at the cost of losing Beetlejuice.
Regardless of all of that, I’m excited to see how Sutton plays off of Hugh Jackman. They’re both pretty perfect for their roles but to see them bring it along on stage is going to be something else. Excuse me while I grab my last $3.81 and slide it over to the Gods that be so I can see this show somehow.” – Mary
The six wives of Henry VIII take the mic to reclaim their identities out of the shadow of their infamous spouse—remixing five hundred years of historical heartbreak into an exuberant celebration of 21st-century girl power. SIX begins it’s Broadway run February 13th at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre and returns to Chicago July 8th-October 25th at the Broadway Playhouse.
“I didn’t get to see SIX when it did it’s preview run in Chicago earlier this year. (Funny story: I didn’t see it because I literally got the date it was closing wrong and went to buy a ticket like a week after it closed!!! Can you believe this!!!!) BUT this show popped up on my radar because my theater friends who have seen the show are obsessed with it and have so many high praises for it so I’m hoping it’s welcomed with warm arms when it finds itself a home on Broadway. (And I’ll be sure to get a ticket when it also returns home to Chicago in 2020 because now I know the dates!!! I’m unstoppable now, baybeee!!!!)” – Brie
“Hamilton walked so SIX could run.
Okay, that’s basically a joke because you can’t really compare the two but guys. SIX is about the six wives of Henry VIII as they sing their sides of the story. Done in the sense of a pop concert, the women share their story, seeing who had suffered the most so that they could be the lead singer. It’s fun and witty and the women are incredible. Their talent and stage presence are captivating. It’s a clever and unique musical that I can’t help but adore. It’s so so so good.” – Mary
West Side Story Revival
2020 in Video Games
Cyberpunk 2077 (April 16)
“Like many other things that have made these lists, I’m not too sure what this is about. All I can recall is Keanu Reeves.
Just kidding (sort of). From the same people who created The Witcher games, Cyberpunk 2077 is a role-playing action/adventure story game. Which also involves Keanu Reeves at one point. Though it is adapted from the Cyberpunk franchise, I know nothing of that either.
But seriously. Keanu Reeves. In a game. Yes.” – Mary
Marvel’s Avengers (May 15)
A third-person action-adventure that takes place after the Avengers are framed for the destruction of San Francisco. Banished into hiding, a young super fan works hard to bring the heroes together again. Marvel’s Avengers is set to release May 15th.
“There’s so much to anticipate from this game and I cannot wait. Playing as your favorite heroes AND Kamala Khan? Gimme gimme gimme. You can upgrade your gear the further you play and you can even work with other players around the world in the multiplayer mode.
Seriously, I am hyped for all of this but I’m also hoping this means that I can find out Captain America isn’t actually dead or I can *Cher voice* turn back tiiiiime, find a way…” – Mary
Halo Infinite (Fall/Winter)
The latest in the Halo game franchise, Halo Infinite will return to the franchise’s beloved roots with Spartan John-117 stepping back into the role of the protagonist. Halo Infinite is expected to drop Fall/Winter of 2020.
“How could I talk about games and not include this one?! It’s been years since I’ve actually played Halo (aside from one night a few months ago) but this franchise will always be one of my favorites. I spent so much time over the course of years playing the multiplayer mode for Halo 3 and mainly getting my butt kicked, but it was fun.
That being said, this new game will most likely be introducing more new maps, updating game modes and weapons, and ahhh, giving up the glorious multiplayer split-screen that so many games *ahem on Playstation 4* decide to do away with.
Also, class, let’s all welcome back Master Chief. All is right again.” – Mary
Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga
“I have never played a LEGO game, let alone a LEGO Star Wars game. They all seem like ridiculous fun but I just never got the chance to. With the new game coming out, compiling all nine films and using photorealistic backgrounds, LEGO is giving a fresh face to its beloved gaming franchise. While not much is known about the game yet, excitement is already building. The teaser trailer alone has me ready to pre-order. Guaranteed to be a lot of fun, I can’t wait to see how it all plays out and what gamers can actually expect when gameplay footage is released. It’s only a matter of time.” – Mary
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