Books | February 1, 2021

2020: The Year in Books for Young Adults


Out of the many things 2020 kept closed, books were not one of them.

In a year where confinement and social distancing made most of our worlds smaller, books were the antidote for over 2.5 million young adults using our Worldreader app.

Reaching millions with Opera.

74% of our readers in 2020 accessed our library via the Opera Mini browser. Since 2015, Opera has featured Worldreader’s library as a bookmark on the Opera Mini browser, giving millions more readers access to a digital library at their fingertips. 

In 2020, young adults spent 2.6 million hours reading. That’s 296 years of reading.

Here’s to our readers, and the fantastic books that brought them escape, comfort, and inspiration over the last year.

The top 10 most read books

The Ghetto Girl
Ruby and the Magic Stones
Happiness at Last
The Girl with the Magic Hands
Friends Till the End
Passionfruit Island: Friends and Family
Was Nyakeeru My Father
Princess of Goble
The Step Monster
Lying for Love

The top 5 most popular categories

Fiction and Fantasy
Quick reads
Soap Opera Series

The featured collection: women in sports

Worldreader’s collections are designed to go deeper on important topics. In 2020, one of the most popular collections was Women in Sports: 25 books aimed to deconstruct gender stereotypes, emphasize the benefits of physical activity, and inspire young women and girls around the world to participate in sport.  Learn more.

The top 5 most inspiring books

How Stupidity Saved My Life
Doctor in a Mirror
Because of You
Against the Odds

The top 5 fiction and fantasy books

Ruby and the Magic Stones
The Girl with the Magic Hands
The Cruel Prince 
The Ghetto Girl
Was Nyakeeru My Father

The top 5 quick reads

A Heart Divided 1: Love at First Sight?
The Anonymous Letter
Living, Loving, and Lying Awake at Night
The Good, the Bad, the Ugly
Jaiye Jaiye: Chapter One

The book series that kept young adults coming back for more

D-Siders is a fictional series set in South Africa, developed originally as a daily SMS-based series by Every1Mobile – the first of its kind in the African continent. Packed with romance, intrigue, and fun, it also touches upon the dilemmas that young adults face in life. On the Worldreader app, you can read a new episode of this exhilarating drama every week.

The author spotlight: Ruby Yaya Goka

Ruby Yayra Goka is a Ghanaian author. Her book, The Step Monster was among our top 10 most read books of 2020. 

Ruby has always loved stories and storytelling. She believes that the more African children see themselves reflected in the pages of books they read, the more they will dream and know they can be anything they want to be.

Her books for young adults, The Lost Royal Treasure, When The Shackles Fall, Perfectly Imperfect, Plain Yellow, The Step-monster, and To Kiss a Girl,  have all won awards in the Burt Award for African Literature competition from the year 2011 to the year 2018.

In 2019, Ruby’s book Whatever it Takes was chosen to be part of our Inspire Us collection. The collection was created as part of our Inspire Us project, which leverages mobile technology to bring empowering stories to girls and women across Ghana and West Africa.

How we measure our top books 

We determiner the top books by looking at our whole library of books in the Worldreader app and ranking them based on the number of times a book has been opened by readers. When it comes to the top books in a certain category (e.g. inspiring, fiction and fantasy, and quick reads), we look at the top books opened for that category.

How do we measure a reader? 

On our platform, we measure a reader as a user who has displayed reading activity by moving through at least one page of text at a legitimate speed for reading. This speed is based on an algorithm that differentiates reading, browsing and idling behavior.

How do we measure top categories? 

To determine the top categories we look at the combined number of times each of the books within a given category have been opened, and we rank the categories accordingly.

Check out our library on your mobile phone

You can access these books and thousands more on our Worldreader app by scanning the QR code below. NOTE: these books can only be accessed on your mobile phone. Some of them may not be available in your country. Apologies for any inconvenience this may cause.