Top Ten 2021 YA Releases

Hi, guys! It has been a great year for book releases despite everything that’s happened in 2020. From Written in Starlight by Isabel Ibañez to Burn Our Bodies Down by Rory Power, there have been so many incredibly powerful—and wonderful!—YA books published this year. But with 2020 winding down, I wanted to talk about upcoming 2021 releases. There are so many that I absolutely cannot wait to read!

So, without further do, here are my most anticipated 2021 YA book releases:

  1. The Ones We’re Meant to Find by Joan He
    Expected May 4th, 2021

    Cee has been living on an abandoned island for three years with one singular memory of her sister. Everything else is gone. She has no memory of how she got there or who she was before. Her only goal: find her sister. Her sister, Kasey, lives in an “eco-city” dedicated to protecting Earth. But Kasey has to decide if she’s ready to help humanity with a science that has failed to protect vulnerable people before.

    It’s been described as WE WERE LIARS x LOST. What first got me into it was the GORGEOUS cover. I mean, have you seen it? Who could resist picking it up after seeing that artwork? (The ocean!!!) Plus, I love heart-wrenching stories and I have a feeling The Ones We’re Meant to Find is going to be one of them.
  2. Lore by Alexandra Bracken
    Expected January 5th, 2021

    Lore Perseous fled New York City after the murder of her family. But the next Agon—an event in which nine Greek gods are hunted as they live on Earth as mortals—is dawning and Lore finds herself making a deal with a wounded Athena. Together, they may bring down the man—now a god—who murdered Lore’s family. But their alliance comes at a cost and even they may not be able to stop him.

    Lore sings to my classical studies heart. I can’t wait to see how Bracken writes Greek mythology into a contemporary setting. New York City? Yes, please. Athena? You know it. This gives me mythical Hunger Games vibes that I’m totally excited to read.
  3. Written in Starlight by Isabel Ibañez
    Expected January 26th, 2021

    Written in Starlight is the companion novel to Ibañez’s debut Woven in Moonlight. Catalina has been banished to the Yanu Jungle after losing her throne. Fighting to survive, she makes an ally in Manuel, her former general’s son, with hopes they can make it if they work together. Catalina must battle corruption and grapple with her own calling if she wants to save the jungle.

    Ibañez has a beautiful, lush way of pulling a story together that is unparalleled. Woven in Moonlight was undoubtedly one of the best releases of 2020, so I cannot wait to read this companion. I have no doubt that it is going to be just as breathtaking and phenomenal.
  4. You Have a Match by Emma Lord
    Expected January 12th, 2021

    When Abby discovers she has an older sister through a DNA service, she does the most logical thing possible: she meets up with Savvy at summer camp. Only, things aren’t so simple. Abby’s crush, Leo, is the co-chef of the camp, her parents are hiding a secret, and Savvy is totally different from Abby. Abby’s going to have to learn how to balance all the awkward pieces of life if she wants to make it through this summer.

    Coming from the author of Tweet Cute is a woodsy, summer romance. And I’m always a sucker for YA that explores family dynamics—Parent Trap vibes, anyone?
  5. Amelia Unabridged by Ashely Schumacher
    Expected February 16th, 2021

    Amelia and Jenna have always loved the Orman Chronicles written by the young author N. E. Endsley. They’ve also been best friends for years. So when Jenna gets the chance to meet N. E. Endsley and Amelia doesn’t, a fight ensues. Before Amelia can make it right, Jenna is killed in a car accident. Amelia gets lost in her grief. But when a special edition of the Orman Chronicles shows up on her doorstep, she tracks it down to an obscure bookstore, convinced that it’s from Jenna. Only she comes face-to-face with N. E. Endsley instead.

    There’s nothing I love more than stories that tackle grief. It’s such a hard topic, but so important especially in YA. Add in some characters who love reading (and one who is a writer!) and voilà—a perfect recipe for a book. This is also another one that first caught my eye because of the beautiful cover. (The whales! The plants! The books! My heart can’t take it.)
  6. Indestructible Object by Mary McCoy
    Expected June 15th, 2021

    Lee has spent the last two years of her life focused on her job as a sound tech and the podcast she runs with her boyfriend. Then, right after graduation, everything goes wrong. Her boyfriend breaks up with her on the air. She loses her job. And her parents are getting divorced. So Lee teams up with her friends Max and Risa to produce a new podcast that investigates the existence of love. But when Lee starts to fall in love with Risa, she realizes she’s going to have to stop holding love at a distance if she wants a happy ending.

    I think we all have questioned the existence of (romantic) love once or twice. Sadie by Courtney Summers was the first book I read featuring a podcast and while the premise of Sadie is wildly different from that of Indestructible Object, it made me interested in reading any other books featuring podcasts as well. So here we are.
  7. Some Girls Do Jennifer Dugan
    Expected May 18th, 2021

    Morgan transfers schools during her senior year after coming out as queer. It’s at her new school that she meets Ruby, a local beauty queen with a knack for fixing up her 1970 Ford Torino. Morgan and Ruby soon find themselves inseparable and feelings bloom. But while Morgan is out, Ruby is not—can the pair figure out how to live their truths together?

    A queer girl who is a track star! A bisexual girl who fixes cars! And both of them falling in love. I think Some Girls Do might just end up being the highlight of 2021. The theme of coming out has been something discussed in real life and literature alike, but it’s reality for so many people. It’s not just a discussion on a page. I’m interested in seeing how the representation in this shapes up.
  8. The Sea is Salt and So Am I by Cassandra Hartt
    Expected June 8th, 2021

    Harlow Prout wants to save her town from falling into the sea, but she can’t find anyone willing to help her. Her best friend Ellis runs away from his problems instead of fixing them, including his relationship with his twin brother Tommy. And Tommy is struggling with depression. But when Tommy returns from a swim, everything changes between the trio. Harlow, Ellis, and Tommy all must learn what it means to love and trust both themselves and others.

    As someone currently writing a YA manuscript with a focus on mental health (and as a person who has struggled with depression herself), this speaks to my heart. I’m also interested in the dynamic of this trio of friends.
  9. Small Favors by Erin A. Craig
    Expected July 27th, 2021

    Ellerie Downing lives in Amity Falls, a small town in the valley of a mountain range surrounded by the woods. Outsiders are rare and some say that the early residents had to fight off monsters that lived in the woods. So when a supply party vanishes in those very woods, fear of the monsters returning reignites. Except who could resist a creature that promises to make your deepest wishes come true in exchange for a small favor? Ellerie finds herself in a race against the clock to save everything, and everyone, that she loves.

    This is another one that appeals to my classical studies heart. I love the aesthetic of it from the premise to the cover. While not exactly based on mythology, the idea of creatures living in the woods that only ask for “small favors” in exchange for making your wildest wishes come true is intriguing.
  10. Like Home by Louisa Onomé
    Expected February 23rd, 2021

    Nelo has Kate, her best friend, and her neighborhood Ginger East. She doesn’t need anything else. Even though the rest of her friends moved away after a deadly incident in their neighborhood, she’s perfectly fine. That is, until Kate’s parents’ store is vandalized. The incident blows up on a national level and soon Nelo and Kate find Ginger East under nationwide attention. Even more, Nelo can’t figure out why Kate is pushing her away right when everything starts to fall apart. Nelo has to do something quick before the life she loves turns into one she doesn’t recognize.

    Best friends that need to reconcile their friendship? Check. A neighborhood set in Toronto? Check. A plot described as ON MY BLOCK x IN THE HEIGHTS? Check. What more does one need in a YA book? Like Home is one I can’t wait to read in February.

It was hard to narrow it down to only ten given how many wonderful books are slated for release next year. This list was definitely based off of my personal taste, so let me know which books you’re most excited for or if any of yours are on this list!

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