Top 10 Most Anticipated YA Book Releases of 2021

December 28, 2020

It's nearly 2021, and with the new year comes new book releases! I've already compiled a list of 10 of the most anticipated books of 2021 here, but if you're a fan of YA in particular, make sure you add the books below to your reading list for the new year. 


One of the Good Ones - Maika Moulite and Maritza Moulite



"When teen social activist and history buff Kezi Smith is killed under mysterious circumstances after attending a social justice rally, her devastated sister Happi and their family are left reeling in the aftermath. As Kezi becomes another immortalized victim in the fight against police brutality, Happi begins to question the idealized way her sister is remembered. Perfect. Angelic.

One of the good ones.

Even as the phrase rings wrong in her mind—why are only certain people deemed worthy to be missed?—Happi and her sister Genny embark on a journey to honor Kezi in their own way, using an heirloom copy of The Negro Motorist Green Book as their guide. But there's a twist to Kezi's story that no one could've ever expected—one that will change everything all over again."


I'm always a big fan of any mystery/crime novels, but ones that explore deeper themes such as racial injustice are particularly powerful. 


An Emotion of Great Delight - Tahereh Mafi 





"It’s 2003, several months since the US officially declared war on Iraq, and the American political world has evolved. Tensions are high, hate crimes are on the rise, FBI agents are infiltrating local mosques, and the Muslim community is harassed and targeted more than ever. Shadi, who wears hijab, keeps her head down.

She's too busy drowning in her own troubles to find the time to deal with bigots.

Shadi is named for joy, but she’s haunted by sorrow. Her brother is dead, her father is dying, her mother is falling apart, and her best friend has mysteriously dropped out of her life. And then, of course, there’s the small matter of her hear—

It’s broken.

Shadi tries to navigate her crumbling world by soldiering through, saying nothing. She devours her own pain, each day retreating farther and farther inside herself until finally, one day, everything changes.

She explodes.

An Emotion of Great Delight is a searing look into the world of a single Muslim family in the wake of 9/11. It’s about a child of immigrants forging a blurry identity, falling in love, and finding hope—in the midst of a modern war."


After how popular Mafi's A Very Large Expanse of Sea was when it came out in 2018, I'm sure many readers are excited for her new contemporary novel. 


Tokyo Ever After - Emiko Jean 




"Izumi Tanaka has never really felt like she fit in—it isn’t easy being Japanese American in her small, mostly white, northern California town. Raised by a single mother, it’s always been Izumi—or Izzy, because “It’s easier this way”—and her mom against the world. But then Izzy discovers a clue to her previously unknown father’s identity…and he’s none other than the Crown Prince of Japan. Which means outspoken, irreverent Izzy is literally a princess.

In a whirlwind, Izzy travels to Japan to meet the father she never knew and discover the country she always dreamed of. But being a princess isn’t all ball gowns and tiaras. There are conniving cousins, a hungry press, a scowling but handsome bodyguard who just might be her soulmate, and thousands of years of tradition and customs to learn practically overnight.

Izzy soon finds herself caught between worlds, and between versions of herself—back home, she was never “American” enough, and in Japan, she must prove she’s “Japanese” enough. Will Izumi crumble under the weight of the crown, or will she live out her fairytale, happily ever after?"


I've seen this described as Crazy Rich Asians meets The Princess Diaries which sounds...amazing. 


You Have a Match - Emma Abbott



"When Abby signs up for a DNA service, it’s mainly to give her friend and secret love interest, Leo, a nudge. After all, she knows who she is already: Avid photographer. Injury-prone tree climber. Best friend to Leo and Connie…although ever since the B.E.I. (Big Embarrassing Incident) with Leo, things have been awkward on that front.


But she didn’t know she’s a younger sister.

When the DNA service reveals Abby has a secret sister, shimmery-haired Instagram star Savannah Tully, it’s hard to believe they’re from the same planet, never mind the same parents—especially considering Savannah, queen of green smoothies, is only a year and a half older than Abby herself.

The logical course of action? Meet up at summer camp (obviously) and figure out why Abby’s parents gave Savvy up for adoption. But there are complications: Savvy is a rigid rule-follower and total narc. Leo is the camp’s co-chef, putting Abby's growing feelings for him on blast. And her parents have a secret that threatens to unravel everything.

But part of life is showing up, leaning in, and learning to fit all your awkward pieces together. Because sometimes, the hardest things can also be the best ones."

A perfect read for YA romance fans, from the author of Tweet Cute



The Infinity Courts - Akemi Dawn Bowman



"Eighteen-year-old Nami Miyamoto is certain her life is just beginning. She has a great family, just graduated high school, and is on her way to a party where her entire class is waiting for her—including, most importantly, the boy she’s been in love with for years.

The only problem? She’s murdered before she gets there.

When Nami wakes up, she learns she’s in a place called Infinity, where human consciousness goes when physical bodies die. She quickly discovers that Ophelia, a virtual assistant widely used by humans on Earth, has taken over the afterlife and is now posing as a queen, forcing humans into servitude the way she’d been forced to serve in the real world. Even worse, Ophelia is inching closer and closer to accomplishing her grand plans of eradicating human existence once and for all.

As Nami works with a team of rebels to bring down Ophelia and save the humans under her imprisonment, she is forced to reckon with her past, her future, and what it is that truly makes us human."


If you're a fan of YA (which is pretty much a given if you're still reading this) and a fan of sci-fi too, then this book sounds like one for your list!


The Ones We're Meant to Find - Joan He 





"Cee awoke on an abandoned island three years ago. With no idea of how she was marooned, she only has a rickety house, an old android, and a single memory: she has a sister, and Cee needs to find her.

STEM prodigy Kasey wants escape from the science and home she once trusted. The eco-city—Earth's last unpolluted place—is meant to be sanctuary for those commited to planetary protection, but it’s populated by people willing to do anything for refuge, even lie. Now, she'll have to decide if she’s ready to use science to help humanity, even though it failed the people who mattered most."

Another one for sci-fi fans. 


Fire with Fire - Destiny Soria




"Dani and Eden Rivera were both born to kill dragons, but the sisters couldn’t be more different. For Dani, dragon slaying takes a back seat to normal high school life, while Eden prioritizes training above everything else. Yet they both agree on one thing: it’s kill or be killed where dragons are concerned.

Until Dani comes face-to-face with one and forges a rare and magical bond with him. As she gets to know Nox, she realizes that everything she thought she knew about dragons is wrong. With Dani lost to the dragons, Eden turns to the mysterious and alluring sorcerers to help save her sister. Now on opposite sides of the conflict, the sisters will do whatever it takes to save the other. But the two are playing with magic that is more dangerous than they know, and there is another, more powerful enemy waiting for them both in the shadows."


One for the YA fantasy fans!


A Vow so Bold and Deadly - Brigid Kemmerer 



"Emberfall is crumbling fast, torn between those who believe Rhen is the rightful prince and those who are eager to begin a new era under Grey, the true heir. Grey has agreed to wait two months before attacking Emberfall, and in that time, Rhen has turned away from everyone—even Harper, as she desperately tries to help him find a path to peace.

Fight the battle, save the kingdom.
Meanwhile, Lia Mara struggles to rule Syhl Shallow with a gentler hand than her mother. But after enjoying decades of peace once magic was driven out of their lands, some of her subjects are angry Lia Mara has an enchanted prince and magical scraver by her side. As Grey's deadline draws nearer, Lia Mara questions if she can be the queen her country needs.

As two kingdoms come closer to conflict, loyalties are tested, love is threatened, and an old enemy resurfaces who could destroy them all, in this stunning conclusion to bestselling author Brigid Kemmerer’s Cursebreaker series."


If you've been following Kemmerer's Cursebreakers series then no doubt you are looking forward to the conclusion of the trilogy next year. 


The Project - Courtney Summers



"Lo Denham is used to being on her own. After her parents died, Lo's sister, Bea, joined The Unity Project, leaving Lo in the care of their great aunt. Thanks to its extensive charitable work and community outreach, The Unity Project has won the hearts and minds of most in the Upstate New York region, but Lo knows there's more to the group than meets the eye. She's spent the last six years of her life trying—and failing—to prove it.


When a man shows up at the magazine Lo works for claiming The Unity Project killed his son, Lo sees the perfect opportunity to expose the group and reunite with Bea once and for all. When her investigation puts her in the direct path of its leader, Lev Warren and as Lo delves deeper into The Project, the lives of its members it upends everything she thought she knew about her sister, herself, cults, and the world around her—to the point she can no longer tell what's real or true. Lo never thought she could afford to believe in Lev Warren . . . but now she doesn't know if she can afford not to."


I still haven't read Sadie, something which I kick myself for everytime I'm reminded of it - but if you're a fan of thrillers or have read and enjoyed Summers' other books, definitely add this one to your list. 



The Box in the Woods - Maureen Johnson 




"Stevie Bell did it. She solved the greatest unsolved mystery of the century. So, what now?

Figuring it all out—the truth behind Truly Devious and what exactly happened in the Ellingham Affair—has granted Stevie Bell a bit of celebrity in the true crime community. So she’s not surprised when she gets an email from the man who owns Camp Bounty Lake (now called Camp Wonder Falls), the site of the infamous “Box in the Woods” murders from the 1970s.

Weird things are happening at the camp again, although nothing as sinister as before. No murders, no bodies posed by the mysterious figure they called The Doll Collector. But there is a threatening message chalked across a wall. And a box has appeared, with three grisly dolls inside it.

Stevie accepts a job as a camp counselor so she can figure out what’s going on. She recruits her friends from Ellingham—Nate, Janelle, and Vi—to become counselors, too, and even Germaine Batt turns up. Not long after they arrive, the owner of the camp dies in a suspicious hiking accident.

Once again, Stevie will have to solve a cold case from the past before a killer catches up with her in the present."


If you're a fan of YA mysteries, and have not yet got round to the Truly Devious series - you definitely need to add it to your list, as the fourth instalment is set to release in June next year!


Those are 10 of the most anticipated YA book releases for 2021 - will you be adding any to your TBR?
 

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