Goodbye 2020 and hello 2021! 2021 promises to deliver hundreds of exciting new YA books. The Bookstacked Team has come together to offer you our extended list of the most anticipated YA books of 2021.
Here is what we plan on reading this year!
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Concrete Rose (January 12) by Angie Thomas
Bookstacked: This book needs very little introduction. The highly anticipated prequel to The Hate U Give releases on January 12th. Look for a special episode of Bookmarked in the weeks ahead where we plan to discuss all of our thoughts and reactions to Angie Thomas’ latest book. There’s no question this is one of the most anticipated YA books of 2021.
Winterkeep (January 19) by Kristin Cashore
Mary Dempsey: The story takes place four years after Bitterblue and we find ourselves inside a strange new land, a kidnapping of a beloved character, and an new intriguing new heroine. I’ve been a fan of the Graceling Realm Series for years. Since Graceling was part of my introduction to YA, I was so excited when it was announced that the series would continue with Winterkeep. I’m excited to dive back into Kristin’s rich world with the characters I adore.
The Gilded Ones (February 9) by Namina Forna
Bookstacked: On the day of her blood ceremony, Deka’s blood runs gold instead of red– the color of impurity. This forces Deka to leave her village behind and pursue a new life fighting for the emperor in the capital. This book was delayed in 2020 and readers have been waiting a long time to get their hands on it and see where the adventure leads.
The Mask Falling (January 26) by Samantha Shannon
Eleanor Maher: The eagerly-anticipated fourth novel in Samantha Shannon’s bestselling Bone Season series is here at last! It is time for readers to watch Paige and Warden navigate the world of Scion Paris and discover the secret machinations working against Scion to ensure the survival of unnaturals. I have loved this series since page one of The Bone Season, so entering into 2021 meant the much-needed good news of another story in this, one of my favourite worlds.
Fat Chance, Charlie Vega (February 16) by Crystal Maldonado
Bookstacked: The coming-of-age story about “a Fat brown girl in a white Connecticut suburb”. The book is funny and heart-wrenching as it explores our relationships to our bodies, parents, cultures and ourselves.
Like Home (February 23) by Louisa Onome
Spencer Miller: The story is about a girl named Chinelo whose community and neighbourhood end up in turmoil after an act of vandalism at her best friend’s parents store. New debuts often have comparisons in their book descriptions and when I saw “Like Home” was being recommended for fans of Elizabeth Acevedo and Angie Thomas, it immediately caught my interest. 2021 is the year for supporting new authors!
Sweet & Bitter Magic (March 9) by Adrienne Tooley
Kevin Jusino: In this debut, a witch cursed to never love meets a girl hiding her own dangerous magic and the two strike a dangerous bargain to save their queendom. I’m super excited to read this book since, according to the synopsis, it’s a gay enemies-to-lovers — and who doesn’t love that? It’s also been a while since I’ve picked up a witch fantasy novel, so I’m excited to dive back in.
The Cost of Knowing (March 11) by Brittney Morris
Saul Marquez: How would your world change if you could touch a person and see into their future? That’s the central question of Brittney Morris’s upcoming novel. Alex Rufus can see into the future of anything he touches — objects and people. And when he taps into the future of his brother’s impending death, “everything changes,” as the official synopsis says. Morris is fast-becoming a staple in YA, so I’m excited to see her take on this mysterious superpower, which looks like will tie into important questions of today, including what it means to be Black in America. There’s a reason why this is one of our most anticipated YA books of 2021.
Firekeeper’s Daughter (March 16) by Angeline Boulley
Bookstacked: Daunis Fontaine is an Eighteen-year-old, biracial, unenrolled tribal member and misfit who reluctantly goes undercover to try and unravel a drug scandal using her knowledge of chemistry and Ojibwe traditional medicine. Along the way she discovers even more secrets and scars and works to root out the corruption in her community. This debut from Angeline Boulley is already being called “thrilling” and “groundbreaking”.
Blessed Monsters (April 6) by Emily A. Duncan
Brigitte Herron: The conclusion to Duncan’s ‘Something Dark and Holy’ trilogy brings the gang back together in order to defeat the evil they unleashed one last time. I’ve been a fan of the series since it came out because of the relationship dynamic and I can’t wait to see where Duncan takes it. I certainly hope it lives up to the last book!
Dustborn (April 20) by Erin Bowman
Michael Burns: This post-apocalytpic western sees a girl set out to rescue her family from a ruthless dictator rising to power. Erin Bowman is one of my all-time favourite YA writers, and continues to impress in whatever genre she writes in–be it her debut dystopian trilogy, her phenomenal western duology, or her recent dive into sci-fi. I’ve been hearing little bits and pieces about this book for years, and I can’t wait to fall back into the comforts of a favourite author.
When You Get the Chance (May 4) by Tom Ryan and Robin Stevenson
Spencer Miller: Two cousins and best friends make the trip to Pride in Toronto and discover some family secrets and new friendships along the way. After being delayed in 2020, I am so excited for this book to finally release in 2021! It’s no secret that I love a road trip story and as a bonus this one take place in Canada!
May the Best Man Win (May 18) by Z.R. Ellor
Bookstacked: We read the blurb for this book and knew it had to be included on the list. It has one of the most fun sounding premises (perfect for a TV adaptation!). From the publisher: “A trans boy enters a throw-down battle for the title of Homecoming King with the boy he dumped last summer in ZR Ellor’s contemporary YA debut.”
Tokyo Ever After (May 25) by Emiko Jean
Bookstacked: This story is about Izumi, a Japanese-American girl who discovers that she’s really a princess of Japan during her senior year of high school. Its being described as “Crazy Rich Asians meets The Princess Diaries“– an irresistible combination!
XOXO (July 13) by Axie Oh
Kristy Mauna: After experiencing one unforgettable night with a mysterious stranger, Jenny never expects to see the handsome boy ever again. Until she arrives in South Korea and is shocked to see that he is enrolled in the same elite arts academy that she is. Jenny quickly finds out that the person she had an adventure with is a member of one of the biggest K-pop bands in the world! I’m so excited for Axie Oh’s new book because I not only love K-pop, but I have heavily relied on feel-good contemporaries to keep my spirits up. I can’t wait to smile while reading all the sweet moments in this book!
What are your most anticipated YA books of 2021? Let us know in the comments below!
Compiled by Spencer Miller