The Best YA Books of 2021 (so far)

Some of our favorites from this year (so far).


Authors have not disappointed so far in 2021. We’re taking a look at the best YA books of 2021 so far.

We’ve already had a handful of major releases, not mention some stunning debuts, and the return of some fan-favorite authors. How many of these books have you read — and which are still waiting on your TBR?

Here are the best YA books of 2021 so far, as selected by Bookstacked’s reviews team.

Best YA Books of 2021

Concrete Rose by Angie Thomas

‘Concrete Rose’ by Angie Thomas (Balzer + Bray)

As our first YA book club pick, Angie Thomas’ Concrete Rose become an instant favorite here at Bookstacked. The story of Maverick Carter, the future father of Starr Carter of The Hate U Give, is humorous, emotional and real.

“If it wasn’t clear enough before, it should be obvious to everyone now: Angie Thomas is a very good writer,” Bookstacked writer Michael Burns said in his review of the book. Book Reviews editor Eleanor Maher added, “It is packed full of unique, well-rounded characters, and a storyline that will keep you hooked from beginning to end.”

Read the review. Listen to the book club

The Wide Starlight by Nicole Lesperance

‘The Wide Starlight’ by Nicole Lesperance (Razorbill)

Nicole Lesperance’s captivating contemporary fantasy doesn’t only pack a punch with a beautiful cover, but spins an incredible story that explores the depths of tragic loss and acceptance.

“Each character is vivid and enchanting, pushing the novel’s fantastical feel a notch further,” said Bookstacked writer Kevin Jusino. “Its themes of loss, love and life are so fully realized they’re simultaneously inspiring and heartbreaking.”

Read the review.

Nubia: Real One by L.L. McKinney (Illustrated by Robyn Smith)

‘Nubia: Real One’ by L.L. McKinney and Robyn Smith (DC Comics)

This graphic novel about Wonder Woman’s sister, Nubia, landed on our radar because of the striking artwork as well as the story’s brutal honesty when it comes to tackling topics of racism, police brutality, sexual assault and gun violence.

Bookstacked writer Kristy Mauna said, “This is a bold story that is both emotional and action-packed with stunning art that helps it flow.”

Read the review. Read our interview with L.L. McKinney and Robyn Smith

The Prison Healer by Lynette Noni

Cover for Lynette Noni's The Prison Healer
‘The Prison Healer’ by Lynette Noni (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

Lynette Noni’s stunning fantasy introduces readers to 17-year-old Kiva, a girl fighting for freedom in the harsh prison of Zalindov. Dynamic and surprising, this is an excellent choice for a dark but exciting read.

“I thought I could predict the overall plot, but I barely got anything right, with plot twists only seeming obvious after the fact,” said Bookstacked writer Brigitte Herron. “The Prison Healer by Lynette Noni is excellent, the latter half especially blew my mind and placed it firmly among my favourites of 2021.”

Read the review.

The Ones We’re Meant to Find by Joan He

‘The Ones We’re Meant to Find’ by Joan He (Roaring Brook)

This sci-fi about separated sisters Cee and Kay is poignant, exploring sibling relationships against the backdrop of a dystopian world affected by climate change.

“I can promise that readers will be self-reflecting afterward and questioning the roles we play as humans in everything we choose to do,” said Bookstacked writer Kristy Mauna.

Read the review. Listen to our interview with Joan He

This article was brought to you by members of the Bookstacked Team.

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