A few days ago, I put out a list of my favorite books of the year that I couldn't stop talking about all year long. Now I'm here to introduce you to a brand new slate of books that I'm predicting will make my favorites list next year. These are the books I can't wait to get my hands on because they sound absolutely amazing! I've decided to separate the list into an ARC TBR so far for 2021 of ARCs I have and then to make a wishlist section below that with ARCs I hope to get or books that I'll splurge to buy. I'll include preorder links to the books that are already up for preorder so that you can easily grab a couple surprise gifts to show up throughout the year if any of these books look exciting! These will be affiliate bookshop links which means shopping the links support the blog at no cost to you. Also, if you're looking for even more 2021 books, Rachel and Vicky made the most amazing database/spreadsheet/blog to collect all the 2021 debuts together on Tumblr, and it's my new favorite YA/blogging resource. It's so pretty to look at, and their tags are so specific, it's super easy to find exactly the book you want to read. Check it out here.
Let me know in the comments what your most anticipated book of 2021 is in the comments.
by Mary HK Choi
This makes the top of my ARC TBR (even though I have to read it on the NetGalley app on my iPad which is really unfortunate) because I love Mary's books. I think this one will be a particularly welcome treat because Mary tends to write college YA/YA on the older end of the spectrum which I really seek out. Her books are always so unique, and they stick with me for a while. I'm still in disbelief I scored this ARC. The story itself seems to be about sisters growing apart and coming back to one another. Honestly, the description makes it seem more like an adult book than anything, so I'm excited to see where it'll go.
Cool For the Summer
by Dahlia Adler
This is one of the most talked about books on Twitter at the moment, both because Dahlia is a beloved community member and because the book sounds so cute. It's about a girl named Laura that has won the high school game with the perfect friend group, boyfriend, and job, but she can't stop thinking about this girl from summer camp. I'm super excited to have another bi girl story in YA, and this sounds like the perfect summer read.
by Courtney Summers
Courtney Summers always offers a wild ride in her books. They're always twisty thrillers and murder mysteries. This time, summers sets her sights on cults with the same journalistic bend that followed her last book, Sadie. This time, a girl who lost her sister to a well respected group (or cult, depending on who you ask), has been looking for a way to expose them for years. Then a man comes into the magazine offices claiming The Unity Project killed his son. It's just the opening she needs to start investigating. Of course, this project takes her far deeper than she ever anticipated. I'm so excited to delve into this twisty story.
As Far As You'll Take Me
by Phil Stamper
I loved Phil's book from this year, The Gravity of Us, so I'm super excited for his second book. This one is set in London. Marty leaves home with his oboe and a bit of savings to find himself in a brand new country, away from his parent's judgement. While everything looks great in Europe on the surface, his anxiety is eating away at him, and he's falling apart on the inside. Will he be able to pull everything together? I'm always a fan of contemporaries whose stakes are solely personal, so I'm excited to delve into that world.
Kisses and Croissants
by Anne-Sophie Jouhanneau
Speaking of books set far away from home, this book takes the reader to France and the world of an elite ballet program. Mia has six weeks dancing in France over the summer to try to score an audition with one of the world's best ballet companies. This seems like the classic summer love story, and I'm excited to indulge in something that's just fun and fluffy.
She's Too Pretty To Burn
by Wendy Heard
This book seems right up there with The Project on the twisty, thriller mystery front. A boring summer that two artist best friends spend with one another gets suddenly chaotic when Mick enters the picture. Both the perfect muse and girlfriend for Veronica, Nico gets largely left behind. But with murder, stalking, and drowning on the horizon, the summer is about to get scarily interesting. I've seen so much excitement around this one, and the cover is perfection. I'm excited to see what a bright summer thriller is like cause usually they're so dark, gloomy, and boarding school,
You Have a Match
by Emma Lord
Emma Lord created quite the buzz in the YA world with her hotly anticipated debut Tweet Cute, which I read last year. With one of the first 2021 ARCs that landed in my inbox, she's back with a new sister story set at sleep away camp. When Abby takes a box DNA test, she doesn't expect to find out she has a secret sister, who happens to be a famous Instagram influencer. There are so many questions and too few answers that swirl around the entire situation, but they decide to meet up at camp to iron them all out. I'm always here for a book about a social influencer, so I'm excited to pick this up.
by Ryan La Sala
This one isn't on my TBR yet because I've already finished reading it! If you want to read my review, you can check it out here. This book is about conventions, crafting, and falling back in love with the boy who broke his heart. I miss events and the anticipation leading up to them, and this book has all of those vibes. Also, like the book before, Raffy is a small time social media star.
This Will Be Funny Someday
by Katie Henry
I'm excited to start reading this one because I need a laugh, and Katie always delivers hilarious, compulsively relatable stories. Izzy burrows tight into herself at school. Her controlling boyfriend uses his voice for her and makes all the choices. She doesn't find her voice until she stumbles into a comedy club and starts doing stand up, completely by accident. There she meets Mo who invites her into her group of college friends. The only problem is that Izzy is sixteen and everyone is under the impression she's a college student too. When her worlds start to collide and her freedom is put into question, Izzy has to decide what direction she wants to take the show.
Hot British Boyfriend
by Kristy Boyce
Add this one to the list of YA books set in Europe coming out this year. Exchange student Ellie is determined to make the best of her time in London, and when she meets a hot British boy that's more than happy to help her learn the lay of the land, her trip gets even better. It sounds like another exciting whirlwind romance story.
Happily Ever Afters
by Elise Bryant
Never having seen herself reflected in the pages of a romance novel, Tessa writes them herself. When she gets accepted into a well known creative writing program at an art school, she's thrilled to have the chance to further advance her craft. Instead, she runs out of words when she arrives. When her friend suggests she just needs to find real life inspiration with a whirlwind relationship, everything just gets worse. Will Tessa ever get her voice back? I always love getting to read about other teen writers, so I'm excited for this one.
Update: I've since finished this one too! You can read my review here.
Perfect on Paper
by Sophie Gonzales
This is the second book on this list that technically isn't TBR anymore. I read it back in November as my first 2021 read of the year. It definitely set a high bar for the YA I'll be reading in 2021 because it's one of my favorite books of this year too. It's about a girl who gives love advice to her classmates through a secret locker system. After one of her classmates discovers her secret job, she starts giving him private tutoring in how to get his girlfriend back. The only problem is that they start to fall in love, even though Darcy is still pining after her best friend Brooke. Not only does this book feature a bi girl MC, it also prominently features meetings with the queer club at the school that brings up so many wonderful and important conversations.
More I Want to Read
If anyone reading this has the power to get me these ARCs, I would love you forever because these are on my list of most anticipated by far. I'm so excited to get more books from my favorite authors of all time and some new authors who have amazing concepts. I'm hoping I figure out a way to get my hands on these.
A Taste For Love
by Jennifer Yen
Liza seems like the perfect child to anyone but her mom. Still, there's no way for her to compare to her perfect sister. Liza does love baking as much as her mom, though. She volunteers to help at her mom's bakery to try to prove that she is responsible. Liza takes on hosting the junior baking competition, but when she arrives, she realizes her mom turned it into a set up to find her the perfect Asian American boyfriend. Even though she wants to protest the set up situation, she starts to fall for one of the contestants. I love books that have to do with food, so this one immediately caught my attention. Also, even though I don't live there anymore, I grew up in Houston, where the book is set, and I love the chance to read about the city.
Made in Korea
by Sarah Suk
Valerie and her cousin Charlie run a successful Korean beauty business that helps Valerie save up for her dream trip to Paris. It's one of the most successful run student businesses ever. Wes just wants to make music. As the new kid, his mom armed him with a backpack full of Korean beauty products to help him make friends. When he realizes that he can sell them for a good profit, this becomes the key to making the tuition money he needs to go to music school. He doesn't realize that he's now become Valerie's main enemy. As they fight out which Korean beauty business will reign supreme, sparks start to fly, and things get even more complicated.
Some Girls Do
by Jennifer Dugan
Bi beauty queen and gay track star fall in love in Dugan's latest book. Morgan, an elite track star, transfers to a new school late into senior year. There, she meets Ruby, car mechanic by day, beauty queen by night. When they fall in love, things get messy because, while Morgan is out and very proud, Ruby isn't quite ready yet. They have to decide if their paths really can intersect. I'm a huge fan of Jennifer Dugan's books, particularly Verona Comics, so this is high up on my list.
It Goes Like This
by Miel Moreland
I love any book that has to do with music or that can be comped to Taylor Swift songs, and this book does both, while referencing Taylor Swift. After an epic band break-up that happened to coincide with two members romantic break-up, the band is put on hiatus. While some leave the spotlight, others become songwriters or try to strike out on their own. A devastating disaster in their hometown, though, will bring them back to where it all began, and a potential benefit concert will make them reconcile with where it all went wrong. Growing up and growing apart are sometimes synonymous, and this reunion will test that.
Follow Your Arrow
by Jessica Verdi
I would love for this title to be a reference to the Kasey Musgraves song, but I'm not sure if it is. Cece and her girlfriend Silvie are well known social media influencers. It's perfect for a while until Silvie breaks up with CeCe, and CeCe is forced to mourn both her first love and the potential drop in followers that's to come. That's when she meets Josh and starts to fall for him. Josh shuns the internet and has no clue about CeCe's other, famous life. In a very Hannah Montana style situation, she decides to keep him in the dark, which works perfectly till it all blows up in her face. I love books with bi girls and that delve into influencer culture, so I'm definitely here for this one.
Heartbreakers and Fakers
by Cameron Lund
This book just sounds like a ton of fun. I'm usually not a fan of fake dating, but something about this book premise just hooks me in. After hooking up with her best friend's boyfriend at the start of summer party, Penny starts fake dating Kai in the hopes that they'll make their exes jealous enough to come back to them. It sounds super super misguided, but it seems so chaotic that I'm looking forward to this summer read.
A Pho Love Story
by Loan Le
Bao works at his parent's pho restaurant where he's their fifth favorite employee. That pretty much sums up his life. Linh also has to work at her parent's pho restaurant. They rely on her, even though she's less than steady. She dreams of running away to pursue art. Their families restaurants have been in competition for years. Despite the feud, when they finally meet, sparks fly. Romeo and Juliet + restaurant setting sounds like a dream book.
Never Saw You Coming
by Erin Hahn
This book is so far away from release that there isn't a cover or a synopsis posted on any retail sites, but I'm still excited. This book is a companion of sorts, following Meg, the best friend in More Than Maybe. I know the book tackles Meg questioning her faith and the deeply religious culture she's grown up in. I think it has a romantic twist in there somewhere. I'm excited to learn more about it. Still, Erin is my favorite YA author and the nicest human, so I can't wait to read this one.
As If On Cue
by Marisa Kanter
There's even less information about what's going on with this book because it's a fall release as well, but Marisa wrote one of my favorite books of 2020, What I Like About You, so of course I'm here for this one.
We Can't Keep Meeting Like This
The Ex Talk
by Rachel Lynn Solomon
I'll probably be gifting this book to myself as a New Years present. Leaving the realm of YA scares me. I've only read one adult romance in recent years (Red, White, and Royal Blue, what else?). They intimidate me even though I'm in college. I should probably start thinking about mixing in some adult books. They just never sound good to me. But I love Rachel's writing, and she's managed to come up with a premises that has more than intrigued me. Shay has run Seattle's public radio station of a decade, and she loves her job. Lately, though, she's been clashing with Dominic, the new hire, who thinks he knows everything about public radio because of his fancy masters degree. When Shay and Dominic are thrown together to produce a new relationship advice show, things take a turn. As the show takes off, so do their feelings for one another. I'm excited to dip my toe into the world of adult romance with this one.