What's on my YA TBR: September 2021 Edition
September is always a magical, busy time in bookland because there are always a million books releasing to get ready for the holiday rush. That's how this list wound up featuring 7 books. There are a couple like Never Saw You Coming and As If On Cue that I've had my eyes on for almost a year, and then there are some new discoveries that I'm super super excited about. From heartfelt contemporaries to K-Pop to a musical anthology and a summer camp of animators, there's something for everyone on this list. I haven't been this excited about a TBR of books in a while, and I'm sad that with starting school, it'll probably take me a while to get through them, but I'm hoping my local library will pick up copies soon. Speaking of which, I have tons of new libraries to explore around campus!
As always, I want to make it as easy as possible to preorder these books and connect with the authors who wrote them! If you click the link in the title of each book, it will take you to Bookshop.org. I love Bookshop because it's an easy way to shop for books online while supporting indie bookstores. This link is an affiliate link, so I will make a small commission at no cost to you if you choose to purchase with my link. This goes a long way towards helping the blog. Every author's name will be linked to their personal websites where you can find more information, their social media links, and ways to purchase from other retailers.
We all knew this book was going to be featured front and center on the September list because I already love it so much. I've been a fan of Erin's for years now, and Never Saw You Coming simply proved that her stories get better with every single book- which blows my mind considering her books were magical from her debut. You can go ahead and read my review and pick up the book when it comes out in September with my full endorsement having already read the book!
Meg is breaking away from her parents, who have built her entire life on a lie, and from a church who has left her feeling guilty and ashamed of her body and her choices. When Meg leaves town to meet with the extended family of her birth father, she's ready for a fresh start. And that's where she meets Micah. Micah has also had his rough patches with the church and is looking to find his footing at the start of young adulthood. As Meg and Micah fall for each other, they realize they have exactly what the other needed.
When Jasmine's life plans (moving in with her boyfriend Paul and starting nursing school) begin to spectacularly fall apart, her family is a little pleased. Even though they feel bad, Paul's cheating finally exposed that he was never any good after all. What they didn't expect, though, is that Jasmine doesn't want to date again. To try to get her back in the dating scene, her family decides to invite Orlando's eligible teen bachelors to her graduation party in the hopes she'll click with someone and realize what she deserves.
At first, I wasn't sure if I wanted to throw this book on the list because why does Jasmine need a boyfriend at all? But I was intrigued by the book taking place around graduation and catering to the transition to adulthood side of YA. I'd also never seen a YA book with a main character heading to nursing school, and I love seeing more characters that are choosing different paths from the traditional 4 year university because it's important to show there are tons of different options to teens. Maybe there's a cute love story in there too.
by Chandler Baker and Wesley King
This book is going to be exactly what some people need and other people's utter worst nightmare. It's about a couple who meet and fall in love during the early stages of COVID lockdown. Back in that lockdown period, I really longed for a book that could mirror my experiences. Now I'm looking to escape thoughts of COVID more than anything, so I'm not sure when or if I'll pick up this book. Mostly, I'm alarmed that this pandemic has gone on so long that in glacial publishing time, we already have a book written in its early stages. I was first sucked in by the cover (which is absolutely gorgeous), but I also was intrigued by how they presented the premise, and considering most of my life has existed online, it's interesting to read a book about falling in love in that limited world.
Maxine and Jonah meet in the canned food aisle at the very beginning of the pandemic. Maxine works at the grocery store and is about to face many many tough days as an essential worker. Jonah struggles with anxiety before the pandemic, and it becomes increasingly heightened by the spread of the pandemic. As they each face their own unique struggles in the face of the changing world, they start to fall in love over FaceTime.
Edited by Eric Smith and Lauren Gibaldi
How did I not know about this book sooner?! My name is written all over this one. This anthology with contributions from authors like Ashely Poston and Katie Cotugno is all about music. From children of rock stars to songwriters and stage hands, there's a story about nearly everyone involved in putting together one high school's battle of the bands. Of course, I love any musically inclined book, but it's also unique to see an anthology that goes beyond just being stories on a central theme to actually taking place at the same event.
I'm pretty sure the biggest trend of 2021 for YA is going to be K-Pop books, which makes sense because K-Pop is generally taking the world by storm. In this version of the tale of normal teen turn idol, Alice is discovered at a karaoke bar after moving from San Fransisco to Seoul for her mother's job. Quickly, she's swept into a world of high expectations and high stakes. Her rise to K-Pop fame might be stunted, though, if the bloggers and antis have any say in it. Will Alice get to see her dreams come true?
I can't believe it's already time for As If On Cue to make its way into the world. I remember when Marisa first announced the book and it seemed so so far away. Considering I loved her debut all about teen book bloggers and college acceptance anxiety, I can't wait to see what her sophomore story has for all of us.
Natalie and Reid are at war. An arts war. As always, arts funding is abysmal, and there's not enough money to fund Natalie directing the first self-written school play and Reid's beloved band. One of them will have to give to let the other's dreams work out. The compromise? They have to write and direct a musical together, and if they can sell out the show, the arts budget will be reconsidered for the next year. Even though they have no clue how to work together, they start to develop feelings for one another they don't know how to handle.
by Arielle Jovellanos and Elissa Sussman
Hayley wants to be a director of animation just like her hero. When she scores a spot in his once in a lifetime summer program, she has dreams of landing an internship that will eventually get her the perfect job. Then her life will be absolutely amazing. Unfortunately, Hayley finds the culture of the camp is a total boys club with a side of nepotism. When the director's son gets the role that Hayley wanted, she's rightfully angry, but as she gets to know Bear, they start to fall for each other. Hayley is left with a tough choice between keeping up her relationship with Bear or uniting with the other girls in the program to expose Bear's dad for just how wrong he was to cast them aside.
This premise definitely reminds me of Screen Queens from a few years ago, but I'm intrigued by reading about a group of animators. I think it's fun to see more jobs and creative careers represented in YA.
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