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Anticipated Book Releases for the First Half of 2021

For me, 2020 was one of my best years in terms of reading. For everything else, it was an absolute nightmare. For reading, though, it was an amazing year. I hope to carry that same energy into the new year, and with that comes some amazing (I hope) new releases. Please note, most of the books mentioned in this article are young adult fiction releases. The most advertised of upcoming releases are mostly YA, and it’s also the age genre I know best. Additionally, please note that many of the books on this list contain dark and/or triggering content. Since these books are not out yet, I cannot provide a full list of trigger warnings, but reader’s discretion is advised. Hopefully, these books will help carry you into 2021 and make it a fun, well-read year. I cannot wait to dive into these titles and many more that will be published this year.   

1.     Last Night at the Telegraph Club by Malinda Lo

1954 was not an easy or safe time for two women to be falling in love. Especially not in Chinatown, where the Red-Scare is alive and affecting Chinese Americans like Lily Hu. But when Lily sees a woman, Kathleen Miller, walk out of the lesbian bar, Telegraph Club, Lily is willing to risk it all for the chance for her love to see the light of day (Last Night at the Telegraph Club will be released January 19).  

2.     The Project by Courtney Summers 

Lo Denham is a loner, not by choice but by situation. After the death of their parents, Lo’s sister, Bea, left to join The Unity Project leaving Lo to her aunt’s care. After six years of trying to expose the lies of The Unity Project, someone comes forward saying the organization killed their son. To discover the truths about that claim and to save her sister, she will have to learn to trust the one person she trusts the least; Lev Warren, leader of The Unity Project (The Project will be released February 2).   

3.     The Paris Library by Janet Skeslien Charles 

This story is based on the World War II story of the brave librarians at the American Library in Paris. 

It’s 1939 in Paris and Odile Souchet seemingly has the perfect life. But when Nazi’s storm Paris, she may lose everything she holds close to her. In order to save the library, her and other librarians join the resistance. But after the war has ended and normal life resumes, will she end up with freedom or betrayal? 

It’s 1983 in Montana and Lily is a lone teenager seeking adventure. But in her attempts to uncover her neighbor’s past, she finds that they have a lot in common; a love of language, wanderlust, and a dark past that connects them both. 

This story of love, loss, betrayal, friends and family is written to show us who we are as humans and show us that heroes can be found everywhere and within everyone (The Paris Library will be released February 9).   

4.     The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna

            Deka lives in fear of the blood ceremony that determines whether or not she can become a member of her village. She has always been an outsider, so when her blood runs gold (a sign of impurity) instead of red, she knows she is destined for a fate worse than death. But then a mysterious woman offers her a choice: to stay and face her fate or join an army of women who fight for the emperor. These women are all near-Immortals and are the only ones who are able to save the empire. Even though she is afraid to leave the only life she knows, she embarks on a journey to join these women and uncover that not everything is as it seems (The Gilded Ones will be released February 9). 

5.     Game Changer by Neal Shusterman

Ash is a star on the football field. But during one game, he gets hit. He gets hit so hard that he’s sent to another dimension. And this dimension is way better suited for the perfect life Ash always dreamed of. But if he’s not careful, he could lose everything he has ever known...in both dimensions (Game Changer will be released February 9). 

6.     Honey Girl by Morgan Rogers 

Twenty-eight-year-old Grace Porter just got her PhD in Astronomy. To celebrate, she takes a girl’s trip to Las Vegas. But when she gets drunk, she ends up marrying a woman she doesn’t even know the name of. Afraid of what her ex-military Father will think, she flees home to go to New York with this new wife she barely knows. Will the pair be able to make it? Or will Grace’s past catch up to her present? (Honey Girl will be released February 23).   

7.     Yolk by Mary H.K. Choi

Jayne Baek is struggling in life. Fashion school is harder than she expected, her boyfriend is a deadbeat, and her friends are using her for fame. But Jayne didn’t mind, that’s just New York for you! She preferred it to her hometown in Texas where she felt like she never truly belonged. Her sister, June, however, was doing absolutely amazing in her giant apartment with her fancy financial job. June never felt like she struggled in her life...until she’s diagnosed with uterine cancer. These estranged sisters are now living together, purely out of sisterly obligation. How will these two opposites interact in the wake of one’s sickness? (Yolk will be released March 2). 

8.     Every Vow You Break by Peter Swanson 

Abigail Baskin never thought she would be marrying a millionaire, but she found herself living in pure bliss with the men she was going to marry. But one drunken night before the wedding, Abigail has a one-night stand at her bachelorette party. Then, at the actual wedding, this mystery man shows up! Should Abigail ruin her new, idyllic life by telling the truth or should she hide what she did in order to save it? Oh, and when she sees a terrified woman and no one believes her, she becomes a victim of her own mind (Every Vow You Break will be released March 23).   

9.     Witches Steeped in Gold by Cianno Smart 

Iraya spent her life in a jail cell, thinking only of freedom and vengeance. Jazmyne is the daughter of the queen but, unlike those before her, refuses to die in order to strengthen her mother. These two women are enemies, but they will have to form an alliance in order to defeat a mutual threat. This Jamaican inspired fantasy will have you enduring twists and turns, suspense, betrayal, and of course, magic (Witches Steeped in Gold will be released April 20).   

10.  Kate in Waiting by Becky Albertalli 

Kate Garfield and Anderson Walker are the best of friends...and almost totally codependent (although they would never admit it). They always talk about boys, especially one that they met long-distance. But when this long distance crush comes to their school, this communal crush isn’t as fun when both of their real feelings are involved (Kate in Waiting will be released April 20).  

11.  The Ones We’re Meant to Find by Joan He

Cee has awoken marooned on an island with only an android and a small house. All she has to rely on is one single memory: that she has a sister. And that memory is carrying her through her survival. 

Kasey, STEM prodigy, wants nothing more than to leave the science and home she once loved and trusted. 

How will these two women find one another, and how will they find what they are each searching for (The Ones We’re Meant to Find will be released May 4).   

12.  Realm Breaker by Victoria Aveyard 

Corayne lives at the end of the world and hates to watch her pirate mother leave and go on adventures without her. But when a mysterious man shows up and tells her she is last in a royal bloodline, she goes on her own adventure to save the world. She and a small group of allies come together to save the world from graver danger than she ever imagined. This is not the age of heroes, but a hero can come from anywhere, right? (Realm Breaker will be released May 4).    

13.  May the Best Man Win by Z.R. Ellor

In his senior year, Jeremy Harkiss comes out as transgender and is determined to keep his life perfect. To make some noise, he decides to run for homecoming king. And it just so happens his all-star ex-boyfriend, Lukas, is his competition. After the death of his older brother, and the breakup with his long-time girlfriend, Lukas plots to make sure he gets his crown. The two boys take the competition too far as they fight for the title. But is it really the crown they’re after, or are there some ulterior motives and/or feelings involved? (May the Best Man Win will be released May 18).      

14.  The Ivies by Alexa Donne

The Ivies are not just a group of prestigious colleges in the United States. They are also a group of five girls at Claflin Academy who share a single mission: to get into the Ivy Leagues no matter what. These teens will stop at nothing to make sure their dreams are achieved. And they will do it without looking back (The Ivies will be released May 25).    

15.  One Last Stop by Casey McQuinston

Twenty-three-year-old August moved to New York City to prove herself right; to prove that the only way to go through the world is alone. But then she meets a gorgeous woman, Jane, on the train. The only issue is that Jane doesn't just look like a punk-rocker from the 1970’s...she actually is from the 1970’s. August will do everything she can to try and get Jane home, even if that means giving up the thoughts and beliefs she holds dear (One Last Stop will be released June 1). 

16.  The Chosen and The Beautiful by Nghi Vo 

Jordan Baker lives in a rare circle of opportunities in 1920’s American society. But she is also queer, adopted, and seen as an exotic attraction by her friends. And she cannot fully be let into the circles she actually wants to be in. The art of illusion entrances Jordan, and all she needs to figure out is how it works. Along with how she can make it work for her (The Chosen and The Beautiful will be released June 1).   

17.  The Maidens by Alex Michaelides 

Edward Fosca is a murderer and Mariana is sure of it. But he is an untouchable at Cambridge University and is loved by some of the female students that call themselves “The Maidens”. Mariana becomes fixated with The Maidens when a friend of her niece, Zoe, is killed. She becomes more and more obsessed and is willing to risk anything to prove that Edward Fosca is guilty of murder (The Maidens will be released June 1).    

18.  Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé

This thriller dives deep into the heart of institutionalized racism via the halls of Niveus Private Academy, where only perfection is accepted. When an anonymous source starts exposing secrets, the darkness will start to creep into these students' lives. Ultimately, they will see a much bigger game than high school is being played (Ace of Spades will be released June 10).

LMU Class of '24 Political Science Major
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