2021 Young Adult Debuts

Below is a list of upcoming 2021 young adult debuts! The books will include book information, such as release date, summary, representation, tropes, and trigger warnings. If there’s a 2021 YA debut missing from this list, any information missing/noted incorrectly on any book listed, or any comments/concerns, please email us at acourtofcoffeeandbooksblog@gmail.com or reach out to Nikole on Twitter at @BiblioStacks. Please also let us know if the listed representation is incorrect or if representation is missing. Also, visit the Goodreads list to vote for your favorite 2021 YA debuts!

Also, the amazing Rachel and Vicky have put together a wonderful site full of 2021 YA Book Releases. As the below is only a list of debuts, we highly recommend checking out their site!

Happily Ever Afters

Title: Happily Ever Afters

Author: Elise Bryant

Publisher: Balzer + Bray

Release Date: January 5, 2021

Genres: Contemporary, Romance

Representation: Black protagonist

Summary: Sixteen-year-old Tessa Johnson has never felt like the protagonist in her own life. She’s rarely seen herself reflected in the pages of the romance novels she loves. The only place she’s a true leading lady is in her own writing—in the swoony love stories she shares only with Caroline, her best friend and #1 devoted reader.

When Tessa is accepted into the creative writing program of a prestigious art school, she’s excited to finally let her stories shine. But when she goes to her first workshop, the words are just…gone. Fortunately, Caroline has a solution: Tessa just needs to find some inspiration in a real-life love story of her own. And she’s ready with a list of romance-novel-inspired steps to a happily ever after that will surely refill Tessa’s creative well. Nico, the brooding artist who looks like he walked out of one of Tessa’s stories, is cast as the perfect Prince Charming.

But as Tessa checks each item off Caroline’s list, she gets further and further away from finding her words, and herself, again. She risks losing her parents’ trust, her spot in the writing program, and her friendships—including the surprising bond she develops with Sam, the aspiring baker who lives across the street. She’s well on her way to having her own real-life love story, yet she can’t help but wonder…Is it the one she wants, after all?

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When You Look Like Us

Title: When You Look Like Us

Author: Pamela N. Harris

Publisher: HarperCollins

Release Date: January 5, 2021

Genres: Contemporary, Mystery, Thriller

Representation: Black protagonist

Content/Trigger Warnings: Missing family member

Summary: When you look like us—brown skin, brown eyes, black braids or fades—people think you’re trouble. No one looks twice at a missing black girl from the projects because she must’ve brought whatever happened to her upon herself. I, Jay Murphy, can admit that, for a minute, I thought my sister, Nicole, got too caught up with her boyfriend—a drug dealer—and his friends.

But she’s been gone too long now.

If I hadn’t hung up on her that night, she’d be spending time with our grandma. If I was a better brother, she’d be finishing senior year instead of being another name on a missing persons list. It’s time to step up and do what the Newport News police department won’t.

Nic, I’m bringing you home.

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Glimpsed

Title: Glimpsed

Author: G. F. Miller

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Release Date: January 5, 2021

Genres: Fantasy, Contemporary

Summary: Perfect for fans of Geekerella and Jenn Bennett, this charming, sparkly rom-com follows a wish-granting teen forced to question if she’s really doing good—and if she has the power to make her own dreams come true.

Charity is a fairy godmother. She doesn’t wear a poofy dress or go around waving a wand, but she does make sure the deepest desires of the student population at Jack London High School come true. And she knows what they want even better than they do because she can glimpse their perfect futures.

But when Charity fulfills a glimpse that gets Vibha crowned homecoming queen, it ends in disaster. Suddenly, every wish Charity has ever granted is called into question. Has she really been helping people? Where do these glimpses come from, anyway? What if she’s not getting the whole picture?

Making this existential crisis way worse is Noah—the adorkable and (in Charity’s opinion) diabolical ex of one of her past clients—who blames her for sabotaging his prom plans and claims her interventions are doing more harm than good. He demands that she stop granting wishes and help him get his girl back. At first, Charity has no choice but to play along. But soon, Noah becomes an unexpected ally in getting to the bottom of the glimpses. Before long, Charity dares to call him her friend…and even starts to wish he were something more. But can the fairy godmother ever get the happily ever after?

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Title: Crown of Bones

Author: A.K. Wilder

Publisher: Entangled Teen

Release Date: January 5, 2021

Genres: Fantasy

Tropes: Similar to the chosen one, potentially meant to save the world.

Summary: Raise. Your. Phantom.

In a world on the brink of the next Great Dying, no amount of training can prepare us for what is to come…

A young heir will raise the most powerful phantom in all of Baiseen.

A dangerous High Savant will do anything to control the nine realms.

A mysterious and deadly Mar race will steal children into the sea.

And a handsome guide with far too many secrets will make me fall in love.

My name is Ash. A lowly scribe meant to observe and record. And yet I think I’m destined to save us all.

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Chlorine Sky

Title: Chlorine Sky

Author: Mahogany L. Browne

Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers

Release Date: January 12, 2021

Genres: Contemporary, Poetry

Representation: Black protagonist

Summary: A novel-in-verse about a young girl coming-of-age and stepping out of the shadow of her former best friend. Perfect for readers of Elizabeth Acevedo and Nikki Grimes.

She looks me hard in my eyes
& my knees lock into tree trunks
My eyes don’t dance like my heartbeat racing
They stare straight back hot daggers.
I remember things will never be the same.
I remember things.

With gritty and heartbreaking honesty, Mahogany L. Browne delivers a novel-in-verse about broken promises, fast rumors, and when growing up means growing apart from your best friend.

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The Meet-Cute ProjectTitle: The Meet-Cute Project

Author: Rhiannon Richardson

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Release Date: January 12, 2021

Genres: Contemporary, Romance

Representation: Black protagonist

Summary: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before meets Save the Date in this sweet and hijinks-filled rom-com about a teen girl who will do whatever it takes to find a date for her sister’s wedding.

Mia’s friends love rom-coms. Mia hates them. They’re silly, contrived, and not at all realistic. Besides, there are more important things to worry about—like how to handle living with her bridezilla sister, Sam, who’s never appreciated Mia, and surviving junior year juggling every school club offered and acing all of her classes.

So when Mia is tasked with finding a date to her sister’s wedding, her options are practically nonexistent.

Mia’s friends, however, have an idea. It’s a little crazy, a little out there, and a lot inspired by the movies they love that Mia begrudgingly watches too.

Mia just needs a meet-cute.

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Rise of the Red Hand

Title: Rise of the Red Hand

Author: Olivia Chadha

Publisher: Erewhon

Release Date: January 19, 2021

Genres: Science Fiction, Fantasy

Representation: South Asian protagonist and world

Summary: A rare, searing portrayal of the future of climate change in South Asia. A streetrat turned revolutionary and the disillusioned hacker son of a politician try to take down a ruthlessly technocratic government that sacrifices its poorest citizens to build its utopia.

The South Asian Province is split in two. Uplanders lead luxurious lives inside a climate-controlled biodome, dependent on technology and gene therapy to keep them healthy and youthful forever. Outside, the poor and forgotten scrape by with discarded black-market robotics, a society of poverty-stricken cyborgs struggling to survive in slums threatened by rising sea levels, unbreathable air, and deadly superbugs.

Ashiva works for the Red Hand, an underground network of revolutionaries fighting the government, which is run by a merciless computer algorithm that dictates every citizen’s fate. She’s a smuggler with the best robotic arm and cybernetic enhancements the slums can offer, and her cargo includes the most vulnerable of the city’s abandoned children.

When Ashiva crosses paths with the brilliant hacker Riz-Ali, a privileged Uplander who finds himself embroiled in the Red Hand’s dangerous activities, they uncover a horrifying conspiracy that the government will do anything to bury. From armed guardians kidnapping children to massive robots flattening the slums, to a pandemic that threatens to sweep through the city like wildfire, Ashiva and Riz-Ali will have to put aside their differences in order to fight the system and save the communities they love from destruction.

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Your Corner DarkTitle: Your Corner Dark

Author: Desmond Hall

Publisher: Atheneum

Release Date: January 19, 2021

Genres: Contemporary

Representation: Jamaican protagonist

Content/Trigger Warnings: Gang-life depiction

Summary: American Street meets Long Way Down in this searing and gritty debut novel that takes an unflinching look at the harsh realities of gang life in Jamaica and how far a teen is willing to go for family.

Things can change in a second:

The second Frankie Green gets that scholarship letter, he has his ticket out of Jamaica.

The second his longtime crush, Leah, asks him on a date, he’s in trouble.

The second his father gets shot, suddenly nothing else matters.

And the second Frankie joins his uncle’s gang in exchange for paying for his father’s medical bills, there’s no going back…or is there?

As Frankie does things he never thought he’d be capable of, he’s forced to confront the truth of the family and future he was born into—and the ones he wants to build for himself.

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Wider Than the Sky

Title: Wider Than the Sky

Author: Katherine Field Rothschild

Publisher: Soho Teen

Release Date: January 19, 2021

Genres: Contemporary, LGBT

Representation: Mental health, polyamorous relationship (not main characters)

Content/Trigger Warnings: Family death, grief

Summary: In the wake of sudden tragedy, a pair of twin sisters uncovers a secret that rips open their world. Katherine Rothchild explores the pain and power of forgiveness in a stunning debut novel that will shatter your heart and piece it back together, one truth at a time.

Sixteen-year-old Sabine Braxton and her identical twin, Blythe, don’t have much in common. When their father dies from an unexpected illness, each copes with the loss in her own way—Sabine by “poeting” (an uncontrollable quirk of bursting into poetry at inappropriate moments) and Blythe by obsessing over getting into MIT, their father’s alma mater. Neither can offer each other much support . . . at least not until their emotionally detached mother moves them into a ramshackle Bay Area mansion owned by a creepy stranger named Charlie.

Soon the sisters are united in a mission to figure out who Charlie is and why he seems to know everything about them. Neither is prepared for the bombshell they uncover. Confronted with a past both parents kept hidden, the sisters must fight for a path forward and decide—on their own terms—if they can embrace the legacy their father truly wanted.

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Cast in Firelight LargeTitle: Cast in Firelight (Wickery #1)

Author: Dana Swift

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Release Date: January 19, 2021

Genres: Fantasy, Romance

Tropes: Arranged marriage, Secret identities

Summary: The first book in an epic, heart-pounding fantasy duology about two royal heirs betrothed to be married, but whose loyalties are torn, and a ruthless enemy who threatens their world, perfect for fans of Sabaa Tahir, Hafsah Faizal, and Renée Ahdieh.

Adraa is the royal heir of Belwar, a talented witch on the cusp of taking her royal ceremony test, and a girl who just wants to prove her worth to her people.

Jatin is the royal heir to Naupure, a competitive wizard who’s mastered all nine colors of magic, and a boy anxious to return home for the first time since he was a child.

Together, their arranged marriage will unite two of Wickery’s most powerful kingdoms. But after years of rivalry from afar, Adraa and Jatin only agree on one thing: their reunion will be anything but sweet.

Only, destiny has other plans and with the criminal underbelly of Belwar suddenly making a move for control, their paths cross…and neither realizes who the other is, adopting separate secret identities instead.

Between dodging deathly spells and keeping their true selves hidden, the pair must learn to put their trust in the other if either is to uncover the real threat. Now Wickery’s fate is in the hands of rivals..? Fiancées..? Partners..? Whatever they are, it’s complicated and bound for greatness or destruction.

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Wings of EbonyTitle: Wings of Ebony

Author: J. Elle

Publisher: S&S/Denene Millner

Release Date: January 26, 2021

Genres: Fantasy, Mythology

Representation: Black protagonist

Summary: In this riveting, keenly emotional debut fantasy, a teen girl from Houston has her world upended when she learns about her godly ancestry—and with evil sinking its claws into humans and gods alike, she’ll have to master her abilities to save both her worlds.

“Make a way out of no way” is just the way of life for Rue. But when her mother is shot dead on her doorstep, life for her and her younger sister changes forever. Rue’s taken from her neighborhood by the father she never knew, forced to leave her little sister behind, and whisked away to Ghizon—a hidden island of magic wielders.

Rue is the only half-god, half-human there, where leaders protect their magical powers at all costs and thrive on human suffering. Miserable and desperate to see her sister on the anniversary of their mother’s death, Rue breaks Ghizon’s sacred Do Not Leave Law and returns to Houston, only to discover that Black kids are being forced into crime and violence. And her sister, Tasha, is in danger of falling sway to the very forces that claimed their mother’s life.

Worse still, evidence mounts that the evil plaguing East Row is the same one that lurks in Ghizon—an evil that will stop at nothing until it has stolen everything from her and everyone she loves. Rue must embrace her true identity and wield the full magnitude of her ancestors’ power to save her neighborhood before the gods burn it to the ground.

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Love in English

Title: Love in English

Author: Maria E. Andreu

Publisher: Balzer + Bray

Release Date: February 2, 2021

Genres: Contemporary

Representation: Argentinian protagonist

Summary: A fresh, compulsively readable novel about finding your voice—and your heart—in any language.

Sixteen-year-old Ana has just moved to New Jersey from Argentina for her Junior year of high school. She’s a poet and a lover of language—except that now, she can barely understand what’s going on around her, let alone find the words to express how she feels in the language she’s expected to speak.

All Ana wants to do is go home—until she meets Harrison, the very cute, very American boy in her math class. And then there’s her new friend Neo, the Greek boy she’s partnered up with in ESL class, who she bonds with over the 80s teen movies they are assigned to watch for class (but later keep watching together for fun), and Altagracia, her artistic and Instagram-fabulous friend, who thankfully is fluent in Spanish and able to help her settle into American high school.

But is it possible that she’s becoming too American—as her father accuses—and what does it mean when her feelings for Harrison and Neo start to change? Ana will spend her year learning that the rules of English may be confounding, but there are no rules when it comes to love.

With playful and poetic breakouts exploring the idiosyncrasies of the English language, Love in English tells a story that is simultaneously charming and romantic, while articulating a deeper story about what it means to become “American.”

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Fat Chance Charlie VegaTitle: Fat Chance, Charlie Vega

Author: Crystal Maldonado

Publisher: Holiday House

Release Date: February 2, 2021

Genres: Contemporary, Romance

Representation: Overweight protagonist, body-acceptance, biracial latinx protagonist

Summary: Coming of age as a Fat brown girl in a white Connecticut suburb is hard.
Harder when your whole life is on fire, though.

Charlie Vega is a lot of things. Smart. Funny. Artistic. Ambitious. Fat.

People sometimes have a problem with that last one. Especially her mom. Charlie wants a good relationship with her body, but it’s hard, and her mom leaving a billion weight loss shakes on her dresser doesn’t help. The world and everyone in it have ideas about what she should look like: thinner, lighter, slimmer-faced, straighter-haired. Be smaller. Be whiter. Be quieter.

But there’s one person who’s always in Charlie’s corner: her best friend Amelia. Slim. Popular. Athletic. Totally dope. So when Charlie starts a tentative relationship with cute classmate Brian, the first worthwhile guy to notice her, everything is perfect until she learns one thing–he asked Amelia out first. So is she his second choice or what? Does he even really see her? UGHHH. Everything is now officially a MESS.

A sensitive, funny, and painful coming-of-age story with a wry voice and tons of chisme, Fat Chance, Charlie Vega tackles our relationships to our parents, our bodies, our cultures, and ourselves.

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The Obsession

Title: The Obsession

Author: Jesse Q. Sutanto

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Release Date: February 2, 2021

Genres: Thriller

Content/Trigger Warnings: Murder, Stalker

Summary: A classic sort of love story…except somebody might wind up dead.

Nobody knows Delilah like Logan does. Nobody. He makes sure of it by learning everything he can through her social media and watching her through a hidden camera he has trained on her house. Some might call him a stalker. Logan prefers to be called “romantic”.

But after Logan sees Delilah killing her abusive stepfather, he realizes there’s still more about her to discover. His sweet, perfect Delilah isn’t so perfect after all.

Delilah knows she should feel guilty, but all she feels is free. She’s so over the men in her life controlling her. Except Logan saw what she did, and he won’t let her forget it.

Delilah is done being the victim. And she refuses to be a character in Logan’s twisted fantasy. If Logan won’t let her go…she’ll make him.

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What Big Teeth

Title: What Big Teeth

Author: Rose Szabo

Publisher: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux

Release Date: February 2, 2021

Genres: Fantasy, Horror, Paranormal

Content/Trigger Warnings: Death

Summary: MISS PEREGRINE’S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN MEETS THE ADDAMS FAMILY IN THIS HAUNTING STORY OF ONE GIRL’S ATTEMPT TO RECONNECT WITH HER MONSTROUS FAMILY.

Eleanor has not seen or spoken with her family in years, not since they sent her away to Saint Brigid’s boarding school. She knows them only as vague memories: her grandfather’s tremendous fanged snout, the barrel full of water her mother always soaked in, and strange hunting trips in a dark wood with her sister and cousins. And she remembers the way they looked at her, like she was the freak.

When Eleanor finally finds the courage to confront her family and return to their ancestral home on the rainy coast of Maine, she finds them already gathered in wait, seemingly ready to welcome her back with open arms. “I read this in the cards,” her grandmother tells her. However, Grandma Persephone doesn’t see all, for just as Eleanor is beginning to readjust to the life she always longed for, a strange and sudden death rocks the family, leaving Eleanor to manage this difficult new dynamic without help.

In order to keep the family that abandoned her from falling apart, Eleanor calls upon her mysterious other grandmother, Grandmere, from across the sea. Grandmere brings order to the chaotic household, but that order soon turns to tyranny. If any of them are to survive, Eleanor must embrace her strange family and join forces with the ghost of Grandma Persephone to confront the monstrousness lurking deep within her Grandmere-and herself.

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This Golden

Title: This Golden Flame

Author: Emily Victoria

Publisher: Inkyard Press

Release Date: February 2, 2021

Genres: Fantasy, LGBT

Representation: Aromantic and Asexual protagonist

Summary: Flee across the sun-and-shadow islands of Eratia, where runes have the power to unleash monsters…

Seven years ago, Karis was forced to become an acolyte for the Scriptorium, the rune scholars who rule Eratia. For centuries, these Scriptmasters have sought the key to reanimating the country’s fearsome automaton army, and anyone they deem unable to help them achieve their goal is sent away…including Karis’s brother, Matthias.

Then Karis discovers a unique human-sized automaton and unintentionally wakes him up. Intelligent, with a conscience of his own, Alix has no idea why he was created. Or why his father—Eratia’s greatest traitor—once tried to destroy the automatons.

Upon learning Matthias is being held by the Scriptorium’s sinister leader, Alix and Karis set out to rescue him and uncover the truth about Alix’s past. But when Karis is faced with an unthinkable choice, betraying everyone she cares about may be her only desperate chance to save their world.

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Revenge of the Sluts

Title: Revenge of the Sluts

Author: Natalie Walton

Publisher: Wattpad

Release Date: February 2, 2021

Genres: Contemporary

Content/Trigger Warnings: Cyber bullying

Summary: Double standards are about to get singled out.

In this stunning debut, author Natalie Walton tackles privacy and relationships in the digital age.

As a lead reporter for The Weekly Warrior, Eden has covered her fair share of stories at St. Joseph’s High School. And when intimate pictures of seven female students are anonymously emailed to the entire school, Eden is determined to get to the bottom of it.

In tracking down leads, Eden is shocked to discover not everyone agrees the students are victims. Some people feel the girls “brought it on themselves.” Even worse, the school’s administration seems more concerned about protecting its reputation than its students.

With the anonymous sender threatening more emails, Eden finds an unlikely ally: the seven young women themselves. Banding together to find the perpetrator, the tables are about to be turned. The Slut Squad is fighting back!

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A Taste for Love New

Title: A Taste for Love

Author: Jennifer Yen

Publisher: Razorbill

Release Date: February 2, 2021

Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Retelling (Pride & Prejudice)

Representation: Taiwanese-American Protagonist

Summary: For fans of Jenny Han, Jane Austen, and The Great British Baking ShowA Taste for Love, is a delicious rom com about first love, familial expectations, and making the perfect bao.

To her friends, high school senior Liza Yang is nearly perfect. Smart, kind, and pretty, she dreams big and never shies away from a challenge. But to her mom, Liza is anything but. Compared to her older sister Jeannie, Liza is stubborn, rebellious, and worst of all, determined to push back against all of Mrs. Yang’s traditional values, especially when it comes to dating.

The one thing mother and daughter do agree on is their love of baking. Mrs. Yang is the owner of Houston’s popular Yin & Yang Bakery. With college just around the corner, Liza agrees to help out at the bakery’s annual junior competition to prove to her mom that she’s more than her rebellious tendencies once and for all. But when Liza arrives on the first day of the bake-off, she realizes there’s a catch: all of the contestants are young Asian American men her mother has handpicked for Liza to date.

The bachelorette situation Liza has found herself in is made even worse when she happens to be grudgingly attracted to one of the contestants; the stoic, impenetrable, annoyingly hot James Wong. As she battles against her feelings for James, and for her mother’s approval, Liza begins to realize there’s no tried and true recipe for love.

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One Carefree Day

Title: One Carefree Day

Author: Whitney Amazeen

Publisher: Swan Pages Publishing

Release Date: February 7, 2021

Genres: Contemporary

Representation: Black protagonist, OCD, anxiety

Summary: Imagine being forced to face your worst fear.

For eighteen-year-old Willow Bates, anxiety is just a part of life. With her every decision ruled by intrusive thoughts, she’s worried she sometimes seems a little odd. Despite Willow’s efforts to hide her OCD from those around her, it isn’t always possible. Her rituals are her coping mechanism, and Willow’s past has left her with a lot to cope with.

But when Willow takes things too far, her mother breaks and gives her an ultimatum: Willow must finally start taking meds to treat her obsessive-compulsive disorder, or she’ll have to move out within three months. But Willow is terrified of both options, and can’t afford to support herself as a new cosmetology student.

Only when Theo Tate moves in next door does Willow begin to see hope. Theo might have a way for Willow to avoid taking meds and still resist her rituals. But falling for Theo is definitely not part of the plan. And mingling with him has risks not even Willow could possibly control, let alone be prepared for.

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Hot British Boyfriend

Title: Hot British Boyfriend

Author: Kristy Boyce

Publisher: HarperTeen

Release Date: February 9, 2021

Genres: Contemporary, Romance

Representation: British love interest

Summary: After a horrifying public rejection by her crush, Ellie Nichols does what any girl would do: she flees the country. To be more precise, she joins her high school’s study abroad trip to England. While most of her classmates are there to take honors courses and pad their college applications, Ellie is on a quest to rebuild her reputation and self-confidence. And nothing is more of a confidence booster than getting a hot British boyfriend.

When Ellie meets Will, a gorgeous and charming Brit, she vows to avoid making the same mistakes as she did with the last guy she liked. Which is why she strikes up a bargain with Dev, an overachieving classmate who she’s never clicked with, but who does seem to know a lot about the things Will is interested in—if he helps her win over her crush, then she’ll help him win over his.

But even as Ellie embarks on a whirlwind romance, one that takes her on adventures to some of England’s most beautiful places, she still needs to figure out if this is actually the answer to all her problems…and whether the perfect boyfriend is actually the perfect boy for her.

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the-girl-from-shadow-springs

Title: The Girl From Shadow Springs

Author: Ellie Cypher

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Release Date: February 9, 2021

Genres: Fantasy

Summary: The Revenant meets True Grit with a magical twist in this thrilling and atmospheric debut fantasy about two teens who must brave a frozen wasteland and the foes within it to save their loved ones and uncover a deadly secret.

The answer to what freezes first is the eyes. That ain’t what most people would guess.

Everyone in Shadow Springs knows that no one survives crossing the Flats. But the threat of a frozen death has never deterred the steady stream of treasure hunters searching for a legendary prize hidden somewhere in the vast expanse of ice. Jorie thinks they’re all fools, which makes scavenging their possessions easier. It’s how she and her sister, Brenna, survive.

Then Jorie scavenges off the wrong body. When the dead man’s enemy believes Jorie took something valuable from the body, he kidnaps Brenna as collateral. He tells Jorie that if she wants her sister back, she’ll have to trade her for the item he thinks she stole. But how can Jorie make a trade when she doesn’t even know what she’s looking for?

Her only source of information is Cody, the dead man’s nephew and a scholar from the South who’s never been hardened by the harsh conditions of the North. Though Jorie’s reluctant to bring a city boy out onto the Flats with her, she’ll do whatever it takes to save her sister. But anything can happen out on the ice, and soon Jorie and Cody find they need one another more than they ever imagined—and they’ll have to trust each other to survive threats beyond their darkest nightmares.

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9781984848697Title: The Gilded Ones (Deathless #1)

Author: Namina Forna

Publisher: Delacorte

Release Date: February 9, 2021

Genres: Fantasy

Representation: Black protagonist, ancient West-African world

Summary: Sixteen-year-old Deka lives in fear and anticipation of the blood ceremony that will determine whether she will become a member of her village. Already different from everyone else because of her unnatural intuition, Deka prays for red blood so she can finally feel like she belongs.

But on the day of the ceremony, her blood runs gold, the color of impurity–and Deka knows she will face a consequence worse than death.

Then a mysterious woman comes to her with a choice: stay in the village and submit to her fate, or leave to fight for the emperor in an army of girls just like her. They are called alaki–near-immortals with rare gifts. And they are the only ones who can stop the empire’s greatest threat.

Knowing the dangers that lie ahead yet yearning for acceptance, Deka decides to leave the only life she’s ever known. But as she journeys to the capital to train for the biggest battle of her life, she will discover that the great walled city holds many surprises. Nothing and no one are quite what they seem to be–not even Deka herself.

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A Pho Love StoryTitle: A Pho Love Story

Author: Loan Le

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Release Date: February 9, 2021

Genres: Contemporary, Romance

Representation: Viatnamese-American protagonists

Tropes: Romeo & Juliet vibes

Summary: When Dimple Met Rishi meets Ugly Delicious in this funny, smart romantic comedy, in which two Vietnamese-American teens fall in love and must navigate their newfound relationship amid their families’ age-old feud about their competing, neighboring restaurants.

If Bao Nguyen had to describe himself, he’d say he was a rock. Steady and strong, but not particularly interesting. His grades are average, his social status unremarkable. He works at his parents’ pho restaurant, and even there, he is his parents’ fifth favorite employee. Not ideal.

If Linh Mai had to describe herself, she’d say she was a firecracker. Stable when unlit, but full of potential for joy and fire. She loves art and dreams pursuing a career in it. The only problem? Her parents rely on her in ways they’re not willing to admit, including working practically full-time at her family’s pho restaurant.

For years, the Mais and the Nguyens have been at odds, having owned competing, neighboring pho restaurants. Bao and Linh, who’ve avoided each other for most of their lives, both suspect that the feud stems from feelings much deeper than friendly competition.

But then a chance encounter brings Linh and Bao in the same vicinity despite their best efforts and sparks fly, leading them both to wonder what took so long for them to connect. But then, of course, they immediately remember.

Can Linh and Bao find love in the midst of feuding families and complicated histories?

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Not Quite OutTitle: Not Quite Out

Author: Louise Willingham

Publisher: SRL Publishing LTD

Release Date: February 9, 2021

Genres: Contemporary, Romance, LGBT

Representation: Bisexual protagonist

Content/Trigger Warnings: Abortion, PTSD, drug addiction, abusive relationships, and self-harm

Summary: William Anson is done with relationships, thanks. He’s starting the second year of his medicine degree single, focused, and ready to mingle with purely platonic intentions.

Meeting Daniel, a barely recovered drug addict ready to start living life on his own terms, might just change that.

There are two problems.

One: William isn’t out.

What’s the point in telling your friends you’re bisexual when you aren’t going to date anyone?

Two: Daniel’s abusive ex-boyfriend still roams the university campus, searching for cracks in Daniel’s recovery.

No matter how quickly William falls for Daniel, their friendship is too important to risk ruining over a crush.

William is fine with being just friends for the rest of forever.

Well, not quite.

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Title: Loner

Author: Georgina Young

Publisher: Text Publishing

Release Date: February 9, 2021

Genres: Contemporary

Summary: Lona, a cynical, introverted artist and part-time roller-DJ, traverses life’s sorrows and joys in this heartfelt look at new adulthood.

Set in Melbourne, Loner is a humorous and heartfelt exploration of new adulthood. Lona kills her days by sneaking into the dark room at her old art school to develop photographs. She kills her nights DJ-ing the roller disco at Planet Skate. She is in inexplicably, debilitatingly love with a bespectacled Doctor Who-obsessed former classmate, and in comfortable, platonic love with her best friend Tab. Lona works hard to portray a permanent attitude of cynicism and ennui but will her carefully constructed persona be enough to protect her from the inevitable sorrows and unexpected joys of adult life? Loner re-examines notions of social isolation experienced by young people, suggesting sometimes our own company can be a choice and not a failing.

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Of Silver and ShadowTitle: Of Silver and Shadow

Author: Jennifer Gruenke

Publisher: Flux

Release Date: February 16, 2021

Genres: Fantasy

Representation: F/F Romance

Content/Trigger Warnings: Death, torture (not animal)

Summary: Ren Kolins is a silver wielder—a dangerous thing to be in the kingdom of Erdis, where magic has been outlawed for a century. Ren is just trying to survive, sticking to a life of petty thievery, card games, and pit fighting to get by. But when a wealthy rebel leader discovers her secret, he offers her a fortune to join his revolution. The caveat: she won’t see a single coin until they overthrow the King.

Behind the castle walls, a brutal group of warriors known as the King’s Children is engaged in a competition: the first to find the rebel leader will be made King’s Fang, the right hand of the King of Erdis. And Adley Farre is hunting down the rebels one by one, torturing her way to Ren and the rebel leader, and the coveted King’s Fang title.

But time is running out for all of them, including the youngest Prince of Erdis, who finds himself pulled into the rebellion. Political tensions have reached a boiling point, and Ren and the rebels must take the throne before war breaks out.

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The Wide Starlight

Title: The Wide Starlight

Author: Nicole Lesperance

Publisher: Razorbill

Release Date: February 16, 2021

Genres: Magical Realism

Content/Trigger Warnings: Missing person

Summary: The Hazel Wood meets The Astonishing Color of After in this dreamy, atmospheric novel that follows sixteen-year-old Eli as she tries to remember what truly happened the night her mother disappeared off a glacier in Norway under the Northern Lights.

According to Arctic lore, if you whistle at the Northern Lights, they’ll swoop down and carry you off forever. Sixteen-year-old Eline Davis knows it’s true because it happened to her mother. Eli was there that night on the remote glacier in Svalbard, when her mother whistled, then vanished.

Years later, Eli is living with her dad on Cape Cod. When Eli discovers the Northern Lights will be visible for one night on the Cape, she hatches a plan to use the lights to contact her missing mother. And it works. Her mother arrives with a hazy story of where she’s been all this time. Eli knows no one will believe them, so she keeps it all a secret. But when magical, dangerous things start happening–narwhals appearing in Cape Code Bay, meteorites landing in the yard by the hundreds, three shadowy fairytale princesses whispering ominous messages–the secrets start to become more like lies.

It’s all too much, too fast, and Eli pushes her mother away, not expecting her to disappear as abruptly as she appeared. Her mother’s gone again, and Eli’s devastated. Until she finds the note written in mother’s elegant scrawl: Find me where I left you. And so, off to Svalbard Eli goes.

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Amelia Unabridged

Title: Amelia Unabridged

Author: Ashley Schumacher

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Release Date: February 16, 2021

Genres: Contemporary, Fiction

Content/Trigger Warnings: Grief, Car Accident Death

Summary: Sparks fly between two teens as they grapple with grief, love, and the future in this unforgettable debut novel sure to entice fans of Jandy Nelson and Jennifer E. Smith.

Eighteen-year-old Amelia Griffin is obsessed with the famous Orman Chronicles, written by the young and reclusive prodigy N. E. Endsley. They’re the books that brought her and her best friend Jenna together after Amelia’s father left and her family imploded. So when Amelia and Jenna get the opportunity to attend a book festival with Endsley in attendance, Amelia is ecstatic. It’s the perfect way to start off their last summer before college.

In a heartbeat, everything goes horribly wrong. When Jenna gets a chance to meet the author and Amelia doesn’t, the two have a blowout fight like they’ve never experienced. And before Amelia has a chance to mend things, Jenna is killed in a freak car accident. Grief-stricken, and without her best friend to guide her, Amelia questions everything she had planned for the future.

When a mysterious, rare edition of the Orman Chronicles arrives, Amelia is convinced that it somehow came from Jenna. Tracking the book to an obscure but enchanting bookstore in Michigan, Amelia is shocked to find herself face-to-face with the enigmatic and handsome N. E. Endsley himself, the reason for Amelia’s and Jenna’s fight and perhaps the clue to what Jenna wanted to tell her all along.

Ashley Schumacher’s devastating and beautiful debut, Amelia Unabridged, is about finding hope and strength within yourself, and maybe, just maybe, falling in love while you do it.

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Title: We Are the Fire

Author: Sam Taylor

Publisher: Swoon Reads

Release Date: February 16, 2021

Genres: Fantasy

Content/Trigger Warnings: Grief, Torture

Summary: As electrifying as it is heartbreaking, Sam Taylor’s explosive fantasy debut We Are the Fire is perfect for fans of An Ember in the Ashes and the legend of Spartacus.

In the cold, treacherous land of Vesimaa, children are stolen from their families by a cruel emperor, forced to undergo a horrific transformative procedure, and serve in the army as magical fire-wielding soldiers. Pran and Oksana―both taken from their homeland at a young age―only have each other to hold onto in this heartless place.

Pran dreams of one day rebelling against their oppressors and destroying the empire; Oksana only dreams of returning home and creating a peaceful life for them both.

When they discover the emperor has a new, more terrible mission than ever for their kind, Pran and Oksana vow to escape his tyranny once and for all. But their methods and ideals differ drastically, driving a wedge between them. Worse still, they both soon find that the only way to defeat the monsters that subjugated them may be to become monsters themselves.

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Title: Love is for Losers

Author: Wibke Brueggemann

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)

Release Date: February 23, 2021

Genres: Contemporary, Romance, LGBT

Representation: F/F romance

Summary: In this wry and hilarious queer romantic comedy, fifteen-year-old Phoebe realizes that falling in love is maybe not just for losers.

Did you know you can marry yourself? How strange / brilliant is that?

Fifteen-year-old Phoebe thinks falling in love is vile and degrading, and vows never to do it. Then, due to circumstances not entirely in her control, she finds herself volunteering at a local thrift shop. There she meets Emma . . . who might unwittingly upend her whole theory on life.

This is a laugh-out-loud exploration of sexuality, family, female friendship, grief, and community. With the heart and hilarity of Netflix’s critically-acclaimed Sex Education, Wibke Brueggemann’s sex positive debut is required reading for Generation Z teens. Think of this as Bridget Jones’ Diary, if it were written by Bridget’s daughter.

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Prepped

Title: Prepped

Author: Bethany Mangle

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books

Release Date: February 23, 2021

Genres: Contemporary

Tropes: Arranged marriage

Summary: For fans of Jeff Zentner and Katie Henry comes a thrilling and funny debut about a teen raised in a doomsday community who plots her escape with the boy from the bunker next door.

Always be ready for the worst day of your life.

This is the mantra that Becca Aldaine has grown up with. Her family is part of a community of doomsday preppers, a neighborhood that prioritizes survivalist training over class trips or senior prom. They’re even arranging Becca’s marriage with Roy Kang, the only eligible boy in their community. Roy is a nice guy, but he’s so enthusiastic about prepping that Becca doesn’t have the heart to tell him she’s planning to leave as soon as she can earn a full ride to a college far, far away.

Then a devastating accident rocks Becca’s family and pushes the entire community, including Becca’s usually cynical little sister, deeper into the doomsday ideology. With her getaway plans thrown into jeopardy, the only person Becca can turn to is Roy, who reveals that he’s not nearly as clueless as he’s been pretending to be.

When Roy proposes they run away together, Becca will have to risk everything—including her heart—for a chance to hope for the best instead of planning for the worst.

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Like Home

Title: Like Home

Author: Louisa Onome

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Release Date: February 23, 2021

Genres: Contemporary

Summary: Fans of Netflix’s On My Block, In the Heights, and readers of Elizabeth Acevedo and Ibi Zoboi will love this debut novel about a girl whose life is turned upside down after one local act of vandalism throws her relationships and even her neighborhood into turmoil.

Chinelo, or Nelo as her best friend Kate calls her, is all about her neighborhood Ginger East. She loves its chill vibe, ride-or-die sense of community, and her memories of growing up there. Ginger East isn’t what it used to be, though. After a deadly incident at the local arcade, all her closest friends moved away, except for Kate. But as long as they have each other, Nelo’s good.

Only, Kate’s parents’ corner store is vandalized, leaving Nelo shaken to her core. The police and the media are quick to point fingers, and soon more of the outside world descends on Ginger East with promises to “fix” it. Suddenly, Nelo finds herself in the middle of a drama unfolding on a national scale.

Worse yet, Kate is acting strange. She’s pushing Nelo away at the exact moment they need each other most. Nelo’s entire world is morphing into something she hates, and she must figure out how to get things back on track or risk losing everything⁠—and everyone⁠—she loves.

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A Dark and Hollow StarTitle: A Dark and Hollow Star

Author: Ashley Shuttleworth

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books

Release Date: February 23, 2021

Genres: High Fantasy, LGBT, GLBT, Fairies

Representation: Pansexual, F/F romance, Bisexual, M/M romance, Genderfluid, LGBTQ+ characters

Content/Trigger Warnings (provided by author on Goodreads): anger, arson, blood/gore, child death, drug use/addiction, grief, minor body horror, depression, divorse, disownment, human trafficking, suicide ideation, off-page suicide, PTSD, poverty, racism, violence, gun violence, toxic relationship/manipulation, stalking, and psychopathy.

Summary: Choose your player.

The “ironborn” half-fae outcast of her royal fae family.
A tempestuous Fury, exiled to earth from the Immortal Realm and hellbent on revenge.
A dutiful fae prince, determined to earn his place on the throne.
The prince’s brooding guardian, burdened with a terrible secret.

For centuries, the Eight Courts of Folk have lived among us, concealed by magic and bound by law to do no harm to humans. This arrangement has long kept peace in the Courts—until a series of gruesome and ritualistic murders rocks the city of Toronto and threatens to expose faeries to the human world.

Four queer teens, each who hold a key piece of the truth behind these murders, must form a tenuous alliance in their effort to track down the mysterious killer behind these crimes. If they fail, they risk the destruction of the faerie and human worlds alike. If that’s not bad enough, there’s a war brewing between the Mortal and Immortal Realms, and one of these teens is destined to tip the scales. The only question is: which way?

Wish them luck. They’re going to need it.

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Firekeepers Daughter final 7.12

Title: Firekeeper’s Daughter

Author: Angeline Boulley

Publisher: Henry Holt & Co.

Release Date: March 2, 2021

Genres: Thriller

Representation: Ojibwe protagonist

Content/Trigger Warnings: Murder

Summary: Debut author Angeline Boulley crafts a groundbreaking YA thriller about a Native teen who must root out the corruption in her community, for readers of Angie Thomas and Tommy Orange.

As a biracial, unenrolled tribal member and the product of a scandal, eighteen-year-old Daunis Fontaine has never quite fit in, both in her hometown and on the nearby Ojibwe reservation. Daunis dreams of studying medicine, but when her family is struck by tragedy, she puts her future on hold to care for her fragile mother.

The only bright spot is meeting Jamie, the charming new recruit on her brother Levi’s hockey team. Yet even as Daunis falls for Jamie, certain details don’t add up and she senses the dashing hockey star is hiding something. Everything comes to light when Daunis witnesses a shocking murder, thrusting her into the heart of a criminal investigation.

Reluctantly, Daunis agrees to go undercover, but secretly pursues her own investigation, tracking down the criminals with her knowledge of chemistry and traditional medicine. But the deceptions—and deaths—keep piling up and soon the threat strikes too close to home.

Now, Daunis must learn what it means to be a strong Anishinaabe kwe (Ojibwe woman) and how far she’ll go to protect her community, even if it tears apart the only world she’s ever known.

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I Think I Love You

Title: I Think I Love You

Author: Auriane Desombre

Publisher: Underlined

Release Date: March 2, 2021

Genres: Contemporary, LGBT, Romance

Representation: F/F romance

Tropes: Enemies to Lovers

Summary: A YA contemporary rom com about two girls who start as rivals but after a twist of events, end up falling for one another–at least they think so. A pitch perfect queer romance–and it’s a paperback original!

Arch-nemeses Emma, a die-hard romantic, and more-practical minded Sophia find themselves competing against one another for a coveted first-prize trip to a film festival in Los Angeles . . . what happens if their rivalry turns into a romance? For fans of Becky Albertalli’s Leah on the Offbeat, full of laugh-out-loud humor and make-your-heart-melt moments.

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Once Upon a Quinceanera

Title: Once Upon a Quinceañera

Author: Monica Gomez-Hira

Publisher: HarperTeen

Release Date: March 2, 2021

Genres: Contemporary, Romance

Representation: Mexican protagonist

Summary: Jenny Han meets “Jane the Virgin” in this flashy and fun Own Voices romcom from debut author Monica Gomez-Hira.

Carmen Aguilar just wants to make her happily ever after come true. Except apparently “happily ever after” for Carmen involves being stuck in an unpaid summer internship! All she has to do is perform! In a ball gown! During the summer. In Miami.

Fine. Except that Carmen’s company is hired for her spoiled cousin Ariana’s over the top quinceañera.

And of course, her new dance partner at work is none other than Mauro Reyes, Carmen’s most deeply regrettable ex.

If Carmen is going to move into the future she wants, she needs to leave the past behind. And if she can manage dancing in the blistering heat, fending off Mauro’s texts, and stopping Ariana from ruining her own quinceañera Carmen might just get that happily ever after after all.

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Bones of a Saint

Title: Bones of a Saint

Author: Grant Farley

Publisher: Soho Teen

Release Date: March 2, 2021

Genres: Historical Fiction

Representation: Disabled side character (his brother), gang life

Summary: Set in Northern California in the late ’70s, this timeless coming-of-age story examines the nature of evil, the art of storytelling, and the possibility of redemption.

Fifteen-year-old RJ Armante has never known a life outside his dead-end hometown of Arcangel, CA. The Blackjacks still rule as they have for generations, luring the poorest kids into their monopoly on petty crime. For years, they’ve left RJ alone…until now.

When the Blackjacks come knocking, they want RJ to prey upon an old loner. But RJ is at his breaking point. It’s not just about the gang who rules the town. It’s about Charley, his younger brother, who is disabled. It’s about Roxanne, the girl he can’t reach. It’s about the kids in his crew who have nothing to live for. If RJ is to resist, he must fight to free Arcangel of its past.

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The Bright and the Pale

Title: The Bright and the Pale

Author: Jessica Rubinkowski

Publisher: Quill Tree Books

Release Date: March 2, 2021

Genres: Fantasy

Content/Trigger Warnings: Childhood trauma, death of a family member, discrimination, work camps

Summary: Seventeen-year-old Valeria is one of the only survivors of the freeze, a dark magical hold Knnot Mountain unleashed over her village. Everyone, including her family, is trapped in an unbreakable sheet of ice. Ever since, she’s been on the run from the Czar, who is determined to imprison any who managed to escape. Valeria finds refuge with the Thieves Guild, doing odd jobs with her best friend Alik, the only piece of home she has left.

That is, until he is brutally murdered.

A year later, she discovers Alik is alive and being held against his will. To buy his freedom, she must lead a group of cutthroats and thieves on a perilous expedition to the very mountain that claimed her family. Only something sinister slumbers in the heart of Knnot.

And it has waited years for release.

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Title: Down Comes the Night

Author: Allison Saft

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Release Date: March 2, 2021

Genres: Fantasy. Gothic, Romance

Tropes: Enemies to Lovers

Summary: A gorgeously gothic, deeply romantic YA debut fantasy about two enemies trapped inside a crumbling mansion, with no escape from the monsters within.

Honor your oath, destroy your country.

Wren Southerland is the most talented healer in the Queen’s Guard, but her reckless actions have repeatedly put her on thin ice with her superiors. So when a letter arrives from a reclusive lord, asking Wren to come to his estate to cure his servant from a mysterious disease, she seizes the chance to prove herself.

When she arrives at Colwick Hall, Wren realizes that nothing is what it seems. Particularly when she discovers her patient is actually Hal Cavendish, the sworn enemy of her kingdom.

As the snowy mountains make it impossible to leave the estate, Wren and Hal grow closer as they uncover a sinister plot that could destroy everything they hold dear. But choosing love could doom both their kingdoms.

Allison Saft’s Down Comes the Night is a snow-drenched, gothic, romantic fantasy that keeps you racing through the pages long into the night.

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Fragile Remedy

Title: Fragile Remedy

Author: Maria Ingrande Mora

Publisher: Flux

Release Date: March 9, 2021

Genres: LGBT, Science Fiction

Representation: M/M Romance

Tropes: Dystopian world

Summary: Sixteen-year-old Nate is a GEM—Genetically Engineered Medi-tissue created by the scientists of Gathos City as a cure for the elite from the fatal lung rot ravaging the population. As a child, he was smuggled out of the laboratory where he was held captive and into the Withers—a quarantined, lawless region. Nate manages to survive by using his engineering skills to become a Tinker, fixing broken tech in exchange for food or a safe place to sleep. When he meets Reed, a kind and fiercely protective boy that makes his heart race, and his misfit gang of scavengers, Nate finds the family he’s always longed for—even if he can’t risk telling them what he is.

But Gathos created a genetic failsafe in their GEMs—a flaw that causes their health to rapidly deteriorate as they age unless they are regularly dosed with medication controlled by Gathos City. As Nate’s health declines, his hard-won freedom is put in jeopardy. Violence erupts across the Withers, his illegal supply of medicine is cut off, and a vicious attack on Reed threatens to expose his secret. With time running out, Nate is left with only two options: work for a shadowy terrorist organization that has the means to keep him alive, or stay — and die — with the boy he loves.

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Sing Me Forgotten

Title: Sing Me Forgotten

Author: Jessica S. Olson

Publisher: Inkyard Press

Release Date: March 9, 2021

Genres: Fantasy, Retelling (Phantom of the Opera), Romance

Summary: Isda does not exist. At least not beyond the opulent walls of the opera house.

Cast into a well at birth for being one of the magical few who can manipulate memories when people sing, she was saved by Cyril, the opera house’s owner. Since that day, he has given her sanctuary from the murderous world outside. All he asks in return is that she use her power to keep ticket sales high—and that she stay out of sight. For if anyone discovers she survived, Isda and Cyril would pay with their lives.

But Isda breaks Cyril’s cardinal rule when she meets Emeric Rodin, a charming boy who throws her quiet, solitary life out of balance. His voice is unlike any she’s ever heard, but the real shock comes when she finds in his memories hints of a way to finally break free of her gilded prison.

Haunted by this possibility, Isda spends more and more time with Emeric, searching for answers in his music and his past. But the price of freedom is steeper than Isda could ever know. For even as she struggles with her growing feelings for Emeric, she learns that in order to take charge of her own destiny, she must become the monster the world tried to drown in the first place.

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Pride and Premeditation New

Title: Pride and Premeditation

Author: Tirzah Price

Publisher: HarperTeen

Release Date: March 9, 2021

Genres: Mystery, Historical Fiction, Retellings (Jane Austen’s novels)

Summary: Perfect for fans of the Lady Janies and Stalking Jack the Ripper, the first book in the Jane Austen Murder Mysteries series is a clever retelling of Pride and Prejudice that reimagines the iconic settings, characters, and romances in a thrilling and high-stakes whodunit.

When a scandalous murder shocks London high society, seventeen-year-old aspiring lawyer Lizzie Bennet seizes the opportunity to prove herself, despite the interference of Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy, the stern young heir to the prestigious firm Pemberley Associates.

Convinced the authorities have imprisoned the wrong person, Lizzie vows to solve the murder on her own. But as the case—and her feelings for Darcy—become more complicated, Lizzie discovers that her dream job could make her happy, but it might also get her killed.

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American Betiya

Title: American Betiya

Author: Anuradha D. Rajurkar

Publisher: Knopf

Release Date: March 9, 2021

Genres: Contemporary, Romance

Representation: Indian protagonist, Interracial relationship

Tropes: Secret relationship

Summary: Fans of Sandhya Menon, Erika Sanchez and Jandy Nelson will identify with this story of a young artist grappling with first love, family boundaries and the complications of a cross-cultural relationship.

Rani Kelkar has never lied to her parents, until she meets Oliver. The same qualities that draw her in–his tattoos, his charisma, his passion for art–make him her mother’s worst nightmare.

They begin dating in secret, but when Oliver’s troubled home life unravels, he starts to ask more of Rani than she knows how to give, desperately trying to fit into her world, no matter how high the cost. Their relationship is nearly at the breaking point, when a family tragedy draws Rani to India for a summer. There, she gains perspective on what it means to be true to herself and what that means for her and Oliver.

Winner of SCBWI’s Emerging Voices award, Anuradha Rajurkar takes an honest look at the ways cultures can clash in an interracial relationship. Rani’s journey to hold onto her cultural identity amid the push-and-pull of first love, will resonate with anyone who’s ever navigated a cross-cultural relationship.

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Cant Take That Away

Title: Can’t Take That Away

Author: Steven Salvatore

Publisher: Bloomsbury YA

Release Date: March 9, 2021

Genres: Contemporary, LGBT, Queer

Representation: Genderqueer protagonist, They/Them pronouns

Content/Trigger Warnings: Alzheimer’s, assault, bullying, death of a grandparent, Dementia, depression, homophobio/queerphobia, misgendering, suicidal ideation, transphobia.

Summary: An empowering and emotional debut about a genderqueer teen who finds the courage to stand up and speak out for equality when they are discriminated against by their high school administration.

Carey Parker dreams of being a diva, and bringing the house down with song. They can hit every note of all the top pop and Broadway hits. But despite their talent, emotional scars from an incident with a homophobic classmate and their grandmother’s spiraling dementia make it harder and harder for Carey to find their voice.

Then Carey meets Cris, a singer/guitarist who makes Carey feel seen for the first time in their life. With the rush of a promising new romantic relationship, Carey finds the confidence to audition for the role of Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West, in the school musical, setting off a chain reaction of prejudice by Carey’s tormentor and others in the school. It’s up to Carey, Cris, and their friends to defend their rights–and they refuse to be silenced.

Told in alternating chapters with identifying pronouns, debut author Steven Salvatore’s Can’t Take That Away conducts a powerful, uplifting anthem, a swoony romance, and an affirmation of self-identity that will ignite the activist in all of us.

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Sweet and Bitter Magic

Title: Sweet & Bitter Magic

Author: Adrienne Tooley

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books

Release Date: March 9, 2021

Genres: Fantasy, LGBT

Representation: F/F romance

Summary: In this charming debut fantasy perfect for fans of Sorcery of Thorns and Girls of Paper and Fire, 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.

Tamsin is the most powerful witch of her generation. But after committing the worst magical sin, she’s exiled by the ruling Coven and cursed with the inability to love. The only way she can get those feelings back—even for just a little while—is to steal love from others.

Wren is a source—a rare kind of person who is made of magic, despite being unable to use it herself. Sources are required to train with the Coven as soon as they discover their abilities, but Wren—the only caretaker to her ailing father—has spent her life hiding her secret.

When a magical plague ravages the queendom, Wren’s father falls victim. To save him, Wren proposes a bargain: if Tamsin will help her catch the dark witch responsible for creating the plague, then Wren will give Tamsin her love for her father.

Of course, love bargains are a tricky thing, and these two have a long, perilous journey ahead of them—that is, if they don’t kill each other first.

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The Secret Recipe for Moving On

Title: The Secret Recipe for Moving On

Author: Karen Bischer

Publisher: Swoon Reads

Release Date: March 23, 2021

Genres: Contemporary, Romance

Summary: Ellie Agresti’s not sure anything could be worse than being dumped by her boyfriend, Hunter, the first day of senior year.

But sharing a “life skills” class with him and his new girlfriend, Brynn? AND getting partnered with a “family” of misfits (A.J., the loudmouth; Isaiah, the horse-racing obsessive; and Luke, the tattooed stunt-biker)?

It’s a recipe for certain disaster…until an in-class competition allows Ellie to channel her angst into beating Hunter and Brynn’s team, and she unexpectedly bonds with her own group–especially Luke–in the process.

But as Ellie soon discovers, it will take more than classroom triumphs to heal her broken heart–and find herself again.

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Shes Too Pretty to Burn

Title: She’s Too Pretty to Burn

Author: Wendy Heard

Publisher: Henry Holt & Co.

Release Date: March 30, 2021

Genres: Contemporary, Thriller, LGBT

Representation: F/F romance

Content/Trigger Warnings: Murder, Stalker

Summary: Inspired by The Picture of Dorian Gray, this sexy psychological thriller explores the intersections of love, art, power and violence. For fans of E. Lockhart, Lauren Oliver and Kara Thomas.

The summer is winding down in San Diego. Veronica is bored, caustically charismatic, and uninspired in her photography. Nico is insatiable, subversive, and obsessed with chaotic performance art. They’re artists first, best friends second. But that was before Mick. Delicate, lonely, magnetic Mick: the perfect subject, and Veronica’s dream girl. The days are long and hot—full of adventure—and soon they are falling in love. Falling so hard, they never imagine what comes next.

One fire. Two murders. Three drowning bodies. One suspect… one stalker. This is the summer they won’t survive.

New love spirals into lethal danger in this expertly plotted YA thriller.

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9781250268099

Title: What Beauty There Is

Author: Cory Anderson

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Release Date: April 6, 2021

Genres: Thriller

Summary: An exhilarating, emotionally powerful and superbly written thriller that’s Winter’s Bone meets The Road

Winter. The sky is dark. It is cold enough to crack bones.

Jack Morton has nothing left. Except his younger brother, Matty, who he’d do anything for. Even die for. Now with their mother gone, and their funds quickly dwindling, Jack needs to make a choice: lose his brother to foster care, or find the drug money that sent his father to prison. He chooses the money.

Ava Bardem lives in isolation, a life of silence. For seventeen years her father has controlled her fate. He has taught her to love no one. Trust no one. Now Victor Bardem is stalking the same money as Jack. When he picks up Jack’s trail, Ava must make her own wrenching choice: remain silent or help the brothers survive.

Choices. They come at a price.

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Kisses and Croissants

Title: Kisses and Croissants

Author: Anne-Sophie Jouhanneau

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Release Date: April 6, 2021

Genres: Contemporary, Romance

Representation: French love interest

Summary: As sweet as a macaron from Laduree, with writing as crisp as a freshly baked baguette, this romantic novel set in Paris about an American ballerina and a charming French boy is parfait for fans of American Royals and Netflix’s To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before.

Sixteen-year-old Mia, an American girl at an elite summer ballet program, has six weeks to achieve her dreams: to snag an audition with one of the world’s best ballet companies. But there’s more to Paris than ballet—especially when a charming French boy, Louis, wants to be her tour guide—and the pair discover the city has a few mysteries up its sleeve.

In the vein of romances like Love and Gelato, this is the perfect summer adventure for anyone looking to get swept away in the City of Love.

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Somewhere Between Bitter and Sweet

Title: Somewhere Between Bitter and Sweet

Author: Laekan Zea Kemp

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (first traditional published book)

Release Date: April 6, 2021

Genres: Contemporary, Romance

Representation: Mexican American/Chicanx

Summary: I’m Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter meets Emergency Contact in this stunning story of first love, familial expectations, the power of food, and finding where you belong.

As an aspiring pastry chef, Penelope Prado has always dreamed of opening her own pastelería next to her father’s restaurant, Nacho’s Tacos. But her mom and dad have different plans — leaving Pen to choose between disappointing her traditional Mexican-American parents or following her own path. When she confesses a secret she’s been keeping, her world is sent into a tailspin. But then she meets a cute new hire at Nacho’s who sees through her hard exterior and asks the questions she’s been too afraid to ask herself.

Xander Amaro has been searching for home since he was a little boy. For him, a job at Nacho’s is an opportunity for just that — a chance at a normal life, to settle in at his abuelo’s, and to find the father who left him behind. But when both the restaurant and Xander’s immigrant status are threatened, he will do whatever it takes to protect his new found family and himself.

Together, Pen and Xander must navigate first love and discovering where they belong — both within their families and their fiercely loyal Chicanx community — in order to save the place they all call home.

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Half-Orphans Handbook

Title: The Half-Orphan’s Handbook

Author: Joan F. Smith

Publisher: Imprint

Release Date: April 6, 2021

Genres: Contemporary

Content/Trigger Warnings: Suicide, grief

Summary: For fans of John Green and Emily X.R. Pan, The Half-Orphan’s Handbook is a coming-of-age story and an empathetic, authentic exploration of grief with a sharp sense of humor and a big heart.

It’s been three months since Lila lost her father to suicide. Since then, she’s learned to protect herself from pain by following two unbreakable rules:

1. The only people who can truly hurt you are the ones you love. Therefore, love no one.

2. Stay away from liars. Liars are the worst.

But when Lila’s mother sends her to a summer-long grief camp, it’s suddenly harder for Lila to follow these rules. Potential new friends and an unexpected crush threaten to drag her back into life for the first time since her dad’s death.

On top of everything, there’s more about what happened that Lila doesn’t know, and facing the truth about her family will be the hardest part of learning how a broken heart can love again.

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Victories Greater Than Death

Title: Victories Greater Than Death

Author: Charlie Jane Anders

Publisher: Tor Teen

Release Date: April 13, 2021

Genres: Science Fiction, LGBT

Summary: A thrilling adventure set against an intergalactic war with international bestselling author Charlie Jane Anders at the helm in her YA debut—think Star Wars meets Doctor Who, and buckle your seatbelts

Tina has always known her destiny is outside the norm—after all, she is the human clone of the most brilliant alien commander in all the galaxies (even if the rest of the world is still deciding whether aliens exist). But she is tired of waiting for her life to begin.

And then it does—and maybe Tina should have been more prepared. At least she has a crew around her that she can trust—and her best friend at her side. Now, they just have to save the world.

From internationally bestselling author Charlie Jane Anders (All the Birds in the Sky) comes a thrilling adventure set against an intergalactic war—Anders’s long-awaited YA debut.

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Between Perfect and RealTitle: Between Perfect and Real

Author: Ray Stoeve

Publisher: Amulet Books

Release Date: April 13, 2021

Genres: Contemporary, LGBT

Representation: Transgender protagonist

Content/Trigger Warnings: Discussion of suicide, homophobia, transphobia

Summary: A moving YA debut about a trans boy finding his voice—and himself

Dean Foster knows he’s a trans guy. He’s watched enough YouTube videos and done enough questioning to be sure. But everyone at his high school thinks he’s a lesbian—including his girlfriend Zoe, and his theater director, who just cast him as a “nontraditional” Romeo. He wonders if maybe it would be easier to wait until college to come out. But as he plays Romeo every day in rehearsals, Dean realizes he wants everyone to see him as he really is now––not just on the stage, but everywhere in his life. Dean knows what he needs to do. Can playing a role help Dean be his true self?

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These Feathered Flames

Title: These Feathered Flames

Author: Alexandra Overy

Publisher: Inkyard Press

Release Date: April 20, 2021

Genres: Fantasy, Retelling, LGBT

Representation: F/F Romance, Sign language (side character)

Content/Trigger Warnings: Abuse, death of a parent, emotional and physical abuse, fantasy violence, on page death, 

Summary: Three Dark Crowns meets Wicked Saints in this queer #ownvoices retelling of “The Firebird,” a Russian folktale, by debut author Alexandra Overy.

When twin heirs are born in Tourin, their fates are decided at a young age. While Izaveta remained at court to learn the skills she’d need as the future queen, Asya was taken away to train with her aunt, the mysterious Firebird, who ensured magic remained balanced in the realm.

But before Asya’s training is completed, the ancient power blooms inside her, which can mean only one thing: the queen is dead, and a new ruler must be crowned.

As the princesses come to understand everything their roles entail, they’ll discover who they can trust, who they can love—and who killed their mother.

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Witches Steeped in Gold

Title: Witches Steeped in Gold

Author: Ciannon Smart

Publisher: HarperTeen

Release Date: April 20, 2021

Genres: Fantasy, Witches

Representation: Jamaican

Content/Trigger Warnings: Blood, death, torture

Summary: Divided by their castes. United by their vengeance.

Iraya has spent her life in a cell, but every day brings her closer to freedom—and vengeance.

Jazmyne is the queen’s daughter, but unlike her sister before her, she has no intention of dying to strengthen her mother’s power.

Sworn enemies, these two witches enter a precarious alliance to take down a mutual threat. But revenge is a bloody pursuit, and nothing is certain—except the lengths they will go to win this game.

Deadly, fierce, magnetically addictive: this Jamaican-inspired fantasy debut is a thrilling journey where dangerous magic reigns supreme and betrayal lurks beneath every word.

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Slingshot

Title: Slingshot

Author: Mercedes Helnwein

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Release Date: April 27, 2021

Genres: Contemporary, Romance

Content/Trigger warnings: Bullying

Summary: An exciting debut contemporary young adult novel perfect for fans of Rainbow Rowell and Mary H. K. Choi

Grace Welles had resigned herself to the particular loneliness of being fifteen and stuck at a third-tier boarding school in the swamps of Florida, when she accidentally saves the new kid in her class from being beat up. With a single aim of a slingshot, the monotonous mathematics of her life are obliterated forever…because now there is this boy she never asked for. Wade Scholfield.

With Wade, Grace discovers a new way to exist. School rules are optional, life is bizarrely perfect, and conversations about wormholes can lead to make-out sessions that disrupt any logical stream of thoughts.

So why does Grace crush Wade’s heart into a million tiny pieces? And what are her options when she finally realizes that 1. The universe doesn’t revolve around her, and 2. Wade has been hiding a dark secret. Is Grace the only person unhinged enough to save him?

Acidly funny and compulsively readable, Mercedes Helnwein’s debut novel Slingshot is a story about two people finding each other and then screwing it all up. See also: soulmate, friendship, stupidity, sex, bad poetry, and all the indignities of being in love for the first time.

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IndivisibleTitle: Indivisible

Author: Daniel Aleman

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Release Date: May 4, 2021

Genres: Contemporary, Realistic Fiction

Representation: Deportation, Immigration

Summary: A timely, moving debut novel about a teen’s efforts to keep his family together while his parents face deportation from the United States.

There is a word Mateo Garcia and his younger sister Sophie have been taught to fear for as long as they can remember: deportation. Over the past few years, however, the fear that their undocumented immigrant parents could be sent back to Mexico has started to fade to the back of their minds. And why wouldn’t it, when their Ma and Pa have been in the United States for so long, they have American-born children, and they’re hard workers and good neighbors?

When two ICE agents come asking for Pa, the Garcia family realizes that the lives they’ve built are about to come crumbling down. And when Mateo returns from school one day to find that his parents have been taken, he must come to terms with the fact that his family’s worst nightmare has become a reality. With his parents’ fate and his own future hanging in the balance, Mateo must figure out who he is and what he is capable of, even as he’s forced to question what it means to be an American teenager in a country that rejects his own mom and dad.

Daniel Aleman’s Indivisible is a remarkable story — both powerful in its explorations of immigration in America and deeply intimate in its portrait of a teen boy driven by his fierce, protective love for his parents and his sister.

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Counting Down with You

Title: Counting Down with You

Author: Tashie Bhuiyan

Publisher: Inkyard Press

Release Date: May 4, 2021

Genres: Contemporary, Romance

Representation: Bangladesh-Muslim protagonist

Tropes: Fake dating, bad boy relationship

Content/Trigger Warnings: Anxiety, anxiety attacks, Verbal and psychological abuse from parents

Summary: In this sparkling and romantic YA debut, a reserved Bangladeshi teenager has twenty-eight days to make the biggest decision of her life after agreeing to fake date her school’s resident bad boy.

How do you make one month last a lifetime?

Karina Ahmed has a plan. Keep her head down, get through high school without a fuss, and follow her parents’ rules—even if it means sacrificing her dreams. When her parents go abroad to Bangladesh for four weeks, Karina expects some peace and quiet. Instead, one simple lie unravels everything.

Karina is my girlfriend.

Tutoring the school’s resident bad boy was already crossing a line. Pretending to date him? Out of the question. But Ace Clyde does everything right—he brings her coffee in the mornings, impresses her friends without trying, and even promises to buy her a dozen books (a week) if she goes along with his fake-dating facade. Though Karina agrees, she can’t help but start counting down the days until her parents come back.

T-minus twenty-eight days until everything returns to normal—but what if Karina no longer wants it to?

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Hurricane Summer

Title: Hurricane Summer

Author: Asha Bromfield

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Release Date: May 4, 2021

Genres: Contemporary, Romance

Representation: Jamaican protagonist

Summary: Sometimes the storm is inside of you…

The powerful and emotional debut novel from Riverdale and Locke and Key actress Asha Bromfield that deals with colorism, classism, young love, the father-daughter dynamic—and what it means to discover your own voice in the center of complete destruction.

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Book Cover Coming Soon

Title: The Hollow Inside

Author: Brooke Lauren Davis

Publisher: Bloomsbury YA

Release Date: May 4, 2021

Genres: Thriller

Content/Trigger Warnings: Anger

Summary: A gripping, twisty, thought-provoking YA debut about a girl caught in a web of betrayal and revenge, for fans of Sadie.

Phoenix and mom Nina have spent years on the road, using their charm and wits to swindle and steal to get by. Now they’ve made it to their ultimate destination, Mom’s hometown of Jasper Hollow. The plan: bring down Ellis Bowman, the man who ruined Nina’s life.

After Phoenix gets caught spying, she spins a convincing story that inadvertently gives her full access to the Bowman family. As she digs deeper into their secrets, she finds herself entrenched in the tale of a death and a disappearance that doesn’t entirely line up with what Mom has told her. Who, if anyone, is telling the whole truth?

Debut author Brooke Lauren Davis explores the murkiness of right and wrong, of choices and consequences and heroes and villains, in an eerily compelling and wholly satisfying small-town saga.

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Meet Cute Diary

Title: Meet Cute Diary

Author: Emery Lee

Publisher: Quill Tree Books

Release Date: May 4, 2021

Genres: Contemporary, LGBT

Representation: Trans protagonist

Tropes: Fake dating

Content/Trigger Warnings: Cyber bullying

Summary: Felix Ever After meets Becky Albertalli in this swoon-worthy, heartfelt rom-com about how a transgender teen’s first love challenges his ideas about perfect relationships.

Noah Ramirez thinks he’s an expert on romance. He has to be for his popular blog, the Meet Cute Diary, a collection of trans happily ever afters. There’s just one problem—all the stories are fake. What started as the fantasies of a trans boy afraid to step out of the closet has grown into a beacon of hope for trans readers across the globe.

When a troll exposes the blog as fiction, Noah’s world unravels. The only way to save the Diary is to convince everyone that the stories are true, but he doesn’t have any proof. Then Drew walks into Noah’s life, and the pieces fall into place: Drew is willing to fake-date Noah to save the Diary. But when Noah’s feelings grow beyond their staged romance, he realizes that dating in real life isn’t quite the same as finding love on the page.

In this charming novel by Emery Lee, Noah will have to choose between following his own rules for love or discovering that the most romantic endings are the ones that go off script.

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Better Than the MoviesTitle: Better Than the Movies

Author: Lynn Painter

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Release Date: May 4, 2021

Genres: Contemporary, Romance

Summary: In this YA romantic comedy about romantic comedies, hopeless romantic Liz Buxbaum attempts to secure a happily-ever-after moment with her forever crush, but finds herself reluctantly drawn to the cute yet infuriating boy next door—the one she promised herself she’d never fall for.

Perpetual daydreamer Liz Buxbaum has always known that Wes Bennet was not boyfriend material. You would think that her annoyingly attractive next-door neighbor would be a prime candidate for her romantic comedy fantasies, but Wes has only proven himself to be a pain in the butt, ever since they were little. But now it’s Liz’s senior year, a time meant to be rife with milestones perfect for any big screen, and she needs Wes’s help. See, Liz’s forever crush Michael has just moved back to town, and—horribly, annoyingly—he’s hitting it off with Wes.

Meaning that if Liz wants Michael to finally really notice her, and hopefully be her prom date, she needs Wes. He’s her in.

But as Liz and Wes scheme to get Liz her magical prom moment, she’s shocked to discover that she likes being around Wes. And as they continue to grow closer, she must reexamine everything she thought she knew about love—and rethink her own perception of what happily ever after should really look like.

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This is For Tonight

Title: This Is For Tonight

Author: Jessica Patrick

Publisher: Swoon Reads

Release Date: May 4, 2021

Genres: Contemporary

Summary: Andi Kennedy knows the best cure for her breakup is a weekend at a music festival with her twin brother. Nothing gets her mind right like great bands, footage for her popular YouTube channel, and cute boys-including the charming guy in the next campsite.

But the daylight reveals the guy is Jay Bankar, popular YouTube prankster. Andi can’t stand Jay, but when she enters a contest to win an interview with the headlining band, he’s her biggest competition.

The interview will be huge for Andi’s channel, and she’ll do whatever it takes to win. But as she and Jay go head-to-head, Andi discovers there’s more to him than his jerky on-screen persona. Soon she must decide what’s more important-winning, or giving a second chance to a guy who couldn’t be more wrong for her.

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The Other Side of PerfectTitle: The Other Side of Perfect

Author: Mariko Turk

Publisher: Little, Brown/Poppy

Release Date: May 11, 2021

Genres: Contemporary, Romance

Summary: Alina Keeler was destined to dance, but one terrifying fall shatters her leg–and her dreams of a professional ballet career along with it. 

After a summer healing (translation: eating vast amounts of Cool Ranch Doritos and binging ballet videos on YouTube), she is forced to trade her pre-professional dance classes for normal high school, where she reluctantly joins the school musical. However, rehearsals offer more than she expected–namely Jude, her annoyingly attractive cast mate she just might be falling for. 

But to move forward, Alina must make peace with her past and face the racism she had grown to accept in the dance industry. She wonders what it means to yearn for ballet–something so beautiful, yet so broken. And as broken as she feels, can she ever open her heart to someone else? 

Touching, romantic, and peppered with humor, this debut novel explores the tenuousness of perfectionism, the possibilities of change, and the importance of raising your voice. 

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May the Best Man Win

Title: May the Best Man Win

Author: Z.R. Ellor

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Release Date: May 18, 2021

Genres: Contemporary, LGBT, Romance

Representation: Transgender protagonist, M/M romance

Tropes: Enemies to Lovers, second chance romance

Summary: 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.

Jeremy Harkiss, cheer captain and student body president, won’t let coming out as a transgender boy ruin his senior year. Instead of bowing to the bigots and outdate school administration, Jeremy decides to make some noise—and how better than by challenging his all-star ex-boyfriend, Lukas for the title of Homecoming King?

Lukas Rivers, football star and head of the Homecoming Committee, is just trying to find order in his life after his older brother’s funeral and the loss long-term girlfriend—who turned out to be a boy. But when Jeremy threatens to break his heart and steal his crown, Lukas kick starts a plot to sabotage Jeremy’s campaign.

When both boys take their rivalry too far, the dance is on the verge of being canceled. To save Homecoming, they’ll have to face the hurt they’re both hiding—and the lingering butterflies they can’t deny.

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It Goes Like This

Title: It Goes Like This

Author: Miel Moreland

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Release Date: May 18, 2021

Genres: Contemporary, LGBT

Representation: Queer

Summary: In Miel Moreland’s heartfelt young adult debut, It Goes Like This, four queer teens realize that sometimes you have to risk hitting repeat on heartbreak.

Eva, Celeste, Gina, and Steph used to think their friendship was unbreakable. After all, they’ve been though a lot together, including the astronomical rise of Moonlight Overthrow, the world-famous queer pop band they formed in middle school, never expecting to headline anything bigger than the county fair.

But after a sudden falling out leads to the dissolution of the teens’ band, their friendship, and Eva and Celeste’s starry-eyed romance, nothing is the same. Gina and Celeste step further into the spotlight, Steph disappears completely, and Eva, heartbroken, takes refuge as a songwriter and secret online fangirl…of her own band. That is, until a storm devastates their hometown, bringing the four ex-best-friends back together. As they prepare for one last show, they’ll discover whether growing up always means growing apart.

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Made in KoreaTitle: Made in Korea

Author: Sarah Suk

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Release Date: May 18, 2021

Genres: Contemporary

Representation: Korean-American protagonist

Summary: Frankly in Love meets Shark Tank in this feel-good romantic comedy about two entrepreneurial Korean American teens who butt heads—and maybe fall in love—while running competing Korean beauty businesses at their high school.

There’s nothing Valerie Kwon loves more than making a good sale. Together with her cousin Charlie, they run V&C K-BEAUTY, their school’s most successful student-run enterprise. With each sale, Valerie gets closer to taking her beloved and adventurous halmeoni (grandmother) to her dream city, Paris.

Enter the new kid in class: Wes Jung, who is determined to pursue music after graduation despite his parents’ major disapproval. When his classmates clamor to buy the K-pop branded beauty products his mom gave him to “make new friends,” he sees an opportunity—one that may be the key to help him pay for the music school tuition he knows his parents won’t cover….

What he doesn’t realize, though, is that he is now V&C K-BEAUTY’s biggest competitor.

Stakes are high as Valerie and Wes try to outsell each other, make the most money, and take the throne for the best business in school—all while trying to resist the undeniable spark that’s crackling between them. From hiring spies to all-or-nothing bets, the competition is much more than either of them bargained for.

But one thing is clear: only one Korean business can come out on top.

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Words Composed of Sea and SkyTitle: Words Composed of Sea and Sky

Author: Erica George

Publisher: Running Press Kids

Release Date: May 25, 2021

Genres: Contemporary, Historical Fiction

Summary: A contemporary YA summer Cape Cod romance featuring poets divided by centuries

Michaela Dunn, living on present day Cape Cod, dreams of getting into an art school, something her family just doesn’t understand. When her stepfather refuses to fund a trip for a poetry workshop, Michaela finds the answer in a local contest searching for a poet to write the dedication plaque for a statue honoring Captain Benjamin Churchill, a whaler who died at sea 100 years ago. She struggles to understand why her town venerates Churchill, an almost mythical figure whose name adorns the school team and various tourist traps. When she discovers the 1862 diary of Leta Townsend, however, she gets a glimpse of Churchill that she didn’t quite anticipate. In 1862, Leta Townsend writes poetry under the name Benjamin Churchill, a boy who left for sea to hunt whales. Leta is astonished when Captain Churchill returns after his rumored death. She quickly falls for him. But is she falling for the actual captain or the boy she constructed in her imagination?

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The Coming StormTitle: The Coming Storm

Author: Regina M. Hansen

Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers

Release Date: May 25, 2021

Genres: Fantasy

Summary: Music, myth, and horror blend in this romantic, atmospheric fantasy debut about a teen girl who must fight a powerful evil that’s invaded her Prince Edward Island home—perfect for fans of An Enchantment of Ravens.

There’s a certain wild magic in the salt air and the thrum of the sea. Beet MacNeill has known this all her life. It added spice to her childhood adventures with her older cousin, Gerry, the two of them thick as thieves as they explored their Prince Edward Island home. So when Gerry comes up the path one early spring morning, Beet thinks nothing of it at first. But he is soaking wet and silent, and he plays a haunting tune on his fiddle that chills Beet to the bone. Something is very, very wrong.

Things only get worse when Marina Shaw saunters into town and takes an unsettling interest in Gerry’s new baby. Local lore is filled with tales of a vicious shape-shifting sea creature and the cold, beautiful woman who controls him—a woman who bears a striking resemblance to Marina. Beet is determined to find out what happened to her beloved cousin, and to prevent the same fate from befalling the handsome new boy in town who is winning her heart, whether she wants him to or not. Yet the sea always exacts a price…

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The Witch KingTitle: The Witch King

Author: H.E. Edgmon

Publisher: Inkyard Press

Release Date: June 1, 2021

Genres: Fantasy, LGBT, Witches, Faeries

Representation: Queer, Transgender protagonist

Summary: To save a fae kingdom, a trans witch must face his traumatic past and the royal fiancé he left behind. This debut YA fantasy will leave you spellbound.

Wyatt would give anything to forget where he came from—but a kingdom demands its king.

In Asalin, fae rule and witches like Wyatt Croft…don’t. Wyatt’s betrothal to his best friend, fae prince Emyr North, was supposed to change that. But when Wyatt lost control of his magic one devastating night, he fled to the human world.

Now a coldly distant Emyr has hunted him down. Despite transgender Wyatt’s newfound identity and troubling past, Emyr has no intention of dissolving their engagement. In fact, he claims they must marry now or risk losing the throne. Jaded, Wyatt strikes a deal with the enemy, hoping to escape Asalin forever. But as he gets to know Emyr, Wyatt realizes the boy he once loved may still exist. And as the witches face worsening conditions, he must decide once and for all what’s more important—his people or his freedom.

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Book Cover Coming SoonTitle: The Nature of Witches

Author: Rachel Griffin

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Release Date: June 1, 2021

Genres: Contemporary, Fantasy, Witches

Tropes: World’s only hope

Summary: Practical Magic meets Twister in this debut contemporary fantasy standalone about heartbreaking power, the terror of our collapsing atmosphere, and the ways we unknowingly change our fate.

For centuries, witches have maintained the climate, their power from the sun peaking in the season of their birth. But now their control is faltering as the atmosphere becomes more erratic. All hope lies with Clara, an Everwitch whose rare magic is tied to every season.

In Autumn, Clara wants nothing to do with her power. It’s wild and volatile, and the price of her magic―losing the ones she loves―is too high, despite the need to control the increasingly dangerous weather.

In Winter, the world is on the precipice of disaster. Fires burn, storms rage, and Clara accepts that she’s the only one who can make a difference.

In Spring, she falls for Sang, the witch training her. As her magic grows, so do her feelings, until she’s terrified Sang will be the next one she loses.

In Summer, Clara must choose between her power and her happiness, her duty and the people she loves…before she loses Sang, her magic, and thrusts the world into chaos.

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Jays Gay Agenda

Title: Jay’s Gay Agenda

Author: Jason June

Publisher: HarperTeen

Release Date: June 1, 2021

Genres: Contemporary, LGBT

Representation: Queer, Gay protagonist

Summary: There’s one thing Jay Collier knows for sure—he’s a statistical anomaly as the only out gay kid in his small rural Washington town. While all his friends can’t stop talking about their heterosexual hookups and relationships, Jay can only dream of his own firsts, compiling a romance to-do list of all the things he hopes to one day experience—his Gay Agenda.

Then, against all odds, Jay’s family moves to Seattle and he starts his senior year at a new high school with a thriving LGBTQIA+ community. For the first time ever, Jay feels like he’s found where he truly belongs, where he can flirt with Very Sexy Boys and search for love. But as Jay begins crossing items off his list, he’ll soon be torn between his heart and his hormones, his old friends and his new ones…because after all, life and love don’t always go according to plan.

From debut novelist Jason June comes a moving and hilarious sex-positive story about the complexities of first loves, first hookups, and first heartbreaks—and how to stay true to yourself while embracing what you never saw coming.

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Title: Reconnected

Author: Catherine Tinker

Publisher: Swoon Reads

Release Date: June 1, 2021

Genres: Contemporary, Romance

Tropes: Secret identities

Summary: Anne Ellison and Freddie Whitlock were best friends all through middle school, even though they never met in person. But when Anne did something unforgivable to Freddie, their friendship quickly fell apart.

Four years later, Freddie comes to Anne’s town for the summer before she starts college. He’s training to be an Olympic gymnast. Anne knows that Freddie is the boy from her past—but Freddie has no idea. As Anne and Freddie start to spend more time together, Anne can’t help but fall for Freddie.

Can Anne find a way her way into Freddie’s heart—while keeping her identity secret? Or will the lies she’s telling tear their relationship apart?

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Daughter of Sparta NewTitle: Daughter of Sparta

Author: Claire M. Andrews

Publisher: Jimmy Patterson Books

Release Date: June 8, 2021

Genres: Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Mythology

Tropes: Enemies to Lovers

Summary: Sparta forged her into a deadly weapon. Now the Gods need her to save the world!

Seventeen-year-old Daphne has spent her entire life honing her body and mind into that of a warrior, hoping to be accepted by the unyielding people of ancient Sparta. But an unexpected encounter with the goddess Artemis—who holds Daphne’s brother’s fate in her hands—upends the life she’s worked so hard to build. Nine mysterious items have been stolen from Mount Olympus and if Daphne cannot find them, the gods’ waning powers will fade away, the mortal world will descend into chaos, and her brother’s life will be forfeit.

Guided by Artemis’s twin-the handsome and entirely-too-self-assured god Apollo-Daphne’s journey will take her from the labyrinth of the Minotaur to the riddle-spinning Sphinx of Thebes, team her up with mythological legends such as Theseus and Hippolyta of the Amazons, and pit her against the gods themselves.

A reinterpretation of the classic Greek myth of Daphne and Apollo, DAUGHTER OF SPARTA by debut author Claire Andrews turns the traditionally male-dominated mythology we know into a heart-pounding and empowering female-led adventure.

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The Sea is Salt and So am I

Title: The Sea is Salt and So Am I

Author: Cassandra Hartt

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Release Date: June 8, 2021

Genres: Contemporary

Content/Trigger Warnings: Depression

Summary: West Finch is one hurricane away from falling into the sea.

Yet sixteen-year-old Harlow Prout is determined to save her small Maine hometown. If only she could stop getting in her own way and find someone, anyone, willing to help. But her best friend Ellis MacQueen “fixes” problems by running away from them―including his broken relationship with his twin brother, Tommy. And Tommy’s depression has hit a new low, so he’s not up for fixing anything.

In the wake of the town’s latest devastating storm, Tommy goes out for a swim that he doesn’t intend to survive. It’s his unexpected return that sets into motion a sea change between these three teens. One that tests old loyalties, sparks new romance, and uncovers painful secrets. And nothing stays secret in West Finch for long.

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Down with this Ship

Title: Down With This Ship

Author: Katie Kingman

Publisher: Flux Books

Release Date: June 8, 2021

Genres: Contemporary

Representation: Mental health, anxiety

Content/Trigger warnings: Mental health

Summary: Kole Miller does one thing really well: write fanfiction for the show The Space Game. Everything else is a struggle: like managing her anxiety, frequent crushes, and plans after high school. But when her blog, Spacer, wins a major fanfiction contest, her traffic soars.

With massive readership comes criticism Kole isn’t prepared for, including getting stuck in the heated ship wars surrounding the show. And then an invitation to speak at The Space Game’s official convention arrives in her inbox.

When the most competitive kids in her Creative Writing class discover Kole’s writing Spacer, her blog is taken hostage and she risks them hitting ctrl+A+del on Spacer. To win it back, Kole must face both her inner demons and the ones at Crystal Lake High before they make the drama not just about The Space Game, but about Kole herself.

Including snippets from Kole’s fanfic, emails, and text messages, Down With This Ship is sure to bring out the inner fangirl in anyone.

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Girls at the Edge of the WorldTitle: Girls at the Edge of the World

Author: Laura Brooke Robson

Publisher: Dial Books

Release Date: June 8, 2021

Genres: Fantasy, LGBT

Representation: F/F romance

Summary: Set in a world on the edge of an apocryphal flood, this heart-stoppingly romantic fantasy debut is perfect for fans of Rachel Hartman and Rae Carson.

In a world bound for an epic flood, only a chosen few are guaranteed safe passage into the new world once the waters recede. The Kostrovian royal court will be saved, of course, along with their guards. But the fate of the court’s Royal Flyers, a lauded fleet of aerial silk performers, is less certain. Hell-bent on survival, Principal Flyer, Natasha Koskinen, will do anything to save the Flyers, who are the only family she’s ever known. Even if “anything” means molding herself into the type of girl who could be courted by Prince Nikolai. But unbeknownst to Natasha, her newest recruit, Ella Neves, is driven less by her desire to survive the floods than her thirst for revenge. And Ella’s mission could put everything Natasha has worked for in peril.

As the oceans rise, so too does an undeniable spark between the two flyers. With the end of the world looming, and dark secrets about the Kostrovian court coming to light, Ella and Natasha can either give in to despair . . . or find a new reason to live.

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Book Cover Coming SoonTitle: Fifteen Hundred Miles From the Sun

Author: Johnny Garza Villa

Publisher: Skyscape

Release Date: June 8, 2021

Genres: Contemporary, LGBT

Representation: Gay protagonist, M/M romance

Tropes: Long distance romance

Content/Trigger Warnings: Homophobia

Summary: An #OwnVoices debut pitched as SIMON VS. THE HOMO SAPIENS AGENDA meets ONE DAY AT A TIME, in a home where social conservatism, machismo, and masculine identity run deep, Corpus Christi, Texas high school senior Julián Luna is forced to keep his gay identity a secret. Jules’ only focus is laying low the next ten months and enjoying every moment he has left with his friends before college takes them on separate paths.

Completely doable.

Until Jules wakes up hungover and discovers he came out on Twitter in between tequila shots. In an instant, his entire life is thrown—literally—out the closet.

Helping him navigate the life that is openly gay Jules is Mat, a Twitter mutual from Los Angeles who slides into Jules’ DMs. He’s friendly, supportive, funny, and so attractive. He’s the first person Jules says the words “I’m gay” to. And, if he weren’t three states away, could definitely be Jules’ first boyfriend.

But a cute boy living halfway across the country can’t fix all Jules’ problems. There’s one thing he’ll have to face on his own: coming out to his homophobic father.

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Sisters of the SnakeTitle: Sisters of the Storm

Author: Sasha Nanua and Sarena Nanua

Publisher: HarperTeen

Release Date: June 15, 2021

Genres: Fantasy, Retellings

Representation: Indian protagonists, Indian-inspired world

Summary:A lost princess. A dark puppet master. And a race against time—before all is lost.

Princess Rani longs for a chance to escape her gilded cage and prove herself. Ria is a street urchin, stealing just to keep herself alive.

When these two lives collide, everything turns on its head: because Ria and Rani, orphan and royal, are unmistakably identical.

A deal is struck to switch places—but danger lurks in both worlds, and to save their home, thief and princess must work together. Or watch it all fall into ruin.

Deadly magic, hidden temples, and dark prophecies: Sisters of the Snake is an action-packed, immersive fantasy that will thrill fans of The Crown’s Game and The Tiger at Midnight.

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The Summer of Lost LettersTitle: The Summer of Lost Letters

Author: Hannah Reynolds

Publisher: Razorbill

Release Date: June 15, 2021

Genres: Contemporary, Historical

Summary: Perfect for fans of Morgan Matson and Ruta Sepetys, this sweet, summery romance set in Nantucket follows seventeen-year-old Abby Schoenberg as she uncovers a secret about her grandmother’s life during WWII.

Seventeen-year-old Abby Schoenberg isn’t exactly looking forward to the summer before her senior year. She’s just broken up with her first boyfriend and her friends are all off in different, exciting directions for the next three months. Abby needs a plan–an adventure of her own. Enter: the letters.

They show up one rainy day along with the rest of Abby’s recently deceased grandmother’s possessions. And these aren’t any old letters; they’re love letters. Love letters from a mystery man named Edward. Love letters from a mansion on Nantucket. Abby doesn’t know much about her grandmother’s past. She knows she was born in Germany and moved to the US when she was five, fleeing the Holocaust. But the details are either hazy or nonexistent; and these letters depict a life that is a bit different than the quiet one Abby knows about.

And so, Abby heads to Nantucket for the summer to learn more about her grandmother and the secrets she kept. But when she meets Edward’s handsome grandson, who wants to stop her from investigating, things get complicated. As Abby and Noah grow closer, the mysteries in their families deepen, and they discover that they both have to accept the burdens of their pasts if they want the kinds of futures they’ve always imagined.

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Blood Like MagicTitle: Blood Like Magic

Author: Liselle Sambury

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry

Release Date: June 15, 2021

Genres: Fantasy, Witches

Representation: Black protagonist

Summary: A rich, dark urban fantasy debut following a teen witch who is given a horrifying task: sacrificing her first love to save her family’s magic. The problem is, she’s never been in love—she’ll have to find the perfect guy before she can kill him.

After years of waiting for her Calling—a trial every witch must pass in order to come into their powers—the one thing Voya Thomas didn’t expect was to fail. When Voya’s ancestor gives her an unprecedented second chance to complete her Calling, she agrees—and then is horrified when her task is to kill her first love. And this time, failure means every Thomas witch will be stripped of their magic.

Voya is determined to save her family’s magic no matter the cost. The problem is, Voya has never been in love, so for her to succeed, she’ll first have to find the perfect guy—and fast. Fortunately, a genetic matchmaking program has just hit the market. Her plan is to join the program, fall in love, and complete her task before the deadline. What she doesn’t count on is being paired with the infuriating Luc—how can she fall in love with a guy who seemingly wants nothing to do with her?

With mounting pressure from her family, Voya is caught between her morality and her duty to her bloodline. If she wants to save their heritage and Luc, she’ll have to find something her ancestor wants more than blood. And in witchcraft, blood is everything.

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Kind of Sort of FineTitle: Kind of Sort of Fine

Author: Spencer Hall

Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers

Release Date: June 22, 2021

Genres: Contemporary, Romance

Summary: Senior year changes everything for two teens in this poignant, funny coming-of-age story that looks at what happens when the image everyone has of us no longer matches who we really are.

Senior year of high school is full of changes.

For Hayley Mills, these changes aren’t exactly welcome. All she wants is for everyone to forget about her very public breakdown and remember her as the overachiever she once was—and who she’s determined to be again. But it’s difficult to be seen as a go-getter when she’s forced into TV Production class with all the slackers like Lewis Holbrook.

For Lewis, though, this is going to be his year. After a summer spent binging 80s movies, he’s ready to upgrade from the role of self-described fat, funny sidekick to leading man of his own life—including getting the girl. The only thing standing in his way is, well, himself.

When the two are partnered up in class, neither is particularly thrilled. But then they start making mini documentaries about their classmates’ hidden talents, and suddenly Hayley is getting attention for something other than her breakdown, and Lewis isn’t just a background character anymore. It seems like they’re both finally getting what they want—except what happens when who you’ve become isn’t who you really are?

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The Mythic Koda RoseTitle: The Mythic Koda Rose

Author: Jennifer Nissley

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Release Date: July 13, 2021

Genres: Contemporary, LGBT

Representation: Lesbian protagonist

Summary: In the spirit of Nina LaCour and Adam Silvera, this offbeat and romantic debut novel follows a teen girl whose desire to find out more about her late rock star father brings her closer to the last person she expected.

Everything Koda Rose knows about her father she’s learned from other people. Moving to New York City with her mom won’t change that, even if New York was Mack Grady’s city—where he became famous, where he wrote his music, and also where he died.

Koda has more important things on her mind. Like how she’s in love with her best friend, Lindsay, and doesn’t have the courage to tell her. Agonizing over how to confess her feelings leads Koda to explore Mack’s enigmatic history in search of answers. She tracks down her dad’s band mate and ex-girlfriend, Sadie Pasquale, and finds herself becoming rapidly obsessed with the mercurial musician.

As Koda and Sadie’s complicated bond deepens, they are both forced to grapple with the black hole Mack left behind, or get sucked in themselves.

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You and Me at the End of the WorldTitle: You and Me at the End of the World

Author: Brianna Bourne

Publisher: Scholastic Press

Release Date: July 20, 2021

Genres: Apocalyptic

Summary: This is no ordinary apocalypse…

Hannah Ashton wakes up to silence. The entire city around her is empty, except for one other person: Leo Sterling. Leo might be hottest boy ever (and not just because he’s the only one left), but he’s also too charming, too selfish, and too devastating for his own good, let alone Hannah’s.

Stuck with only each other, they explore a world with no parents, no friends, and no school and realize that they can be themselves instead of playing the parts everyone expects of them. Hannah doesn’t have to be just an overachieving, music-box-perfect ballerina, and Leo can be more than a slacker, 80s-glam-metal-obsessed guitarist. Leo is a burst of honesty and fun that draws Hannah out, and Hannah’s got Leo thinking about someone other than himself for the first time.

Together, they search for answers amid crushing isolation, but while their empty world may appear harmless . . . it’s not. Because nothing is quite as it seems, and if Hannah and Leo don’t figure out what’s going on, they might just be torn apart forever.

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After the Ink DriesTitle: After the Ink Dries

Author: Cassie Gustafson

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Release Date: July 20, 2021

Genres: Contemporary, Drama

Content/Trigger Warnings: Drinking, Pranks

Summary: What does it mean when you thought you knew someone? What does it mean when that person is your new boyfriend? Courtney Summers meets Deb Caletti in this page-turning suspense story of what it is to face hard truths about yourself and others, and how to find strength when you need it most.

Sixteen-year-old Erica Walker is a webcomic artist who wants to fit in at her affluent new high school. Seventeen-year-old Thomas VanBrackel is an aspiring songwriter and reluctant lacrosse goalie who wants out from under his father’s thumb. After their electric first kiss at Saturday’s lacrosse match, Erica and Thomas are both elated to see where their new relationship could take them.

The next morning, however, following a drunken house party, Erica wakes up half-clothed, and discovers words and names drawn in Sharpie in intimate places on her body—names belonging to Thomas’s lacrosse friends, including the boyfriend of Erica’s best friend. Devastated, Erica convinces herself Thomas wasn’t involved in this horrific so-called “prank”…until she discovers Thomas’s name on her skin, too.

Told in alternating viewpoints, Erica seeks to uncover what happened while battling to keep evidence of her humiliation from leaking out, as Thomas grapples with his actions and who he thought he was. Woven throughout, illustrated graphic novel interstitials depict Erica’s alter ego superhero, Erica Strange, whose courage just might help Erica come through to the other side.

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Book Cover Coming Soon

Title: Borderland

Author: Graham Akhurst

Publisher: Hachette Australia

Release Date: July 2021

Genres: Contemporary, Science Fiction, Mystery

Summary: A coming-of-age, YA eco-thriller about Indigenous land rights with sci-fi elements.

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Book Cover Coming SoonTitle: Spice Road

Author: Maiya Ibrahim

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Release Date: July 2021

Genres: High Fantasy

Representation: Arabian-inspired world

Summary: Kelsey Horton at Delacorte has acquired, at auction, Maiya Ibrahim’s debut YA trilogy Spice Road, a fantasy set in an Arabian-inspired land where a nation of tribes famous for their spices are attacked by an occupying king after he discovers their secret tea magic. The first book follows a teen girl who must guard the key to the source of her nation’s magic, and the orphan-turned-assassin whose future depends on him taking it from her. Publication is slated for spring 2021; Pete Knapp at Park & Fine Literary and Media negotiated the deal for North American rights.

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The Dead and the Dark

Title: The Dead and the Dark

Author: Courtney Gould

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Release Date: August 3, 2021

Genres: Fantasy, Horror, LGBT

Representation: F/F Romance

Tropes: Enemies to lovers

Content/Trigger Warnings: Child death, claustrophobia (buried alive), drowning, homophobia (verbal), murder, slurs

Summary: Courtney Gould’s thrilling debut The Dead and the Dark is about the things that lurk in dark corners, the parts of you that can’t remain hidden, and about finding home in places―and people―you didn’t expect.

The Dark has been waiting for far too long, and it won’t stay hidden any longer.

Something is wrong in Snakebite, Oregon. Teenagers are disappearing, some turning up dead, the weather isn’t normal, and all fingers seem to point to TV’s most popular ghost hunters who have just returned to town. Logan Ortiz-Woodley, daughter of TV’s ParaSpectors, has never been to Snakebite before, but the moment she and her dads arrive, she starts to get the feeling that there’s more secrets buried here than they originally let on.

Ashley Barton’s boyfriend was the first teen to go missing, and she’s felt his presence ever since. But now that the Ortiz-Woodleys are in town, his ghost is following her and the only person Ashley can trust is the mysterious Logan. When Ashley and Logan team up to figure out who—or what—is haunting Snakebite, their investigation reveals truths about the town, their families, and themselves that neither of them are ready for. As the danger intensifies, they realize that their growing feelings for each other could be a light in the darkness.

Courtney Gould’s thrilling debut The Dead and the Dark is about the things that lurk in dark corners, the parts of you that can’t remain hidden, and about finding home in places—and people—you didn’t expect.

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Book Cover Coming SoonTitle: Like a Love Song

Author: Gabriela Martins

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Release Date: August 3, 2021

Genres: Contemporary, Romance, LGBT

Representation: Latina protagonist, queer side characters

Tropes: Fake relationship

Summary: This debut paperback original romance follows a Latina teen pop star whose image takes a dive after a messy public breakup, until she’s set up with a swoon-worthy fake boyfriend.

Fake boyfriend. Real heartbreak?

Natalie is living her dream: topping the charts and setting records as a Brazilian pop star…until she’s dumped spectacularly on live television. Not only is it humiliating—it could end her career.

Her PR team’s desperate plan? A gorgeous yet oh-so-fake boyfriend. Nati reluctantly agrees, but William is not what she expected. She was hoping for a fierce bad boy—not a soft-hearted British indie film star. While she fights her way back to the top with a sweet and surprisingly swoon-worthy boy on her arm, she starts to fall for William—and realizes that maybe she’s the biggest fake of them all. Can she reclaim her voice and her heart?

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Dragonbird in the Fern

Title: A Dragonbird in the Fern

Author: Laura Rueckert

Publisher: Flux

Release Date: August 3, 2021

Genres: Fantasy

Representation: Dyslexic protagonist

Content/Trigger Warnings: Murder

Summary: When an assassin kills Princess Jiara’s older sister Scilla, her vengeful ghost is doomed to walk their city of glittering canals, tormenting loved ones until the murderer is brought to justice. While the entire kingdom mourns, Scilla’s betrothed arrives and requests that seventeen-year-old Jiara take her sister’s place as his bride to confirm the alliance between their countries.

Marrying the young king intended for her sister and traveling to his distant home is distressing enough, but with dyslexia and years of scholarly struggles, Jiara abandoned any hope of learning other languages long ago. She’s terrified of life in a foreign land where she’ll be unable to communicate.

Then Jiara discovers evidence that her sister’s assassin comes from the king’s own country. If she marries the king, Jiara can hunt the murderer and release her family from Scilla’s ghost, whose thirst for blood mounts every day. To save her family, Jiara must find her sister’s killer . . . before he murders her too.

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The Devil Makes Three

Title: The Devil Makes Three

Author: Tori Bovalino

Publisher: Page Street Kids

Release Date: August 10, 2021

Genres: Fantasy

Summary: Tess Matheson only wants three things: time to practice her cello, for her sister to be happy, and for everyone else to leave her alone.

Instead, Tess finds herself working all summer at her boarding school library, shelving books and dealing with the intolerable patrons. The worst of them is Eliot Birch: snide, privileged, and constantly requesting forbidden grimoires. After a bargain with Eliot leads to the discovery of an ancient book in the library’s grimoire collection, the pair accidentally unleash a book-bound demon.

The demon will stop at nothing to stay free, manipulating ink to threaten those Tess loves and dismantling Eliot’s strange magic. Tess is plagued by terrible dreams of the devil and haunting memories of a boy who wears Eliot’s face. All she knows is to stay free, the demon needs her… and he’ll have her, dead or alive.

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Vampures Hearts and Other Dead ThingsTitle: Vampires, Hearts, and Other Dead Things

Author: Margie Fuston

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books

Release Date: August 24, 2021

Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal, Vampires

Content/Trigger Warnings: Terminal cancer

Summary: In this heart-wrenching debut YA novel that’s The Coldest Girl in Coldtown meets They Both Die at the End, a teen girl takes a trip to New Orleans with her estranged best friend to find a vampire to save her dying father.

Victoria and her dad have shared a love of the undead since the first vampire revealed his existence on live TV. Public fear soon drove the vampires back into hiding, yet Victoria and her father still dream about finding a vampire together. But when her dad is diagnosed with terminal cancer, it’s clear that’s not going to happen. Instead, Victoria vows to find a vampire herself—so that she can become one and then save her father.

Armed with research, speculations, and desperation—and helped by her estranged best friend, Henry—Victoria travels to New Orleans in search of a miracle. There she meets Nicholas, a mysterious young man who might give her what she desires. But first, he needs Victoria to prove she loves life enough to live forever.

She agrees to complete a series of challenges, from scarfing sugar-drenched beignets to singing with a jazz band, all to show she has what it takes to be immortal. But truly living while her father is dying feels like a betrayal. Victoria must figure out how to experience joy and grief at once, trusting all the while that Nicholas will hold up his end of the bargain…because the alternative is too impossible to imagine.

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Bad Witch BurningTitle: Bad Witch Burning

Author: Jessica Lewis

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Release Date: August 24, 2021

Genres: Fantasy, Witches

Representation: Black protagonist

Summary: For fans of Us and The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina comes a witchy story full of black girl magic as one girl’s dark ability to summon the dead offers her a chance at a new life, while revealing to her an even darker future.

Katrell doesn’t mind talking to the dead; she just wishes it made more money. Clients pay her to talk to their deceased loved ones, but it isn’t enough to support her unemployed mother and Mom’s deadbeat boyfriend-of-the-week. Things get worse, when a ghost warns her to stop the summonings or she’ll “burn everything down.” Katrell is willing to call them on their bluff, though. She has no choice. What do ghosts know about eating peanut butter for dinner?

However, when her next summoning accidentally raises someone from the dead, Katrell realizes that a live body is worth a lot more than a dead apparition. And, warning or not, she has no intention of letting this lucrative new business go.

But magic doesn’t come for free, and soon dark forces are closing in on Katrell. The further she goes, the more she risks the lives of not only herself, but those she loves. Katrell faces a choice: resign herself to poverty, or confront the darkness before it’s too late.

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ForestbornTitle: Forestborn

Author: Elayne Audrey Becker

Publisher: Tor Teen

Release Date: August 31, 2021

Genres: Fantasy

Summary: TO BE BORN OF THE FOREST IS A GIFT AND A CURSE.

Rora is a shifter, as magical as all those born in the wilderness–and as feared. She uses her abilities to spy for the king, traveling under different guises and listening for signs of trouble.

When a magical illness surfaces across the kingdom, Rora uncovers a devastating truth: Finley, the young prince and her best friend, has caught it, too. His only hope is stardust, the rarest of magical elements, found deep in the wilderness where Rora grew up–and to which she swore never to return.

But for her only friend, Rora will face her past and brave the dark, magical wood, journeying with her brother and the obstinate, older prince who insists on coming. Together, they must survive sentient forests and creatures unknown, battling an ever-changing landscape while escaping human pursuers who want them dead. With illness gripping the kingdom and war on the horizon, Finley’s is not the only life that hangs in the balance.

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Book Cover Coming SoonTitle: The Problem with the Other Side

Author: Kwame Ivery

Publisher: Soho Teen

Release Date: September 7, 2021

Genres: Contemporary

Representation: Interracial relationship

Content/Trigger Warnings: Acts of racism and bigotry, racist language, and gun violence are portrayed in this novel.

Summary: A searing YA debut that follows the joys, complexities, and heartbreaks of an interracial romance between high school sophomores during a volatile school election

Uly would rather watch old Westerns with his new girlfriend, Sallie, than get involved in his school’s messy politics—why focus on the “bad” and “ugly” when his days with Sallie are so good? His older sister Regina feels differently. She is fed up with the way white school-body presidential candidate Leona Walls talks about black students. Regina decides to run against Leona . . . and convinces Uly to be her campaign manager.

Sallie has no interest in managing her sister’s campaign, but how could she say no? After their parents’ death, Leona is practically her only family. Even after Leona is accused of running a racist campaign that targets the school’s students of color—including Sallie’s boyfriend, Uly—Sallie wants to give her sister the benefit of the doubt. But how long can she ignore the ugly truth behind Leona’s actions?

Together and apart, Uly and Sallie must navigate sibling loyalty and romantic love as the campaign spirals toward a devastating conclusion.

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Book Cover Coming SoonTitle: Not Here to Be Liked

Author: Michelle Quach

Publisher: Harper Children’s

Release Date: September 14, 2021

Genres: Contemporary

Representation: Chinese-Vietnamese-American protagonist

Summary: Chinese-Vietnamese-American Harvard graduate and graphic designer Michelle Quach’s NOT HERE TO BE LIKED, when a Chinese-Vietnamese-American is snubbed as the next editor-in-chief of the school paper for a less qualified, but more “likable” male peer, she finds herself caught between leading a feminist reckoning and falling for the boy she’s asking to step down, to Mabel Hsu at Harper Children’s, in a significant deal, at auction, in a two-book deal, for publication in fall 2021.

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Book Cover Coming SoonTitle: Daughters of a Dead Empire

Author: Carolyn Tara O’Neil

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Release Date: September 21, 2021

Genres: Historical, Retelling (Anastasia)

Summary: Carolyn Tara O’Neil’s debut DAUGHTERS OF A DEAD EMPIRE, pitched as a reimagining of the Anastasia legend, following two young women as they flee from the Red Army at the height of the Russian Revolution—one a peasant and proud member of the Bolshevik party and the other a battered, bourgeoisie girl who’s harboring a secret that could cost them their lives, to Mekisha Telfer at Roaring Brook Press, for publication in fall 2021, by Andrea Somberg at Harvey Klinger (NA).

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Title: Lakesedge

Author: Lyndall Clipstone

Publisher: Henry Holt & Co.

Release Date: October 12, 2021

Genres: Fantasy, Gothic

Summary: A lush gothic fantasy about monsters and magic, set on the banks of a cursed lake. Perfect for fans of Naomi Novik and Brigid Kemmerer.

There are monsters in the world.

When Violeta Graceling arrives at haunted Lakesedge estate, she expects to find a monster. She knows the terrifying rumors about Rowan Sylvanan, who drowned his entire family when he was a boy. But neither the estate nor the monster are what they seem.

There are monsters in the woods.

As Leta falls for Rowan, she discovers he is bound to the Lord Under, the sinister death god lurking in the black waters of the lake. A creature to whom Leta is inexplicably drawn…

There’s a monster in the shadows, and now it knows my name.

Now, to save Rowan—and herself—Leta must confront the darkness in her past, including unraveling the mystery of her connection to the Lord Under.

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Book Cover Coming SoonTitle: City of Shattered Light

Author: Claire Winn

Publisher: Flux

Release Date: October 19, 2021

Genres: Science Fiction, LGBT

Representation: F/F Romance, Queer, Found family

Summary: Flux has acquired Claire Winn’s debut, City of Shattered Light, a high-stakes adventure pitched as a queer, female-led Guardians of the Galaxy meets Escape from New York. Heiress Asa flees her controlling father to prevent her sister’s mind from being wiped – but must ally with Riven, a gunslinging smuggler bent on clawing her way up the criminal hierarchy, to outwit a monstrous AI and save Asa’s sister and their city.

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Title: Crossbones

Author: Kimberly Vale

Publisher: Wattpad Books

Release Date: October 2021

Genres: Fantasy, Adventure

Summary: When the pirate king dies without an heir, captains compete for the island throne in a deadly treasure hunt that draws together a stowaway with a vengeful plan, an honorable captain, and a young pirate with something to prove.

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Title: The Reckless Kind (originally named The Heathens of Muskox Hollow)

Author: Carly Heath

Publisher: Soho Teen

Release Date: November 2, 2021

Genres: Historical Fiction, LGBT

Representation: Ace main character, disability representation (unknown which disability), queerplatonic Triad 

Content/Trigger Warnings: Depression

Summary: Set in 1904 Norway, THE RECKLESS KIND follows a trio of queer teens—two boys and their best friend, Asta—who decide to defy the expectations of their rural Scandinavian village by leaving their families, living on their own, and challenging the town’s patriarch in the region’s annual winter horse race.

Asta Hedstrom doesn’t want to marry her betrothed. She’d rather spend her life performing in the village theater with her best friends: Gunnar Fuglestad, a darkly sarcastic heathen cursed with perpetual bad luck, and the troupe’s wealthy young director, Erlend Fournier.

Erlend has his own secret desires—to reveal his passion for Gunnar and to prove his devotion to Asta. Together, the trio set out to win the village’s annual horse race—the only possible way to acquire the kroner needed to save the Fuglestads’ farm. With this year’s competition threatening to be the most dangerous one yet, Asta and Erlend soon find the greatest peril they face is not the villagers’ hateful ignorance, nor the wild filly they need to train, but Gunnar’s insurmountable depression and the prospect of losing him forever.

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Book Cover Coming SoonTitle: Jade Fire Gold

Author: June C.L. Tan

Publisher: HarperTeen

Release Date: November 2, 2021

Genres: Fantasy, Mythology, LGBT

Representation: 100% POC cast (mentioned by author), East Asian mythology, lesbian couple (not main protagonist)

Summary: Told in a dual POV narrative reminiscent of EMBER IN THE ASHES, JADE FIRE GOLD is a YA fantasy is inspired by East Asian mythology and folk tales. Epic in scope but intimate in characterization, fans of classic fantasies by Tamora Pierce and the magical Asiatic setting of AVATAR: THE LAST AIRBENDER will enjoy this cinematic tale of family, revenge, and forgiveness.

In order to save her grandmother from a cult of dangerous priests, a peasant girl cursed with the power to steal souls enters a tenuous alliance with an exiled prince bent on taking back the Dragon Throne. The pair must learn to trust each other but are haunted by their pasts—and the true nature of her dark magic.

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Book Cover Coming SoonTitle: Mind Like a Diamond

Author: Amanda Pavlov

Publisher: Sword and Silk

Release Date: December 14, 2021

Genres: Fantasy, Witches

Representation: 100% POC cast (mentioned by author), East Asian mythology, lesbian couple (not main protagonist)

Summary: Seventeen-year-old gymnast, Lisette Colbert, is skeptical of her criminal mother’s claim that they are descendants of pirate witches. But on Halloween night, Lisette will learn you don’t have to believe in magic for it to kill you.

Lured by a $10,000 prize, Lisette recruits her best friend Xavier and together they enter The 13th Realm of Hell—an escape-room style Haunted House run by a mysterious coven. Xavier has his reservations, especially after reading the fine print on the waiver to enter.

Lisette is too focused on proving herself to consider the risks. With him or without him, she is determined to complete all thirteen realms. If she wins the prize money, she’ll avoid eviction from her beloved French Quarter apartment. But the witches who run the show don’t write happy endings.

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Title: The Ivory Key

Author: Akshaya Raman

Publisher: HMH

Release Date: 2021

Genres: Fantasy

Representation: Indian protagonists

Summary: Set in an Indian-inspired world where magic is a physical resource, four estranged royal siblings must find a new source of magic to save their country.

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Title: Within These Wicked Walls

Author: Lauren Blackwood

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Release Date: Fall 2021

Genres: Fantasy, Retelling (Jane Eyre)

Representation: Ethiopian-inspired

Summary: Tiffany Shelton at Wednesday Books has acquired, in a preempt, in a two-book deal, debut author Lauren Blackwood’s Within These Wicked Walls, an Ethiopian-inspired Jane Eyre retelling in which Andromeda—an unlicensed debtera—is hired to rid a castle of its dangerous curses, only to fall in love with the boy whose life hangs in the balance. Publication is scheduled for fall 2021; Lauren Spieller at TriadaUS Literary Agency negotiated the deal for world English rights.

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Title: The Jasmine Project

Author: Meredith Ireland

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Release Date: 2021

Genres: Contemporary, Romance

Representation: Adopted Korean-American protagonist

Summary: Jennifer Ung at Simon Pulse has acquired world rights to Meredith Ireland’s debut YA, The Jasmine Project, pitched as My Big Fat Greek Wedding meets The Bachelorette by way of Jenny Han, about a Korean-American adoptee who unwittingly finds herself at the center of a competition for her heart, as orchestrated by her overbearing but loving family. Publication is scheduled for fall 2021.

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Title: Stalking Shadows

Author: Cyla Panin

Publisher: Amulet Books

Release Date: 2021

Genres: Fantasy, Gothic, Retelling

Content/Trigger Warnings: Death

Summary: STALKING SHADOWS is a gothic, feminist fantasy retelling of Beauty and the Beast. To protect her sister, Marie laces perfumes with honeysuckle to mark victims for Ama to hunt when she transforms into a beast at night. But when a child in their town is killed, Marie is forced to acknowledge that she might be losing control of Ama—and must instead find a cure for this curse.

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Book Cover Coming SoonTitle: The Lady or the Lion

Author: Aamna Qureshi

Publisher: CamCat Books

Release Date: 2021

Genres: Historical, Romance, Retelling (“The Lady or the Tiger?”)

Representation: Pakistani setting, Pakistani protagonist

Tropes: Forbidden love

Summary: A 19th-century Pakistani historical romance retelling of Frank R. Stockton’s “The Lady or the Tiger?” in which a fiercely loyal princess tries to prove her grandfather’s innocence in an attack on neighboring leaders, while she navigates forbidden love and court intrigues alongside the handsome ambassador determined to prove her wrong.

 

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