The year is almost at an end and I can’t wait for 2021! To get ready for the new year, I have rounded up 21 books to read in 2021. This list mostly consists of novels published in the first half of the year, since later titles haven’t been announced yet. I’ll probably make another list in the summer to cover the second half. This book list has a little bit of everything on it and I can’t wait to start digging into them. Look below to see why I’m interested and shop the list and more here.
What books are you looking forward to reading in 2021?
A Vow So Bold and Deadly by Brigid Kemmerer
Young Adult, Fantasy
January 12, 2021
I’ve enjoyed the first two novels in this series and am excited to see how it concludes.
Brigid Kemmerer’s New York Times bestselling Cursebreaker series continues with two kingdoms on the brink of collapse, old enemies resurfacing, and friends becoming foes.
Emberfall is torn between those who believe Rhen is the rightful prince and those who are eager to begin a new era under the true heir, Grey. Grey has agreed to wait two months before attacking Rhen, and in that time, Rhen has sought the assistance of a spy despite Harper’s doubts.
Meanwhile, Lia Mara struggles to rule Syhl Shallow with a gentler hand than her mother. But some of her subjects aren’t happy that Lia Mara has an enchanted prince and magical scraver by her side. As Grey’s deadline draws nearer, Lia Mara is forced to question whether or not she can remain allied to his cause.
This compulsively readable saga continues as two kingdoms come closer to conflict—and an old enemy resurfaces who could destroy them all.
Lycanthropy and Other Chronic Illnesses by Kristen O’Neal
Young Adult, Fantasy
January 12, 2021
The synopsis for this one pulled me it. It sounds like a fun read and I hope it lives up to my expectations.
The Fault in Our Stars meets Buffy, the Vampire Slayer in this debut young adult novel about best friendship and the hairy side of chronic illness.
Priya worked hard to get into Stanford to pursue her dream of becoming a doctor, but during her freshman year she starts to feel achy and foggy—and soon she can’t get out of bed. A diagnosis of chronic Lyme disease forces her to put her future on hold and return home to her loving but overbearing family in southern New Jersey, where she spends her days wondering if her life will be over before it can really begin. Thankfully, she has @bigforkhands, aka Brigid, her online BFF who joins her in creating “oof ouch my bones,” a chronic-illness support group of smart and funny teens who exchange tips on dealing with joint pain between rapid-fire pop culture references. Everyone knows everyone else’s diagnosis, but Brigid remains noticeably mum on hers.
When Brigid disappears one day, Priya decides to do something out of character: she steals the family car and takes a road trip to meet Brigid in Pennsylvania. Dying to meet her bestie IRL but worried Brigid is in the middle of a flare, Priya arrives to find that a terrifying dog-like creature has destroyed Brigid’s house. The weird part? She’s pretty sure that creature is a werewolf—and she’s pretty sure that werewolf is Brigid.
A sharply observed, hilarious, and heartwarming novel of best friendship and chronic illness, Lycanthropy and Other Chronic Illnesses explores what it means to come of age when your life gets derailed by a diagnosis—whether it’s of the textbook or spellbook variety.
The Innkeeper’s Daughter by Bianca M. Schwarz
Historical Romance, Mystery
January 12, 2021
I’m looking forward to the dark historical romance. And who doesn’t like spy stories?
Well-researched, gritty and terribly romantic, The Innkeeper’s Daughter is the first in a darkly entertaining historical romance mystery series set in Regency London, complete with a beautiful girl in peril, a flawed gentleman spy, a nasty pimp, and a sinister hell-fire club with deadly secrets.
In the twilight of a November evening, Sir Henry, a man of wealth and charm, comes across a badly beaten Eliza, desperate to escape her cruel stepfather. Realizing she has nowhere to go, Sir Henry takes her to his home in Mayfair.
There, as she recovers, Henry introduces the lovely Eliza to a world of art and literature she never knew existed. But Eliza’s brutal world follows her to London, where the salons of the aristocratic elite co-exist with the back alleys of the criminal underworld.
Thankfully, Henry, a secret agent to the crown, is able and willing to deal with the man Eliza’s stepfather had sold her to, and the pimp who plans to enslave her.
As romance blossoms between them, Eliza unearths an old secret that leads them into the dark sadistic world of sex trafficking, and finally allows Henry to identify the traitor responsible for selling military secrets to the French, causing the death of thousands.
A natural at the spy game, Eliza proves herself a worthy partner in their fight for truth and justice. But with time running out, and the fate of one girl hanging in the balance, Henry and Eliza must find a way to outwit a nasty pimp and eliminate a dangerous enemy agent.
Written in Starlight by Isabel Ibañez
Young Adult, Fantasy
January 26, 2021
I’m not going to lie. The cover grabbed my attention.
An adventerous South American Tomb Raider! This hotly anticipated companion to Woven in Moonlight follows an outcast Condesa, as she braves the jungle to forge an alliance with the lost city of gold.
If the jungle wants you, it will have you…
Catalina Quiroga is a Condesa without a country. She’s lost the Inkasisa throne, the loyalty of her people, and her best friend. Banished to the perilous Yanu Jungle, Catalina knows her chances of survival are slim, but that won’t stop her from trying to escape. It’s her duty to reclaim the throne.
When Manuel, the son of her former general, rescues Catalina from a jaguar, a plan forms. Deep in the jungle, the city of gold is hidden, home to the fierce Illari people, who she could strike an alliance with.
But the elusive Illari are fighting a battle of their own—a mysterious blight is corrupting the jungle, laying waste to everything they hold dear. As a seer, Catalina should be able to help, but her ability to read the future in the stars is as feeble as her survival instincts. While searching for the Illari, Catalina must reckon with her duty and her heart to find her true calling, which could be the key to stopping the corruption before it destroys the jungle completely.
If I Disappear by Eliza Jane Brazier
January 26, 2021
I love a good mystery and this plot seems very realistic for the time.
When her favorite true crime podcast host goes missing, an adrift young woman plunges headfirst into the wild backcountry of Northern California and her own dangerous obsession.
Sera loves true crime podcasts. They make her feel empowered in a world where women just like her disappear daily. She’s sure they are preparing her for something. So when Rachel, her favorite podcast host, goes missing, Sera knows it’s time to act. Rachel has always taught her to trust her instincts.
Sera follows the clues hidden in the episodes to an isolated ranch outside Rachel’s small hometown to begin her search. She’s convinced her investigation will make Rachel so proud. But the more Sera digs into this unfamiliar world, the more off things start to feel. Because Rachel is not the first woman to vanish from the ranch, and she won’t be the last…
Rachel did try to warn her.
What Big Teeth by Rose Szabo
Young Adult, Horror
February 2, 2021
I’ve been getting into gothic horror a lot more lately. Also this cover is amazing.
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.
Everything That Burns by Gita Trelease
Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Fantasy
February 2, 2021
This sounds like an intriguing historical story with strong characters.
Magic. Betrayal. Sacrifice. Gita Trelease’s Liberté is the transporting sequel to Enchantée, hailed by NPR as a “soaring success”!
Camille Durbonne gambled everything she had to keep herself and her sister safe. But as the people of Paris starve and mobs riot, safety may no longer be possible…
…Not when Camille lives for the rebellion. In the pamphlets she prints, she tells the stories of girls living at society’s margins. But as her writings captivate the public, she begins to suspect a dark magic she can’t control lies at the heart of her success. Then Louis XVI declares magic a crime and all magicians traitors to France. As bonfires incinerate enchanted books and special police prowl the city, the time for magic—and those who work it—is running out.
In this new Paris where allegiances shift and violence erupts, the answers Camille seeks set her on a perilous path, one that may cost her the boy she loves―even her life. If she can discover who she truly is before vengeful forces unmask her, she may still win this deadly game of revolution.
Fat Chance Charlie Vega by Chrystal Maldonato
Young Adult, Contemporary
February 2, 2021
I’ve been looking for more diverse reads and this one caught my attention.
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.
The Witch’s Heart by Genevieve Gornichec
February 9, 2021
I’ll read any book about witches.
When a banished witch falls in love with the legendary trickster Loki, she risks the wrath of the gods in this moving, subversive debut novel that reimagines Norse mythology.
Angrboda’s story begins where most witches’ tales end: with a burning. A punishment from Odin for refusing to provide him with knowledge of the future, the fire leaves Angrboda injured and powerless, and she flees into the farthest reaches of a remote forest. There she is found by a man who reveals himself to be Loki, and her initial distrust of him transforms into a deep and abiding love.
Their union produces three unusual children, each with a secret destiny, who Angrboda is keen to raise at the edge of the world, safely hidden from Odin’s all-seeing eye. But as Angrboda slowly recovers her prophetic powers, she learns that her blissful life—and possibly all of existence—is in danger.
With help from the fierce huntress Skadi, with whom she shares a growing bond, Angrboda must choose whether she’ll accept the fate that she’s foreseen for her beloved family…or rise to remake their future. From the most ancient of tales this novel forges a story of love, loss, and hope for the modern age.
The Bride Bet by Tessa Dare
February 9, 2021
I’ve always been happy with this author’s stories. Can’t wait to read another one.
How to lose a duke in ten years…without losing your heart.
Once upon a time, two sworn enemies – the bookish daughter of a scholar and the devilish heir to a duke – made a pact: If they were both still single in ten years, they would marry each other.
It was a joke, Nicola thought. A duchess? Her?
But when the Duke of Westleigh returns a decade later, he’s serious. He needs an heir, so he’s holding her to their marriage bargain—diamond ring, lavish gown, engagement ball, and more. Nothing Nicola says can dissuade him. When she calls him arrogant, he praises her honesty. When she makes social stumbles, he catches her fall. And when she gets exasperated, the duke can’t seem to get enough. For reasons she can’t fathom, he claims that no other woman will do.
He’s betting he can change her mind, with logic and passion.
She’s betting she can change his mind, just by being herself.
And as the clock ticks down to a wedding day, neither is counting on losing their heart.
The Bone Fire by György Dragomán
February 23, 2021
I’m trying to expand my reading this year, so we’ll see how this goes.
From an award-winning and internationally acclaimed European writer, a chilling and suspenseful story set in the wake of a violent revolution about a young girl rescued from an orphanage by an otherworldly grandmother she’s never met
The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner
March 2, 2021
This novel has been getting a lot of hype. I hope it lives up to it.
A forgotten history.
A secret network of women.
A legacy of poison and revenge.
Welcome to The Lost Apothecary.
Hidden in the depths of eighteenth-century London, a secret apothecary shop caters to an unusual kind of clientele. Women across the city whisper of a mysterious figure named Nella who sells well-disguised poisons to use against the oppressive men in their lives. But the apothecary’s fate is jeopardized when her newest patron, a precocious twelve-year-old, makes a fatal mistake, sparking a string of consequences that echo through the centuries.
Meanwhile in present-day London, aspiring historian Caroline Parcewell spends her tenth wedding anniversary alone, running from her own demons. When she stumbles upon a clue to the unsolved apothecary murders that haunted London two hundred years ago, her life collides with the apothecary’s in a stunning twist of fate—and not everyone will survive.
With crackling suspense, unforgettable characters and searing insight, The Lost Apothecary is a subversive and intoxicating debut novel of secrets, vengeance and the remarkable ways women can save each other despite the barrier of time.
Later by Stephen King
March 2, 2021
Confession: I’ve never read a Stephen King novel. I thought it was about time I did.
#1 bestselling author Stephen King returns with a brand-new novel about the secrets we keep buried and the cost of unearthing them.
The son of a struggling single mother, Jamie Conklin just wants an ordinary childhood. But Jamie is no ordinary child. Born with an unnatural ability his mom urges him to keep secret, Jamie can see what no one else can see and learn what no one else can learn. But the cost of using this ability is higher than Jamie can imagine – as he discovers when an NYPD detective draws him into the pursuit of a killer who has threatened to strike from beyond the grave.
Later is Stephen King at his finest, a terrifying and touching story of innocence lost and the trials that test our sense of right and wrong. With echoes of King’s classic novel IT, Later is a powerful, haunting, unforgettable exploration of what it takes to stand up to evil in all the faces it wears.
Perfect on Paper by Sophie Gonzales
Young Adult, Contemporary Romance
March 9, 2021
The synopsis for this sounded so cute!
“Perfectly wonderful.” ―Becky Albertalli, New York Times–bestselling author of Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda
In Sophie Gonzales’ Perfect on Paper, Leah on the Offbeat meets To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before: a bisexual girl who gives anonymous love advice to her classmates is hired by the hot guy to help him get his ex back
Her advice, spot on. Her love life, way off.
• Can give you the solution to any of your relationship woes―for a fee.
• Uses her power for good. Most of the time.
• Really cannot stand Alexander Brougham.
• Has maybe not the best judgement when it comes to her best friend, Brooke…who is in love with someone else.
• Does not appreciate being blackmailed.
However, when Brougham catches her in the act of collecting letters from locker 89―out of which she’s been running her questionably legal, anonymous relationship advice service―that’s exactly what happens. In exchange for keeping her secret, Darcy begrudgingly agrees to become his personal dating coach―at a generous hourly rate, at least. The goal? To help him win his ex-girlfriend back.
Darcy has a good reason to keep her identity secret. If word gets out that she’s behind the locker, some things she’s not proud of will come to light, and there’s a good chance Brooke will never speak to her again.
Okay, so all she has to do is help an entitled, bratty, (annoyingly hot) guy win over a girl who’s already fallen for him once? What could go wrong?
Five Ways to Fall Out of Love by Emily Martin
Young Adult, Romance
March 16, 2021
I won’t say no to a rom-com. This was sounds like it will be good.
This whip-smart rom-com explores the risks and rewards of letting love in, for fans of Jennifer E. Smith, Julie Buxbaum, and Sandhya Menon.
How do I hate thee? Let me count the ways…
Aubrey Cash learned the hard way not to rely on love. After all, Webster Casey, the new boy next door she’d been falling for all summer, stood her up at homecoming in front of everyone with no explanation. Proving her theory that love never lasts seems easy when she’s faced with parents whose marriage is falling apart and a best friend who thinks every boy she dates is “the one.” But when sparks fly with a boy who turns out to be Webster’s cousin, and then Webster himself becomes her lab partner for the rest of senior year, Aubrey finds her theory—and her commitment to stay single—put to the test.
As she navigates the breakdown of her family, the consequences her cynicism has on her relationship with her best friend, and her own confusing but undeniable feelings for Webster, Aubrey has to ask herself: What really happened the night Webster stood her up? And if there are five ways to fall out of love…could there perhaps be even more ways to fall back in?
Namesake by Adrienne Young
Young Adult, Fantasy
March 16, 2021
I’ve actually already read this one and I loved it. A great ending to the Fable duology.
Filled with action, emotion, and lyrical writing, New York Times bestselling author Adrienne Young returns with Namesake, the final book in the captivating Fable duology.
Trader. Fighter. Survivor.
With the Marigold ship free of her father, Fable and its crew were set to start over. That freedom is short-lived when she becomes a pawn in a notorious thug’s scheme. In order to get to her intended destination she must help him to secure a partnership with Holland, a powerful gem trader who is more than she seems.
As Fable descends deeper into a world of betrayal and deception she learns that her mother was keeping secrets, and those secrets are now putting the people Fable cares about in danger. If Fable is going to save them then she must risk everything, including the boy she loves and the home she has finally found.
She’s Too Pretty to Burn by Wendy Heard
Young Adult, LGBTQIA, Thriller
March 30, 2021
This is another book I keep hearing about.
An electric romance set against a rebel art scene sparks lethal danger for two girls in She’s Too Pretty to Burn, an expertly plotted YA thriller by Wendy Heard.
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 a summer they won’t survive.
Inspired by The Picture of Dorian Gray, this sexy psychological thriller explores the intersections of love, art, danger, and power.
The Prison Healer by Lynette Noni
Young Adult, Fantasy
April 13, 2021
This sounds like an interesting and unique fantasy.
Seventeen-year-old Kiva Meridan has spent the last ten years fighting for survival in the notorious death prison, Zalindov, working as the prison healer.
When the Rebel Queen is captured, Kiva is charged with keeping the terminally ill woman alive long enough for her to undergo the Trial by Ordeal: a series of elemental challenges against the torments of air, fire, water, and earth, assigned to only the most dangerous of criminals.
Then a coded message from Kiva’s family arrives, containing a single order: “Don’t let her die. We are coming.” Aware that the Trials will kill the sickly queen, Kiva risks her own life to volunteer in her place. If she succeeds, both she and the queen will be granted their freedom.
But no one has ever survived.
With an incurable plague sweeping Zalindov, a mysterious new inmate fighting for Kiva’s heart, and a prison rebellion brewing, Kiva can’t escape the terrible feeling that her trials have only just begun.
From bestselling author Lynette Noni comes a dark, thrilling YA fantasy perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas, and Sabaa Tahir.
Malice by Heather Walter
April 13, 2021
Another retelling, but with two females. I’m intrigued.
A princess isn’t supposed to fall for an evil sorceress. But in this darkly magical retelling of “Sleeping Beauty,” true love is more than a simple fairy tale.
Once upon a time, there was a wicked fairy who, in an act of vengeance, cursed a line of princesses to die. A curse that could only be broken by true love’s kiss.
You’ve heard this before, haven’t you? The handsome prince. The happily-ever-after.
Let me tell you, no one in Briar actually cares about what happens to its princesses. Not the way they care about their jewels and elaborate parties and charm-granting elixirs. I thought I didn’t care, either.
Until I met her.
Princess Aurora. The last heir to Briar’s throne. Kind. Gracious. The future queen her realm needs. One who isn’t bothered that I am Alyce, the Dark Grace, abhorred and feared for the mysterious dark magic that runs in my veins. Humiliated and shamed by the same nobles who pay me to bottle hexes and then brand me a monster. Aurora says I should be proud of my gifts. That she . . . cares for me. Even though it was a power like mine that was responsible for her curse.
But with less than a year until that curse will kill her, any future I might see with Aurora is swiftly disintegrating—and she can’t stand to kiss yet another insipid prince. I want to help her. If my power began her curse, perhaps it’s what can lift it. Perhaps, together, we could forge a new world.
Because we all know how this story ends, don’t we? Aurora is the beautiful princess. And I—
I am the villain.
Second First Impressions by Sally Thorne
April 13, 2021
This sounds like it will be very funny.
From the USA Today bestselling author of The Hating Game and 99 Percent Mine comes the clever, funny, and unforgettable story of a muscular, tattooed man hired as an assistant to two old women—under the watchful eye of a beautiful retirement home manager.
Distraction (n): an extreme agitation of the mind or emotions.
Ruthie Midona has worked the front desk at the Providence Luxury Retirement Villa for six years, dedicating her entire adult life to caring for the Villa’s residents, maintaining the property (with an assist from DIY YouTube tutorials), and guarding the endangered tortoises that live in the Villa’s gardens. Somewhere along the way, she’s forgotten that she’s young and beautiful, and that there’s a world outside of work—until she meets the son of the property developer who just acquired the retirement center.
Teddy Prescott has spent the last few years partying, sleeping in late, tattooing himself when bored, and generally not taking life too seriously—something his father, who dreams of grooming Teddy into his successor, can’t understand. When Teddy needs a place to crash, his father seizes the chance to get him to grow up. He’ll let Teddy stay in one of the on-site cottages at the retirement home, but only if he works to earn his keep. Teddy agrees—he can change a few lightbulbs and clip some hedges, no sweat. But Ruthie has plans for Teddy too.
Her two wealthiest and most eccentric residents have just placed an ad (yet another!) seeking a new personal assistant to torment. The women are ninety-year-old, four-foot-tall menaces, and not one of their assistants has lasted a full week. Offering up Teddy seems like a surefire way to get rid of the tall, handsome, unnerving man who won’t stop getting under her skin.
Ruthie doesn’t count on the fact that in Teddy Prescott, the Biddies may have finally met their match. He’ll pick up Chanel gowns from the dry cleaner and cut Big Macs into bite-sized bits. He’ll do repairs around the property, make the residents laugh, and charm the entire villa. He might even remind Ruthie what it’s like to be young and fun again. But when she finds out Teddy’s father’s only fixing up the retirement home to sell it, putting everything she cares about in jeopardy, she’s left wondering if Teddy’s magic was all just a façade.
The Drowning Kind by Jennifer McMahon
April 6, 2021
This sounds like a nice, twisty mystery. Always like when family drama is thrown in.
From the New York Times bestselling author of The Invited and The Winter People comes a chilling new novel about a woman who returns to the old family home after her sister mysteriously drowns in its swimming pool…but she’s not the pool’s only victim.
Be careful what you wish for.
When social worker Jax receives nine missed calls from her older sister, Lexie, she assumes that it’s just another one of her sister’s episodes. Manic and increasingly out of touch with reality, Lexie has pushed Jax away for over a year. But the next day, Lexie is dead: drowned in the pool at their grandmother’s estate. When Jax arrives at the house to go through her sister’s things, she learns that Lexie was researching the history of their family and the property. And as she dives deeper into the research herself, she discovers that the land holds a far darker past than she could have ever imagined.
In 1929, thirty-seven-year-old newlywed Ethel Monroe hopes desperately for a baby. In an effort to distract her, her husband whisks her away on a trip to Vermont, where a natural spring is showcased by the newest and most modern hotel in the Northeast. Once there, Ethel learns that the water is rumored to grant wishes, never suspecting that the spring takes in equal measure to what it gives.
A haunting, twisty, and compulsively readable thrill ride from the author who Chris Bohjalian has dubbed the “literary descendant of Shirley Jackson,” The Drowning Kind is a modern-day ghost story that illuminates how the past, though sometimes forgotten, is never really far behind us.
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