The amount of times I say “this cover is so pretty” in this post is too much to count.
We’re honestly blessed with the stunning covers for all of these 2021 releases, and I couldn’t be happier!! But it’s not just the covers — all of these books also sound like they could become new favorites, and I’m extremely excited for every one.
So without further ado, here are my 21 most anticipated releases for the first half of 2021, complete with lots of screaming about how excited I am for each and how I wish I had them all in my hands right now!! (Most of these are Young Adult releases, unless otherwise specified.)
Also, you may have noticed a few changes to my blog, including a new/old blog theme! I say old because this was actually the first theme I used for my blog when I started it in May, so I decided to change it back because I felt that it fit my content a bit better than my old one.
Happily Ever Afters by Elise Bryant (January 5)
This is a contemporary debut that’s already been released following a Black girl writer who must find a love story of her own to help her get through writer’s block. I’m sure it’s going to be as amazing as the adorable cover!
Clues to the Universe by Christina Li (January 12)
This historical fiction Middle-Grade debut is also already out, and I’ve heard only good things about its’ exploration of grief, friendship, and family!! I can’t wait to read it and fall in love it. *middle grade
Red, White and Whole by Rajani LaRocca (February 2)
This is another historical fiction Middle-Grade novel that I can’t wait to fall in love with, especially after hearing that it follows an Indian-American girl who feels torn between two worlds. It also has such a stunning cover!! *middle grade
Fat Chance, Charlie Vega by Crystal Maldonado (February 2)
Look me in the eye and tell me that this cover featuring a fat brown girl is not gorgeous, because you just can’t!! This is a YA contemporary coming of age story that is supposed to be funny yet heart-wrenching, and I’m so excited for it.
A Pho Love Story by Loan Le (February 9)
This is a “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,” and judging from the adorable title, I’m sure it’s going to be so fun to read!
Everyone knows how much I love Picture Us In The Light by Kelly Loy Gilbert, so you should be able to guess how excited I am for Kelly Loy Gilbert’s third novel!! This follows a tight-knit group of friends as their lives are changed forever and deals with “the secrets we keep from each other and from ourselves,” so I just know it’s going to break me.
The Mirror Season by Anna-Marie McLemore (March 16)
Anna-Marie McLemore is another one of my all-time favorite authors: their prose is one of the most beautiful I’ve ever read!! So I’m sure this retelling of The Snow Queen that deals with trauma and healing is also going to become one of my favorites.
Lost in the Never Woods by Aiden Thomas (March 23)
I don’t know much about this one other than the fact that it’s a retelling of Peter Pan, but I adored Aiden Thomas’s 2020 debut Cemetery Boys, and I’m sure I’m going to love his second novel too!
The Infinity Courts by Akemi Dawn Bowman (April 6)
I’ve only read one of Akemi Dawn Bowman’s books (Summer Bird Blue) but I can say with confidence that her writing is beautifully heartbreaking. The Infinity Courts is her debut SFF novel, and I’m so excited to read about the “big questions about technology, grief, love and humanity” that it explores!
She Drives Me Crazy by Kelly Quindlen (April 20)
This rom-com includes sports sapphics(!!), fake dating, and enemies-to-lovers, so naturally I am extremely excited for it! Also, let’s just take a minute to appreciate that cover because I love it so much.
This follows a South Asian teen fake dating her school’s resident bad boy who promises to buy her a dozen books!! a week!! If that didn’t already entice you, it also includes a chaotic girl squad, kissing in the rain, moonlit dinners, and the bad-boy-with-a-heart-of-gold trope, and I’m so ready to love it!
I loved Sarah Kuhn’s debut, I Love You So Mochi, and this one also has an adorable cover, plus it’s a “personal yet hilarious novel of a girl whose search for a storybook ending takes her to unexpected places in both her beloved LA neighborhood and her own guarded heart”
I adore both Bollywood and middle grade, so imagine how excited I was upon hearing of this middle grade novel following an Indian-American girl whose life turns into a dramatic Bollywood film!! 🥺 *middle grade
Fake dating books are really winning in 2021 because this book also involves fake dating, and to make it even better: fake dating sapphic Asians!! Also, the cover is absolutely beautiful, and after reading Adiba Jaigirdar’s lovely debut novel The Henna Wars, I’m sure this one is also going to be amazing.
A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi was one of my favorite books of 2019, and this is another contemporary about “love and loneliness, navigating the hyphen of dual identity, and reclaiming your right to joy,” so I’m sure I’ll love it as well!
The Chosen and the Beautiful (June 1)
Do I know anything about The Great Gatsby? No. Am I still extremely excited for this queer Asian retelling of The Great Gatsby with the most gorgeous cover? Absolutely!! *adult
One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston (June 1)
I really enjoyed Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston, and after hearing that this is their second novel following a sapphic romance & time travel, I know it’s going to be amazing! *adult
In this contemporary romance (featuring sapphic fate dating!!), the main character is enlisted to fake date a girl she’s secretly in love with, and it sounds like it’s going to be very trope-y and cliche in the best way possible.
Afterlove by Tanya Byrne (June 10)
This is a paranormal contemporary following a girl who is about to become a reaper in the afterlife, but she’s determined to see her first love again. Its tagline is also “the lesbian love story you’ve been dying to read” and I’m so excited for it!!
The Jasmine Throne by Tasha Suri (June 10)
I haven’t read any other books by Tasha Suri, but all I needed to know about this one was the fact that it follows morally-grey characters, includes an f/f enemies-to-lovers romance, and has an Indian-inspired world in order to wish it was already June!! *adult
Gearbreakers by Zoe Hana Mikuta (June 29)
This YA sci-fi debut features mecha-deities, found family, wlw enemies-to-lovers, and cyberpunk sapphics tattooing each other as a form of affection!! If that description isn’t enough to convince you to pick it up, then I don’t know what is.
are you as excited for these as i am? are there any other 2021 releases you can’t wait for? do you agree that these covers are all gorgeous??