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    40 YA Novels That Come Out In The First Half Of 2021 That We're Already So Excited For

    These YA books will be released in the first half of 2021, and we're SO excited to get our hands on them!

    Farrah Penn / BuzzFeed

    1. Roman and Jewel by Dana L. Davis

    Inkyard Press, danaldavis.com

    Release date: Jan. 5

    Why we're excited: First? The pitch is Romeo and Juliet gets the Hamilton treatment, so we're already in. Roman and Jewel, Davis's latest, is a Romeo and Juliet–inspired hip-hopera featuring a diverse cast and modern twists on the play. Jerzie is aiming for the female leading role, but she's crushed when she only lands understudy. But when an entanglement with Zepp — who's playing Roman — leads to the whole world seeing a viral video, the people decide to speak on whom they want to play Jewel.

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or your local bookstore via Indiebound here.

    2. Be Dazzled by Ryan La Sala

    Sourcebooks Fire, Lauren Takakjian / Via ryanlasala.com

    Release date: Jan. 5

    Why we're excited: This queer love story is pitched as Project Runway goes to comic con, and we're ready for it. Raffy loves fashion, especially bedazzling. That's why he's excited to enter a huge cosplay competition that could lead to a scholarship. The problem? Raffy's ex-boyfriend Luca is his biggest competition. So what happens when the two are forced to work together?

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or your local bookstore via Indiebound here.

    3. You Have a Match by Emma Lord

    Wednesday Books / Macmillan, Traci J Brooks / Via emmalordwriting.com

    Release date: Jan. 5

    Why we're excited: A YA contemporary set at summer camp? Count us in. Abby takes a DNA test and finds out that she 100%...has a sister?! Not just any sister, but Instagram star Savannah Tully. When the two decide to meet at a summer camp to figure out why Savvy was put up for adoption, they end up uncovering many of their parents' secrets.

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or your local bookstore via Indiebound here.

    4. Happily Ever Afters by Elise Bryant

    Balzer + Bray, elisebryant.com

    Release date: Jan. 5

    Why we're excited: Um. EXCUSE US. This book is pitched as Jane the Virgin meets To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before. We're already sold. Give it to us now! Sixteen-year-old Tessa Johnson has been accepted into a creative writing program, and while she loves crafting stories, she has never seen herself as the protagonist in the romance novels she reads. That's when her BFF steps in with romance novel–inspired steps to a happily ever after. But the more Tessa follows this guide, the further she feels from her true self. Also? There might just be something there with boy next door Sam.

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or your local bookstore via Indiebound here.

    5. The Quantum Weirdness of the Almost-Kiss by Amy Noelle Parks

    Amulet, Katie Murray, Okemos Studio of Photography / Via amynoelleparks.com

    Release date: Jan. 5

    Why we're excited: We're feeling strong lighthearted rom-com vibes with this one. Seventeen-year-old Evie Beckham loves math, struggles with anxiety, and might just be interested in the mathematically gifted transfer student, even if she's unsure if she's ready for romance. Caleb Covic is Evie's BFF — and has a crush on her. But when Caleb sees that Evie might be falling for the transfer student, he decides to use an online forum to capture Evie's interest. What could go wrong?

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or your local bookstore via Indiebound here.

    6. The Meet-Cute Project by Rhiannon Richardson

    Simon & Schuster, Brielle Loughney / Via simonandschuster.com

    Release date: Jan. 12

    Why we're excited: Listen, we're here for all these YA rom-coms that are going to save us from the winter blues, and this one sounds incredibly squee-worthy. It's pitched as To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before meets Save the Date. Mia's older sister is getting married, and she's tasked with having to find a date for the wedding. So, inspired by all the rom-coms her friends love, she sets out to (hopefully) create a meet-cute for herself.

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or your local bookstore via Indiebound here.

    7. Concrete Rose by Angie Thomas

    Balzer + Bray, Imani Khayyam / Via angiethomas.com

    Release date: Jan. 12

    Why we're excited: 2021 is blessing us with another Angie Thomas book, so we already know it's going to be a good year. in Concrete Rose, set 17 years before the events of The Hate U Give, Maverick Carter deals for the King Lords in order to help his overworked mother while his father is in prison, but everything changes when Mav finds out he's going to be a father. When he gets an opportunity to go straight, he's determined to amount to something. But escaping gang roots isn't easy as loyalty and revenge threaten to break Mav.

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or your local bookstore via Indiebound here.

    8. Chlorine Sky by Mahogany L. Browne

    Crown, mobrowne.com

    Release date: Jan. 12

    Why we're excited: This is a coming-of-age verse novel that's for fans of Elizabeth Acevedo, so we're really eager to read it. Chlorine Sky sounds like the story of a girl who steps out of the shadow of her best friend and figures out what it means to be her own person.

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or your local bookstore via Indiebound here.

    9. Soul of Cinder by Bree Barton

    Katherine Teigen, breebarton.com

    Release date: Jan. 12

    Why we're excited: This is the third and final book in Barton's Heart of Thorns series, and we're so excited to find out what happens. Back in the river kingdom, Prince Quin is ready to reclaim the throne and plans to destroy Mia, Pilar, and Angelyne if they oppose him. Meanwhile, Mia and Pilar are struggling in their own ways. But when rumors of a misty island promise to provide the answers they seek, they'll have to determine if they're willing to pay the cost.

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or your local bookstore via Indiebound here.

    10. Written in Starlight by Isabel Ibañez

    Page Street, isabelibanez.com

    Release date: Jan. 26

    Why we're excited: This is the companion to Woven in Moonlight that's been called an adventurous South American Tomb Raider, so we're here for it. Catalina Quiroga is a Condesa who's lost the Inkasisa throne, the loyalty of her people, and her best friend. When Catalina is banished to the jungle, she knows nothing will stop her from reclaiming her throne. But then she hears of the Illari, with whom she can form an alliance, and as she seeks them out, she just might uncover her true calling.

    Get it from Amazon, Target, or your local bookstore via Indiebound here.

    11. Fat Chance, Charlie Vega by Crystal Maldonado

    Holiday House, crystal-maldonado.com

    Release date: Feb. 2

    Why we're excited: This fat-positive contemporary sounds like a relatable, quirky, and charming coming-of-age story, and we're so excited to get our hands on it. All Charlie wants is to have a good relationship with her body, but it's hard when her mother thinks she should fit a beauty standard she does not subscribe to: being slim, white, and quiet. Luckily, her BFF Amelia always has her back. But when a cute classmate starts to notice Charlie, she's over the moon until she learns that he asked Amelia out first.

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or your local bookstore via Indiebound here.

    12. Muted by Tami Charles

    Scholastic, tamiwrites.com

    Release date: Feb. 2

    Why we're excited: This contemporary YA is inspired by true events and sounds incredibly intriguing. Seventeen-year-old Denver is ready to leave her small, white town and achieve her dreams of writing and performing. When Denver and her two BFFs meet R&B star Sean "Mercury" Ellis, he introduces her to the lavish music world: recording studios, parties, connections. But Denver's dream turns nightmarish when she comes to learn she's trapped in the dark underbelly of the music industry.

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or your local bookstore via Indiebound here.

    13. This Golden Flame by Emily Victoria

    Inkyard, Moonsong Photography / Via avictoriantale.com

    Release date: Feb. 2

    Why we're excited: This YA fantasy features an aromantic and asexual main character and sounds 100% epic. Karis has been forced to serve her country’s ruling group of scribes, but all she wants to do is find her lost brother. But while the Scriptorium's goal is to unlock the magic of an ancient automaton army, Karis didn't expect that she'd be the one to awaken the hidden automaton.

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or your local bookstore via Indiebound here.

    14. The Project by Courtney Summers

    Wednesday, Megan Gunter / Via courtneysummers.ca

    Release date: Feb. 2

    Why we're excited: Summers' latest sounds like a twisty, edge-of-your-seat thriller. After Lo Denham's parents died, her sister Bea joined the Unity Project, a charity and community group. But Lo knows there's something sinister about this organization, and she's determined to prove it. So when a man comes forward proclaiming that the Unity Project killed his son, Lo sets off on a mission to expose the group.

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or your local bookstore via Indiebound here.

    15. Yesterday Is History by Kosoko Jackson

    Sourcebooks, Sara Nicole Lemon / Via kosokojackson.com

    Release date: Feb. 2

    Why we're excited: The premise for this one sounds incredibly unique, and we can't wait to get our hands on it! After Andre Cobb receives a liver transplant, he gains the unexpected gift of time travel, which is how he's dropped into 1969 and ends up making a connection with a boy named Michael. Torn between present and past, Andre must find out where he belongs.

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or your local bookstore via Indiebound here

    16. As Far as You'll Take Me by Phil Stamper

    Bloomsbury, Krystal Balzer Photography / Via philstamper.com

    Release date: Feb. 9

    Why we're excited: We loved The Gravity of Us, so we're especially thrilled to read Stamper's next YA contemporary. Marty escapes out from under the judgmental eye of his parents to London, where he's excited to explore his sexuality and land his dream job. It's going to be perfect. And it is — for a little. But Marty's savings will only go so far, and his homesickness and anxiety are worsening. Will he be able to figure it out, or will everything fall apart?

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or your local bookstore via Indiebound here.

    17. Hot British Boyfriend by Kristy Boyce

    HarperTeen, Monty Soungpradith / Via kristyboyceauthor.com

    Release date: Feb. 9

    Why we're excited: What's this, another book set in England? Sign us up, because this sounds so adorable! Ellie Nichols decides to join her high school’s study abroad trip to England after a very public rejection by her crush. So, obviously, Ellie decides to bounce back with Will, a gorgeous and charming Brit. Ellie ends up striking a deal with her classmate Dev. He'll help her win over Will if she helps him win over his crush. What could go wrong?

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or your local bookstore via Indiebound here.

    18. A Pho Love Story by Loan Le

    Simon & Schuster, writerloanle.me

    Release date: Feb. 9

    Why we're excited: This super-cute-sounding YA is pitched as When Dimple Met Rishi meets Ugly Delicious. Bao Nguyen works at his parents’ pho restaurant. Linh Mai works full time at her parents' pho restaurant. So it's no surprise that the Mais and the Nguyens have been in competition for years, although Linh and Bao suspect that the reasoning is layered. But when Linh and Bao begin to connect on a deeper level, they're not sure if their feelings for each other can survive the wrath of their feuding families.

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or your local bookstore via Indiebound here.

    19. Reaper of Souls by Rena Barron

    HarperTeen, Aaron Gang / Via renabarron.com

    Release date: Feb. 18

    Why we're excited: In this sequel to the epic Kingdom of Souls, we find out what's next for Arrah. As the last surviving witch doctor, her kingdom is in shambles. She decides to return to the tribal lands in search of her parents' people, but her connection to the Demon King isn't something she can fully escape.

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or your local bookstore via Indiebound here.

    20. Like Home by Louisa Onome

    Delacorte, Linda Arki / Via louisaonome.com

    Release date: Feb. 23

    Why we're excited: Fans of On My Block will devour this heartfelt coming-of-age contemporary story. We had the opportunity to read this one early, and it is just fantastic. Nelo loves her neighborhood, Ginger East, but after a deadly incident at the local arcade, things changed. Nelo's friends moved away — well, except for her BFF Kate. But when Kate's parents' corner store is vandalized, the police and media are quick to point fingers. And as the incident gains national attention, Nelo finds herself at the center of the drama. Worse, her friendship with Kate is growing distant. Will things ever go back to the way they were?

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or your local bookstore via Indiebound here.

    21. Wings of Ebony by J. Elle

    Simon & Schuster, authorjelle.com

    Release date: Feb. 23

    Why we're excited: This YA fantasy already has us AMPED because it features gods and a girl who must save the world. Rue's life in Houston changes when her mother is murdered and her estranged father takes her to Ghazan, a secret country of gods, away from her sister. In Ghazan, Rue is different: She is half god, half human, and she discovers that the leaders of this secret country thrive on human suffering. But when Rue escapes back to Houston, she finds it in chaos, and worse, there's evil plaguing her neighborhood of East Row. Will Rue be able to embrace her powers before everything she loves is gone?

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or your local bookstore via Indiebound here.

    22. I Think I Love You by Auriane Desombre

    Underlined, Nadja Tiktinsky / Via aurianedesombre.com

    Release date: March 2

    Why we're excited: Um, a rivals-to-lovers queer contemporary story for fans of Becky Albertalli? We need this ASAP, please. Emma and Sophia are competing for a first-prize trip to a film festival in Los Angeles, but what happens when their feelings for each other begin to grow?

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or your local bookstore via Indiebound here.

    23. Yolk by Mary H.K. Choi

    Simon & Schuster, choitotheworld.com

    Release date: March 2

    Why we're excited: Choi is a must-read author for us, and her latest sounds incredible. Jayne Baek is attending fashion school in New York City and struggling with an eating disorder, and she can't seem to move on from her deadbeat boyfriend. Her sister June seemingly has it all: She's rich, and she has a job in finance and a giant apartment. But when June is diagnosed with uterine cancer, Jayne moves in, and these estranged sisters begin to get to know each other better.

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or your local bookstore via Indiebound here.

    24. The Bright and the Pale by Jessica Rubinkowski

    Quill Tree Books, jrubinkowski.wordpress.com

    Release date: March 2

    Why we're excited: Wow, this book has been pitched as The Bear and the Nightingale meets Shadow and Bone, so we're eager to learn more! After an unexpected freeze, 17-year-old Valeria is one of the few survivors after dark magic leaves everyone else, including her family, trapped in an unbreakable sheet of ice. The Czar wants to imprison anyone who has escaped, so Valeria is on the run. She finds refuge with the Thieves Guild and her best friend, Alik — until he's murdered. But when Valeria discovers that Alix is alive a year later, she must risk her life for his freedom.

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or your local bookstore via Indiebound here.

    25. The Stolen Kingdom by Jillian Boehme

    Tor Teen, jillianboehme.com

    Release date: March 2

    Why we're excited: This YA fantasy sounds as if it has the perfect amount of romance and adventure! In the kingdom of Perin Faye, Maralyth Graylaern, a vintner's daughter, has a secret magical power that's proof of her claim to the throne. Alac Thungrave is the king’s second son and spare heir, uncomfortable with the kingdom's dark, stolen magic. When Maralyth becomes entangled in an assassination plan to take out the royal family, she doesn't expect to get caught up in a forbidden love.

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or your local bookstore via Indiebound here.

    26. Once Upon a Quinceañera by Monica Gomez-Hira

    HarperTeen, lasmusasbooks.com

    Release date: March 2

    Why we're excited: This contemporary YA, set in Miami, sounds sooooo cute! Carmen Aguilar's summer consists of an unpaid summer internship, which forces her to help plan her cousin Ariana's extravagant quinceañera. And if things couldn't get any worse, her dance partner is Mauro Reyes, the ex she regrets the most. Is it going to be the summer of disasters, or will Carmen get her happily ever after?

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or your local bookstore via Indiebound here.

    27. Infinity Reaper by Adam Silvera

    Quill Tree Books, Elliot Knight / Via adamsilvera.com

    Release date: March 2

    Why we're excited: This is the sequel to the incredible Infinity Son, and we, for one, are eager to find out what's going to happen next. After Emil and Brighton Rey defeated the Blood Casters and escaped, they're presented with a new slew of problems. Brighton is learning that the Reaper’s Blood might be poisoning him, and Emil is determined to find an antidote that can save him.

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or your local bookstore via Indiebound here.

    28. The Cost of Knowing by Brittney Morris

    Simon & Schuster, authorbrittneymorris.com

    Release date: March 16

    Why we're excited: Okay, well, this one sounds like it'll 100% pull at our heartstrings. In The Cost of Knowing, pitched as Dear Martin meets They Both Die at the End, 16-year-old Alex Rufus puts a ton of pressure on himself to be the best — but Alex has a secret. Every time he touches an object, he sees into its future. It makes it a little hard for him to live in the present. But when Alex touches a photo that gives him a vision of his brother’s death, everything changes. Alex must do whatever he can to stop it.

    Get it from Amazon, Target, or your local bookstore via Indiebound here.

    29. Zara Hossain Is Here by Sabina Khan

    Scholastic, Tanya Kuriyedath / Via sabina-khan.com

    Release date: April 21

    Why we're excited: Khan's latest sounds like it's going to be packed with emotion. Zara Hossain is a 17-year-old Pakistani immigrant living in Corpus Christi, Texas, who is waiting on her family's green card approval. Despite facing Islamophobia at school, Zara knows she has to lay low. But when football player Tyler Benson takes things too far and gets suspended, Tyler and his friends vandalize Zara's house with racist graffiti as an act of retaliation, putting Zara's future at risk.

    Get it from your local bookstore via Indiebound here.

    30. Somewhere Between Bitter and Sweet by Laekan Zea Kemp

    Little Brown, laekanzeakemp.com

    Release date: April 6

    Why we're excited: This phenomenal-sounding YA contemporary has been pitched as I'm Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter meets Emergency Contact — what more can we ask for?! Penelope Prado is an aspiring pastry chef with dreams of running her own pastelería next to Nacho's Tacos, her father's restaurant. Xander Amaro is a new hire at the restaurant who seems to understand Pen better than her parents do. But when the restaurant and Xander's immigrant status are threatened, Pen and Xander must do whatever it takes to save the place they call home.

    Get it from Amazon or your local bookstore via Indiebound here.

    31. Between Perfect and Real by Ray Stoeve

    Amulet, raystoeve.com

    Release date: April 13

    Why we're excited: This YA contemporary sounds like a wonderful read that'll tackle questions of gender identity. Dean Foster has done the research and questioning, and he is sure he's a trans guy, but people at his high school don't see him that way. He wonders if he should wait until after high school to come out, but then his theater director casts him as a “nontraditional” Romeo. As Dean plays the lead, he begins to realize that he wants everyone to see him for who he really is, not just onstage.

    Get it from Barnes & Noble, Target, or your local bookstore via Indiebound here.

    32. Witches Steeped in Gold by Ciannon Smart

    HarperTeen, ciannonsmart.com

    Release date: April 20

    Why we're excited: An epic-sounding Jamaican-inspired YA fantasy? SIGN US UP. Jazmyne, the queen's daughter, refuses to die to strengthen her mother's power. Meanwhile, Iraya has spent her life imprisoned. When these two witches enter an alliance to take down a mutual threat, they don't expect the dangerous and deadly lengths they'll have to go to in order to succeed.

    Get it from Amazon, Target, or your local bookstore via Indiebound here.

    33. What's Not to Love by Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka

    Buzzfeed, emilyandaustinwrite.com

    Release date: April 20

    Why we're excited: This author duo is forever on our auto-read list, and we're thrilled that we're getting another YA romance! Alison Sanger and Ethan Molloy are high school rivals, competing with everything — especially for valedictorian. Alison wouldn't mind Ethan so much if they weren't involved in all the same classes and extracurriculars. So when their school principal makes them co-plan a previous class’s 10-year reunion, they say yes — only because there's a promise of a recommendation for Harvard if they do. But as their connection begins to grow, Alison starts to realize that she might actually care for Ethan in a way she hasn't before.

    Get it from Amazon, Target, or your local bookstore via Indiebound here.

    34. Where Secrets Lie by Eva V. Gibson

    Simon Pulse, Joylyn Hannahs Photography / Via simonandschuster.com

    Release date: April 20

    Why we're excited: This YA thriller sounds incredibly intriguing! In River Run, Kentucky, Amy Larsen spends her summers with her cousin Ben and his BFF Teddy. When Amy and Teddy's feelings for each other destroy the group's friendship, Amy is dreading returning a year later. But then Teddy's sister goes missing, and the three must set aside their drama to unearth the truth.

    Get it from Bookshop, Barnes & Noble, or your local bookstore via Indiebound here.

    35. The Forest of Stolen Girls by June Hur

    Feiwel & Friends, junehur.wordpress.com

    Release date: April 20

    Why we're excited: This is a YA historical mystery that sounds so fascinating. When Hwani's father vanishes after investigating the disappearance of 13 young women, she returns home to try to figure out what happened, only to uncover secrets of her small village.

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or your local bookstore via Indiebound here.

    36. In Deeper Waters by F.T. Lukens

    Margaret K. McElderry Books, speilburgliterary.com

    Release date: April 20

    Why we're excited: This sounds like a YA swashbuckling adventure, pitched as The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue meets Pirates of the Caribbean, so we are absolutely in. As Prince Tal departs on his coming-of-age tour, his crew discovers a mysterious prisoner on a burning derelict vessel just two days into their journey. It's Tal's responsibility to watch over Athlen, but Athlen leaps overboard and disappears, and Tal knows there's no way he could have survived the rough waters. Tal does meet Athlen again on dry land but is kidnapped by pirates who want him to reveal his true powers and instigate a war.

    Get it from Bookshop, Barnes & Noble, or your local bookstore via Indiebound here.

    37. Cool for the Summer by Dahlia Adler

    Buzzfeed, Maggie Hall / Via dahliaadler.com

    Release date: May 11

    Why we're excited: Listen, we are here for a book named after a Demi Lovato song, and this one sounds like it's going to be a fun ride. At the start of her senior year, Lara arguably has everything she's wanted: a group of best friends and a hot football star who is finally flirting with her. But when Jasmine transfers to Lara's school, Lara's world is thrown off-kilter because she's just spent a truly magical summer in the Outer Banks with Jasmine, and she had no idea that Jasmine would walk back into her life. And if Lara has everything she's always wanted, why is she so stuck on Jasmine?

    Get it from Amazon, Target, or your local bookstore via Indiebound here.

    38. Down With This Ship by Katie Kingman

    Flux, Twitter: @kingmanwrites

    Release date: June 8

    Why we're excited: This one sounds like it's full of fanfic and fun. Kole Miller loves writing fanfic for The Space Game, so when her blog Spacer wins a major fanfiction contest, she gains more readership. But with more eyes on her writing comes criticism surrounding heated ship wars, and when her creative writing classmates discover her blog, they take it hostage and threaten to delete it. Kole has to win it back before they turn the drama on her.

    Get it from your local bookstore via Indiebound here.

    39. The Ghosts We Keep by Mason Deaver

    Push, Trịnh Hồng Hương / Via masondeaverwrites.com

    Release date: June 1

    Why we're excited: Oh man, this one sounds like a real tearjerker of a story. Liam Cooper's older brother Ethan is killed in a hit-and-run, and now Liam is struggling with grief and learning how to navigate the world without him. But then Liam begins spending time with Marcus, Ethan's best friend, who seems to be the only person who can relate to what Liam's going through.

    Get it from Amazon, Target, or your local bookstore via Indiebound here.

    40. The Ivies by Alexa Donne

    Buzzfeed, alexadonne.com

    Release date: Early 2021

    Why we're excited: This high-stakes YA thriller highlights the competitiveness of getting into an Ivy League school and is full of intense mystery and murder. What happens when a group of prep school elites will do anything to get into their dream school — even if it means going in for the kill?

    Preorder links forthcoming. Keep an eye out here.

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