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    40 Contemporary Books We're Looking Forward To Reading In 2021

    Is your TBR stack going to grow exponentially after this? Yes. Am I sorry? No.

    Farrah Penn / BuzzFeed

    1. Roman & Jewel by Dana L. Davis

    Inkyard, Via danaldavis.com

    Release Date: Jan. 5

    What it's about: Think Shakespeare meets Hamilton with a touch of Smash. When Jerzie is cast as the understudy and not the lead in the new Romeo and Juliet hip-hopera, Roman and Jewel, she's crushed. Things complicate when she finds herself falling for Zeppelin, the male lead, who Cinny, the actress Jerzie is understudying, wants for herself. When a video of Jerzie and Zepp practicing goes viral, the entire world starts to weigh in on who should play Jewel.

    For more stories of star-crossed love, check out American Betiya by Anuradha D. Rajurkar and The Right Side of Reckless by Whitney D. Grandison.

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or your local indie through Indiebound here.

    2. One of the Good Ones by Maika Moulite and Maritza Moulite

    Inkyard, Via maikaandmaritza.com

    Release Date: Jan. 5

    What it's about: Sisters Maika and Maritza Moulite popped into YA in 2019 with their incredible Dear Haiti, Love Alaine and I'm so excited for their second book! Sisters Happi and Genny are on a journey, using an heirloom copy of The Negro Motorist Green Book as a guide. Still reeling from the death of their sister Kezi (an activist, killed under mysterious circumstances after a social justice rally), the journey is their way to honor her. As Happi questions the idealized way in which her sister is being remembered ("one of the good ones", "perfect", etc), a twist in Kezi's story emerges that will change everything again.

    For more sophomore releases (aka the second book released by an author), check out Lucky Girl by Jamie Pacton and Sunny Song Will Never Be Famous by Suzanne Park.

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or your local indie through Indiebound here.

    3. Your Corner Dark by Desmond Hall

    Simon Teen, Tom Kates / Via desmondhallauthor.com

    Release Date: Jan. 19

    What it's about: At time of writing, I'm in the middle of reading this book, and it's absolutely incredible! This electric debut follows Frankie Green, who finally has his ticket out of Jamaica in the form of a scholarship letter. But after his father is shot, he has to make a deal with Uncle Joe — Frankie joins Joe's gang for life, and Joe will fund the import of the drugs that will save his father.

    For more debut novels releasing in January, check out When You Look Like Us by Pamela N Harris and Meet Cute Project by Rhiannon Richardson

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or your local indie through Indiebound here.

    4. Thirty Talks Weird Love by Alessandra Narváez Varela

    Cinco Puntos Press, Via cincopuntos.com

    Release Date: Jan. 19

    What it's about: Okay, technically speaking this book is set in the '90s and therefore I would classify it as YA historical fiction, but it's my list and I can break my own rule to include it. Anamaría is 13, living in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico where cases of kidnapped girls and women are on the rise, when a lady comes up to her with claims of being a 30-year-old Anamaría. Thirty tells her to be kinder to herself, maybe not work so hard at school that she barely sleeps and is constantly stressed, which Anamaría questions.

    For another book that I would also technically classify as YA historical fiction even though it's set in the 90s, check out Concrete Rose by Angie Thomas and for one set in 2003, check out An Emotion of Great Delight by Tahereh Mafi

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or your local indie through Indiebound here.

    5. Muted by Tami Charles

    Scholastic, Krisann Binett

    Release Date: Feb. 2

    What it's about: This is one of those books that when you finish, you stare at it for a little bit and need a moment before you can do other things – it is that good. Denver is the star of this novel-in-verse, but more importantly, she wants to be a big music star with her friends Dali and Shak. When they catch the attention of Sean "Mercury" Ellis, one of the biggest R&B stars in the world, he pulls them into his circle, providing hours in the recording studio, parties, and perks in exchange for sacrifices and lies. But the dream quickly turns into a nightmare, and Denver realizes she's caught in the dark side of Merc's world.

    For more musical novels, check out XOXO by Axie Oh, Where the Rhythm Takes You by Sarah Dass, Idol Gossip by Alexandra Leigh Young, and Battle of the Bands edited by Lauren Gibaldi and Eric Smith

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or your local indie through Indiebound here.

    6. The Boy from the Mish by Gary Lonesborough

    Allen & Ullwin, Via garylonesborough.com

    Release Date: Feb. 2 (Australia)

    What it's about: This Australian release sounds so great, so I couldn't help but talk about it here. While it releases this year in Australia, it will be published in the U.S. in 2022. Jackson is an aboriginal teen, enjoying the hot summer with his family on the Mish. When his Aunty and cousins come to visit for Christmas, they bring Tomas, a mysterious boy with a troubled past, with them. As their friendship evolves, Jackson's own secret begins to bubble to the surface, and it becomes clear that this summer will change everything.

    7. Love is a Revolution by Renée Watson

    Bloomsbury, Via reneewatson.net

    Release Date: Feb. 2

    What it's about: I am so excited for this new book by literary queen of my heart, Renée Watson! Nala unexpectedly finds herself crushing on Tye Brown, the MC at an open mic night for her cousin/sister/friend Imani's birthday (which she was attending reluctantly). But while Nala would prefer to watch movies and eat ice cream, activist Tye is spending the summer putting on community events. Determined to impress, she tells a few small lies so it will seem like they have more in common, and as she falls harder for Tye, the lies become harder to keep up with.

    For other great stories with fat main characters, check out Fat Chance, Charlie Vega by Crystal Maldonado and Speak for Yourself by Lana Wood Johnson

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or your local indie through Indiebound here.

    8. A Phở Love Story by Loan Le

    Simon & Schuster, Via writerloanle.me

    Release Date: Feb. 9

    What it's about: If you're looking for a delicious star-crossed romance, this is your book! The Mais and the Nguyens have been at odds for years, competing as owners of neighboring phở restaraunts. Bao Nguyen and Linh Mai have avoided each other most of their lives because of this. Bao sort of lives in the middle — average grades, fifth favorite employee — while Linh dreams of pursuing a career in art. When the two cross paths in a chance encounter, sparks fly, and they have to wonder if navigating the complicated history of their feuding families is worth it.

    For another book featuring a family business, check out Between You, Me, and the Honeybees by Amelia Diane Coombs

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or your local indie through Indiebound here.

    9. As Far As You'll Take Me by Phil Stamper

    Bloomsbury, Krystal Balzer Photography

    Release Date: Feb. 9

    What it's about: Whether you prefer a good read or a good reed, Phil Stamper's newest is a delight. Marty arrives in London, with his oboe and some savings from his summer job, to attend a summer music program. What his parents don't know is that he only bought a one way ticket, he didn't make it into the program, and he's trying to get a position in an orchestra so he can stay in London indefinitely. As his homesickness and anxiety rear their heads, he'll have to discover if his new friends, setting, and his first ever boyfriend are enough to make him feel at home.

    For more European adventures, check out Hot British Boyfriend by Kristy Boyce and Kisses and Croissants by Anne-Sophie Jouhanneau

    Get it from Bookshop or your local indie through Indiebound here.

    10. Amelia Unabridged by Ashley Schumacher

    Wednesday Books, Via ashwritesbooks.com

    Release Date: Feb. 16

    What it's about: Already one of my favorite books of the year, this is one you'll toss at your book loving friends and quickly form your own lil book groups around (ask me how I know). Amelia and Jenna were brought together by the Orman Chronicles series, written by young (and reclusive) N.E. Endsley. When the pair get a chance to attend a book fest Endsley will be at, what starts as a dream quickly goes wrong: Jenna gets a chance to meet the author, Amelia doesn't, and the two have a blowout fight. Before they can make up, Jenna is in a car accident and dies. But a mysterious rare edition of the Orman Chronicles makes its way to Amelia, who wonders if it's from Jenna, and she tracks it to a small bookstore in Michigan where she comes face to face with Endsley.

    For more books featuring writers, check out Happily Ever Afters by Elise Bryant and The Legacies by Abdi Nazemian

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or your local indie through Indiebound here.

    11. Home is Not a Country by Safia Elhillo

    Aris Theotokatos, Make Me A World

    Release Date: Mar. 2

    What it's about: This book comes recommended by the incredible Elizabeth Acevedo, which gave it an immediate spot on my TBR. Home is Not a Country, like Muted and Thirty Talks Weird Love, is a novel-in-verse following Nima, who doesn't feel understood. After all, her mother grew up in a different land and her suburban town is very white. At least she's able to be herself around her childhood friend Haitham. But when the ground is pulled out from under her, "being herself" gets a little more complicated.

    For more novels in verse, check out Chlorine Sky by Mahogany L. Browne and (Me) Moth by Amber McBride

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or your local indie through Indiebound here.

    12. Once Upon a Quinceañera by Monica Gomez-Hira

    Harperteen, Nicole Lamkin

    Release Date: Mar. 2

    What it's about: 18-year-old Carmen Aguilar is stuck in an unpaid internship, performing as a party princess in Miami with her friend Waverly. To make things worse, they've just been booked for a quinceañera — one for Carmen's spoiled cousin. Plus, her ex-boyfriend Mauro is back in town after his first year of college, naturally being assigned a role as her dance partner at work, and there might just be a second chance in the cards for them.

    For more books featuring main characters with jobs/internships, check out How Not to Fall in Love by Jacqueline Firkins

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or your local indie through Indiebound here.

    13. When We Were Infinite by Kelly Loy Gilbert

    Simon & Schuster, Dayna Falls

    Release Date: Mar. 9

    What it's about: Anyone who follows me knows that I think Kelly Loy Gilbert's Picture Us in the Light is the certainly one of the best YA books of all time, and When We Were Infinite again proves she's an absolute master of YA contemporary. Beth wants nothing more than her friend group (Grace, Brandon, Sunny, and secret crush Jason) to stay together. But after she discovers that Jason's father is abusive, the whole group is shaken, Jason has to decide whether to make a life altering-choice, and Beth has to determine how far she'll go to protect him.

    For more books featuring suddenly fragile friendships, check out Like Home by Louisa Onomé and It Goes Like This by Miel Moreland

    Get it from Bookshop or your local indie through Indiebound here.

    14. Can't Take That Away by Steven Salvatore

    Bloomsbury, Steven Salvatore

    Release Date: Mar. 9

    What it's about: 2021 really is giving my theater-loving heart some wonderful books, huh. Told in alternating chapters with identifying pronouns, Can't Take That Away follows genderqueer teen Carey Parker, who dreams of being a diva. Between their grandma's spiraling dementia and a past incident with a homophobic classmate, it's getting harder to find their voice. But after Cris, a musician, makes Carey feel seen for the first time, they audition for the lead role in the school musical.

    For more theatrical books, check out Between Perfect and Real by Ray Stoeve and As if On Cue by Marisa Kanter

    Get it from Bookshop or your local indie through Indiebound here.

    15. Firekeeper's Daughter by Angeline Boulley

    Henry Holt & Co., Amber Boulley

    Release Date: Mar. 16

    What it's about: This is next on my reading list, and I cannot wait! 18-year-old Daunis has been dreaming of a fresh start in college, since she's never felt like she fit in her hometown or on the nearby Ojibwe reservation. But after family tragedy strikes, she stays to look after her mother, meeting Jamie, a new recruit on her brother's hockey team, in the process. And when Daunis witnesses a murder, she's pulled into an FBI investigation of a lethal new drug, and ends up undercover to track down the source.

    For more mystery/thrillers, check out Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé, The Girls I've Been by Tess Sharpe, The Marvelous by Claire Kann, and Darling by K Ancrum

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or your local indie through Indiebound here.

    16. Somewhere Between Bitter and Sweet by Laekan Zea Kemp

    Little, Brown, Diana Ascarrunz

    Release Date: Apr. 6

    What it's about: This next book might make you hungry, so make sure to have a snack nearby! Penelope Prado has always dreamed of being a pastry chef and opening a pastelería next to Nacho's Tacos, her father's restaurant. Xander Amaro has just been hired at Nacho's, seeing it as his chance to settle into a normal life and find the father who left him behind. When the restaurant and Xander's immigration status are threated, Pen and Xander will need to discover where they belong in order to save the place they call home.

    For more foodie reads, check out It's Kind of a Cheesy Love Story by Lauren Morrill and A Taste for Love by Jennifer Yen

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or your local indie through Indiebound here.

    17. Between the Bliss and Me by Lizzy Mason

    Soho Teen, Meredith Rich

    Release Date: Apr. 6

    What it's about: Get your heartstrings ready for this lovely novel. After Sydney decides to head to NYU (accepting money from her grandparents, which her mom was against, to do so), it means she wont be commuting to the nearby Rutgers like her overprotective mom had hoped. And when she discovers a world-changing truth about the father that left her life when she was little, she'll have to reckon with the implications for her own future, and determine what risks are worth taking.

    For more books featuring main characters confronting truths about their fathers, check out When We Were Strangers by Alex Richards and The Mythic Koda Rose by Jennifer Nissley

    Get it from Bookshop or your local indie through Indiebound here.

    18. Kate in Waiting by Becky Albertalli

    Harperteen, Via goodreads.com

    Release Date: Apr. 20

    What it's about: The first of Becky Albertalli's 2021 books (the second being Here's to Us with Adam Silvera) is an ode to friendship, theater, and messy crushes. Kate Garfield and Anderson Walker are best friends, adn they share a lot: details of their lives, car rides to theater rehearsals, and a long-distance crush on Matt Olsson. But when Matt shows up at school, gets cast alongside Kate in Once Upon a Mattress, and starts hanging with Anderson more and more, feelings are bound to get messy, especially when a friend of Kate's brother also slowly makes his way into her life.

    For more new books by bestselling authors, check out Pumpkin by Julie Murphy, Take Me Home Tonight by Morgan Matson, and We Are Inevitable by Gayle Forman

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or your local indie through Indiebound here.

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

    Penguin, Sue Grubman

    Release Date: Apr. 20

    What it's about: Alison Sanger and Ethan Molloy have been academic rivals since the start of high school, competing in classes, on the school paper, for valedictorian. When they are given an assignment from the principal to work together to plan a 10-year-reunion for a previous class, they'll have to spend extra time together...which leads their rivalry to develop into something more akin to romantic tension. Of note: this book has one of my favorite "first kiss" scenes ever.

    For more rivals-to-lovers/enemies-to-lovers/hate-to-love/etc, check out She Drives Me Crazy by Kelly Quindlen and How Moon Fuentez Fell in Love with the Universe by Raquel Vasquez Gilliland

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or your local indie through Indiebound here.

    20. Indivisible by Daniel Aleman

    Little, Brown, F. Angelini

    Release Date: May 4

    What it's about: Looking for a wonderfully written family story? When two ICE agents come asking for Pa, the early fears of Mateo and his sister Sophie – that their parents could be deported – come crashing back to the surface. Mateo returns from school one day to discover that his parents have been taken by immigration officers, and he has to not only take care of Sophie as he waits to learn his parents fate, but he must also face questions of his identity in a country that rejects his family.

    For another book talking about parents and immigration, check out If I Tell You the Truth by Jasmin Kaur

    Get it from Bookshop or your local indie through Indiebound here.

    21. Counting Down With You by Tashie Bhuiyan

    Inkyard, Via goodreads.com

    Release Date: May 4

    What it's about: Are you ready for some trope-filled countdown fun? One little lie has thrown off Karina's whole plan. That's what happens when the schools resident bad boy/Karina's tutoree, Ace Clyde, says that Karina is his girlfriend, leading to a fake dating charade that should end when her parents return from Bangladesh in 28 days. But what if Karina doesn't want it to end?

    For another May debut, check out Made in Korea by Sarah Suk

    Get it from Bookshop or your local indie through Indiebound here.

    22. Hurricane Summer by Asha Bromfield

    Wednesday Books, Felice Trinidad

    Release Date: May 4

    What it's about: This debut novel from actress Asha Bromfield (Melody on Riverdale!) sounds so good! Every six months, Tilla's father leaves their family to return to Jamaica. So when Tilla's mother says she'll be spending the summer on the island, she's conflicted. On one hand, she isn't too keen about seeing him, since it's felt like she's spent her life trying to make him love her. On the other, she might finally be able to see what Jamaica means to him.

    For another novel about unraveling a mysterious parent, check out From Little Tokyo with Love by Sarah Kuhn

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or your local indie through Indiebound here.

    23. Sunny G's Series of Rash Decisions by Navdeep Singh Dhillon

    Dial, Sona Charaipotra

    Release Date: May 4

    What it's about: I am so incredibly excited about this debut featuring a Sikh teen in the lead! Sunny is filling up a notebook, the one his brother left him when he died, with rash decisions. The first? He stopped wearing his turban, cut off his hair, and shaved his beard, a look he plans on debuting at prom instead of heading to the big fandom party he'd normally be attending. But when Mindii Vang enters his life, and steals his notebook as one of her own rash decisions, prom turns into an all-night adventure.

    For more list-making main characters, check out Our Way Back to Always by Nina Moreno, Simone Breaks All the Rules by Debbie Rigaud, and Jay's Gay Agenda by Jason June

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or your local indie through Indiebound here.

    24. Meet Cute Diary by Emery Lee

    Quill Tree, Via emeryleebooks.com

    Release Date: May 4

    What it's about: Fake dating? A trans MC? Yes please! Noah Ramirez runs the Meet Cute Diary, a blog collection of trans happily afters. But when a troll exposes the blog as fiction, the only way to save it is to convince everyone the stories are true. Enter Drew. Drew is willing to fake date Noah, but as Noah's feelings grow more real, everything becomes even more complicated.

    For another story where an untruth gets out of hand, check out How Maya Got Fierce by Sona Charaipotra

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or your local indie through Indiebound here.

    25. Cool for the Summer by Dahlia Adler

    Wednesday, Maggie Hall

    Release Date: May 11

    What it's about: This next book is un-bi-lievably good. Lara has liked Chase for pretty much all of high school, and now he actually seems to be flirting with her. But memories of Lara's perfect, confusing, romantic summer spent with a girl named Jasmine grow more disorienting when Jasmine arrives at school. After finally landing the guy of her dreams, why is it that she can't stop thinking of Jasmine?

    For more bisexual leads, check out Zara Hossain is Here by Sabina Khan and Perfect on Paper by Sophie Gonzales

    Get it from Bookshop or your local indie through Indiebound here.

    26. Perfectly Parvin by Olivia Abtahi

    Putnam, Via oliviaabtahi.com

    Release Date: May 18

    What it's about: I am always searching for YA with younger main characters, so I'm extra excited for this one (Parvin is 14!). After a heartbreak, Parvin decides to reinvent herself by acting like the women in her favorite rom-coms...especially if it means Matty Fumero, the cutest boy at her new high school, will ask her to homecoming. But in the midst of her reinvention, she'll still have to go to Farsi lessons on the weekend, juggle a new friendship with someone she's her unfiltered self with, and process the ramifications of the Muslim Ban on her family in Iran.

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or your local indie through Indiebound here.

    27. May the Best Man Win by ZR Ellor

    Roaring Brooke Press, Z R Ellor

    Release Date: May 18

    What it's about: Enemies to lovers, and there's consequences from the enemies part? Say no more! Jeremy Harkiss is cheer captain and student body president, and is determined to stand up to both the bigots and outdated school admin after coming out as a transgender boy. To do so? He decides to challenge Lukas, his ex, for the title of Homecoming King. But Lukas isn't giving up easily, in fact, he's plotting to sabotage Jeremy's campaign. When both boys go too far, they'll have to save Homecoming, and try not to reignite their feelings for each other in the process.

    For more queer stories, check out The Sky Blues by Robbie Couch, Be Dazzled by Ryan La Sala, and Some Girls Do by Jennifer Dugan

    Get it from Bookshop or your local indie through Indiebound here.

    28. Off the Record by Camryn Garrett

    Alfred A. Knopf, Louisa Wells

    Release Date: May 18

    What it's about: Camryn Garrett's debut Full Disclosure was absolutely incredible, but her second book might be even better! When 17-year-old journalist Josie wins a contest to write a celebrity profile, she's equal parts excited and scared. The fact that the subject of the profile is the young up-and-comer Marius Canet certainly contributes to that. While on a multi-city tour for interviews, she ends up face to face with a young actress who lets her in on a terrible secret about a Hollywood mainstay, leading to more and more accounts from other women. Josie has to figure out if she's willing to speak up and expose him, and not let down those who entrusted her with their stories.

    For more novels reckoning with sexual assault, check out We Are the Ashes We Are the Fire by Joy McCullough and Tonight We Rule the World by Zack Smedley

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or your local indie through Indiebound here.

    29. Misfit in Love by S.K. Ali

    Salaam Reads / Simon & Schuster Books, Andrea Stenson

    Release Date: May 25

    What it's about: Misfit in Love is sequel/companion to the wonderful Saints and Misfits, and I can't wait to pop back into Janna's world. This weekend, Janna's brother Muhammad is getting married, she's reuniting with her mom, and Nuah is arriving. Last time Janna saw Nuah, she wasn't ready to reciprocate his feelings, but she is now, and she;s ready for a carefully planned summer of love. But with Nuah treating her differently, her dad acting strange, and her mom spending more time with a possible love interest than her, Janna doesn't think anything could be more complicated. Of course, that's before the dreamy and brooding newcomers show up...

    For more sequels, check out Flyy Girls Noelle and Tobyn by Ashley Woodfolk, Anna K Away by Jenny Lee and Here's to Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or your local indie through Indiebound here.

    30. Hani and Ishu's Guide to Fake Dating by Adiba Jaigirdar

    Page Street, Lia Carlotti

    Release Date: May 25

    What it's about: The Henna Wars set up Adiba Jaigirdar as a beloved voice in contemporary YA, and her second book is sure to cement that. Even though Hani is one of the most popular girls at school, when she comes out as bisexual, her friends invalidate her identity by wrongly stating that she has only dated guys and can't be bi. Quickly, she says she is in a relationship...with a girl her friends hate. Ishu is an overachiever who agrees to help Hani, provided Hani helps her become more popular so she might be elected head girl.

    For more fake dating books (because 2021 is truly blessing us in this regard), check out Love and Other Natural Disasters by Misa Sugiura or Some Other Now by Sarah Everett.

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or your local indie through Indiebound here.

    31. Tokyo Ever After by Emiko Jean

    Flatiron, Via emikojean.com

    Release Date: May 25

    What it's about: If you've been looking for a modern successor to The Princess Diaries, you've found it! Izumi isn't expecting to find out that the father she never knew is actually the Crown Prince of Japan. But when she does, it leads her on a whirlwind trip involving cousins, new customs, & a very cute and scowl-y bodyguard. Back home, she was never "American enough," and now in Japan, she must prove she is "Japanese enough." Will she be able to live out the fairytale?

    For more excellent picks, check out A Shot at Normal by Marisa Reichardt and Everything Within and In-Between by Nikki Barthelmess

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or your local indie through Indiebound here.

    32. The Ghosts We Keep by Mason Deaver

    Scholastic, Trịnh Hồng Hương

    Release Date: Jun. 1

    What it's about: If you enjoy lovely contemplative contemporaries, Mason Deaver is your author. After Liam Cooper's older brother is killed in a hit-and run, Liam feels more alone and isolated than ever. It doesn't help that the relationship with their two best friends seems to be fading away. But as he starts spending time with Marcus, his brother's best friend, Liam finally finds someone that seems to know exactly what they are going through.

    For more sophomore novels, check out In Silent Seas We Drown by Liz Lawson and Not My Problem by Ciara Smyth

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or your local indie through Indiebound here.

    33. Fifteen Hundred Miles from the Sun by Jonny Garza Villa

    Rachel Strolle, jonnygarzavilla.com

    Release Date: Jun. 8

    What it's about: A few of my favorite people have called this their new all-time favorite, so I truly am craving this read. Jules was going to lay low for the last ten months of high school in Corpus Christi, Texas. But after waking up hungover, and discovering that he came out on Twitter between tequila shots, that plan goes out the window. Not only does this lead to a DM from Mat (an openly gay Twitter mutual who is supportive, funny, cute...and unfortunately three states away), but also means that he'll have to face coming out to his homophobic father.

    For more debuts, check out Don't Hate the Player by Alexis Nedd, Kneel by Candace Buford and Fresh by Margot Wood

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or your local indie through Indiebound here.

    34. Rise to the Sun by Leah Johnson

    Scholastic, Reece T. Williams

    Release Date: Jul. 6

    What it's about: The author You Should See Me in a Crown (what I think was the best YA book of last year), returns with this book set around a music festival. Toni is desperate to get back to loving music after the loss of her father, while hopeless romantic Olivia has just gone through another heartbreak. The two run into each other and begin to bond, but when something goes wrong around the Farmland Music and Arts Festival, Toni and Olivia will need each other and music to make it through.

    Get it from Bookshop, Amazon, or your local indie through Indiebound here.

    35. Radha & Jai's Recipe for Romance by Nisha Sharma

    Crown, Jon Macapodi

    Release Date: Jul. 13

    What it's about: Romance has been such a balm in the past year, and luckily, Nisha Sharma writes in both YA and adult romance! After a family betrayal costs Radha her chances in the biggest dance competitions of her life, she heads to New Jersey and the Princeton Academy of the Arts to reinvent herself. Jai, overachiever and the captain of the Bollywood Beats dance team, is determined to make the most out of high school. When the two meet, they'll realize that the other might be exactly the right ingredient for a happily ever after.

    For more authors releasing both a YA contemporary and an adult contemporary romance, check out We Can't Keep Meeting Like This (YA) and The Ex-Talk (Adult) by Rachel Lynn Solomon, Of Princes and Promises (YA) and Make Up Break Up (Adult) by Sandhya/Lily Menon, and Tahira in Bloom (YA) and Accidentally Engaged (Adult) by Farah Heron. Nisha Sharma's 2021 Adult book is Dating Dr. Dil

    Get it from Amazon, Target, or your local indie through Indiebound here.

    36. Like a Love Song by Gabriela Martins

    Underlined, Meulam Fotografia

    Release Date: Aug. 3

    What it's about: Cute and fun books releasing originally in paperback? We truly love to see it! Brazilian pop star Natalie just got dumped on live TV. Desperate for a plan, her PR team comes up with the perfect fix: William. Nati and William will pretend to date, but as the two spend time together, Natalie quickly finds herself falling for the soft-hearted British indie film star.

    For more new releases coming out immediately in paperback, check out Sister of the Bollywood Bride by Nandini Bajpai, Get a Clue by Tiffany Schmidt, and I Think I Love You by Auriane Desombree

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or your local indie through Indiebound here.

    37. Never Saw You Coming by Erin Hahn

    Rachel Strolle, Hilary Nichols Photography

    Release Date: Sep. 7

    What it's about: I've always loved Erin's books, but there is something extra special about this one. After finding out a secret about her parents, Meg heads up north to meet family she never knew instead of taking her planned gap year. Shaken, she meets Micah, the son of a former pastor, who also has a complicated relationship with faith.

    For more novels about family, check out Yolk by Mary H K Choi, You'd Be Home Now by Kathleen Glasgow, and You Have a Match by Emma Lord

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or your local indie through Indiebound here.

    38. Things We Couldn't Say by Jay Coles

    Scholastic, Via goodreads.com

    Release Date: Sep. 21

    What it's about: I cannot even explain how excited I am about having a new Jay Coles book in my life. Gio has just started to get his life together when his birth mom returns. She walked out of his life when he was nine, and he hasn't heard from her in eight years. Now, he's not sure he's willing to let her back into his life. On top of this, there's a new guy on the basketball team that he's been hanging out with, and Gio is not sure if he wants to be in a relationship right now.

    Get it from Bookshop or your local indie through Indiebound here.

    39. You've Reached Sam by Dustin Thao

    Wednesday, Vivian Tran

    Release Date: Nov. 2

    What it's about: If you like your contemporaries with a tiny piece of magic, this emotional YA is perfect for you. After her boyfriend's death, Julie calls him to hear his voice on the voicemail recording...only for him to pick up and give her a second chance at a goodbye. But the more they talk, the harder it is to let go. This contemporary has a tiny bit of magic in it, and I cannot wait to read it.

    For more debuts, check out The Jasmine Project by Meredith Ireland and The Problem with the Other Side by Kwame Ivery

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or your local indie through Indiebound here.

    40. You Can Go Your Own Way by Eric Smith

    Rachel Strolle, Via ericsmithrocks.com

    Release Date: Nov. 2

    What it's about: You've Got Mail + pinball? Can't wait! Adam is determined to protect the pinball arcade that is the only thing he has left of his dad, even if he has to fight the tech mogul who wants to turn it into a gaming café. Whitney is running social media for her dads chain of gaming cafés, trading insults with the pinball arcade across town. When a snowstorm hits, the two get trapped inside the arcade, and as the tension starts morphing into something else, the question becomes what happens when the storm ends.

    For another new novel by one of my favorite authors, check out It All Comes Back to You by Farah Naz Rishi

    Get it from Bookshop, Amazon, or your local indie through Indiebound here.

    Love graphic novels? Check out these contemporary ones!

    Himawari House by Harmony Becker

    My Last Summer with Cass by Mark Crilley

    Heartstopper Volumes 3 and 4 by Alice Oseman

    The Backups by Alex de Campi and Lara Kane

    Note: The book recommendations that are not linked did not have buy links at the time this article posted.

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