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    All The Best YA Book Covers Of 2021

    You are fully welcome to judge books by their cover in this post.

    1. Me (Moth) by Amber McBride

    Feiwel & Friends

    Cover art and design by Rich Deas.

    After losing her family in an accident, Moth is searching for something to ground her. When she meets Sani, who is searching for where he came from, the two set off on a road trip to find the past and begin to move forward.   

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

    2. Prepped by Bethany Mangle

    Simon & Schuster, Inc.

    Cover design and illustrations by Rebecca Syracuse

    Becca has grown up in a community of doomsday preppers, so when a devastating accident rocks her family, it's no surprise that many of them retreat farther inward into their doomsday ideology. But for Becca, it means her plan to earn a full ride to college and move away is thrown into jeopardy. The only one she can turn to is Roy, the boy the community was planning to set her up with, who proposes they run away together. 

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

    3. A Clash of Steel by C.B. Lee

    Feiwel & Friends

    Cover art by Feifei Ruan; book design by Rich Deas and Kathleen Breitenfeld. 

    1826. Xiang is desperate to prove herself to the mother that never has enough time for her. She unexpectedly gets a chance at adventure when her pendant, the one memento of her father who died at sea before she was born, is stolen by a mysterious girl named Anh. But Anh returns after realizing there is a tiny map scroll hidden inside that she needs Xiang to help decode, and the two set off on a journey toward fabled treasure and her father's secrets. 

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

    4. Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé

    Feiwel & Friends

    Cover art by Adeleke Adekunle; book design by Elizabeth H. Clark.   

    Shortly after Devon and Chiamaka are selected to be among the senior class prefects at Niveus Private Academy, anonymous text messages sent by an unknown figure who goes by the name "Aces" begin going out to students. These texts reveal secrets about Devon and Chiamaka's lives — secrets that threaten every aspect of their carefully planned future. As the pair begin to dig, trying to discover who could be behind it, the stakes only grow, and the conspiracy turns out to have much deeper roots than either imagined.  

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

    5. Black Birds in the Sky by Brandy Colbert

    Little, Brown

    Cover art and design by Natasha Cunningham.

    Colbert's searing nonfiction debut covers the Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921. Discussing the lead-up to the event, seen through the history and development of the area and the attitudes of the people, as well as how and what happened and the legacy it left, Colbert chronicles one of the most devastating acts of racial violence in US history.   

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

    6. White Smoke by Tiffany D. Jackson

    Katherine Tegen Books

    Cover art by Jenn Manning; cover design by Erin Fitzsimmons and Amy Ryan. 

    Marigold’s newly blended family has just moved to the Midwestern city of Cedarville for her mom’s new job — a job that comes complete with a free, renovated house. But there are secrets in their home: Things have been vanishing, doors open on their own, and there are voices in the walls. Plus, her 10-year-old stepsister, Piper, keeps talking about her friend who wants Mari gone...

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

    7. Firekeeper's Daughter by Angeline Boulley

    Henry Holt Books for Young Readers

    Cover art by Moses Lunham and design by Rich Deas.

    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.  

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

    8. The Ones We're Meant to Find by Joan He

    Roaring Brook Press

    Cover art by Aykut Aydoğdu; design by Aurora Parlagreco.

    Kasey is a STEM prodigy, living in a skydome — supposedly a sanctuary for those committed to planetary protection and the last unpolluted place on Earth. Though she's expected to use science to help humanity, she can't help thinking of its failure when it came to her sister, Cee. Though Kasey has never fully believed that her sister is dead as everyone says, she doesn't know the truth: Three years prior, Cee woke up on an abandoned island, where she had an old android and a single memory: that of a sister.  

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

    9. Cheer Up! Love and Pompoms by Crystal Frasier, illustrated by Val Wise

    Oni Press

    Cover art by Val Wise.

    Antisocial lesbian Annie needs to round out her college applications (and make a few friends, if possible). To do so, she'll join the cheerleading squad, which includes her former friend BeeBee. BeeBee is trying to keep her parents happy, and in the process keep their support of her transition, through her grades and social life. And as the two rekindle their friendship, new feelings begin to pop up between them.   

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

    10. Things We Couldn't Say by Jay Coles

    Scholastic

    Designed by Baily Crawford.

    Gio has just started to get his life together when his birth mom returns. She walked out of his life when he was 9, 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, Target, or your local indie through Indiebound here.

    11. Fat Chance Charlie Vega by Crystal Maldonado

    Holiday House

    Jacket art by Ericka Lugo; jacket design by Chelsea Hunter

    The world seems to have ideas about what Charlie Vega should look like, which can make it hard for her to have a good relationship with her body. But Charlie's best friend, Amelia, is always in her corner, which is especially important as Charlie's mom keeps passive-aggressively leaving weight loss shakes on her dresser. When Charlie starts a relationship with Brian, a cute classmate, everything seems perfect. But everything gets messier when she discovers that he asked Amelia out first.  

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

    12. The Witch King by H.E. Edgmon

    Inkyard Press

    Cover Illustration by Ryan Garcia; art direction by Kathleen Oudit.

    Wyatt is a witch in a world named Asalin where fae rule, and the fae prince, Emyr, is not only Wyatt's best friend but also his betrothed. But Wyatt fled to the human world after losing control of his magic...and Emyr has now hunted him to this world. Though the now-cold Emyr states that the throne is lost if they don't marry now, Wyatt strikes a deal with the enemy in hopes of leaving Asalin behind forever.  

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

    13. The Ghosts We Keep by Mason Deaver

    Push

    Cover design by Maeve Norton; art by Sarah Maxwell.

    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.  

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

    14. Fire With Fire by Destiny Soria

    Clarion Books

    Design by Mary Claire Cruz; art by Viv Tanner.

    Sisters Dani and Eden Rivera have taken wildly different approaches to life as dragon slayers. While Dani prioritizes her high school normalcy, Eden throws herself into training first. But when Dani comes face to face with a dragon named Nox and forms a rare magical bond with him, she comes to realize that everything she's been taught about dragons, like the kill-or-be-killed instincts they've been trained to have, is wrong.  

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

    15. The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna

    Delacorte Press

    Cover art by Tarajosu; cover design by Ray Shappell.

    On the day of Deka's blood ceremony, the ceremony that determines whether she will become a member of her village, her blood runs gold, the color of impurity. And Deka knows she will face the consequences. But that's before a mysterious woman offers her a choice: Stay in the village to face the backlash or join an army of girls like her — they're called alaki, near-immortals with rare gifts — who fight for the emperor. And as she journeys to the capital for training, she will discover that nothing and no one are quite what they seem to be.  

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

    16. Amelia Unabridged by Ashley Schumacher

    Wednesday Books

    Jacket design by Kerri Resnick; jacket illustration: Beatriz Naranjalidad.

    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.

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

    17. A Snake Falls to Earth by Darcie Little Badger

    Levine Querido

    Jacket art by Mia Ohki; jacket design by Jade Bloomfield. 

    Darcie Little Badger's brilliant sophomore novel is influenced by traditional Lipan Apache storytelling structure, and was longlisted for a National Book Award. Nina, a Lipan girl from Earth, and Oli, a Cottonmouth kid from the land of spirits and monsters, decide to help each other after catastrophe strikes and collides their worlds together, despite those who would kill to keep them apart. 

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

    18. The Heartbreak Bakery by A.R. Capetta

    Candlewick Press

    Design by Matt Roeser

    Agender teen Syd works at the Proud Muffin, a queer bakery and community space in Austin. But after being dumped, Syd's baking, which has always been an outlet for big feelings, quite literally takes on the feelings Syd was trying to bake away: Everyone who eats Syd's breakup brownies breaks up. Now it's up to Syd, along with the cute bike delivery person, Harley, to fix things...including the magical brownie-induced breakup of Vin and Alec, the bakery owners.  

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

    19. Jade Fire Gold by June CL Tan

    Harperteen

    Jacket art by Zheng Wei Gu; jacket design and lettering by Catherine Lee. 

    In this epic fantasy with Zutara vibes, Ahn is a peasant girl who accidentally reveals her deadly magic, while Altan is a lost heir searching for revenge. In each other, they see the thing they most want: Ahn sees a path to her past and her magic, and Altan sees a path to his future and his throne.  

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

    20. Fifteen Hundred Miles From the Sun by Jonny Garza Villa

    Skyscape

    Designed by Anna Laytham; illustrations by Jay Bendt.

    Jules was going to lay low for the last 10 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 it also means that he'll have to face coming out to his homophobic father.  

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

    21. Off the Record by Camryn Garrett

    Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers

    Cover art by Erick Dávila; cover design by Casey Moses.

    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 actor 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.

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

    22. Indivisible by Daniel Aleman

    Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

    Jacket art by Simon Prades; jacket design by Neil Swaab.

    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.

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

    23. Tokyo Ever After by Emiko Jean

    Flatiron

    Jacket design and illustration by John Ed De Vera

    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, and 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 fairy tale?

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

    24. Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao

    Penguin Random House

    Jacket Illustration by Ashley Mackenzie; art direction by Terri Nimmo; jacket design by Talia Abramson.

    Zetian intends to assassinate the pilot responsible for her sister’s death. To do so, she offers herself up as a concubine-pilot, paired up with a boy of Huaxia to pilot giant transforming robots called Chrysalises that battle the mecha aliens beyond the Great Wall. After she murders him and emerges from the cockpit unscathed, she is labeled an Iron Widow, a female pilot who can sacrifice boys to power up a Chrysalis. To stop more girls from being sacrificed, she will leverage her might to figure out exactly why the pilot system is set up the way that it is.

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

    25. That Dark Infinity by Kate Pentecost

    Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

    Jacket art by Ali Gulec; jacket design by Jenny Kimura.

    After the kingdom of Kaer-Ise is attacked, Flora, handmaiden to the princess, is left as the sole survivor, searching for the princess she served. To do so, she'll make a deal with the Ankou, who by night is a legendary young mercenary and by day nothing more than bones. He'll help train her in exchange for her help breaking his curse, finding the death that has been prophesied for him even as she slowly grows to understand (and possibly love) him.  

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

    26. So Many Beginnings by Bethany C. Morrow

    Feiwel & Friends

    Photo credit: Jonathan Barkat; book design by Rich Deas. 

    The March sisters live in the Freedmen’s Colony of Roanoke Island, a haven for the recently emancipated in 1863. Meg, the oldest, dreams of love and a family of her own. Jo writes nonfiction about being Black in America and is questioning the stipulations of a publishing offer. Beth is a seamstress, searching for a purpose and dealing with a mysterious illness. And the youngest, Amy, is a dancer, wanting to explore life outside their home. But no matter what the future holds, they will face it all together.    

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

    27. This Poison Heart by Kalynn Bayron

    Bloomsbury

    Jacket Illustration by Raymond Sebastien; jacket design by Jeanette Levy and Jet Purdie.

    Briseis can grow plants from seeds to blooms with a single touch, but she doesn't quite know how to control her gift. When her aunt dies and leaves her a dilapidated, rural New York estate, it comes with specific instructions, an apothecary, and a garden filled with some of the world's deadliest botanicals. And as strangers begin to arrive, asking for elixirs and such, Bri discovers that not only does she have a talent for making them, but that there is also more to her inheritance than she ever could have imagined.   

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

    28. The Lost Girls by Sonia Hartl

    Page Street

    Cover art by Mercedes DeBellard; design by Kylie Alexander

    Holly Liddell was promised eternal love by Elton Irving, all the way back in 1987. But 34 years later, Holly is still a 16-year-old (albeit a vampiric, single one). But things change when she meets Rose and Ida, both also turned into vampires by Elton and then cast away in 1954 and 1921 respectively. And they plan to kill Elton and want Holly's help. Though initially reluctant, when she meets and begins to fall for a girl named Parker, who Elton has his sights set on, she begins to reconsider.  

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

    29. Six Crimson Cranes by Elizabeth Lim

    Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers

    Cover art by Tran Nguyen; cover lettering by Alix Northrup; cover design by Alison Impey.

    After Shiori, the only princess of Kiata, loses control of her forbidden magic on the morning of the betrothal ceremony she never wanted, her stepmother Raikama banishes her — turning her brothers into cranes and making it so that every word that escapes Shiori's lips will cost a brother his life. On her journey to find her brothers, voiceless and alone, she realizes that she has to place her trust in the boy she fought so hard not to marry.  

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

    30. The Taking of Jake Livingston by Ryan Douglass

    G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers

    Jacket illustration by Corey Brickley; art direction by Kristin Boyle; jacket design by Jessica Jenkins.

    It's hard enough fitting in at St. Clair Prep, where he is one of the only Black kids, but Jake Livingston also see the dead. Though most are harmless, stuck in a loop where they relive their death over and over again, every rule about ghosts is thrown out when Sawyer — who shot and killed 16 kids at a local high school last year before taking his own life — arrives. As Sawyer begins to haunt Jake, high school turns into a survival game, as bodies begin turning up in his neighborhood.   

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

    31. A Dark and Hollow Star by Ashley Shuttleworth

    Simon & Schuster

    Cover by Christophe Young.

    The Eight Courts of Folk have peacefully lived, concealed, among humans for centuries, but there's war brewing between the Mortal and Immortal realms, thrown to the forefront after a series of ritualistic murders in Toronto. Four queer teens — a half-fae outcast of a royal family, a Fury in exile, a fae prince, and the prince's guardian — are trying to track down the killer, before one of them tips the scales of war.  

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