It’s the end of the year (thankfully), which means I’m ready to talk about some of my most anticipated releases for the next one. I’m starting with my most anticipated debuts of 2021! There are so many that I wanted to feature here, so I’ve decided to split the post into two parts. The second part will be coming halfway through 2021, after I’ve had time to research even more new releases, and figure out which ones I want to get my hands on.
There are some incredible books lined up for 2021, and many of my most anticipated books are from debut authors. I’m hosting the Debut Author Challenge 2021 in order to help promote them, and I’ll also be showing off the books in my monthly Debut Showcase feature. If you’re interested in taking part in the casual challenge, please do! It’ll be a lot of fun.
Anyway, onto the books!
The Effort by Claire Holroyde
12th January 2021
When dark comet UD3 was spotted near Jupiter’s orbit, its existence was largely ignored. But to individuals who knew better — scientists like Benjamin Schwartz, manager of NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies — the threat this eight-kilometer comet posed to the survival of the human race was unthinkable. The 150-million-year reign of the dinosaurs ended when an asteroid impact generated more than a billiontimes the energy of an atomic bomb.
What would happen to Earth’s seven billion inhabitants if a similar event were allowed to occur?
Ben and his indomitable girlfriend Amy Kowalski fly to South America to assemble an international counteraction team, whose notable recruits include Love Mwangi, a UN interpreter and nomad scholar, and Zhen Liu, an extraordinary engineer from China’s national space agency. At the same time, on board a polar icebreaker life continues under the looming shadow of comet UD3. Jack Campbell, a photographer for National Geographic, works to capture the beauty of the Arctic before it is gone forever. Gustavo Wayãpi, a Nobel Laureate poet from Brazil, struggles to accept the recent murder of his beloved twin brother. And Maya Gutiérrez, an impassioned marine biologist is — quite unexpectedly — falling in love for the first time.
Together, these men and women must fight to survive in an unknown future with no rules and nothing to be taken for granted. They have two choices: neutralize the greatest threat the world has ever seen (preferably before mass hysteria hits or world leaders declare World War III) or come to terms with the annihilation of humanity itself.
I’ve got my eye on this one because it’s an apocalyptic story, mostly. I love those, and even after this year I keep seeking them out. Also, a character who’s a marine biologist? Yes please!
Waiting for the Night Song by Julie Carrick Dalton
12th January 2021
Cadie Kessler has spent decades trying to cover up one truth. One moment. But deep down, didn’t she always know her secret would surface?
An urgent message from her long-estranged best friend Daniela Garcia brings Cadie, now a forestry researcher, back to her childhood home. There, Cadie and Daniela are forced to face a dark secret that ended both their idyllic childhood bond and the magical summer that takes up more space in Cadie’s memory then all her other years combined.
Now grown up, bound by long-held oaths, and faced with truths she does not wish to see, Cadie must decide what she is willing to sacrifice to protect the people and the forest she loves, as drought, foreclosures, and wildfire spark tensions between displaced migrant farm workers and locals.
I’ve already read a couple of chapters of this one and I’m intrigued. I want to know more about these secrets! I also love reading about climate action plans and the ecological impact of humans on the environment, so I’m looking forward to continuing.
Cast in Firelight by Dana Swift
19th January 2021
Adraa is the royal heir of Belwar, a talented witch on the cusp of taking her royal ceremony test, and a girl who just wants to prove her worth to her people.
Jatin is the royal heir to Naupure, a competitive wizard who’s mastered all nine colors of magic, and a boy anxious to return home for the first time since he was a child.
Together, their arranged marriage will unite two of Wickery’s most powerful kingdoms. But after years of rivalry from afar, Adraa and Jatin only agree on one thing: their reunion will be anything but sweet.
Only, destiny has other plans and with the criminal underbelly of Belwar suddenly making a move for control, their paths cross…and neither realizes who the other is, adopting separate secret identities instead.
Between dodging deathly spells and keeping their true selves hidden, the pair must learn to put their trust in the other if either is to uncover the real threat. Now Wickery’s fate is in the hands of rivals..? Fiancées..? Partners..? Whatever they are, it’s complicated and bound for greatness or destruction.
I’m not saying I ship it from the blurb, but I ship it from the blurb. I love reading about rivalry, especially if whole kingdoms are at stake. I’m ready.
The Obsession by Jesse Q Sutanto
2nd February 2021
Nobody knows Delilah like Logan does. Nobody. He makes sure of it by learning everything he can through her social media and watching her through a hidden camera he has trained on her house. Some might call him a stalker. Logan prefers to be called “romantic.”
But after Logan sees Delilah killing her abusive stepfather, he realizes there’s still more about her to discover. His sweet, perfect Delilah isn’t so perfect after all.
Delilah knows she should feel guilty, but all she feels is free. She’s so over the men in her life controlling her. Except Logan saw what she did, and he won’t let her forget it.
Delilah is done being the victim. And she refuses to be a character in Logan’s twisted fantasy. If Logan won’t let her go… she’ll make him.
This list has very few YA thrillers but I think this one sounds SO GOOD. I’m pretty sure I should be cheering Delilah on, right?
Revenge of the Sluts by Natalie Walton
2nd February 2021
As a lead reporter for The Warrior Weekly, Eden has covered her fair share of stories at St. Joseph’s High School. And when intimate pictures of seven female students are anonymously emailed to the entire school, Eden is determined to get to the bottom of it.
In tracking down leads, Eden is shocked to discover not everyone agrees the students are victims. Some people feel the girls “brought it on themselves.” Even worse, the school’s administration seems more concerned about protecting its reputation than its students.
With the anonymous sender threatening more emails, Eden finds an unlikely ally: the seven young women themselves. Banding together to find the perpetrator, the tables are about to be turned. The Slut Squad is fighting back!
I have to admit, “slut” is one of my trigger words for various reasons, BUT I want to read this story about girls reclaiming it! This one has some amazing reviews already, and I can’t wait to get to it.
This Golden Flame by Emily Victoria
2nd February 2021
Orphaned and forced to serve her country’s ruling group of scribes, Karis wants nothing more than to find her brother, long ago shipped away. But family bonds don’t matter to the Scriptorium, whose sole focus is unlocking the magic of an ancient automaton army.
In her search for her brother, Karis does the seemingly impossible—she awakens a hidden automaton. Intelligent, with a conscience of his own, Alix has no idea why he was made. Or why his father—their nation’s greatest traitor—once tried to destroy the automatons.
Suddenly, the Scriptorium isn’t just trying to control Karis; it’s hunting her. Together with Alix, Karis must find her brother…and the secret that’s held her country in its power for centuries.
I love stories about siblings! I can’t wait to see how I like this one, and also, in case you didn’t know, the main character is Ace! Give it to me.
Fat Chance, Charlie Vega by Crystal Maldonado
2nd February 2021
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.
I can already tell I’m going to love the voice in this one because of the blurb! This sounds like a great YA contemporary with fat rep!
We Are the Fire by Sam Taylor
16th February 2021
In the cold, treacherous land of Vesimaa, children are stolen from their families by a cruel emperor, forced to undergo a horrific transformative procedure, and serve in the army as magical fire-wielding soldiers. Pran and Oksana―both taken from their homeland at a young age―only have each other to hold onto in this heartless place.
Pran dreams of one day rebelling against their oppressors and destroying the empire; Oksana only dreams of returning home and creating a peaceful life for them both.
When they discover the emperor has a new, more terrible mission than ever for their kind, Pran and Oksana vow to escape his tyranny once and for all. But their methods and ideals differ drastically, driving a wedge between them. Worse still, they both soon find that the only way to defeat the monsters that subjugated them may be to become monsters themselves.
SPARTACUS. This sounds like Spartacus! If you didn’t already know, I’m a massive fan of Spartacus, the TV show, and also ancient history. I also love reading about slave rebellions and uprisings, so this is right near the top of my list.
Fragile Remedy by Maria Ingrande Mora
9th March 2021
Sixteen-year-old Nate is a GEM—Genetically Engineered Medi-tissue created by the scientists of Gathos City as a cure for the elite from the fatal lung rot ravaging the population. As a child, he was smuggled out of the laboratory where he was held captive and into the Withers—a quarantined, lawless region. Nate manages to survive by using his engineering skills to become a Tinker, fixing broken tech in exchange for food or a safe place to sleep. When he meets Reed, a kind and fiercely protective boy that makes his heart race, and his misfit gang of scavengers, Nate finds the family he’s always longed for—even if he can’t risk telling them what he is.
But Gathos created a genetic failsafe in their GEMs—a flaw that causes their health to rapidly deteriorate as they age unless they are regularly dosed with medication controlled by Gathos City. As Nate’s health declines, his hard-won freedom is put in jeopardy. Violence erupts across the Withers, his illegal supply of medicine is cut off, and a vicious attack on Reed threatens to expose his secret. With time running out, Nate is left with only two options: work for a shadowy terrorist organization that has the means to keep him alive, or stay — and die — with the boy he loves.
Ok so first of all, I’m fascinated by this lungrot outbreak. Secondly, this sounds like an action packed queer sci fi story, which I am 100% here for.
Sing Me Forgotten by Jessica S Olson
9th March 2021
Cast into a well at birth for being one of the magical few who can manipulate memories when people sing, she was saved by Cyril, the opera house’s owner. Since that day, he has given her sanctuary from the murderous world outside. All he asks in return is that she use her power to keep ticket sales high—and that she stay out of sight. For if anyone discovers she survived, Isda and Cyril would pay with their lives.
But Isda breaks Cyril’s cardinal rule when she meets Emeric Rodin, a charming boy who throws her quiet, solitary life out of balance. His voice is unlike any she’s ever heard, but the real shock comes when she finds in his memories hints of a way to finally break free of her gilded prison.
Haunted by this possibility, Isda spends more and more time with Emeric, searching for answers in his music and his past. But the price of freedom is steeper than Isda could ever know. For even as she struggles with her growing feelings for Emeric, she learns that in order to take charge of her own destiny, she must become the monster the world tried to drown in the first place.
I’ve read a few books about people who have the ability to manipulate memories lately, and it’s a trope or a theme that I really enjoy. I’m looking forward to reading about Isda breaking free!
Pride and Premeditation by Tirzah Price
6th April 2021
It is a truth universally acknowledged that a young woman who desires a law career must be in want of a case. So when seventeen-year-old Lizzie Bennet hears about a scandalous society murder, she sees an opportunity to prove herself as a solicitor by solving the case and ensuring justice is served.
Except the man accused of the crime already has a lawyer on his side: Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy, the stern young heir to the prestigious Pemberley Associates law firm. Lizzie is determined to solve the murder before Darcy can so that she can show the world that a woman can be just as good as a man. (The fact that Darcy is an infuriating snob doesn’t help.) But there’s still a killer on the loose, and as the case gets more complicated, Lizzie and Darcy may have to start working together to avoid becoming the next victims themselves.
A wannabe law student! Yes! I love the sound of this, and the enemies-to-lovers ship sounds fab. As long as Darcy isn’t too much of a snob, of course.
Kisses and Croissants by Anne-Sophie Jouhanneau
6th April 2021
Sixteen-year-old Mia, an American girl at an elite summer ballet program, has six weeks to achieve her dreams: to snag an audition with one of the world’s best ballet companies. But there’s more to Paris than ballet—especially when a charming French boy, Louis, wants to be her tour guide—and the pair discover the city has a few mysteries up its sleeve.
This is giving me strong Anna and the French Kiss vibes but without the cheating, so I am obviously here for it. I can’t travel at the moment, and I probably won’t be able to go abroad until 2022, so I’ll be reading this and fantasizing!
It Goes Like This by Miel Moreland
18th May 2021
Eva, Celeste, Gina, and Steph used to think their friendship was unbreakable. After all, they’ve been though a lot together, including the astronomical rise of Moonlight Overthrow, the world-famous queer pop band they formed in middle school, never expecting to headline anything bigger than the county fair.
But after a sudden falling out leads to the dissolution of the teens’ band, their friendship, and Eva and Celeste’s starry-eyed romance, nothing is the same. Gina and Celeste step further into the spotlight, Steph disappears completely, and Eva, heartbroken, takes refuge as a songwriter and secret online fangirl…of her own band. That is, until a storm devastates their hometown, bringing the four ex-best-friends back together. As they prepare for one last show, they’ll discover whether growing up always means growing apart.
I love reading books about people climbing to fame! I also adore the cover of this one, even though I’m not usually too into illustrated covers. I’m looking forward to reading about these ex best friends coming back together.
Kiss and Repeat by Heather Truett
25th May 2021
Stephen Luckie isn’t so lucky in love. He’s completely inexperienced when it comes to girls, and wonders if his tics – caused by Tourette’s Syndrome – are the reason.
Then a game at a party reveals that his body goes still while kissing. Using the scientific method drilled into him by his scientist father, Steven begins the best experiment ever–one that involves kissing as many girls as possible. Who knew science could be so fun?
But when the experiment gets underway, Stephen begins to question how he treats girls – and if his tics have been standing in his way at all. With two girls interested in him, he has to figure out what really matters to him and what he’ll risk – and gain – by being his true self.
I’m going to admit, I’m mostly keen to read this one because it’s about someone with Tourette’s Syndrome! A close family member of mine has Tourette’s, and I’m not sure I’ve ever read a fiction book about someone who does too. I’m keen for this one!
Rea and the Blood of the Nectar by Payal Doshi
It all begins on the night Rea turns twelve. After a big fight with her twin brother Rohan on their birthday, Rea’s life in the small village of Darjeeling, India, gets turned on its head. It’s four in the morning and Rohan is nowhere to be found.
It hasn’t even been a day and Amma acts like Rohan’s gone forever. Her grandmother, too, is behaving strangely. Unwilling to give up on her brother, Rea and her friend Leela meet Mishti Daadi, a wrinkly old fortune-teller whose powers of divination set them off on a thrilling and secret quest. In the shade of night, they portal into an otherworldly realm and travel to Astranthia, a land full of magic and whimsy. There with the help of Xeranther, an Astranthian barrow boy, and Flula, a pari, Rea battles serpent-lilies and blood-sucking banshees, encounters a butterfly-faced woman and blue lizard-men, and learns that Rohan has been captured. Rea also discovers that she is a princess with magic. Only she has no idea how to use it.
Struggling with the truth her Amma has kept hidden from her, Rea must solve clues that lead to Rohan, find a way to rescue him and save Astranthia from a potentially deadly fate. But the clock is ticking. Can she rescue Rohan, save Astranthia, and live to see it all?
I am always ready for more Middle Grade fantasy books, and this one sounds pretty great. Banshees? Lizard men? Yes!
So which debuts are you looking forward to?