Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Top Ten Tuesday: Best Young Adult Book Releases 2021

 

This post contains affiliate links. I earn a commission from qualifying purchases. 

Welcome to Top Ten Tuesday! Today, we’re talking about the July-December 2021 releases I’m excited to read. In this post, I’m going to focus on young adult and middlegrade books. There was a post a few weeks ago for adult books. If you’re interested in the young adult books that came out in the first half of 2021, I have a post for that too! So many posts!




Best Young Adult Book Releases 2021





Any Way The Wind Blows by Rainbow Rowell

Young Adult Fantasy

July 6, 2021



In Carry On, Simon Snow and his friends realized that everything they thought they understood about the world might be wrong. And in Wayward Son, they wondered whether everything they understood about themselves might be wrong.

In Any Way the Wind Blows, Simon and Baz and Penelope and Agatha have to decide how to move forward.

For Simon, that means deciding whether he still wants to be part of the World of Mages -- and if he doesn't, what does that mean for his relationship with Baz? Meanwhile Baz is bouncing between two family crises and not finding any time to talk to anyone about his newfound vampire knowledge. Penelope would love to help, but she's smuggled an American Normal into London, and now she isn't sure what to do with him. And Agatha? Well, Agatha Wellbelove has had enough.

 

Why I’m excited to read it: I read the first book in this series when it came out and loved it, but I never carried on with the series. (Haha, see what I did there? The first book is called Carry On. Get it? I never carried on with. . . never mind.) I loved the first book because it’s like an ultra-contemporary spin on Harry Potter. The wizard kids drive cars and text each other on cell phones. It’s creative and funny. I’m interested to see how the trilogy ends.

 

Buy it on Amazon

Buy it on Book Depository

 

 

 

 

The Taking Of Jake Livingston by Ryan Douglass

Young Adult Horror

July 13, 2021



Jake Livingston is one of the only Black kids at St. Clair Prep, one of the others being his infinitely more popular older brother. It’s hard enough fitting in but to make matters worse and definitely more complicated, Jake can see the dead. In fact he sees the dead around him all the time. Most are harmless. Stuck in their death loops as they relive their deaths over and over again, they don’t interact often with people. But then Jake meets Sawyer. A troubled teen who shot and killed six kids at a local high school last year before taking his own life. Now a powerful, vengeful ghost, he has plans for his afterlife–plans that include Jake. Suddenly, everything Jake knows about ghosts and the rules to life itself go out the window as Sawyer begins haunting him and bodies turn up in his neighborhood. High school soon becomes a survival game–one Jake is not sure he’s going to win.

 

Why I’m excited to read it: Well, not the cover. Sorry, but it’s hideous. I actually thought this was a comedy horror book when I saw it on Goodreads. If you ignore the cover, the synopsis sounds completely captivating! I want to know everything about Sawyer the Unfriendly Ghost. This novel has the potential to be creepy and action-packed and thought-provoking. I’m crossing my fingers that it’s a horror book with depth.

 

Buy it on Amazon

Buy it on Book Depository

 

 

 

 

A Lesson In Vengeance by Victoria Lee

Young Adult Fantasy Thriller

August 3, 2021



Felicity Morrow is back at Dalloway School.

Perched in the Catskill Mountains, the centuries-old, ivy-covered campus was home until the tragic death of her girlfriend. Now, after a year away, she’s returned to graduate. She even has her old room in Godwin House, the exclusive dormitory rumored to be haunted by the spirits of five Dalloway students—girls some say were witches. The Dalloway Five all died mysteriously, one after another, right on Godwin grounds.

Witchcraft is woven into Dalloway’s history. The school doesn’t talk about it, but the students do. In secret rooms and shadowy corners, girls convene. And before her girlfriend died, Felicity was drawn to the dark. She’s determined to leave that behind her now; all Felicity wants is to focus on her senior thesis and graduate. But it’s hard when Dalloway’s occult history is everywhere. And when the new girl won’t let her forget.

It’s Ellis Haley’s first year at Dalloway, and she’s already amassed a loyal following. A prodigy novelist at seventeen, Ellis is a so-called “method writer.” She’s eccentric and brilliant, and Felicity can’t shake the pull she feels to her. So when Ellis asks Felicity for help researching the Dalloway Five for her second book, Felicity can’t say no. Given her history with the arcane, Felicity is the perfect resource.

And when history begins to repeat itself, Felicity will have to face the darkness in Dalloway–and in herself.

 

Why I’m excited to read it: I want to read a book about historical witches, but I haven’t found a good one yet. I’m looking for something complex, unique, and atmospheric. I’ll give this one a shot and see if it satisfies my witchy craving.

 

Buy it on Amazon

Buy it on Book Depository

 

 

 

 

The Dead And The Dark by Courtney Gould

Young Adult Fantasy / Horror

August 3, 2021



Something is wrong in Snakebite, Oregon. Teenagers are disappearing, some turning up dead, the weather isn’t normal, and all fingers seem to point to TV’s most popular ghost hunters who have just returned to town. Logan Ortiz-Woodley, daughter of TV's ParaSpectors, has never been to Snakebite before, but the moment she and her dads arrive, she starts to get the feeling that there's more secrets buried here than they originally let on.

Ashley Barton’s boyfriend was the first teen to go missing, and she’s felt his presence ever since. But now that the Ortiz-Woodleys are in town, his ghost is following her and the only person Ashley can trust is the mysterious Logan. When Ashley and Logan team up to figure out who—or what—is haunting Snakebite, their investigation reveals truths about the town, their families, and themselves that neither of them are ready for. As the danger intensifies, they realize that their growing feelings for each other could be a light in the darkness.

 

Why I’m excited to read it: It’s giving me vibes of Victoria Schwab’s City Of Ghosts, but this book is for older teens, so it’ll probably be darker and weirder. I hope so! I love books about family secrets and mysterious little towns. Bring on the ghostly strangeness.

 

Buy it on Amazon

Buy it on Book Depository

 

 

 

 

How We Fall Apart by Katie Zhao

Young Adult Thriller

August 3, 2021



Nancy Luo is shocked when her former best friend, Jamie Ruan, top ranked junior at Sinclair Prep, goes missing, and then is found dead. Nancy is even more shocked when word starts to spread that she and her friends—Krystal, Akil, and Alexander—are the prime suspects, thanks to "The Proctor," someone anonymously incriminating them via the school's social media app.

They all used to be Jamie's closest friends, and she knew each of their deepest, darkest secrets. Now, somehow The Proctor knows them, too. The four must uncover the true killer before The Proctor exposes more than they can bear and costs them more than they can afford, like Nancy's full scholarship. Soon, Nancy suspects that her friends may be keeping secrets from her, too.

 

Why I’m excited to read it: So many secrets! This book could get dark and twisted. Normally, I don’t read thrillers, but I’m intrigued by “The Proctor” and the role of social media in this story. Social media can be pretty horrifying.

 

Buy it on Amazon

Buy it on Book Depository

 

 

 

 

Mercury Boys by Chandra Prasad

Young Adult Science Fiction

August 3, 2021



After her life is upended by divorce and a cross-country move, 16-year-old Saskia Brown feels like an outsider at her new school—not only is she a transplant, she’s biracial in a population of mostly white students. One day while visiting her only friend at her part-time library job, Saskia encounters a vial of liquid mercury, then touches an old daguerreotype—the precursor of the modern-day photograph—and makes a startling discovery. She is somehow able to visit the man in the portrait: Robert Cornelius, a brilliant young inventor from the nineteenth century. The hitch: she can see him only in her dreams.

Saskia shares her revelation with some classmates, hoping to find connection and friendship among strangers. Under her guidance, the other girls steal portraits of young men from a local college's daguerreotype collection and try the dangerous experiment for themselves. Soon, they each form a bond with their own "Mercury Boy," from an injured Union soldier to a charming pickpocket in New York City.

At night, the girls visit the boys in their dreams. During the day, they hold clandestine meetings of their new secret society. At first, the Mercury Boys Club is a thrilling diversion from their troubled everyday lives, but it's not long before jealousy, violence, and secrets threaten everything the girls hold dear.

 

Why I’m excited to read it: I love books about time travel, fantasy portals, and parallel universes, so of course I have to read this one! It sounds unique. I’m interested in the dark twist at the end of the synopsis. I want to know about the “jealousy, violence, and secrets.” How does dreaming about long-dead boys tear a friend group apart?

 

Buy it on Amazon

Buy it on Book Depository

 

 

 

 

In The Wild Light by Jeff Zentner

Young Adult Contemporary Fiction

August 10, 2021



Life in a small Appalachian town is not easy. Cash lost his mother to an opioid addiction and his Papaw is dying slowly from emphysema. Dodging drug dealers and watching out for his best friend, Delaney, is second nature. He’s been spending his summer mowing lawns while she works at Dairy Queen.

But when Delaney manages to secure both of them full rides to an elite prep school in Connecticut, Cash will have to grapple with his need to protect and love Delaney, and his love for the grandparents who saved him and the town he would have to leave behind.

 

Why I’m excited to read it: Jeff Zentner wrote The Serpent King, which is one of my favorite YA contemporary books ever. He’s brilliant at capturing the isolation that a person can feel when they’re stuck in a small town. His characters are relatable and easy to love. I’m hoping for another amazing Jeff Zentner book.

 

Buy it on Amazon

Buy it on Book Depository

 

 

 


Vampires, Hearts & Other Dead Things by Margie Fuston

Young Adult Fantasy

August 24, 2021



Victoria and her dad have shared a love of the undead since the first vampire revealed his existence on live TV. Public fear soon drove the vampires back into hiding, yet Victoria and her father still dream about finding a vampire together. But when her dad is diagnosed with terminal cancer, it’s clear that’s not going to happen. Instead, Victoria vows to find a vampire herself—so that she can become one and then save her father.

Armed with research, speculations, and desperation—and helped by her estranged best friend, Henry—Victoria travels to New Orleans in search of a miracle. There she meets Nicholas, a mysterious young man who might give her what she desires. But first, he needs Victoria to prove she loves life enough to live forever.

She agrees to complete a series of challenges, from scarfing sugar-drenched beignets to singing with a jazz band, all to show she has what it takes to be immortal. But truly living while her father is dying feels like a betrayal. Victoria must figure out how to experience joy and grief at once, trusting all the while that Nicholas will hold up his end of the bargain . . . because the alternative is too impossible to imagine.

 

Why I’m excited to read it: It’s about a teen’s quest to become a vampire, but not in a gross Twilight kind of way. She wants to be a vampire so she can save her father. That’s understandable. I’m interested in the fantasy elements of the world. Vampires outed themselves on live TV and then went back into hiding? Are there any other paranormal creatures in this world? I’m excited to find out.

 

Buy it on Amazon

Buy it on Book Depository

 

 

 

 

White Smoke by Tiffany D. Jackson

Young Adult Thriller / Horror

September 14, 2021



Marigold is running from ghosts. The phantoms of her old life keep haunting her, but a move with her newly blended family from their small California beach town to the embattled Midwestern city of Cedarville might be the fresh start she needs. Her mom has accepted a new job with the Sterling Foundation that comes with a free house, one that Mari now has to share with her bratty ten-year-old stepsister, Piper.

The renovated picture-perfect home on Maple Street, sitting between dilapidated houses, surrounded by wary neighbors has its . . . secrets. That’s only half the problem: household items vanish, doors open on their own, lights turn off, shadows walk past rooms, voices can be heard in the walls, and there’s a foul smell seeping through the vents only Mari seems to notice. Worse: Piper keeps talking about a friend who wants Mari gone.

But “running from ghosts” is just a metaphor, right?

As the house closes in, Mari learns that the danger isn’t limited to Maple Street. Cedarville has its secrets, too. And secrets always find their way through the cracks.

 

Why I’m excited to read it: Goodreads describes it as “The Haunting of Hill House meets Get Out in this chilling YA psychological thriller and modern take on the classic haunted house story.” I’m sold. I love it when authors put modern spins on old tales. Also, I’ve read Tiffany D. Jackson’s books before, and they’re amazing. She’s the queen of plot twists. I expect this one will be a wild ride.

 

Buy it on Amazon

Buy it on Book Depository

 

 

 

 

The Sister Who Ate Her Brothers: And Other Gruesome Tales by Jen Campbell

Middlegrade Dark Fairytale Collection

October 12, 2021



Featuring fourteen short stories from China, India, Ireland, and across the globe, The Sister Who Ate Her Brothers is an international collection of the creepiest folk tales. Illustrated with Adam de Souza’s brooding art, this book’s style is a totally original blend of nineteenth-century Gothic engravings meets moody film noir graphic novels.

 

Why I’m excited to read it: If I would have seen this book in the library as a child, it would have immediately come home with me. I was obsessed with creepy tales. This book reminds me of Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark. I loved that collection so much that I memorized it and traumatized everyone at Girl Scout Camp . . . .

 

Buy it on Amazon

Buy it on Book Depository

 

 

 

 

Any Sign Of Life by Rae Carson

Young Adult Dystopia

October 12, 2021



Paige Miller is determined to take her basketball team to the state championship, maybe even beyond. But as March Madness heats up, Paige falls deathly ill. Days later, she wakes up attached to an IV and learns that the whole world has perished. Everyone she loves, and all of her dreams for the future—they’re gone.

But Paige is a warrior, so she pushes through her fear and her grief. And as she gets through each day—scrounging for food, for shelter, for safety—Paige encounters a few more young survivors. Together, they might stand a chance. But as they struggle to endure their new reality, they learn that the apocalypse did not happen by accident. And that there are worse things than being alone.

 

Why I’m excited to read it: This book is being compared to Neal Shusterman’s Dry, which is one of my all-time-favorite dystopias. It’s fast-paced, and the teen characters learn that they’re not as badass as they first thought. Survival is a real struggle for them. I’d love to find another book like Dry.

 

Buy it on Amazon

Buy it on Book Depository

 

 

 

 

Welcome Back, Maple Mehta-Cohen by Kate McGovern

Middlegrade Contemporary Fiction

October 12, 2021



Maple Mehta-Cohen has been keeping a secret: she can’t read all that well. She has an impressive vocabulary and loves dictating stories into her recorder—especially the adventures of a daring sleuth who’s half Indian and half Jewish like Maple herself—but words on the page just don’t seem to make sense to her. Despite all Maple’s clever tricks to hide her troubles with reading, her teacher is on to her, and now Maple has to repeat fifth grade. Maple is devastated—what will her friends think? Will they forget about her? She uses her storytelling skills to convince her classmates that she's staying back as a special teacher’s assistant (because of budget cuts, you know). But as Maple navigates the loss of old friendships, the possibility of new ones, and facing her reading challenges head-on, her deception becomes harder to keep up. Can Maple begin to recognize her own strengths, and to love herself—and her brain—just the way she is?

 

Why I’m excited to read it: This sounds like my life story. I was in special ed classes as a kid and struggled with everything school-related, but I was excellent at making up crap and lying to people. I think Maple will be a relatable character for a lot of young readers.

 

Buy it on Amazon

Buy it on Book Depository











Which 2021 book releases are you looking forward to reading?







26 comments:

  1. A Lesson in Vengeance sounds promising. I hope it delivers what you're hoping for.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Lots of books on the spoopy side of life here - gotta love it ;)

    ReplyDelete
  3. I can’t wait to read White Smoke!

    My post: https://lydiaschoch.com/top-ten-tuesday-book-titles-that-are-questions/

    ReplyDelete
  4. Though the book is not quite my speed, I think the cover art for Jake Livingston is fantastic. I feel the fear. I featured both Zentner's book and Vampires in past CWW posts. I am very excited about both. Zentner always pleases me.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I think I would have known you enjoy creepy books just from reading this list! I hope alll of these live up to your hopes for them. As for me... most of them sound maybe a little too creepy?

    ReplyDelete
  6. I'm intrigued by The Taking of Jake Livingston. I haven't heard of The Sister Who Ate Her Brothers, but I need to check it out. I'm sure my 13-year-old would enjoy it.


    Here's my post: https://readbakecreate.com/?p=483

    ReplyDelete
  7. I've read ANY SIGN OF LIFE. It's good, but I think I like THE DRY better because it's more realistic and because it was so atmospheric that I literally felt thirsty the whole time I was reading it! I also really want to read WHITE SMOKE. It sounds amazing.

    Happy TTT!

    ReplyDelete
  8. I haven't read Rainbow Rowell since Fangirl. Vengeance looks good too, I'd like to find a nice sophisticated story like that too and they're surprisingly hard to fine, it seems!

    ReplyDelete
  9. I am not usually into horror or creepy stories, but there is something alluring about The Sister Who Ate Her Brothers. Perhaps it's the international aspect of it.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I haven't been reading a ton of young adult/middlegrade recently, so these are all new to me, but it's nice to see the variety out there!

    ReplyDelete
  11. A Lesson In Vengeance sounds so good, sadly it doesn't come to the UK till February of next year.
    My TTT: https://jjbookblog.wordpress.com/2021/07/13/top-ten-tuesday-324/

    ReplyDelete
  12. I really want to read White Smoke, Jake Livingston, and How We Fall Apart too. I loved Carry On but need to read the 2nd book still!

    Lauren
    www.shootingstarsmag.net

    ReplyDelete
  13. I'm really looking forward to these - they all look so tempting!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Ohhh, vanpire, hearts & other dead things sounds so good!! One, I absolutely relate girl… I, too, wouldve done everything to save my mother (she got an anonymous kidney transplant- she’s as good as ever!) and two, yeeess for bucket lists!!

    Kristina @ books-and-dachshunds.com

    ReplyDelete
  15. I'm really excited for the Jeff Zentner and Tiffany Jackson books. They both sound fantastic!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Same, I read Carry On, enjoyed it but never continued the series, don't know why. I should change that!

    ReplyDelete
  17. I love the sound of Vampires, Hearts and Other Dead Things! That will be getting added to the wishlist. :)

    ReplyDelete
  18. I have no clue what is going on in the Young Adult genre at the moment. The only YA I read is ARC's.

    So your list is something to explore a bit. Thanks for sharing!

    Elza Reads

    ReplyDelete
  19. I just snagged The Taking from the library and am excited about it. Agree about Vampires, Hearts...it sounds interesting. Great picks!

    ReplyDelete
  20. I want to read THE SISTER WHO ATE HER BROTHERS just based on the title. WELCOME BACK, MAPLE MEHTA-COHEN sounds really good too. I hope you enjoy each of these if you get a chance to read them.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Where do I even start, SO many of these look incredible! I will say this, I have read two of them. The Dead and the Dark really delivered for me, The Mercury Boys less so. There were good parts but... well, I'll be reviewing it soon heh. VERY excited for Vampires, In the Wild Light, White Smoke, and Any Sign of Life- like I NEED those frankly! Hope we both enjoy them!

    ReplyDelete
  22. Ok. I rarely read YA ... hard to admit ... but the Zentner novel sounds good .... and why not the apocalypse in Any Sign of Life. Enjoy!

    ReplyDelete
  23. I just posted about Jake Livingstone earlier this week and said EXACTLY the same thing about that cover (and the blurb)! Welcome Back, Maple Mehta Cohen sounds brilliant — thanks for putting that on my radar!

    ReplyDelete