Happy Christmas Eve!
Today’s post is all about my favorite covers for the first half of 2021! I love love love pretty covers, and I’m so excited to share with you some of the covers I’m most excited about for 2021! This list covers books published between January 1 and June 1, because I had originally done it through June 30, but that list was like 30-something books long, so… I cut it down to was my Top 21 for 2021!
The Meet-Cute Project by Rhiannon Richardson
Published by Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers on January 12, 2021
Genres: YA, Contemporary, Romance
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before meets Save the Date in this sweet and hijinks-filled rom-com about a teen girl who will do whatever it takes to find a date for her sister’s wedding.
Mia’s friends love rom-coms. Mia hates them. They're silly, contrived, and not at all realistic. Besides, there are more important things to worry about—like how to handle living with her bridezilla sister, Sam, who’s never appreciated Mia, and surviving junior year juggling every school club offered and acing all of her classes.
So when Mia is tasked with finding a date to her sister’s wedding, her options are practically nonexistent.
Mia’s friends, however, have an idea. It’s a little crazy, a little out there, and a lot inspired by the movies they love that Mia begrudgingly watches too.
Mia just needs a meet-cute.
Wider Than the Sky by Katherine Field Rothschild
Published by Soho Teen on January 19, 2021
Genres: YA, Contemporary, LGBTQIA+
In the wake of sudden tragedy, twin sisters uncover a secret that rips open their world. Katherine Rothschild explores the pain and power of forgiveness in a stunning debut novel that will shatter your heart and piece it back together, one truth at a time.
Sixteen-year-old Sabine Braxton doesn’t have much in common with her identical twin, Blythe. When their father dies from an unexpected illness, each copes with the loss in her own way—Sabine by “poeting” (an uncontrollable quirk of bursting into poetry at inappropriate moments) and Blythe by obsessing over getting into MIT, their father’s alma mater. Neither can offer each other much support . . . at least not until their emotionally detached mother moves them into a ramshackle Bay Area mansion owned by a stranger named Charlie.
Soon, the sisters unite in a mission to figure out who Charlie is and why he seems to know everything about them. They quickly make a life-changing discovery: their father died of an HIV- related infection, Charlie was his lover, and their mother knows the whole story. The revelation unravels Sabine’s world, while practical Blythe seems to take everything in stride. Once again at odds with her sister, Sabine chooses to learn all she can about the father she never knew. Ultimately, she must decide if she can embrace his last wish for their family legacy—along with forgiveness.
Written in Starlight by Isabel Ibañez
Series: Woven in Moonlight #2
Published by Page Street Kids on January 26, 2021
Genres: YA, Historical Fiction, Fantasy
An adventerous South American Tomb Raider! This hotly anticipated companion to Woven in Moonlight follows an outcast Condesa, as she braves the jungle to forge an alliance with the lost city of gold.
If the jungle wants you, it will have you...
Catalina Quiroga is a Condesa without a country. She’s lost the Inkasisa throne, the loyalty of her people, and her best friend. Banished to the perilous Yanu Jungle, Catalina knows her chances of survival are slim, but that won’t stop her from trying to escape. Her duty is to rule.
While running for her life, Catalina is rescued by Manuel, the son of her former general who has spent years searching for allies. With his help, Catalina could find the city of gold that’s home to the fierce Illari people and strike a deal with them for an army to retake her throne.
But the elusive Illari are fighting a battle of their own—a mysterious blight is corrupting the jungle, laying waste to everything they hold dear. As a seer, Catalina should be able to help, but her ability to read the future in the stars is as feeble as her survival instincts. While searching for the Illari, Catalina must reckon with her duty and her heart to find her true calling, which is key to stopping the corruption before it destroys the jungle completely.
This Is Not the Jess Show by Anna Carey
Series: This Is Not The Jess Show #1
Published by Quirk Books on February 2, 2021
Genres: YA, Thriller, Contemporary, Historical Fiction
Black Mirror meets My So-Called Life in this fast-paced, timely YA thriller about separating fact from fiction--and how far we'll go to create our own version of reality.
Like any other teenager, Jess Flynn is just trying to get through her junior year without drama ... but drama seems to keep finding her. Between a new crush on her childhood best friend, overprotective parents cramping her social life, and her younger sister's worsening health, the only constant is change--and her hometown of Swickley, which feels smaller by the day.
Swickley is getting weirder by the day, too. Half the population has been struck down by a mysterious flu. Conversations end awkwardly when Jess enters the room. And then one day, a tiny, sleek black device--with an apple logo on it--falls out of her best friend's backpack and lands at Jess's feet.
Fat Chance, Charlie Vega by Crystal Maldonado
Published by Holiday House on February 2, 2021
Genres: YA, Contemporary
Coming of age as a Fat brown girl in a white Connecticut suburb is hard. Harder when your whole life is on fire, though.
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.
A sensitive, funny, and painful coming-of-age story with a wry voice and tons of chisme, Fat Chance, Charlie Vega tackles our relationships to our parents, our bodies, our cultures, and ourselves.
The Wide Starlight by Nicole Lesperance
Published by Razorbill on February 16, 2021
Genres: YA, Fantasy, Contemporary, Magical Realism
The Hazel Wood meets The Astonishing Color of After in this dreamy, atmospheric novel that follows sixteen-year-old Eli as she tries to remember what truly happened the night her mother disappeared off a glacier in Norway under the Northern Lights.
According to Arctic legend, if you whistle at the Northern Lights, they'll swoop down and carry you off forever. Sixteen-year-old Eline Davis knows it's true because it happened to her mother. Eli was there that night on the remote glacier in Svalbard, when her mother whistled, then vanished.
Years later, Eli is living with her dad on Cape Cod. When Eli discovers the Northern Lights will be visible for one night on the Cape, she hatches a plan to use the lights to contact her missing mother. And it works. Her mother arrives with a hazy story of where she's been all this time. Eli knows no one will believe them, so she keeps it all a secret. But when magical, dangerous things start happening--narwhals appearing in Cape Code Bay, meteorites landing in the yard by the hundreds, three shadowy fairytale princesses whispering ominous messages--the secrets start to become more like lies.
It's all too much, too fast, and Eli pushes her mother away, not expecting her to disappear as abruptly as she appeared. Her mother's gone again, and Eli's devastated. Until she finds the note written in mother's elegant scrawl: Find me where I left you. And so, off to Svalbard Eli goes.
Like Home by Louisa Onomé
Published by HarperCollins on February 23, 2021
Genres: YA, Contemporary
Fans of Netflix's On My Block, In the Heights, and readers of Elizabeth Acevedo and Ibi Zoboi will love this debut novel about a girl whose life is turned upside down after one local act of vandalism throws her relationships and even her neighborhood into turmoil.
Chinelo, or Nelo as her best friend Kate calls her, is all about her neighborhood Ginger East. She loves its chill vibe, ride-or-die sense of community, and her memories of growing up there. Ginger East isn't what it used to be, though. After a deadly incident at the local arcade, all her closest friends moved away, except for Kate. But as long as they have each other, Nelo's good.
Only, Kate's parents' corner store is vandalized, leaving Nelo shaken to her core. The police and the media are quick to point fingers, and soon more of the outside world descends on Ginger East with promises to "fix" it. Suddenly, Nelo finds herself in the middle of a drama unfolding on a national scale.
Worse yet, Kate is acting strange. She's pushing Nelo away at the exact moment they need each other most. Nelo's entire world is morphing into something she hates, and she must figure out how to get things back on track or risk losing everything—and everyone—she loves.
Follow Your Arrow by Jessica Verdi
Published by Scholastic Press on March 2, 2021
Genres: YA, Contemporary, LGBTQIA+
For fans of Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera, this is a riveting and irresistible take on love, life, and identity -- both online and off.
CeCe Ross is kind of a big deal. She and her girlfriend, Silvie, are social media influencers with zillions of fans and followers, known for their cute outfits and being #relationshipgoals.
So when Silvie breaks up with her, CeCe is devastated. She's lost her first love, and now she can't help but wonder if she'll lose her followers as well.
Things get even messier when CeCe meets Josh, a new boy in town who is very much Not Online. CeCe isn't surprised to be falling for a guy; she's always known she's bi. And Josh is sweet and smart and has excellent taste in donuts... but he has no idea that CeCe is internet-famous. And CeCe sort of wants to keep it that way.
But when CeCe's secrets catch up to her, she finds herself in the middle of an online storm, where she'll have to confront the blurriness of public vs. private life, and figure out what it really means to speak her truth.
The Bright and the Pale by Jessica Rubinkowski
Series: The Bright and The Pale #1
Published by Quill Tree Books on March 2, 2021
Genres: YA, Fantasy, Retellings
Seventeen-year-old Valeria is one of the only survivors of the freeze, a dark magical hold Knnot Mountain unleashed over her village. Everyone, including her family, is trapped in an unbreakable sheet of ice. Ever since, she’s been on the run from the Czar, who is determined to imprison any who managed to escape. Valeria finds refuge with the Thieves Guild, doing odd jobs with her best friend Alik, the only piece of home she has left.
That is, until he is brutally murdered.
A year later, she discovers Alik is alive and being held against his will. To buy his freedom, she must lead a group of cutthroats and thieves on a perilous expedition to the very mountain that claimed her family. Only something sinister slumbers in the heart of Knnot.
And it has waited years for release.
Sing Me Forgotten by Jessica S. Olson
Published by Inkyard Press on March 9, 2021
Genres: YA, Fantasy, Retellings
Isda does not exist. At least not beyond the opulent walls of the opera house.
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.
On This Unworthy Scaffold by Heidi Heilig
Series: Shadow Players #3
Published by Greenwillow Books on March 16, 2021
Genres: YA, Fantasy
Jetta’s home is spiraling into civil war.
Le Trépas—the deadly necromancer—has used his blood magic to wrest control of the country, and Jetta has been without treatment for her malheur for weeks. Meanwhile, Jetta’s love interest, brother, and friend are intent on infiltrating the palace to stop the Boy King and find Le Trépas to put an end to the unleashed chaos.
The sweeping conclusion to Heidi Heilig’s ambitious trilogy takes us to new continents, introduces us to new gods, flings us into the middle of palace riots and political intrigue, and asks searching questions about power and corruption. As in the first two books, the story is partly told in ephemera, including original songs, myths, play scripts, and various forms of communication.
All Our Hidden Gifts by Caroline O'Donoghue
Published by Walker Books Us on March 30, 2021
Genres: YA, Fantasy, LGBTQIA+
Maeve’s strangely astute tarot readings make her the talk of the school, until a classmate draws a chilling and unfamiliar card—and then disappears.
After Maeve finds a pack of tarot cards while cleaning out a closet during her in-school suspension, she quickly becomes the most sought-after diviner at St. Bernadette’s Catholic school. But when Maeve’s ex–best friend, Lily, draws an unsettling card called The Housekeeper that Maeve has never seen before, the session devolves into a heated argument that ends with Maeve wishing aloud that Lily would disappear. When Lily isn’t at school the next Monday, Maeve learns her ex-friend has vanished without a trace.
Shunned by her classmates and struggling to preserve a fledgling romance with Lily’s gender-fluid sibling, Roe, Maeve must dig deep into her connection with the cards to search for clues the police cannot find—even if they lead to the terrifying Housekeeper herself. Set in an Irish town where the church’s tight hold has loosened and new freedoms are trying to take root, this sharply contemporary story is witty, gripping, and tinged with mysticism.
The Infinity Courts by Akemi Dawn Bowman
Series: The Infinity Courts #1
Published by Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers on April 6, 2021
Genres: YA, Science Fiction, Fantasy
Westworld meets Warcross in this high-stakes, dizzyingly smart sci-fi about a teen girl navigating an afterlife in which she must defeat an AI entity intent on destroying humanity, from award-winning author Akemi Dawn Bowman.
Eighteen-year-old Nami Miyamoto is certain her life is just beginning. She has a great family, just graduated high school, and is on her way to a party where her entire class is waiting for her—including, most importantly, the boy she’s been in love with for years.
The only problem? She’s murdered before she gets there.
When Nami wakes up, she learns she’s in a place called Infinity, where human consciousness goes when physical bodies die. She quickly discovers that Ophelia, a virtual assistant widely used by humans on Earth, has taken over the afterlife and is now posing as a queen, forcing humans into servitude the way she’d been forced to serve in the real world. Even worse, Ophelia is inching closer and closer to accomplishing her grand plans of eradicating human existence once and for all.
As Nami works with a team of rebels to bring down Ophelia and save the humans under her imprisonment, she is forced to reckon with her past, her future, and what it is that truly makes us human.
From award-winning author Akemi Dawn Bowman comes an incisive, action-packed tale that explores big questions about technology, grief, love, and humanity.
Fade Into the Bright by Jessica Koosed Etting, Alyssa Embree Schwartz
Published by Delacorte Press on April 27, 2021
Genres: YA, Contemporary, Romance
Abby needs to escape a life that she no longer recognizes as her own. Her old life--the one where she was a high school volleyball star with a textbook-perfect future--has been ripped away. Abby and her sister, Brooke, have received a letter from their estranged dad informing them he has Huntington's disease, a fatal, degenerative disorder that you wouldn't wish on your worst enemy. And when the sisters agree to genetic testing, one of them tests positive.
Fleeing to Catalina Island for the summer, Abby is relieved to be in a place where no one knows her tragic history. But when she meets aspiring documentary filmmaker Ben--tall, outdoorsy, easygoing, with eyes that don't miss a thing--she's thrown off her game. Ben's the kind of guy who loves to figure out people's stories. What if he learns hers?
One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston
Published by Piatkus on May 6, 2021
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Time Travel, LGBTQIA+
For cynical twenty-three-year-old August, moving to New York City is supposed to prove her right: that things like magic and cinematic love stories don’t exist, and the only smart way to go through life is alone. She can’t imagine how waiting tables at a 24-hour pancake diner and moving in with too many weird roommates could possibly change that. And there’s certainly no chance of her subway commute being anything more than a daily trudge through boredom and electrical failures.
But then, there’s this gorgeous girl on the train.
Jane. Dazzling, charming, mysterious, impossible Jane. Jane with her rough edges and swoopy hair and soft smile, showing up in a leather jacket to save August’s day when she needed it most. August’s subway crush becomes the best part of her day, but pretty soon, she discovers there’s one big problem: Jane doesn’t just look like an old school punk rocker. She’s literally displaced in time from the 1970s, and August is going to have to use everything she tried to leave in her own past to help her. Maybe it’s time to start believing in some things, after all.
Casey McQuiston’s One Last Stop is a magical, sexy, big-hearted romance where the impossible becomes possible as August does everything in her power to save the girl lost in time.
Cool for the Summer by Dahlia Adler
Published by Wednesday Books on May 11, 2021
Genres: YA, Contemporary, Romance, LGBTQIA+
Lara's had eyes for exactly one person throughout her three years of high school: Chase Harding. He's tall, strong, sweet, a football star, and frankly, stupid hot. Oh, and he's talking to her now. On purpose and everything. Maybe...flirting, even? No, wait, he's definitely flirting, which is pretty much the sum of everything Lara's wanted out of life.
Except she’s haunted by a memory. A memory of a confusing, romantic, strangely perfect summer spent with a girl named Jasmine. A memory that becomes a confusing, disorienting present when Jasmine herself walks through the front doors of the school to see Lara and Chase chatting it up in front of the lockers.
Lara has everything she ever wanted: a tight-knit group of friends, a job that borders on cool, and Chase, the boy of her literal dreams. But if she's finally got the guy, why can't she stop thinking about the girl?
Cool for the Summer is a story of self-discovery and new love. It’s about the things we want and the things we need. And it’s about the people who will let us be who we are.
It Goes Like This by Miel Moreland
Published by Feiwel & Friends on May 18, 2021
Genres: YA, Contemporary, LGBTQIA+
In Miel Moreland's heartfelt young adult debut, It Goes Like This, four queer teens realize that sometimes you have to risk hitting repeat on heartbreak.
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.
Last Chance Books by Kelsey Rodkey
Published by HarperTeen on May 18, 2021
Genres: YA, Contemporary, Romance
Don’t you just love the smell of old books in the morning?
Madeline Moore does. Books & Moore, the musty bookstore her family has owned for generations, is where she feels most herself. Nothing is going to stop her from coming back after college to take over the store from her beloved aunt.
Nothing, that is—until a chain bookstore called Prologue opens across the street and threatens to shut them down.
Madeline sets out to demolish the competition, but Jasper, the guy who works over at Prologue, seems intent on ruining her life. Not only is he taking her customers, he has the unbelievable audacity to be… extremely cute.
But that doesn’t matter. Jasper is the enemy and he will be destroyed. After all—all’s fair in love and (book) wars.
Misfit in Love by S.K. Ali
Series: Saints and Misfits #2
Published by Salaam Reads / Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers on May 25, 2021
Genres: YA, Contemporary, Romance
In this fun and fresh sequel to Saints and Misfits, Janna hopes her brother’s wedding will be the perfect start to her own summer of love, but attractive new arrivals have her more confused than ever.
Janna Yusuf is so excited for the weekend: her brother Muhammad’s getting married, and she’s reuniting with her mom, whom she’s missed the whole summer.
And Nuah’s arriving for the weekend too.
Sweet, constant Nuah.
The last time she saw him, Janna wasn’t ready to reciprocate his feelings for her. But things are different now. She’s finished high school, ready for college…and ready for Nuah.
It’s time for Janna’s (carefully planned) summer of love to begin—starting right at the wedding.
But it wouldn’t be a wedding if everything went according to plan. Muhammad’s party choices aren’t in line with his fiancée’s taste at all, Janna’s dad is acting strange, and her mom is spending more time with an old friend (and maybe love interest?) than Janna.
And Nuah’s treating her differently.
Just when things couldn’t get more complicated, two newcomers—the dreamy Haytham and brooding Layth—have Janna more confused than ever about what her misfit heart really wants.
Janna’s summer of love is turning out to be super crowded and painfully unpredictable.
Better Together by Christine Riccio
Published by Wednesday Books on June 1, 2021
Genres: YA, Contemporary, Retellings
Freaky Friday meets The Parent Trap in this sparkling and heartfelt story about sisters, second chances, finding romance, and finding yourself.
Jamie’s an aspiring standup comic in Los Angeles with a growing case of stage anxiety.
Siri’s a stunning ballerina from New Jersey nursing a career-changing injury.
They’ve both signed up for the same session at an off the grid Re-Discover Yourself Retreat in Colorado. When they run into each other, their worlds turn upside down.
Jamie and Siri are sisters, torn apart at a young age by their parent's volatile divorce. They’ve grown up living completely separate lives: Jamie with their Dad and Siri with their Mom. Now, reunited after over a decade apart, they hatch a plot to switch places. It’s time they get to know and confront each of their estranged parents.
With an accidental assist from some fortuitous magic, Jamie arrives in New Jersey, looking to all the world like Siri, and Siri steps off her flight sporting a Jamie glamour.
The sisters unexpectedly find themselves stuck living in each other's shoes. Soon Siri's crushing on Jamie's best friend Dawn. Jamie's falling for the handsome New Yorker she keeps running into, Zarar. Alongside a parade of hijinks and budding romance, both girls work to navigate their broken family life and the stresses of impending adulthood.
This book has two covers! And I love them both so much, so here’s cover two:
Speak for Yourself by Lana Wood Johnson
Published by Scholastic Press on June 1, 2021
Genres: YA, Contemporary, LGBTQIA+, Aspec
Girl meets boy. Girl likes boy. Girl gets friend to help win boy. Friend ends up with crush on boy...
Skylar's got ambitious #goals. And if she wants them to come true, she has to get to work now. (At least she thinks so...) Step one in her epic plan is showing everyone that her latest app is brilliant. To do that, she's going to use it win State at the Scholastic Exposition, the nerdiest academic competition around.
First, she'll need a team, and Skylar's not always so good with people. But she'll do whatever it takes to put one together ... even if it means playing Cupid for her teammates Joey and Zane, at Joey's request. When things get off to an awkward start for them, Skylar finds herself stepping in to help Joey. Anything to keep her on the team. Only, Skylar seems to be making everything more complicated. Especially when she realizes she might be falling for Zane, which was not a #goal. Can Skylar figure out her feelings, prove her app's potential to the world, and win State without losing her friends--or is her path to greatness over before it begins?
What are some of your favorite covers from the first half of 2021? Let me know in the comments and have a splendiferous day!