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Article  •  26 March 2021

 

The Most Anticipated YA Books of 2021

New stories from bestselling authors Lynette Noni, Becky Albertali, Karen M. McManus, Rick Riordan, and more.

The best of the best to add to your TBR shelf this year – thrillers that will keep you up at night, romances to shatter your hearts to a thousand pieces and escapist fantasies for the daydreamers.

THE PRISON HEALER

Lynette Noni

Kiva Meridan has spent the last ten years fighting for survival in the notorious death prison, Zalindov, working as the prison healer. When the Rebel Queen is captured and placed under Kiva’s care, Kiva decides she will do anything to keep the feverishly ill woman alive – including take the Rebel Queen’s place in the Trial by Ordeal: a series of challenges against the torments of air, fire, water and earth, assigned to only the most dangerous of criminals. Out April, with the sequel The Gilded Cage out September.

FANTASY PLOT TWISTS ACTION AUSTRALIAN AUTHOR

 

HOUSE OF HOLLOW

Krystal Sutherland

When Iris Hollow was seven years old, she and her sisters, Vivi and Grey, went missing. Not long after their return, the sisters’ dark hair turned white and their blue eyes turned black. It’s been ten years since the Hollow sisters’ famous disappearance, and strange things have started happening again. Iris is being followed by a man wearing a bull skull for a mask, and Grey Hollow has disappeared completely. Nothing is safe anymore. Out April.

THRILLER HORROR SISTERS MAGICAL REALISM AUSTRALIAN AUTHOR

 

YOU'LL BE THE DEATH OF ME

Karen McManus

Another murder mystery from Karen M. McManus, need we say more? Ivy, Mateo and Cal are best friends who skip school together and accidentally stumble across the scene of a classmate’s murder. All three are connected to the victim and have secrets of their own. So… whodunnit? Out December.

MYSTERY • THRILLER • DRAMA

 

DAUGHTER OF THE DEEP

Rick Riordan

A brand-new adventure from global bestselling author of the Percy Jackson, Trials of Apollo and Heroes of Olympus series, Rick Riordan. Ana Dakkar is a freshman at Harding-Pencroft Academy, training centre for the best marine scientists and underwater explorers in the world. When Ana witnesses a tragedy during the annual sea trials, her life as she knows it is blown out of the water. Inspired by Jules Verne’s classic, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. Out October.

FANTASY RETELLING • SCI-FI • MYTHOLOGY

 

KATE IN WAITING

Becky Albertalli

Kate and Andy are inseparable best friends who share everything. But when both of them fall hard for the same guy, Matt Olsson, suddenly sharing seems a lot less fun. When Kate, Andy and Matt all try out for the same musical, the drama that unfolds threatens to bring the curtains down on Kate and Andy’s friendship once and for all. Out May.

DRAMA ROMANCE • MUSICAL THEATRE LGBTIQ+

 

INSTRUCTIONS FOR DANCING

Nicola Yoon

Evie is cynical. She lost her faith in love on the day her dad left her mum for another woman. When Evie meets a mysterious old woman, another strange and unwelcome gift is bestowed upon her: whenever a couple kiss in front of her, Evie can see their whole relationship play out from the blissful start til the treacherous ending. Love doesn’t last. As Evie learns to dance with X – tall, dreadlocked, fascinating and spontaneous – everything she thinks she knows about love will be challenged. Out June.

ROMANCE SUPERNATURAL BIPOC

 

BEASTS OF PREY

Ayana Gray

Fate binds Night Zookeeper Koffi and soon-to-be elite warrior Ekon as they strike a dangerous alliance to hunt down the ancient creature terrorising their broken city of Lkossa. The hunt begins – but are Koffi and Ekon the hunters or the hunted? Out October.

FANTASY MYTHOLOGY • MONSTERS & MAGIC

 

WHAT BEAUTY THERE IS

Cory Anderson

Jack Dahl has nothing left. Except his younger brother, who he’d die for. With their mother gone, and funds quickly dwindling, Jack needs to make a choice: lose his brother to foster care, or find the drug money that sent this father to prison. Ava lives in cruel isolation and is now faced with a terrible choice: remain silent or speak out and help the Dahl brothers survive. Out April.

THRILLER SUSPENSE FAMILY • EMOTIONAL

 

TELL ME MY NAME

Amy Reed

A gender-flipped, feminist retelling of The Great Gatsby. Set in a near-future where the environment is collapsing, white supremacy is at a high, corporations are thriving and refugees struggle to find homes, Fern finds herself caught up in the drama and limelight of socialite Ivy Avila. Out June.

THRILLER DYSTOPIAN RETELLING

 

ANYTHING BUT FINE

Tobias Madden

Luca is ready to audition for the Australian Ballet School. All it takes to crush his dreams is one missed step . . . and a broken foot. Jordan is the gorgeous rowing star and school captain of Luca's new school. Everyone says he's straight – but Luca’s not so sure . . . As their unlikely bond grows stronger, Luca starts to wonder: who is he without ballet? And is he setting himself up for another heartbreak? Out September.

ROMANCE BALLET LGBTIQ+ AUSTRALIAN AUTHOR

 

THE UPPER WORLD

Femi Fadugba

An epic, game-changing thriller set outside of time. Esso and Rhia live a generation apart, connected across time by one bullet about to devastate both of their lives. Soon to be a major Netflix movie starring Daniel Kaluuya (Black Panther). Out August.

SCI-FI THRILLER TIME-WARP

 

FROM LITTLE TOKYO, WITH LOVE

Sarah Kuhn

Rika’s life begins as an orphan, living with her two bossy cousins and working for her aunt’s business – the perfect fairy tale starting point. However, with her biracial background, amazing judo skills and red-hot temper, Rika is proud that she doesn’t fit the traditional princess mould. Until one day when Rika locks eyes with Grace Kimura, America’s rom-com sweetheart, and embarks on a desperate adventure of hope that Grace might be her long-lost mother. Out August.

ROMANCE FAMILY ASIAN-AMERICAN

 

THE MIDNIGHT GIRLS

Alicia Jasinska

Set in a snow-cloaked kingdom where witches are burned, and two enchantresses secretly compete for the heart of a prince, only to discover that they might be falling for each other. A magical story inspired by Polish mythology and folklore by the author of The Dark Tide. Out November.

FANTASY WITCHES LGBTIQ+ • RETELLING AUSTRALIAN AUTHOR

 

OFF THE RECORD

Camryn Garrett

Imagine if a teenager broke the Harvey Weinstein story. That’s the premise of Off the Record, where seventeen-year-old Josie wins a contest to write a celebrity profile for her favourite magazine. Amongst the glitz and glamour, Josie discovers dark and terrible secrets, and is shocked to find she is in the perfect position to expose and unravel it all. What will she sacrifice for the truth? Out August.

DRAMA #METOO BIPOC

 

MAGPIE SOCIETY: TWO FOR JOY

Zoe ‘Zoella’ Sugg and Amy McCulloch

The chilling sequel to bestseller The Magpie Society: One for Sorrow. Audrey and Ivy, determined to bring their fellow student Lola Radcliffe’s killer to justice, find themselves in the middle of another mystery when a friend disappears in suspicious circumstances. Out November.

MYSTERY THRILLER

 

HAWK 2: CITY OF THE DEAD

James Patterson

The action-packed sequel to Hawk: A Maximum Ride Novel which sees the eagerly anticipated return of the iconic Maximum Ride for a new generation. Out December.

ACTION FANTASY • DYSTOPIAN

 

WHEN DAYS TILT

Karen Ginnane

A gripping fantasy adventure for fans of Philip Pullman’s Northern Lights. It’s 1858, and there are two queens on the throne. Victoria reigns over London, but Green Witch rules her own domain –time – in the secret shadow city, Donlon. Ava, a fourteen-year-old Londoner, has her predictable world turned upside down when she discovers that the body in her mother’s grave is a stranger. Searching for her real mother and true identity, Ava is thrust into Donlon and must battle to save those she loves and the future of both worlds. Out July.

HISTORICAL FANTASY ADVENTURE PARALLEL UNIVERSE AUSTRALIAN AUTHOR

 

THE BREAK

Phillip Gwynne

A fast-paced rite-of-passage adventure set amidst the mythical surf and island culture of Bali, and up to its neck in the madness of politics and the terrifying consequences of breaking the rules. From the author of literary hit Deadly, Unna? comes a new whirlwind of a story about Taj and his father, Kimbo, who is on death row in Bali and counting on his son to save him. Out October.

CRIME FICTION • FAMLY • ACTION AUSTRALIAN AUTHOR

 

THE QUEEN'S SECRET

Melissa de la Cruz

The riveting conclusion to The Queen’s Assassin duology. Taking her place on the throne has left Lilac without the love of her life, the kingdom’s assassin, Caledon Holt. Worse, Cal is forced to leave the castle when a horrific set of magical attacks threatens Lilac’s sovereignty. Now the two must battle dark forces separately as victory rests on a knife’s edge. Out March.

FANTASY ROMANCE • MAGIC


The Prison Healer Lynette Noni

'Lynette Noni is a masterful storyteller. A must-read for any fantasy lover!' SARAH J. MAAS, #1 New York Times Bestselling Author

Buy now
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House of Hollow Krystal Sutherland

A New York Times Bestseller! An Instant Indie Bestseller! 'This dark, deliciously twisted novel has everything you could hope for as a reader – a brilliant concept, glamorous characters with secrets to hide, immersive world-building, and some of the finest writing I’ve seen in YA fiction. I’ll put it like this – I am obsessed with House of Hollow.’ Louise O'Neill, author of Printz Honor Book, Asking For It

Buy now
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Daughter of the Deep Rick Riordan

An epic undersea adventure from global bestselling author, Rick Riordan. Featuring a brand-new female hero and inspired by Jules Verne's Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea.

Buy now
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Kate in Waiting Becky Albertalli

From the author of Love, Simon (Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda) bestselling YA rom-com queen Becky Albertalli, comes a new novel about daring to step out of the shadows and into the spotlight in love, life and, yes, theatre.

Buy now
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What Beauty There Is Cory Anderson

An exhilarating and emotional thriller from an incredible new voice in YA fiction that will grip readers from the first sentence to the last.

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When Days Tilt: Time Catchers Book 1 Karen Ginnane

Magic, mystery and darkness – a gripping fantasy adventure for lovers of Philip Pullman’s Northern Lights. In this page-turning debut, one girl must figure out why she is the key to two worlds, before time itself falls under the control of the powerful and the greedy.

Buy now
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Tell Me My Name Amy Reed

We Were Liars meets Speak in this haunting, mesmerizing psychological thriller--a gender-flipped YA Great Gatsby--that will linger long after the final line

Buy now
Buy now

Instructions for Dancing Nicola Yoon

A stand-out new YA romance from the number 1 bestselling author of Everything, Everything - this is Dirty Dancing with a supernatural twist.

Buy now
Buy now

Beasts of Prey Ayana Gray

Fate binds two teenagers as they strike a dangerous alliance to hunt down the ancient creature terrorising their home.

Buy now
Buy now

From Little Tokyo, With Love Sarah Kuhn

Ever feel like you're stuck in a fairy tale gone wrong? Celebrated author Sarah Kuhn explores the highs and lows of love and loss in this funny and poignant story of a girl who never thought happy endings were for people like her.

Buy now
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Off the Record Camryn Garrett

Netflix's Unbelievable meets Angie Thomas' On the Come Up in this bold story about fame, justice and freedom of speech.

Buy now
Buy now

The Upper World Femi Fadugba

A startling original thriller from major new talent Femi Fadugba, THE UPPER WORLD is as mind-blowing as a Christopher Nolan epic with the high-stakes drama of TOP BOY.

Buy now
Buy now

Anything But Fine Tobias Madden

A heartfelt and hilarious Australian YA debut from a rising star.

Buy now
Buy now

The Break Phillip Gwynne

From the author of the literary hit, Deadly Unna?, comes a fast-paced rite-of-passage set amid the mythical surf and island culture of Bali, and up to its neck in the madness of its politics and the terrifying consequences of breaking the rules…

Buy now
Buy now

You'll Be the Death of Me Karen M. McManus

From the international bestselling author of One of Us Is Lying and Queen of Teen Crime comes a brand-new addictive thriller. Three former friends ditch school for old time's sake - with horrible and deadly consequences.

Buy now
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The Midnight Girls Alicia Jasinska

In a snow-cloaked kingdom, two wicked rivals secretly compete for the pure heart of a prince, only to discover they might be falling for each other.

Buy now
Buy now

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