MY 25 MOST ANTICIPATED 2021 RELEASES

Hullo, bookdragons!

AHH I MISSED SAYING THAT. I’m finally back because I’m kind of done with my first semester of uni and now I have time to sit down and ramble on about books. I can’t believe that we’re only a stone’s throw away from 2021. How did the first half of 2020 go by at a snail’s pace and then BOOM I blinked and the second half of The Worst year has almost come to an end?? I swear time is not real anymore. At this point, time only matters when I’m keeping track of Webtoon updates 😔 (this is me lowkey promoting my future webtoon recs post please watch out for it!)

Anyway, I’m not here to talk about the ✨ mysterious passage of time ✨ because I’m here to talk about my most anticipated books of 2021! Maybe this post is relatively late but you have to understand that I’ve spent most of December crying over biochemistry (pray for my grades 💀) so I didn’t have the time to put this together until now. I have 25 books on this list and I’m looking forward to reading them all! I’m happy that I have e-ARCs for most of them so expect more screaming soon.

Let’s get started!

Note: All book synopses used in this post are taken directly from Goodreads or Edelweiss Plus. My remaining two brain cells cannot summarize things.

MIDDLE GRADE


Clues to the Universe by Christina Li

Expected Publication: January 12, 2021

The only thing Rosalind Ling Geraghty loves more than watching NASA launches with her dad is building rockets with him. When he dies unexpectedly, all Ro has left of him is an unfinished model rocket they had been working on together.

Benjamin Burns doesn’t like science, but he can’t get enough of Spacebound, a popular comic book series. When he finds a sketch that suggests that his dad created the comics, he’s thrilled. Too bad his dad walked out years ago, and Benji has no way to contact him.

Though Ro and Benji were only supposed to be science class partners, the pair become unlikely friends: Benji helps Ro finish her rocket, and Ro figures out a way to reunite Benji and his dad. But Benji hesitates, which infuriates Ro. Doesn’t he realize how much Ro wishes she could be in his place?

As the two face bullying, grief, and their own differences, Benji and Ro must try to piece together clues to some of the biggest questions in the universe.

This is the only book on this list that I’ve already read and I CANNOT RECOMMEND IT ENOUGH (look! it even has its own spotlight on my sidebar because I loved it that much). I went through a rollercoaster of emotions while reading this tender and bittersweet middle grade book. Clues to the Universe explores grief, friendship, and family in a way that tugs at your heartstrings which is why I found myself crying at least five times while reading it. It’s not the usual fantasy adventure middle grade books that I’m used to reading but I enjoyed it all the same. This book may have singlehandedly convinced me to pick up more quiet middle grade books and I believe you should too.

Amari and the Night Brothers by B.B. Alston

Expected Publication: January 19, 2021

Amari Peters has never stopped believing her missing brother, Quinton, is alive. Not even when the police told her otherwise, or when she got in trouble for standing up to bullies who said he was gone for good.

So when she discovers a ticking briefcase in his closet containing a nomination for a summer tryout at the Bureau of Supernatural Affairs, she’s certain the secretive organization holds the key to locating Quinton—if only she can wrap her head around the idea of magicians, fairies, aliens, and other supernatural creatures all being real.

Now she must compete for a spot against kids who’ve known about magic their whole lives. No matter how hard she tries, Amari can’t seem to escape their intense scrutiny and doubt—especially once her supernaturally enhanced talent is deemed “illegal.” With an evil magician threatening the supernatural world, and her own classmates thinking she’s an enemy, Amari has never felt more alone. But if she doesn’t stick it out and pass the tryouts, she may never find out what happened to Quinton.

I’m currently reading this book and it reminded me of why I love fantasy middle grade so much. Amari’s strong will to find her brother against all odds is so admirable. I also love the whimsical world, the magic school, and the portrayal of numerous popular supernatural entities. There are vampires, boogeymen, leprechauns, and magicians. The narrative is very fun to read too! This is definitely a perfect read for young readers but it can be enjoyable for older readers who want to reignite their love for magical stories.

Sugar and Spite by Gail D. Villanueva

Expected Publication: April 20, 2021

Can a bully be defeated by a magical love potion?

Jolina can’t take Claudine’s bullying any longer! The taunts and teasing are too much. Though Jolina knows she’s still in-training to use her grandfather’s arbularyo magic, she sneaks into his potions lab to get her revenge. Jolina brews a batch of gayuma, a powerful love potion.

And it works. The love potion conquers Claudine’s hateful nature. In fact, Claudine doesn’t just stop bullying Jolina-now she wants to be Jolina’s BFF, and does everything and anything Jolina asks.

But magic comes with a cost, and bad intentions beget bad returns. Controlling another person’s ability to love-or hate-will certainly have consequences. The magic demands payment, and it is about to come for Jolina in the form of a powerful storm…

Magic and reality mingle in this brilliant new middle-grade novel by Gail D. Villanueva that asks whether it’s ever okay to take away someone’s free will.

I AM SO HYPED FOR THIS BOOK. I can already tell that this is going to be an unapologetically Filipino middle grade and I am here for it. Drawing inspiration from Filipino folktales, Sugar and Spite blurs the line between magic and reality while exploring friendship. I’m so excited to find out what this book has to offer. Plus look at that stunning cover! It pleases my soul to see two Filipina girls claim the spotlight and I love how they’re named after two popular Filipino actresses. If I don’t get an ARC of this book, tears are going to fall.

The Last Fallen Star by Graci Kim

Expected Publication: May 4, 2021

Riley Oh can’t wait to see her sister get initiated into the Gom clan, a powerful lineage of Korean healing witches their family has belonged to for generations. Her sister, Hattie, will earn her Gi bracelet and finally be able to cast spells without adult supervision. Although Riley is desperate to follow in her sister’s footsteps when she herself turns thirteen, she’s a saram–a person without magic. Riley was adopted, and despite having memorized every healing spell she’s ever heard, she often feels like the odd one out in her family and the gifted community.

Then Hattie gets an idea: what if the two of them could cast a spell that would allow Riley to share Hattie’s magic? Their sleuthing reveals a promising incantation in the family’s old spell book, and the sisters decide to perform it at Hattie’s initiation ceremony. If it works, no one will ever treat Riley as an outsider again. It’s a perfect plan!

Until it isn’t. When the sisters attempt to violate the laws of the Godrealm, Hattie’s life ends up hanging in the balance, and to save her Riley has to fulfill an impossible task: find the last fallen star. But what even is the star, and how can she find it?

A middle grade inspired from Korean mythology that sounds magical and has high stakes?? SIGN ME UP. The synopsis also hints at a precious sister bond and I’m always soft for healthy sibling stories. I have loved all the books that I’ve read from Rick Riordan Presents and I know The Last Fallen Star will not disappoint me.

That Thing about Bollywood by Supriya Kelkar

Expected Publication: May 4, 2021

You know how in Bollywood when people are in love, they sing and dance from the mountaintops? Eleven-year-old Sonali wonders if they do the same when they’re breaking up. The truth is, Sonali’s parents don’t get along, and it looks like they might be separating.

Sonali’s little brother, Ronak, is not taking the news well, constantly crying. Sonali would never do that. It’s embarrassing to let out so many feelings, to show the world how not okay you are. But then something strange happens, something magical, maybe. When Sonali gets upset during a field trip, she can’t bury her feelings like usual—instead, she suddenly bursts into a Bollywood song-and-dance routine about why she’s upset!

The next morning, much to her dismay, Sonali’s reality has shifted. Things seem brighter, almost too bright. Her parents have had Bollywood makeovers. Her friends are also breaking out into song and dance. And somehow, everyone is acting as if this is totally normal. Sonali knows something has gone wrong, and she suspects it has something to do with her own mismanaged emotions. Can she figure it out before it’s too late?

First of all, let’s all agree that the book cover is a gift from the heavens. Second, doesn’t this book just sound so good?? It’s a story about a girl whose life suddenly turned into a Bollywood movie where everyone suddenly bursts into a sing-and-dance number. I can’t wait for this book to make me feel things.

YOUNG ADULT


A Pho Love Story by Loan Le

Expected Publication: February 9, 2021

If Bao Nguyen had to describe himself, he’d say he was a rock. Steady and strong, but not particularly interesting. His grades are average, his social status unremarkable. He works at his parents’ pho restaurant, and even there, he is his parents’ fifth favorite employee. Not ideal.

If Linh Mai had to describe herself, she’d say she was a firecracker. Stable when unlit, but full of potential for joy and fire. She loves art and dreams pursuing a career in it. The only problem? Her parents rely on her in ways they’re not willing to admit, including working practically full-time at her family’s pho restaurant.

For years, the Mais and the Nguyens have been at odds, having owned competing, neighboring pho restaurants. Bao and Linh, who’ve avoided each other for most of their lives, both suspect that the feud stems from feelings much deeper than friendly competition.

But then a chance encounter brings Linh and Bao in the same vicinity despite their best efforts and sparks fly, leading them both to wonder what took so long for them to connect. But then, of course, they immediately remember.

Can Linh and Bao find love in the midst of feuding families and complicated histories?

I LIVE FOR RIVALS-TO-LOVERS STORIES. I can also sense that there’s going to be a lot of food content on this one and that’s a huge plus for me. I am looking forward to all the feels and the food. I’m predictable like that 😌

Down Comes the Night by Allison Saft

Expected Publication: March 2, 2021

Wren Southerland’s reckless use of magic has cost her everything: she’s been dismissed from the Queen’s Guard and separated from her best friend—the girl she loves. So when a letter arrives from a reclusive lord, asking Wren to come to his estate, Colwick Hall, to cure his servant from a mysterious illness, she seizes her chance to redeem herself.

The mansion is crumbling, icy winds haunt the caved-in halls, and her eccentric host forbids her from leaving her room after dark. Worse, Wren’s patient isn’t a servant at all but Hal Cavendish, the infamous Reaper of Vesria and her kingdom’s sworn enemy. Hal also came to Colwick Hall for redemption, but the secrets in the estate may lead to both of their deaths.

With sinister forces at work, Wren and Hal realize they’ll have to join together if they have any hope of saving their kingdoms. But as Wren circles closer to the nefarious truth behind Hal’s illness, they realize they have no escape from the monsters within the mansion. All they have is each other, and a startling desire that could be their downfall.

This is a romantic fantasy with gothic and mystery elements. I repeat: THIS IS A ROMANTIC FANTASY WITH GOTHIC AND MYSTERY ELEMENTS. It has a haunted house, a premise ripe with romantic tension, and characters who are sworn enemies but have no choice but to work with each other. One of the main characters is bisexual and I’ve heard that there’s a lot of pining and yearning in here too. Can you see? I EAT ALL THESE TROPES WITH A GOLDEN SPOON. Thinking about this book makes me want to weep. I should read my e-ARC soon 😭

Lost in the Never Woods by Aiden Thomas

Expected Publication: March 23, 2021

It’s been five years since Wendy and her two brothers went missing in the woods, but when the town’s children start to disappear, the questions surrounding her brothers’ mysterious circumstances are brought back into light. Attempting to flee her past, Wendy almost runs over an unconscious boy lying in the middle of the road, and gets pulled into the mystery haunting the town.

Peter, a boy she thought lived only in her stories, claims that if they don’t do something, the missing children will meet the same fate as her brothers. In order to find them and rescue the missing kids, Wendy must confront what’s waiting for her in the woods.

Aiden Thomas is another one of those authors whose debut I fell in love with so now I will be reading their books for the rest of my life. I also heard that this is a Peter Pan retelling which is something that compels me (did I think about the Knives Out meme when I wrote this? Maybe yes maybe no). There also seems to be some mystery that the characters need to solve and I AM HERE FOR THAT. Actually, this list will show you how in love I am with books that have mystery elements. I’m happy that 2021 offers a lot of them 😌

Witches Steeped in Gold by Ciannon Smart

Expected Publication: April 20, 2021

Iraya has spent her life in a cell, but every day brings her closer to freedom—and vengeance.

Jazmyne is the queen’s daughter, but unlike her sister before her, she has no intention of dying to strengthen her mother’s power.

Sworn enemies, these two witches enter a precarious alliance to take down a mutual threat. But revenge is a bloody pursuit, and nothing is certain—except the lengths they will go to win this game.

Deadly, fierce, magnetically addictive: this Jamaican-inspired fantasy debut is a thrilling journey where dangerous magic reigns supreme and betrayal lurks beneath every word.

The premise of this book screams intrigue, betrayal and blood so of course I am HOOKED LIKE A FISH (I wish I can think of a prettier way to say this but my brain cells just cannot right now). I can already imagine the adrenaline pumping through my veins while reading this book. That’s a vision. I’m clairvoyant now. Joel from fictionalfates also speaks highly of this book and I trust him so my hype for this book is through the roof. I need to read my e-ARC as soon as possible.

The Forest of Stolen Girls by June Hur

Expected Publication: April 20, 2021

Hwani’s family has never been the same since she and her younger sister went missing and were later found unconscious in the forest, near a gruesome crime scene. The only thing they remember: Their captor wore a painted-white mask.

To escape the haunting memories of this incident, the family flees their hometown. Years later, Detective Min—Hwani’s father—learns that thirteen girls have recently disappeared under similar circumstances, and so he returns to their hometown to investigate… only to vanish as well.

Determined to find her father and solve the case that tore their family apart, Hwani returns home to pick up the trail. As she digs into the secrets of the small village—and reconnects with her now estranged sister—Hwani comes to realize that the answer lies within her own buried memories of what happened in the forest all those years ago.

I still haven’t read June Hur’s debut, The Silence of Bones, but I have heard nothing but praise for it so I’m very much looking forward to her second historical mystery book. Set in 1426, Joseon Korea, The Forest of Stolen Girls sounds like something that will keep me at the edge of my seat while my brain scrambles to look for clues alongside the main character.

The Ones We’re Meant to Find by Joan He

Expected Publication: May 4, 2021

Cee awoke on an abandoned island three years ago. With no idea of how she was marooned, she only has a rickety house, an old android, and a single memory: she has a sister, and Cee needs to find her.

STEM prodigy Kasey wants escape from the science and home she once trusted. The eco-city—Earth’s last unpolluted place—is meant to be sanctuary for those committed to planetary protection, but it’s populated by people willing to do anything for refuge, even lie. Now, she’ll have to decide if she’s ready to use science to help humanity, even though it failed the people who mattered most.

Joan He’s debut, Descendant of the Crane, blew me away in 2019 so I have sworn to read all her succeeding books. I bet reading The Ones We’re Meant to Find will also give me the same feeling of awe that I experienced while reading DOTC. Also, an Asian STEM girl like me would definitely love to read a book about another Asian STEM girl. LOOK AT THAT BOOK COVER TOO. Oh and it’s comped to Black Mirror as well. There are just a lot of things in this book that interest me. I can’t wait to get my hands on it!

Counting Down with You by Tashie Bhuiyan

Expected Publication: May 4, 2021

Karina Ahmed has a plan. Keep her head down, get through high school without a fuss, and follow her parents’ rules—even if it means sacrificing her dreams. When her parents go abroad to Bangladesh for four weeks, Karina expects some peace and quiet. Instead, one simple lie unravels everything.

Tutoring the school’s resident bad boy was already crossing a line. Pretending to date him? Out of the question. But Ace Clyde does everything right—he brings her coffee in the mornings, impresses her friends without trying, and even promises to buy her a dozen books (a week) if she goes along with his fake-dating facade. Though Karina agrees, she can’t help but start counting down the days until her parents come back. T-minus twenty-eight days until everything returns to normal—but what if Karina no longer wants it to?

When I hear ‘fake dating’ you can expect me to come running at the speed of light. You know that moment when character a does something affectionate and character b goes “I am feeling things but I SHOULDN’T BE because they’re just being affectionate as an act” and when the two fake dating characters try so hard to keep their feelings in check but they can’t??? Okay I’ll shut up now before this gets too long. There’s so much pining in fake dating stories which is why I can’t get enough of them. I’m counting down the days to when I can finally read this book.

Last Chance Books by Kelsey Rodkey

Expected publication: May 18, 2021

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.

There’s just something about this rivals-to-lovers-but-make-it-bookish story that sparks interest within me. I am here for the snarky dialogue, the locking of proverbial horns, and the deluge of unexpected feelings that this book is going to offer. I’m not sure if I still know what I’m saying here but case in point: I AM EXCITED TO READ THIS ONE.

Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé

Expected Publication: June 10, 2021

Shortly after the announcement is made, though, someone who goes by Aces begins sending school-wide anonymous text messages to reveal secrets about the two of them that turn their lives upside down and threaten every aspect of their carefully planned futures.

When two Niveus Private Academy students, Devon Richards and Chiamaka Adebayo, are selected to be part of the elite school’s senior class prefects, it looks like their year is off to an amazing start. After all, not only does it look great on college applications, but it officially puts each of them in the running for valedictorian, too.

As Aces shows no sign of stopping, what seemed like a sick prank quickly turns into a dangerous game, with all the cards stacked against them. Can Devon and Chiamaka stop Aces before things become incredibly deadly?

This Black, queer dark academia is going to sweep the whole book community off its feet. I JUST KNOW THIS IS GOING TO BE PHENOMENAL. It also offers important commentary which further cemented my anticipation for this book. I am ready to be thoroughly impressed and wrecked by Ace of Spades.

Gearbreakers by Zoe Hana Mikuta

Expected Publication: June 29, 2021

The shadow of Godolia’s tyrannical rule is spreading, aided by their giant mechanized weapons known as Windups. War and oppression are everyday constants for the people of the Badlands, who live under the thumb of their cruel Godolia overlords.

Eris Shindanai is a Gearbreaker, a brash young rebel who specializes in taking down Windups from the inside. When one of her missions goes awry and she finds herself in a Godolia prison, Eris meets Sona Steelcrest, a cybernetically enhanced Windup pilot. At first Eris sees Sona as her mortal enemy, but Sona has a secret: She has intentionally infiltrated the Windup program to destroy Godolia from within.

As the clock ticks down to their deadliest mission yet, a direct attack to end Godolia’s reign once and for all, Eris and Sona grow closer–as comrades, friends, and perhaps something more…

Mechas, action, deadly missions, found family, sapphic enemies-to-lovers…what more can you ask for? I don’t read a lot of cyberpunk books but I have a feeling I will love Gearbreakers nonetheless. Add this book to your TBR and let’s all be excited for its release!

Six Crimson Cranes by Elizabeth Lim

Expected Publication: July 6, 2021

Shiori, the only princess of Kiata, has a secret. Forbidden magic runs through her veins. Normally she conceals it well, but on the morning of her betrothal ceremony, Shiori loses control. At first, her mistake seems like a stroke of luck, forestalling the wedding she never wanted, but it also catches the attention of Raikama, her stepmother.

Raikama has dark magic of her own, and she banishes the young princess, turning her brothers into cranes, and warning Shiori that she must speak of it to no one: for with every word that escapes her lips, one of her brothers will die.

Peniless, voiceless, and alone, Shiori searches for her brothers, and, on her journey, uncovers a conspiracy to overtake the throne—a conspiracy more twisted and deceitful, more cunning and complex, than even Raikama’s betrayal. Only Shiori can set the kingdom to rights, but to do so she must place her trust in the very boy she fought so hard not to marry. And she must embrace the magic she’s been taught all her life to contain—no matter what it costs her.

I fell in love with this book at first sight. Elizabeth Lim is winning the cover game and I love that for her! Also, Six Crimson Cranes sounds like something up my alley with its promise of politics, conspiracy, magic, and betrayal. I love drama and the drama loves me (yes I’m a Taylor Swift fan hello). I absolutely cannot wait to read this book.

The Wild Ones by Nafiza Azad

Expected Publication: August 3, 2021

Meet the Wild Ones: girls who have been hurt, abandoned, and betrayed all their lives. It all began with Paheli, who was once betrayed by her mother and sold to a man in exchange for a favor. When Paheli escapes, she runs headlong into a boy with stars in his eyes. This boy, as battered as she is, tosses Paheli a box of stars before disappearing.

With the stars, Paheli gains access to the Between, a place of pure magic and mystery. Now, Paheli collects girls like herself and these Wild Ones use their magic to travel the world, helping the hopeless and saving others from the fates they suffered.

Then Paheli and the Wild Ones learn that the boy who gave them the stars, Taraana, is in danger. He’s on the run from powerful forces within the world of magic. But if Taraana is no longer safe and free, neither are the Wild Ones. And that…is a fate the Wild Ones refuse to accept. Ever again.

I am already in love with this book and I haven’t even read it yet. I just saw the cover and fell in love. It’s also written by Nafiza Azad which makes me 100 times more excited for this. Her debut, The Candle of the Flame, was also one of my 2019 favorites and I still think about it to this day. This feminist fantasy sounds like pure magic and it’s definitely something you should look out for in 2021.

How We Fall Apart by Katie Zhao

Expected Publication: 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.

Dark academia + murder + mystery + thriller and it’s Asian?? Sounds like this book was written specifically for me and nobody can tell me otherwise. I am so excited to put on my sleuthing Sherlock hat and pretend to be an expert at cracking mysteries when I can only guess perpetrators because I’m suspicious of everyone. Still, I know reading How We Fall Apart is going to be an experience and I’m not missing it for the world.

A Lesson in Vengeance by Victoria Lee

Expected Publication: 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.

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.

Dark academia will thrive in 2021 and WE LOVE TO SEE IT. I haven’t read any of Victoria Lee’s books before but my friends speak so highly of them which is why I’m looking forward to reading their upcoming release and find out what all the hype is all about. This sapphic dark academia is ripe with promise and I’m so excited for its release!

ADULT


Twice Shy by Sarah Hogle

Expected Publication: April 6, 2021

Maybell Parrish has always been a dreamer and hopeless romantic. But living with her head in the clouds has long been preferable to dealing with reality, whether it’s navigating the wild world of dating apps or getting her coworkers to show her a little respect. So when Maybell inherits a stately old Tennessee manor from her Great Aunt Violet, she seizes the opportunity to make a fresh start.

But when she arrives at her new home, it seems her troubles have only just begun. Not only is the manor practically falling apart around her, but she isn’t the only inheritor: she has to share everything with Wesley Koehler, the groundskeeper who’s just as grouchy as he is gorgeous–and it turns out he has a very different vision for the property’s future.

Convincing the taciturn Wesley to stop avoiding her and compromise is a task more formidable than any of the many other dying wishes Great Aunt Violet left behind. But when Maybell uncovers something unexpectedly sweet beneath Wesley’s scowls and silences, she realizes they might have more in common than she ever dreamed. And as the two slowly begin to let their guards down, they just might learn that sometimes the smallest steps outside one’s comfort zone can lead to the greatest rewards.

Me, highly anticipating a romance book??? This is proof that the cursed year 2020 really changed me. Sarah Hogle’s You Deserve Each Other made me want to fall in love (ehem in a rhetorical way) and I want to drown in feels again by reading Twice Shy. Being stuck in this house for a year has made a hopeless romantic out of me please look away.

Dial A for Aunties by Jesse Q. Sutanto

Expected Publication: April 27, 2021

When Meddelin Chan ends up accidentally killing her blind date, her meddlesome mother calls for her even more meddlesome aunties to help get rid of the body. Unfortunately, a dead body proves to be a lot more challenging to dispose of than one might anticipate, especially when it is accidentally shipped in a cake cooler to the over-the-top billionaire wedding Meddy, her Ma, and aunties are working, at an island resort on the California coastline. It’s the biggest job yet for their family wedding business—“Don’t leave your big day to chance, leave it to the Chans!”—and nothing, not even an unsavory corpse, will get in the way of her auntie’s perfect buttercream cake flowers.

But things go from inconvenient to downright torturous when Meddy’s great college love—and biggest heartbreak—makes a surprise appearance amid the wedding chaos. Is it possible to escape murder charges, charm her ex back into her life, and pull off a stunning wedding all in one weekend?

Murder, romance, and meddlesome Asian aunties? I LOVE THIS SONG 😌 Dial A for Aunties sounds so brilliantly chaotic and that’s exactly why I can’t wait to read it. This book has peace-was-never-an-option vibes and I’m here for that.

Arsenic and Adobo by Mia P. Manansala

Expected Publication: May 4, 2021

When Lila Macapagal moves back home to recover from a horrible breakup, her life seems to be following all the typical rom-com tropes. She’s tasked with saving her Tita Rosie’s failing restaurant and has to deal with a group of matchmaking aunties who shower her with love and judgment. But when a notoriously nasty food critic (who happens to be her ex-boyfriend) drops dead moments after a confrontation with Lila, her life quickly swerves from a Jennifer Crusie romp to an Agatha Christie joint.

With the cops treating her like she’s the one and only suspect, and the shady landlord looking to finally kick the Macapagal family out and resell the storefront, Lila’s left with no choice but to conduct her own investigation. Armed with the nosy auntie network, her barista best bud, and her trusted Dachshund, Longanisa, Lila takes on this tasty, twisted case.

Behold another mystery book on this list! I’m even more hyped for this because FINALLY this adobo-loving girl is getting a Filipino detective story that she absolutely deserves. I’m blessed that this book exists and I will once again weep for ten business days if I don’t get an ARC of this.

The Beautiful Ones by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Expected Publication: May 11, 2021

They are the Beautiful Ones, Loisail’s most notable socialites, and this spring is Nina’s chance to join their ranks, courtesy of her well-connected cousin and his calculating wife. But the Grand Season has just begun, and already Nina’s debut has gone disastrously awry. She has always struggled to control her telekinesis—neighbors call her the Witch of Oldhouse—and the haphazard manifestations of her powers make her the subject of malicious gossip.

When entertainer Hector Auvray arrives to town, Nina is dazzled. A telekinetic like her, he has traveled the world performing his talents for admiring audiences. He sees Nina not as a witch, but ripe with potential to master her power under his tutelage. With Hector’s help, Nina’s talent blossoms, as does her love for him.

But great romances are for fairytales, and Hector is hiding a truth from Nina — and himself—that threatens to end their courtship before it truly begins. The Beautiful Ones is a charming tale of love and betrayal, and the struggle between conformity and passion, set in a world where scandal is a razor-sharp weapon.

This was originally published in 2017 but it’s going to be republished in 2021 so it still deserves its place on this list! I was one of the people who was blown away by Mexican Gothic and I’m excited to read Moreno-Garcia’s backlist and upcoming books. The Beautiful Ones has this magically romantic vibe that speaks to my soul. I can’t wait to dive into Moreno-Garcia’s atmospheric writing once again.

The Chosen and the Beautiful by Nghi Vo

Expected Publication: June 1, 2021

Jordan Baker grows up in the most rarefied circles of 1920s American society―she has money, education, a killer golf handicap, and invitations to some of the most exclusive parties of the Jazz Age. She’s also queer, Asian, adopted, and treated as an exotic attraction by her peers, while the most important doors remain closed to her.

But the world is full of wonders: infernal pacts and dazzling illusions, lost ghosts and elemental mysteries. In all paper is fire, and Jordan can burn the cut paper heart out of a man. She just has to learn how.

Nghi Vo’s debut novel The Chosen and the Beautiful reinvents this classic of the American canon as a coming-of-age story full of magic, mystery, and glittering excess, and introduces a major new literary voice.

Another author who is winning the cover game is Nghi Vo. LOOK AT THAT COVER AND TELL ME THAT IT’S THE MOST BEAUTIFUL THING YOU’VE EVER SEEN. The Chosen and the Beautiful is a queer retelling of Great Gatsby and although I haven’t read the Fitzgerald classic (I have read and watched Bungou Stray Dogs and I think that’s enough), I have read Nghi Vo’s previous works and was thoroughly swept away by them. I am eager to find out what her new book has to offer. I have a great feeling that I will love it.

She who Became the Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan

Expected Publication: July 20, 2021

In a famine-stricken village on a dusty yellow plain, two children are given two fates. A boy, greatness. A girl, nothingness…

In 1345, China lies under harsh Mongol rule. For the starving peasants of the Central Plains, greatness is something found only in stories. When the Zhu family’s eighth-born son, Zhu Chongba, is given a fate of greatness, everyone is mystified as to how it will come to pass. The fate of nothingness received by the family’s clever and capable second daughter, on the other hand, is only as expected.

When a bandit attack orphans the two children, though, it is Zhu Chongba who succumbs to despair and dies. Desperate to escape her own fated death, the girl uses her brother’s identity to enter a monastery as a young male novice. There, propelled by her burning desire to survive, Zhu learns she is capable of doing whatever it takes, no matter how callous, to stay hidden from her fate.

After her sanctuary is destroyed for supporting the rebellion against Mongol rule, Zhu takes the chance to claim another future altogether: her brother’s abandoned greatness.

You don’t understand how much I want to read this book. It’s pitched as Mulan meets Song of Achilles plus the author tweeted a lot of fanfic tags for this book that resonate with me and I just *clenches fist* I NEED THIS BOOK LIKE AIR 😭 This queer fantasy sounds like something that will destroy me and put me back to pieces again. Everybody needs She Who Became the Sun on their TBR because I said so. Let’s get this book all the hype it deserves!

There you have it! I probably forgot some books because my memory is that bad but I’ll keep on supporting upcoming releases on my social media accounts. If you saw me use the same four phrases a lot of times in this post, no you didn’t ❤️ As you can see from this list, I’m aiming to read more books from other genres in 2021. I’ve been reading mostly fantasy for most of my life and I want to branch out more next year. Anyway, thanks for reading this post and I hope you discovered books that sparked your interest. Oh, and if you want a 2021 ARC tracker Notion template you can use mine. Just click here and it’s ready for you to use.

2021 arc tracker on notion (i don’t understand why this is so low-res ajhsdg im sorry)

Crossing my fingers that next year is going to be better than this one! (please let it be better)

P.S. I made some new graphics while procrastinating on my uni requirements. Hope you like them!

What about you? What are your most anticipated releases of 2021?

29 thoughts on “MY 25 MOST ANTICIPATED 2021 RELEASES”

  1. welcome back Rain, and congrats on finishing your first semester of uni!! thanks for this wonderful post, i added a lot of books to my TBR as a result – there are so many wonderful books coming out next year & i am so excited 🤩 some of my most anticipated 2021 releases include Perfect on Paper by Sophie Gonzales and One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston ☺️

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  2. welcome back!!! i was so delighted to see your post in my reader 💓 congratulations on finishing your first sem of uni!! that’s awesome!! reading this post made me add so many books to my never-ending tbr!! also your notion arc tracker template is a lifesaver!! thank you so much ❤

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  3. So many books on this list I want to read! Thank you for featuring some middle grade ones as well! I hope to delve more into those in the upcoming year. 🙂

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  4. WHAT a great list. There are so many good books coming out in 2021, and The Chosen and the Beautiful is probably my most-anticipated book of the year. Nghi Vo’s first novella was among my favorite books of 2020, and maybe my very most favorite!, so I can’t wait for her full-length novel debut.

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  5. Ace of Spades though!!!! I am so excited for this 💛😭 also my tbr doesn’t thank you, but I do need Down Comes the Night and Last Chance Books 😍😍 I’m about to do my post of anticipated releases and I think my tbr is going to break 💀

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  6. Oh my gosh, I can not get over how damn gorgeous 2021 covers are! I also am loving the variety in anticipated release posts. There are so many books that are casually on my radar that I can’t wait to hear what others think of them.

    Also, checking out your ARC tracker because I spy some things that might be super useful on the Notion tracker I have already created. Love your work and many thanks. Happy reading!

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  7. ooh hi rain welcome back i just discovered your blog haha! congrats on completing your first semester of uni! i’m looking forward to some of these books like six crimson cranes – I’m currently reading spin the dawn and am loving it, (totally agree, the covers are such a treat to look at!) thank you for this list, i’m adding so many of them to my anticipated releases list, especially last chance books and she who became the sun! lovely post and happy new year! 💖

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  8. i’m so excited for so many of these!! thank you for highlighting all these wonderful mg books, there are some i hadn’t added to my tbr yet but look so good 🥺 i am ready to buddy read all of these with you in the year of rain-may brs LMAO!

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  9. Um okay queen COMING THROUGH WITH THIS POST!! First of all, just want to applaud all the work you put into bc I can tell!! And secondly LOVE this list. Most of these are also on mine but ahh you just added a ton more. I NEED Last Chance Books, Ace of Spades, Counting Down With You and Gearbreakers in hands right now omgggg!!! And also I haven’t read You Deserve Each Other Yet, going to change that hopefully soon, but Twice Shy sounds so amazing. And ugh SO READY for A Lesson In Vengeance and Six Crimson Cranes EVEN THOUGH I haven’t read from the authors yet whoops

    2021 better be a good year !!!!

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    1. ruby i always love your enthusiastic feedbacks 😭 i hope you enjoy reading you deserve each other someday. 2021 better be a good year for YOU because you deserve everything 💖

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