Anticipated books 2021
Updated: Dec 21, 2022
One of my favourite lists to compile is that of my most anticipated releases for the new year. There is just something so magical about the yet unfullfilled promise of new and exciting books on the horizon. A full list of my anticipated releases per month can be found under the "Anticipating" section, but for now I've picked 11 to shout out, in order of releasedate.
First on my list is a book not quite in my usual genre: a middle grade fantasy. The reason I'm still highly anticipating this novel is partly the amazing reviews by early readers, and partly the fact that it sound exactly like the whimsical adventure that many readers of all ages need now. With a mix of fantastical magic and important topics relevant to our current society, this series promises to be a winner already, and had I been 13 years old now, I'd have been saving my pocketmoney for months in advance to get my hands on it. Synopsis: 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 finds 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 doubt and scrutiny—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. Releasedate: January 19th
Magical realism combining grief with Norwegean Folklore and the nothern lights... A Cape Cod setting... Compared to The Astonishing Color of After... Shut up and take my pre-order money already! Synopsis: Never whistle at the Northern Lights, the story goes, or they'll sweep down from the sky and carry you away. Sixteen-year-old Eline Davis knows it's true. She was there ten years ago, on a frozen fjord in Svalbard, Norway, the night her mother whistled at the lights and then vanished. Now Eli lives an ordinary life with her dad on Cape Cod. But when the Northern Lights are visible over the Cape for just one night, she can't resist the possibility of seeing her mother again. So she whistles—and it works. Her mother appears, with snowy hair, frosty fingertips and a hazy story of where she's been all these years. And she doesn't return alone. Along with Eli's mother's reappearance come strange, impossible things. Narwhals swimming in Cape Cod Bay, meteorites landing in Eli's yard, and three shadowy princesses with ominous messages. It's all too much, too fast, and Eli pushes her mother away. She disappears again—but this time, she leaves behind a note that will send Eli on a journey across continents, to the northern tip of the world: Find me where I left you. Releasedate: February 16th
The Removed is the fifth novel by awardwinning author Brandon Hobson, and although I've never read anything by him before, this novel entered my radar based on subjectmatter alone. Mixing Cherokee myths and history with a family tragedy, and the onset of early dementia this promises to tick a lot of my personal boxes, and I can't wait to see how this ambitious novel is executed. Synopsis: In the fifteen years since their teenage son, Ray-Ray, was killed in a police shooting, the Echota family has been suspended in private grief. The mother, Maria, increasingly struggles to manage the onset of Alzheimer’s in her husband, Ernest. Their adult daughter, Sonja, leads a life of solitude, punctuated only by spells of dizzying romantic obsession. And their son, Edgar, fled home long ago, turning to drugs to mute his feelings of alienation.
With the family’s annual bonfire approaching—an occasion marking both the Cherokee National Holiday and Ray-Ray’s death, and a rare moment in which they openly talk about his memory—Maria attempts to call the family together from their physical and emotional distances once more. But as the bonfire draws near, each of them feels a strange blurring of the boundary between normal life and the spirit world. Maria and Ernest take in a foster child who seems to almost miraculously keep Ernest’s mental fog at bay. Sonja becomes dangerously fixated on a man named Vin, despite—or perhaps because of—his ties to tragedy in her lifetime and lifetimes before. And in the wake of a suicide attempt, Edgar finds himself in the mysterious Darkening Land: a place between the living and the dead, where old atrocities echo. Releasedate: February 16th
Anna-Marie McLemore is an almost instant addition to any anticipated list, as her writing alone is worth anticipating. When she promisses to tackle the topic trauma and healing through her phenomenal way with words, I again see no other option than to pre-order immediately. As with all McLemore's novels, I'd recommend you take a look at some trigger warnings if you need to, as she deals with many sensitive topics in her work. Synopsis: When two teens discover that they were both sexually assaulted at the same party, they develop a cautious friendship through her family’s possibly-magical pastelería, his secret forest of otherworldly trees, and the swallows returning to their hometown, in Anna-Marie McLemore's The Mirror Season...
Graciela Cristales’ whole world changes after she and a boy she barely knows are assaulted at the same party. She loses her gift for making enchanted pan dulce. Neighborhood trees vanish overnight, while mirrored glass appears, bringing reckless magic with it. And Ciela is haunted by what happened to her, and what happened to the boy whose name she never learned.
But when the boy, Lock, shows up at Ciela’s school, he has no memory of that night, and no clue that a single piece of mirrored glass is taking his life apart. Ciela decides to help him, which means hiding the truth about that night. Because Ciela knows who assaulted her, and him. And she knows that her survival, and his, depend on no one finding out what really happened.
Releasedate: March 16th
Glendy Vanderah made my all-time favourites ánd nr. 1 favourite book of 2019 with her debut novel Where the Forest Meets the Stars. In 2021 she promises to return with another novel about love, loss, forgiveness and healing, which I cannot wait to experience. Synopsis:
In a moment of crisis, Ellis Abbey leaves her daughter, Viola, unattended—for just a few minutes. But when she returns, Viola is gone. A breaking point in an already fractured marriage, Viola’s abduction causes Ellis to disappear as well—into grief, guilt, and addiction. Convinced she can only do more harm to her family, Ellis leaves her husband and young sons, burying her desperate ache for her children deeper with every step into the mountain wildernesses she treks alone.
In a remote area of Washington, a young girl named Raven keeps secrets inside, too. She must never speak to outsiders about how her mother makes miracles spring from the earth, or about her father, whose mysterious presence sometimes frightens her. Raven spends her days learning how to use her rare gifts—and more important, how to hide them. With each lesson comes a warning of what dangers lie in the world beyond her isolated haven. But despite her mother’s cautions, Raven finds herself longing for something more.
As Ellis and Raven each confront their powerful longings, their journeys will converge in unexpected and hopeful ways, pulled together by the forces of nature, love, and family. Releasedate: April 1st
Again, I present to you a novel that has my name written all over it. We have: - Magical realism: check - a Norwegean Seaside, small town setting: double check - a child with a mysterious affliction that makes her different (possibly in magical ways): check - Compared to the works of Eowyn Ivey, Neil Gaiman and Yansze Choo: triple check. I'm in!
Synopsis: In the hinterlands of old Norway, Leidah Pietersdatter is born blue-skinned, with webbed hands and feet. Upon every turn of season, her mother, Maeva, worries as her daughter’s peculiarities blossom—inside the root of the tiny child, a strange power is taking hold.
Maeva tries to hide the girl from the suspicious townsfolk of the austere village of Ørken, just as she conceals her own magical ancestry from her daughter. And Maeva’s adoring husband, Pieter, wants nothing more than for his new family to be accepted by all. But unlike Pieter, who is blinded by love, Maeva is aware that the villagers, who profess a rigid faith to the new God and claim to have abandoned the old ways, are watching for any sign of transgression—and are eager to pounce and punish.
Following both mother and daughter from the shadows and through time, an inquisitive shapeshifter waits for the Fates to spin their web, and for Maeva to finally reclaim who she once was. And as Maeva’s elusive past begins to beckon, she realizes that she must help her daughter navigate and control her own singular birthright if the child is to survive the human world.
But the protective love Pieter has for his family is threatening the secure life they have slowly built and increasingly becoming a tragic obstacle. Witnessing this, Maeva comes to a drastic conclusion: she must make Leidah promise to keep a secret from Pieter—a perilous one that may eventually free them all.
Releasedate: April 13th
When it comes to Greek Mythology retellings, especially the ones focussing on lesser known figures, I'm a simple girl: I see it, I want to read it. The advanced readers copy of Ariadne is already waiting for me, and I can't wait to be able to add this one to the list of amazing Greek retellings, alongsides Circe, The Silence of the Girls, Lavinia and A Thousand Ships.
As Princesses of Crete and daughters of the fearsome King Minos, Ariadne and her sister Phaedra grow up hearing the hoofbeats and bellows of the Minotaur echo from the Labyrinth beneath the palace. The Minotaur - Minos's greatest shame and Ariadne's brother - demands blood every year.
When Theseus, Prince of Athens, arrives in Crete as a sacrifice to the beast, Ariadne falls in love with him. But helping Theseus kill the monster means betraying her family and country, and Ariadne knows only too well that in a world ruled by mercurial gods - drawing their attention can cost you everything.
In a world where women are nothing more than the pawns of powerful men, will Ariadne's decision to betray Crete for Theseus ensure her happy ending? Or will she find herself sacrificed for her lover's ambition?
Releasedate: April 29th
I'm slightly cheating by putting these two books together in the same slot, but as I'm equally excited for both, for similar reasons, I figured I might as well. Both are YA thrilers/horror novels set in remote and haunted towns. Both have also been rumoured to have LGBTQ+ representation and strong friendships. I would have been happy with one novel that promises that, but I'm even more excited to read both and see how each author approaches the topic.
Synopsis To Break a Covenant
Moon Basin has been haunted for as long as anyone can remember. It started when an explosion in the mine killed sixteen people. The disaster made it impossible to live in town, with underground fires spewing ash into the sky. But life in New Basin is just as fraught. The ex-mining town relies on its haunted reputation to bring in tourists, but there’s more truth to the rumors than most are willing to admit, and the mine still has a hold on everyone who lives there.
Clem and Nina form a perfect loop—best friends forever, and perhaps something more. Their circle opens up for a strange girl named Lisey with a knack for training crows, and Piper, whose father is fascinated with the mine in a way that’s anything but ordinary. The people of New Basin start experiencing strange phenomena—sleepwalking, night terrors, voices that only they can hear. And no matter how many vans of ghost hunters roll through, nobody can get to the bottom of what’s really going on. Which is why the girls decide to enter the mine themselves.
Releasedate: June 1st
Synopsis The Dead and the Dark
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
Releasedate: August 3rd
Out of all the books on this list, this one is probably the one I'm most intrigued by. A debut coming of age ghoststory, that covers themes of identity, love, depression, memory and heritage would have been enough to reel me in. The fact that the whole thing is written in verse makes me instantly tenfold more excited. Safe to say: I can't wait for August.
Synopsis: Moth has lost her family in an accident. Though she lives with her aunt, she feels alone and uprooted.
Until she meets Sani, a boy who is also searching for his roots. If he knows more about where he comes from, maybe he’ll be able to understand his ongoing depression. And if Moth can help him feel grounded, then perhaps she too will discover the history she carries in her bones.
Moth and Sani take a road trip that has them chasing ghosts and searching for ancestors. The way each moves forward is surprising, powerful, and unforgettable.
Releasedate: August 17th
TJ Klune's latest novel The House In The Cerulean Sea blew up the bookish ccommunity in 2020, and for understandable reasons. Although novels with a heavy focus on romance are not usually my thing, this one managed to both completely immerse me in its world ánd warm even my romance-hating heart. If Under The Whispering Door is anything similar to that, I'll mark my next annual heart-thawing in my calendar for September 21st.
When a reaper comes to collect Wallace Price from his own funeral, Wallace suspects he really might be dead.
Instead of leading him directly to the afterlife, the reaper takes him to a small village. On the outskirts, off the path through the woods, tucked between mountains, is a particular tea shop, run by a man named Hugo. Hugo is the tea shop's owner to locals and the ferryman to souls who need to cross over.
But Wallace isn't ready to abandon the life he barely lived. With Hugo's help he finally starts to learn about all the things he missed in life.
When the Manager, a curious and powerful being, arrives at the tea shop and gives Wallace one week to cross over, Wallace sets about living a lifetime in seven days.
Releasedate: September 21st
Last but not least, I knew there had to be place for more than just one middle-grade novel on this list. Luckily, that open spot was easily filled by Ali Standish's newest novel. I've read Standish's 2019 and 2020 releases shortly after release and have adored both of them. I love the quite mature themes that she covers in a way that is simple yet profound enough that readers of all ages will be able to glean from it. I have every faith that she will continue this streak of highs in het latest novel; the releasedate of which is prospected to be in summer 2021.
Synopsis The Mending Summer is about a girl whose father is struggling with alcoholism and who goes to spend the summer at her secretive great-aunt's rambling country house. There she finds unexpected new friends, and a magical lake that grants wishes that provide an escape from reality, but which lead her to a new understanding of herself and her family
Releasedate to be announced, summer 2021
Are there any books you are anticipating that you think I might love as well, feel free to recommend them to me in the commends or via my Goodreads. Until then, I wish you all a very happy and healty New Year! May your heart and bookshelves be filled with joyfull moment ;)