Before I was a teacher, I was a young adult librarian, and I knew every YA book published. This is barely an exaggeration. It was literally my job to know what books are out and what would be published soon. I had lists on lists of books separated by genre, category, and special interests for very particular readers so that when someone walked up to the teen section of the library looking for a recommendation, I had plenty to offer to them.
Honestly, I loved it. It was a one of the most wonderful parts of my job and the thing I miss the most about being a librarian. I got to browse and even read books on the job, and it was expected of me! Better yet, I got to buy books with someone else’s money! I mean, I didn’t get to keep the books, but still! It was awesome!
But by the time I changed careers from being a librarian to being a teacher, I actually got burnt out of it. Yes, I knew every single major book that was coming out that year and had read a good chunk of them (and even helped to curate some award lists), but it got to a point that I was reading for others instead of myself.
Then, when I started teaching, I no longer even had time to read. Teaching is such an all-consuming job, and I was too exhausted to pick up a book when I got home from work. That only compounded my reading burnout from being a librarian, and slowly, I stopped picking up books at all. I went from reading 120 books a year to barely reading 15.
Now, when I walk into a bookstore and look at the new releases, I no longer recognize most of the authors and have no idea what’s out. On one hand, it can be quite relieving because there are so many new books and new authors for me to discover every time I go! But on the other hand, it can also be overwhelming because I don’t even know where to start, and I hate picking up random books without knowing anything about it besides the blurb.
I’ve finally gotten to the point where I want to read again, but I’m learning to find a happy medium. With time and distance, my burn out has mostly healed, and I feel ready to jump back in. This time, however, I’m only reading for me and no one else. I’m only focusing on books that really appeal to me and are in my writing genre or special interests. So with that in mind, here are the books coming out this year (in publishing order) that I’m most interested in reading.
Science Fiction & Fantasy
In this book, the main character, Lore, allies herself with the goddess Athena and joins the hunt in order to take down the man–now a god–who murdered her entire family. I’m a huge fan of mythology-based stories, and this one sounds fun!
Release date: January 5, 2021
The Force Awakens and the Star Wars sequels awoke a love of Star Wars novels in me. I love the idea that many authors contribute to the world essentially makes it canonized fanfiction. I’m also so curious about the origin of the Jedi, so I hope this book delivers on that promise.
Release date: January 5, 2021
A prince and princess mage and witch are betrothed to marry one another. They’ve been rivals for years but haven’t met, so when they each disguise themselves and end up meeting anyway, they don’t know who the other person is. I am a huge fan of disguises, mistaken identities, and accidentally falling in love with the person you were prejudiced against (thanks to Jane Austen for that last one).
Release date: January 19, 2021
Honestly, I was initially put off when I first read the author’s comment on his post-apocalyptic dystopian, and he said he was trying to avoid the female-led dystopian cliche and therefore there aren’t a lot of roles for women in this book, but there are in the next one. But then I paused and thought about it and realized… he’s right. There aren’t a lot of male-led YA dystopians, so I wanted to give this indie book a try.
Release date: January 23, 2021
It’s a ghost story! Not only a ghost story but a ghost who is trapped inside a virtual reality run by the AI living humans use. So basically, imagine being ruled over by Siri or Alexa after your die.
Release date: April 6, 2021
I’m not going to lie–I added this book to my list because of the cover. Just look at that sword and the blood and the luscious gold! I also follow the author on Instagram but somehow haven’t read her Red Queen series yet, but this book appeals to me more, so I think I’m going to start with this one before tackling her first series.
Release date: May 4, 2021
One of the main characters wakes up marooned on an island with no memory and no one with her except an android. That alone is enough to get me to read this book.
Release date: May 4, 2021
Another mythological retelling, but with one that I’m unfamiliar with. The main character is a princess who secretly has magic. During her betrothal ceremony, she loses control and in consequence is banished and her brothers turned into cranes. She must find and rescue them while recovering her throne.
Release date: July 6, 2021
Contemporary & Other
Honestly, my love of pho is one of the main reasons why I want to read this book. I mean, it’s a love story that centers around pho–how cute is that?! Plus it’s a Romeo-and-Juliet style forbidden romance (without the dumb decisions and over-the-top teen angst, hopefully)!
Release date: February 9, 2021
Margo Rabb’s book Kissing in America is one of the main reasons why I love poetry so much. I’m a big fan of her writing and am excited to read what she’s coming out with next. If you haven’t read Kissing in America, I highly recommend it!
Release date: May 11, 2021
All about a blood-thirsty secret society that’s hell-bent on doing whatever it takes to be at the top of their class to make it into the Ivy-leagues. It reminds me of Veronica Mars, except, you know, the kind of society Veronica would try to take down… should be fun!
Release date: May 25, 2021
Have I mentioned before how much I love space and astronomy? This book is about a young girl in the late 19th century who is torn between her love for astronomy and her familial duties and religion.
Release date: August 24, 2021
One of my favorite types of retellings is taking a classic novel and making it more diverse. That’s one of the reasons I loved Netflix’s Bridgerton so much. It’s been many years since I read Little Women, so I would love to revisit the story through Bethany C. Morro’s new version of it.
Release date: September 7, 2021