After 2020 and being locked up in my apartment for so many months, I have amassed a huge list of books. Books I need to read ASAP, books for the winter, summer, fall and spring, books in case there is another round of  lockdown procedures- the lists keeps growing with no end in sight. And a lot of the books on my list are young adult books. 

I felt after the past couple of years we have had, people have really stepped up the game for books that were released in 2021. Everyone had something going on and something to talk about. From writing fantasy to escape the current state of the world, to finally being able to write about their own struggles, young adult books are taking off with some pretty amazing selections.

my list of ya books

Out of my lists and lists of books, I narrowed down a few must read young adult books in 2021. These stories are based on my personal interest in them, their average ratings, the authors themselves, and the plot.

I tend to gravitate towards fantasy, and books that have a strong story line and character growth. The books listed below reflect that, and all of them have intriguing and captivating plots. Each story is sure to take you on a trip, and will be perfect to pick up and read anywhere and anytime this year! 

*Disclosure: We only recommend books which we love and would read ourselves. This post contains affiliate links, as we are part of the Amazon Services LCC Associate Program, which may earn us a small commission, at no additional cost to you.

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Here are the top young adult books in 2021 so far:

8. The Project by Courtney Summers


Listed in most anticipated lists from Book riot, B&N read, Bustle and many more this young adult book follows the aftermath of everyone’s worst nightmare— the death of their parents. Lo Denham is a loner, and she is used to it. After her parents died her only sister ran off, joining a group called The Unity Project. The project is elusive and impossible to contact. Lo would know, she’s spent the last six years tracking them down trying to connect with her sister.

When she is presented with the opportunity to use her vocation as a journalist to report on the group, she jumps at the chance. As she searches for her sister, Lo finds herself with with more questions than answers. She realizes that her sister very much does not want to be found, making her journey that much more difficult. As she continues infiltrating The Unity Project, Lo realizes there is more on the line than just reconnecting with her sister. It now seems her sister’s life-and quite possibly her own-are on the line…

Released: February 2, 2021

7. These Feathered Flames by Alexandra Overy

These feathered flames

Since their birth, the twin heirs had their fates decided. Izaveta stayed at home to learn the ways of the court and the life of a queen while her sister Asya was shipped off to her aunt’s to be trained in the mysterious magic of the firebird. This is meant to help maintain balance in the realm and ensure success. But before her magic training can finish, Asya realizes her full potential has bloomed. This can only mean one thing — her mother has died and now her sister has to take the throne. As the twins are thrown into a role they are not ready for, they will need to find not only who to trust, but who killed the queen.

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Buckle up because this young adult book is packed with adventure and emotion.

Released: April 20, 2021

6. Lore by Alexandra Bracken


Nine Greek gods face punishment every seven years from a past rebellion that went awry. Forced to walk the earth as mortals, hunted by those who want their immortality and godly power. Lore Perseus has fled this life and the chance to get back at the man, now god, who took the life of her family. But as the next hunt looms over New York city, she finds an old friend who she thought was dead and a seriously wounded original god, Athena, on her doorstep.

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Athena offers up an alliance with Lore in order to beat a common enemy — but now Lore has to participate in the hunt and tie her fate to Athena’s. And this may not be enough to stop a new god from taking over and killing her, and bringing humanity down.

I am anxiously looking forward to reading this book-it reminds me of Circe and Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller! Greek gods are on a role lately.

Released: January 5, 2021

5. Winterkeep by Kristin Cashore


From the Graceling Realm series, Kristin Cashore brings you the latest installment. Winterkeep is set a few years after the end of Bitterblue. We are introduced to a whole new continent and taken to the other side of the world. Cashore says that she wants readers to “get to know her characters and learn that they aren’t alone in their feelings. If you’re angry, it’s probably because there’s something to be angry about. There’s nothing wrong with those feelings. I hope readers start thinking about who they are and what their own power is.” 

This book is written from five separate perspectives about the new place Winterkept. Winterkept is democratic, eco friendly and has telepathic animals… so in other words it’s awesome. In this book you follow the political shifts and politics of the countries as you pick up where everyone left off and discover something new. 

Hopefully this book wraps up the series well and keeps all fans of young adult books eagerly looking forward to reading it.

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Released: January 19th 2021

4. The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna


Fans of Children of Blood and Bone, Mulan, and the Dora Milaje from Black Panther are going to adore this one – BuzzFeed

Deka is fearfully awaiting the time when she has to take a blood test to see if she can become a member of her village. Deka already has cunning intuition and stands apart from her village because of it. She fearfully prays that she will have normal blood and be allowed to become a member. But when the time for her test arrives, she finds out she has gold blood. Shocked and scared, she knows that she is in for a fate worse than death. But before anything can happen, a mysterious woman appears and offers her a choice: await the fate of her village or fight alongside others like herself for their emperor. As she makes her choice and continues forward, she discovers that nothing is like they seem — even herself.

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Released: February 4, 2021

3. The Wide Starlight by Nicole Lesperance

The wide starlight

If you believe in folk lore like anyone living near the northern lights, know that if you whistle at the northern lights then they will swoop down and grab you…

Sixteen year old Eli tries desperately to remember what happened the night her mother disappeared off the edge of a Nordic glacier. She knows that the old folk tale is real, because she saw first hand what happens when you whistle at the northern lights, and paid the price. Desperate and depressed Eli misses her mom, until one day she finds a note from her that reads “Find me where I left you”. Eli must brave terrors she never saw coming, heading out into the cold with one thing in mind: finding her mother.

Released: February 16, 2021

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2. House of Hollow by Krystal Sutherland

house of hollow

This book echoes your classic fairy tales. When three sisters disappear while walking down the street, everyone is frantic. Then ten days later they reappear. But when they reappear, they’re not quite the same. Their blonde hair is black and their blue eyes have gone dark. It also seems as though they were enveloped in a new magical energy that bends people’s will towards themselves.

As time goes on, the sisters grow up. But after one disappears yet again, the other two venture after her. And as they do, they search for the answers about what happened all those years ago…

Released: March 30, 2021

1. A Dark and Hollow Star by Ashley Shuttleworth

A dark and hollow star

For centuries the eight courts of the Folk have hidden amongst humans. But as a series of murders occur, they threaten to expose the existence of the Folk to humanity.

Four outcast teens hold a small key to each murder, and they need to find a way to work in tandem so that they can solve these murders. If they don’t, the very existence of humans and fae will be threatened. A war between the mortal and immortal worlds is brewing, and one teenager could tip the scales and change the world.

Released: February 23, 2021

Hopefully after checking out this list, there is at least one young adult book that grabs your attention. These books are highly anticipated, and beloved by many readers! Each of these books are strong written works laced with detailed plots and fantastic adventures unfolding between the pages. I hope you find them as intriguing as I did! Feel free to let us know which ones you liked, or if you had any that you personally would want to add to the list. Happy reading! 

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