5 YA Novels to Look Forward to in 2021

Last year I attended a couple of online previews and get an early sneak peek at several YA titles coming out in 2021. It was definitely an interesting experience attending these events online, and while I miss the in person events, I’m glad the publishers could move them online so we can still hear about all the amazing titles coming out in the new year. So without further delay, here are my top picks of YA books coming out in the first half of this year! 

 

You Have a Match by Emma Lord
Release Date: January 12, 2021

I haven’t read Tweet Cute yet, but I’ve seen many bloggers rave about it. You Have a Match is Emma Lord’s second YA novel, and it’s described as “The Parent Trap meets 23andMe”.  Protagonist Abby discovers she has a sister through an online website, and it turns out her sister is Instagram star Savannah Tully and the complete opposite of her! The two girls decide to meet up at a summer camp to figure out why Savannah was given up for adoption a year before Abby was born.On top of the family drama and secrets, Abby also has to confront the awkwardness between her and her best friend and crush Leo, who also is the co-chef at the camp where both girls are staying. This was one of the three review copies in the digital swag bags provided to us, so I’m hoping to get around to reading it sometime this year.


Hot British Boyfriend by Kristy Boyce
Release Date: February 9, 2021

This book was Marisol’s pick from the Frenzy Presents event in December since she also studied in England and ended up marrying her “Hot British Boyfriend”. Pitched as “The Holiday meets Legally Blonde”, Hot British Boyfriend is about Ellie Nichols’ quest to land a hot British boyfriend during her high school’s study abroad trip to England. After all, the best way to get over the humiliation of a public rejection is to move on with someone better! Readers who love teen romances that take place overseas like the Stephanie Perkins’ books will probably enjoy this one as well!


Pride and Premeditation by Tirzah Price
Release Date: 
April 6, 2021

If you’re a fan of Jane Austen and mysteries, then this book may be perfect for you! The first in a new series of Jane Austen murder mystery retellings. In Pride and Premeditation, Lizzie Bennet is now an aspiring lawyer, while Fitzwilliam Darcy is the stern young heir to the prestigious firm Pemberley Associates. The two find themselves force to spend more time together as Lizzie is determined to prove herself by solving a murder case where she believes that the authorities have got the wrong person. As a fan of murder mysteries, I’m intrigued to see how the Lizzie and Darcy dynamic will be in a legal environment, so this one is for sure on my radar. It should also be on your radar if you’re a fan of the Lady Janies series.


Tokyo Ever After by Emiko Jean
Release Date:
 May 25, 2021

Not going to lie, Tokyo Ever After is the title that I am the most excited for out of all the books I heard about from the previews last year! I’m hoping to get a review copy of this one so I can read it as soon as possible and share with you guys my thoughts on it. Izumi Tanaka is a Japanese American girl who has been raised by her mother with no idea of who her father is. So she’s in for a big shock when she discovers she is none other than the Crown Prince of Japan! Described as “The Princess Diaries meets Crazy Rich Asians”, I’m looking forward to all the Japanese culture and family drama and the promise of a potential bodyguard crush romance. As an Asian American who also grew up in a predominately white town, I can definitely relate to feeling like I don’t belong both in the country I was born in and my parents’ country. Tokyo Ever After has already been optioned for a TV series and a sequel is already set to come out in 2022!!


Sunny Song Will Never Be Famous by Suzanne Park
Release Date: 
June 1, 2021

Sunny Song’s summer goals include making Rafael Kim her boyfriend, getting to 100 K followers and of course having the best summer ever! Unfortunately, her plans are ruined when she accidentally makes an inappropriate video that goes viral, causing her principal to make her parents send her to a digital detox camp. Now she’s stuck in a farm in Iowa, which is basically the middle of nowhere to her, with no Internet access! Touching on topics like online addiction and casual racism, Sunny Song Will Never Be Famous promises to be both funny and heartwarming that fans of Jenny Han’s books may also enjoy as well.

5 Fiction Books Coming Your Way in Fall 2020

With the pandemic and lockdown happening where I lived, all book events were moved from in person to online. So instead of attending the Penguin Teen Social and Frenzy Presents events in person like I usually do in the previous, I ended up watching them online. Anyways keeping with the tradition, I thought I’d share some of my top picks of for this fall from both events. Please feel free to comment on the post with what books you’re looking forward to reading this fall/winter.

Charming as a Verb by Ben PHILIPe (RELEASE DATE: September 8, 2020)

Last year I was fortunate enough to attend a party for Ben Phillipe’s debut novel, The Field Guide to the North American Teenage which was a surprisingly charming and witty read. Ben’s second book is also perfect if you’ve read and enjoyed his first novel or if you’re a fan of Nicola Yoon’s books. Charming as a Verb follows Henri “Halti” and Corinne’s unlikely and somewhat “forced” friendship as it potentially develops into something more all while they’re both dealing with the usual stress of being a senior in high school with dreams of going to one of the prestigious colleges. On top of the pressure they feel, they also find themselves confronting real issues that children of immigrants face regularly like code switching and gentrification.

Jo An Adaptation of Little Women (Sort Of) By Kathleen Gros (Release date: September 22, 2020)

Jo is probably my favourite of the March sisters, even if I would’ve prefer she stay unmarried in the end. Anyways, the latest adaption of Little Womenis a middle-grade graphic novel that appears to also take the characters into more modern times. Here, Jo is a 13 years old who has her own blog and also works for her school newspaper. There’s definitely a few new twists in this tale, as Jo realizes not only is she unable to return the feelings of her best friend Laurie but she may not be into guys at all? This one looks like it will not only be a cute story but also a diverse and inclusive one as well, oh and bonus points for it being by a fellow Canadian!

All About Us by Tom Ellen (Release date: October 13, 2020)

One of the few adult titles that were showcased during the Frenzy Presents presentation. This one is for all you fans of Christmas novels with a dash of romance and time travel in the mix! Another take on the classic A Christmas Carol, All About Us is about a man who’s failing marriage makes him wonder if he had the right choice years ago and if he would make the same choice again if given the chance to go back to that fateful day in 2005. Adorable, funny, and possibly heartbreaking this one is for those who love David Nicholls’s One Day or the movie 13 Going on 30 with Jennifer Garner and Mark Ruffalo.

The Magic Fish by Trung Lê Nguyễn (RELEASE DATE: October 13, 2020)

This Own Voices graphic novel reads like a memoir. I love seeing more books by Vietnamese storytellers. as someone of Vietnamese descent and a lover of comics, I’m really looking forward to this one, both for the story and the beautiful illustrations. Apparently there are three interwoven plots in Trung Lê Nguyễn’s The Magic Fish. The first is a fairytale that is read to Tiến by his grandparents, the second is the story of the grandparents living in Vietnam during colonial time and finally we have the story of Tiến trying to find the words both in Vietnamese and English to tell his parents that he is gay. all three have distinctive art styles, so readers will be able to differentiate between the stories.

Super Fake Love Song by David yoon (RELEASE DATE: November 17, 2020)


David Yoon’s Frankly in Love was one of my favourite books last year. I loved his writing and portrayal one of teen boy’s experience growing up as a son in a Korean immigrant household so I’m excited for his sophomore novel! The synopsis of this one sounds interesting with its themes of rock music and a small lie getting out of control. Plus I’m hoping for more of his fictional but realistic take on teen relationships in high school.

6 YA Books to Read This Fall

Fall is just around the corner, and with a new season comes more great new read to cozy up with. Over the past few months, I was fortunate enough to get the opportunity to attend a couple of fall previews. So for those of you who are looking to add even more books to your TBR pile you’re in luck, because I’ve got some recommendations to share with you guys.

Butterfly Yellow by Thanhha Lai (September 3, 2019)

This one is high on my reading list as there still aren’t many #ownvoices novels featuring Vietnamese protagonists. It follows a girl named Hằng who finally makes it to the US and is looking to reunite with her brother, Linh. Along for the ride is her new friend, LeeRoy who dreams of being a cowboy. Of all the titles presented at Frenzy Presents, this is story of unlikely friendship, road trips, displacement and family is probably my most anticipated read.

 

Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin (September 3, 2019)

At the Frenzy Presents event, the one word that was used to describe this book was “filthy”. Other than that, the concept of a forbidden romance between a witch and a witch hunter has me intrigued. This is the one title that has been compared to the Sarah J. Maas books and it is also perfect if you liked dark fantasy series like Rin Chupeco’s The Bone Witch.

 

There Will Come a Darkness by Katy Rose Pool (September 3, 2019)

This book was my YA Horoscopes match for the TeensRead Fall 2019 Preview. Compared to Six of Crows, this book promises to turn the trope of the Chosen One on its head. Fair warning though, this book is far bleaker than Six of Crows. If you want to know more about my thoughts on this book, be sure to come by the blog next week for my blog stop and review for this title.

Frankly in Love by David Yoon (September 10, 2019)

The name David Yoon may ring a bell because of his wife, Nicola Yoon who is a best-selling YA author and whose books have both been turned into major movies. However, with his debut novel he proves that he’s also a gifted writer. In fact, Frankly in Love is currently on my list of top reads of 2019! Highly recommend this well-written and touching story about first love, family and being the kid of immigrant parents.

Unpregnant by Jenni Hendriks and Ted Caplan (September 10, 2019)

Another book that I was fortunate enough to read early. This one is about a teen in Missouri who is forced to take a road trip with her ex best friend when she discovers she’s pregnant and needs to get an abortion. This one is being marketed as “Thelma and Louise but…with a happy ending” and I agree. If you’re a fan of the movie Juno you may like this one. Also like Juno, Unpregnant is set to become a movie produced by Greg Berlanti and Sarah and directed by Rachel Lee Goldenberg who worked on The Mindy Project. A timely read, I really enjoyed this one and am looking forward to seeing how the book gets translated to the big screen! 

Dangerous Alliance: An Austentacious Romance by Jennieke Cohen (December 3, 2019)

I love a good historical mystery and even better if there a good romance subplot! This one was pitched to us as a “Victorian Tinder”, which has piqued my interest. For fans of My Lady Jane and The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue, I think Dangerous Alliance may end up on my reading list solely on the basis the that the heroine is not only a badass but also a major Jane Austen fan looking for her own “Pride and Prejudice” type of love.

 

Frenzy Five | Spring/Summer 2019

It’s hard to believe it’s been 7 years since the very first, Frenzy Presents. Frenzy Presents has certainly come a long way since its humble beginnings especially as this event had over 110 attendees and that’s not including the waitlist! This particular event was definitely shorter than the ones in the past due to the Angie Thomas event that was taking place at the Art Gallery of Ontario later that afternoon. Still there was no shortage of great titles, so without further ado here are my top five picks from all of the titles presented.

1. The Wise and the Wicked by Rebecca Podos (Release Date: May 28, 2019)

A contemporary-fantasy hybrid novel, The Wise and the Wicked is about a family with an unusual power. Every woman in Ruby’s family when they come of age, has the ability to see when exactly they will die. And without fail, every member of the Chernyavsky family has died in the same manner that they saw that is until Ruby’s great-aunt Polina passes away. This twist leads to Ruby having hope that things are not completely set in stone, but can she really change her fate? An own voices magical realism story, this one awesome some awesome LGBTQ characters and representation which I’m all here for!

2. Ordinary Girls by Blair Thornburgh (Release Date: June 4, 2019)

This one was one of the titles on my wish list and I was fortunate enough to snag an ARC in my swag bag. A modern retelling of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility, this one’s for those who love stories about complicated and dysfunctional family dynamics particularly among sisters. 

3. This Time Will Be Different by Misa Sugiura (Release Date: June 4, 2019)

Another contemporary YA novel that I’m eagerly anticipating, this one is about a Japanese American girl whose family owns a flower shop. Interestingly enough this one looks at the effect that the Japanese internment camps still has, since CJ’s family ends up selling their shop to the family that swindled her grandparents during WWII. This causes CJ to stand up and fight for her family, causing conflict within their entire Northern California community. Perfect for fans of Samira Ahmed’s Love, Hate & Other Filters, Sandhya Menon’s When Dimple Met Rishi as well Jenny Han.

4. The Evil Queen by Gena Showalter (Release Date: June 25, 2019)

Everyone that attended the event received a chapter sampler of this Evil Queen retelling. For fans of twisted fairy-tale retellings like the Lunar Chronicles series, this one takes place in a world where your fate is already written in the fairy tales. Everly Morrow is a loner and outsider who has the ability to commune with mirrors. Unbeknownst to her, she is destined to be the “Evil Queen” in Snow White’s story. Will she succumb to becoming the evil queen and a villain or give up her crown to become a hero? After reading this one, I’m even more intrigued to read the rest of Everly’s story.

5. Serpent & Dove (Serpent & Dove #1) by Shelby Mahurin (Release Date: September 3, 2019)

Okay so technically this one doesn’t come out until the fall, however those who attended the Spring 2019 Frenzy Presents event were given a tiny glimpse of some upcoming fall titles. This one is the first in a fantasy duology, and is the authour’s debut novel. Although, fantasy isn’t my typical cup of tea I’m excited for this one because it has a runaway witch, a marriage of convenience cleverly orchestrated by the protagonist and of course some forbidden romance between a huntsman and a witch! Also how awesome is this cover?

TeensRead Winter + Spring 2019 Preview Picks

Two months ago, I was fortunate enough to attend the Raincoast BooksTeensRead Winter and Spring 2019 Preview event in Toronto. As always there were some of the best donuts I’ve ever had, awesome swag bags, and of course tons of amazing books that were presented to us. Below are my top three picks from the preview and for 2019.

1. Comics Will Break Your Heart by Faith Evans Hicks (on sale February 12th, 2019)

Faith Evan Hicks is a Canadian cartoonist and animator known for her graphic novel. Comics Will Break Your Heart is her first young adult novel. The plot of this book inspired by the real life stories of comic creators of companies like DC and Marvel who lost the rights to their creations, and thus were never fairly compensated for their work, comics will break your heart is about Miriam the granddaughter of one of the creators of a well-known superhero who was betrayed by my co-creator as a result her family is now penniless. While Miriam is trying to out if she truly wants more than what her small town can offer, she meets a cute boy who of course ends up being the grandson of the man who betrayed her grandfather. I got an ARC of this one at the preview event and am intrigued by it. Hopefully I’ll get around to reading this one. Fun fact, Comics Will Break Your Heart is apparently the first book in a series, though I hope the book is a standalone and the next book is about other characters.

2. Somewhere Only We Know by Maurene Goo (on sale May 7th, 2019)

At the time of the preview, we didn’t have a cover for this book. However, now that we do can I just say how adorable it is? Of all the titles mentioned during the preview, this one is without a doubt my most anticipated title! Another romantic comedy from Maurene Goo, Somewhere Only We Know is a modern take on the classic Audrey Hepburn film  Roman Holiday only with Hong Kong setting and a potential romance with Kpop singer and the son of a paparazzi who is trying to impress his dad. I cannot wait to read this one, and *fingers crossed* I’ll be able to snag an advance of it!

3.We Hunt the Flame (We Hunt the Flame #1) by Hafsah Faizal (on sale May 14th, 2019)

We Hunt the Flame is getting ALOT of buzz on social media and a lot of people at the preview were excited for it. I love the tagline for this book which is, “people lived because she killed, people died because he lived”. Doesn’t that speak your curiosity? The author herself is Muslim and she wanted to write a diverse fantasy novel with an Arabica setting with no genies or even supernatural elements. The first in a duology, We Hunt the Flame promises to be a thrilling novel that is all about discovering who you are and conquering your fear.

Winter/Spring 2018 Preview (Raincoast Books)

Back in September, I got the opportunity to attend the Toronto session  at the Bloor/Gladstone Library. Hosted by Vanessa and Laura from Ampersand Inc. as well as Jenn from Lost in a Great Book, the event was a fun, snack-filled chance to watch the live stream with other book lovers of the actual preview event that was taking place in Vancouver, BC.

Since the end of November is much closer to 2018, I thought that now would be the perfect time for me to share with you guys my top four picks from all the titles that were showcased at the preview event.

1. Busted by Gina Ciocca (on sale January 1st, 2018)

This was the very first title that was presented during the preview. Pitched as “Veronica Mars meets 10 Things I Hate About You”, Busted is definitely a must read for contemporary YA fiction lovers. If you love Jenny Han and Morgan Matson then this one is recommended for you! Seeing as I’ve loved several books by both of those authors, I immediately added this one onto my TBR list. This book features spying and a protagonist who finds herself falling for the guy who she shouldn’t as not only is he unavailable he’s also her “mark”. Stay tuned for my review of this book in early 2018!

2. Wires and Nerves, Volume 2 by Marissa Meyer, illustrated by Stephen Gilpin (on sale January 30th, 2018)

Like many book bloggers, I’m a HUGE fan of Marissa Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles series. The graphic novels are set after the events of the main series, and they follow Iko who’s known as Cinder’s android best friend. The graphic novels find Iko teaming up with some familiar faces and I definitely can’t wait for the second and final volume to come out!

3. Brazen by Pénélope Bagieu (on sale March 6th, 2018)

The past year and a bit I’ve be really getting into feminist and empowering reads like The Mother of All QuestionsWonder Women: 25 Innovators, Inventors, and Trailblazers Who Changed History and Kelly Jensen’s Here We AreBrazen is the latest book to follow the trend of female empowering reads. The book features profiles of 29 different women and unlike the books before it, this one is told in graphic novel format! Combining with my love of comics with my growing interest in women’s history and stories, this book has made it high on my list of must reads for 2018!

4. How I Resist: Activism and Hope for the Next Generation by Maureen Johnson and Tim Federle (on sale May 1st, 2018)

Since this book doesn’t come out until May 2018, there’s not cover for it yet. Anyways lately given all that’s happening in the world right now, it’s no surprise to see an increase in books talking about human rights and activism. How I Resist features essays about activism and hope (which many of us can use during these times) from many well-known YA authors and actors that’s meant to inspire everyone not just the young people it’s targeting!

So what 2018 titles, are you most looking forward to? Let me know in the comments below.

Fall Books Preview 2017

Fall marks the return of school, and the return of people coming back to work from their summer vacation. But book lovers may also know it as the prime “book season”, when many great releases are out, serval literary festivals are happening and the major book awards are given. This month I had the opportunity to attend two different fall book previews each with amazing author guests, and  so instead of doing a full event recap for each event I thought I’d highlight a few of the titles from both that I’m looking forward to.

Penguin Random House

Young Jane Young by Gabrielle Zevin (Out Now)

This one is one that I’ve actually read before the preview. It’s about a young woman who as an intern has an affair with her married, a congressman. Told from various points of views including the woman, her mother and the congressman’s wife this book unexpectedly became one of my favourites for it’s incredibly female empowering message. A review of this book will be up on the blog some time next week.

Smitten Kitchen: Every Day Triumphant & Unfussy New Favourites by Deb Perelman (October 24, 2017)

I don’t often cook or bake, but when I do I tend to visit food blogs for inspiration. I stumbled upon the Smitten Kitchen blog last year when I was looking for recipes for my Christmas cookie swap with my friends. I love the simplistic blog layout, gorgeous photos and the easy to follow recipes. It’s been more than four years since the last Smitten Kitchen book and based on the previews, this one promises the usual drool worthy food photos and family friendly, accessible recipes. For those of you interested, Deb Perelman will be coming to Canada for a signing at Chapters Bayview on October 26!

Unqualified by Anna Faris (October 24, 2017)

This one is rather interesting seeing as Anna Faris and her husband, Chris Pratt have just announced that they’re separating. Chris is still confirmed to be doing the foreword to the book as announced earlier. I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book but after reading an excerpt of her book where she talks about how its importance of friendships especially female friendships outside of your romantic relationships, I found her writing to be relatable and interesting so I’ll definitely be picking this one up. Unqualified has been suggested as being a must read if you’re a fan of Faris’ podcast or even if you enjoy funny, female memoirs.

Christmas at the Vinyl Cafe by Stuart McLean (October 31, 2017)

I grew up with CBC radio, and Stuart McLean’s Vinyl Cafe show was one of the staples of my Canadian childhood. Sadly with his passing earlier this year, 2017 will be the first year without a Vinyl Cafe Christmas special. This collection includes some previously recorded stories as well as some new ones, so I’m definitely excited for it as it would make for some perfect Christmas reading.

The Music Shop by Rachel Joyce (November 7, 2017)

I adored Rachel Joyce’s The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy and after hearing abut The Music Shop, I’m eagerly anticipating this one as well. Inspired by a real life event, and taking place in the 1980s and featuring a record store where the owner has a “gift” for finding music that people need at a certain point in their life. Described as quirky and heartwarming and recommended for fans of Terry Fallis’ The Best Laid Plans this one is definitely on my must read list this fall. (I managed to get an ARC of this one, so stay tuned for my review of it on the blog)

HarperCollins (YA)

If There’s No Tomorrow by Jennifer L. Armentrout (Out Now)

I haven’t read anything by Jennifer L. Armentrout yet, but the tagline for this book “how can you move on if tomorrow isn’t guaranteed” has me intrigued. Also I looked up the synopsis of this one online and it sounds like it would be an interesting contemporary YA novel with the added bonus of a swoon-worthy book boyfriend! This one was recommended for fans of All the Bright Places as well as 99 Days.

One Dark Throne by Kendare Blake (September 19th)

I quite enjoyed Three Dark Crowns and am looking forward to more action in the sequel! This series is about a set of triplets who must fight to the death in order to become the next queen! Recommended for fans of complex, and messy sibling relationships and readers who love the fantasy genre.

Love, Life, and the List by Kasie West (December 26th)

So this one was my most anticipated titles out all the ones that were presented! I love a good contemporary YA novel and am a huge fan of the friends to lovers trope. Plus I love reading books were characters have their own bucket lists and are trying to check things off their list. This is mostly because I’ve always wanted to make a bucket list but could never really commit to doing one so its fun for me to live vicariously through others even book characters.

So what are you guys looking forward to this fall? Let me know in the comments below!