Really pleased to have my first guest post on the site today! Anya Josephs shares the 2021 books they’re most anticipating.
The only interesting thing about fourteen-year-old Jena is other people. Her mother disappeared when she was a baby, and her best (and only) friend, Sisi, is not just the lost heir to a noble Numbered house, but also the Kingdom’s most famous beauty. Jena herself is just awkward, anxious, and often alone: not exactly heroic material. But when a letter summons Sisi to the royal court, both girls find their own futures, and the Kingdom’s, in Jena’s hands. Sisi, caught between the king and the crown prince, searches for a magical secret the Prince would kill to keep. Jena can save her: but only if she is willing to let her go, maybe forever. It’s hard to do that when she’s in love with Sisi herself.
Amulet, out now.
Feminist YA fantasy is my literary home base, and so this is obviously a book I can’t wait for. I love the inspiration this seems to take from old-school tabletop RPGs and big, epic fantasy books, both things I adore. And sprinkling some humor in there is, of course, great fun. I expect this is going to be a really enjoyable, fast-paced read, with the added bonus that it looks like it has a very queer cast of characters, which of course I can never get enough of!
Erewhon Books, out Feb 2nd.
I have heard such great things about this debut! I mostly read speculative fiction, which often means fantasy, as unfortunately sci-fi is still really underrepresented in the YA space. RISE OF THE RED HAND seems to be hard at work to buck that trend, while also providing important commentary on contemporary issues like the very best sci-fi does.
Flux Books, out Feb 16th.
This book has some of my favorite tropes! I’m seeing assassins, illegal magic, and enemies-to-lovers. OF SILVER AND SHADOW was originally supposed to come out last year, but had to be pushed back due to COVID-19, so it’s been a long wait for this one. I’m still eagerly awaiting what looks like a great epic fantasy story with a unique and fascinating magic system that I’m excited to explore!
GenZ Publishing, out Mar 9th
I love this kind of big, sweeping, epic fantasy (obviously, since it’s what I write!) Tallie’s book is clearly drawing on the rich legacy of fantasy that inspires me so much, complete with faerie magic and a sprinkling of the chosen one trope. I haven’t had a chance to read it yet, but I hear such great things about the writing style and characterization, which I love to see done well, especially in this genre!
Mango and Marigold Press, out May.
There are so many amazing debuts beyond the Big 5 this year. I’m especially excited for Payal’s book. I love portal fantasy and adventure stories in general, and I can’t get enough of sibling-centric stories. That, combined with the awesome representation for young South Asian readers, means this is a book that I’m really looking forward to seeing on my shelf! It looks like an important story, well told, by a thoughtful debut author.
Bella Books, out Jun 22nd.
This sounds incredible. I am already fascinated with the world building, from the synopsis alone. It seems super interesting, if a little disturbingly prescient—the idea of the U.S. splitting into conservative and liberal countries feels all too possible, given the current state of our politics! Plus, this book has all the representation I’m dying for: queer characters and Jewish characters are so underrepresented in speculative fiction, especially characters whose Jewishness is central to their identity and the story. I can’t wait!
A Dragonbird in the Fern by Laura Rueckert
Flux, out Aug 3rd.
I cannot wait for this debut YA fantasy! I love the whole premise—sisterly relationships? Arranged marriages? Ghosts? It all sounds incredible! Plus, there are so few books out there for people with learning differences, and, as someone who works as an educator with struggling students, I know how important that representation is. I am excited to read this book, and even more excited to share it with students who have never seen anyone like them at the center of a story. Young people who struggle with learning disabilities like dyslexia often feel discouraged from reading, and I think Laura’s beautiful book will help new readers feel welcomed into the wonderful world of storytelling.
Cover not released yet.
GenZ Publishing, release date TBC.
In addition to being a member of the GenZ Publishing family, this book sounds amazing all on its own merits! There’s not too much info out there yet about this book, but I was lucky enough to get a sneak preview from the author, and I’m really excited for it. I love speculative fiction that deals with race in a thoughtful way and thinks about how our social constructs might change over time. That, combined with the dystopian elements and some brilliant details the author has included, mean this book is high on my to-read list!