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YA Book Reviews by Amy: 2021 Releases that Sound Amazing

Believe it or not, but I am not able to read all the books that I want to! The saying, “Too many books and not enough time,” seems like it could not be any truer than when I reflect on the books that I read this year and realize all the books that I did not get to. I constantly struggle trying to catch up with books that were published years ago and trying to read all the new books that come in as well.

2021 has provided some really great titles, debut authors, sequels to highly anticipated reads, genres that I love and some that I was ready to get back into, and so much more.

Here are some 2021 books that I have yet to get to and read, but I will hopefully read them in the New Year!

Last Night at the Telegraph Club by Malinda Lo

1954 San Francisco is not exactly a safe time or place for Lily, a Chinese American girl, during the Red Scare. Lily knows that she is different from the people around her, but she cannot put into words of what that difference is until she meets Kath at The Telegraph Club. The Telegraph Club a lesbian club, Lily begins to realize that she has feelings for Kath. Will Lily learn about herself and will there ever be a place for her to be safe?

I have heard nothing but good things about this book! I absolutely love historical fiction books, especially about a time period that is not often written about. This seems like a great book about self-discovery with an intriguing backdrop. I cannot wait to read this one.

Available as an eAudiobook on Overdrive and at the library* for checkout.

The Project by Courtney Summers

Lo desperately wants to be reconnected with her sister, and only living family member, Bea. It has been over six years since Bea joined the elusive and exclusive community named The Community Project. Lo has not heard anything in those six years and is rejected until the perfect opportunity arrives. Lo must infiltrate this community in the hopes of finding her sister. She will risk everything, even her life.

The Project - Summers, Courtney

This one sounds so interesting, and after reading Courtney Summers’ other book Sadie, I want to check this book out even more. The mystery surrounding the cult just seems like something I would listen to on a true crime podcast. I believe that this would be a quick read that I may need to get out of a reading slump in the future.

Available at the library* for checkout.

How We Fall Apart by Katie Zhao

When Nancy’s former best friend, Jamie, goes missing, it seems odd, but Nancy has school and grades on her mind; she would like to be the head of the class which had seemed like it was always Jamie’s position. When Jamie’s body is found and it is apparent that it was most likely murder, Nancy and her three friends become the prime suspects. An anonymous tip on social media from the mysterious Proctor shows less than favorable circumstances surrounding the friends, Nancy must uncover who the Proctor is and who killed Jamie, and why.

How We Fall Apart - Zhao, Katie

I was so excited when this book came out months ago and eagerly waited to get my hands on it, but I had other books that I had to read at the time. I have yet to read it, but it is still high on my list! I can’t get enough of YA mysteries. This one sounds extraordinarily fun.

Available as an eBook on Overdrive and at the library* for checkout.

Dustborn by Erin Bowman

Delta lives in a post-apocalyptic world in which the elements have ravaged the land and survival is difficult. Delta dreams of going to a Utopian town that has been a legend among her people, and a map has been branded on her back to locate this town. When a man causes chaos in her village, she assumes it is because of her and her secret. Delta must travel across the wastelands to save her family. Can she survive the elements and rescue her family?

Dustborn - Bowman, Erin

This has been considered to be a futuristic western, and my favorite genre of all time is westerns. I have enjoyed Erin Bowman’s other books, which are historical fiction westerns so much. Bowman writes strong female characters that must survive harrowing circumstances. I cannot wait to read this one.

Available as an eBook on Overdrive and at the library* for checkout.

The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna

Deka has always felt like an outcast in her village, and she knows the stakes if her blood ends up being gold during the ceremony. When her blood does appear to be gold, Deka must leave her village and everything she knows if she wants to survive. She decides to enter in an army for the emperor; an army full of girls that have rare gifts. Will Deka finally be accepted by people and will she be able to hold her own in a fight?

The Gilded Ones - Forna, Namina

This almost gives me gladiator vibes, and I absolutely love the idea of a strong group of women warriors. I have always enjoyed reading about women warriors, especially in fantasy settings. Plus, this cover is absolutely stunning!

Available on Overdrive and at the library* for checkout.

Defy the Night by Brigid Kemmerer

A sickness is thwarting an entire kingdom that leaves Tessa stealing the petals of a healing flower to cure her people. Newly appointed King Harrison and his younger brother, Corrick, are thrust into responsibility and leadership of their country after their parents are assassinated. They must remain strict if they want to succeed and be taken seriously. When Tessa starts to feel desperate, she decides she must sneak into the palace to not only steal, but learn the truth what is happening to her kingdom. Will Harrison and Corrick evade a rebellion that seems to be on the horizon? Will Tessa find a solution to heal an entire kingdom without getting caught?

Defy the Night - Kemmerer, Brigid

This sounds like it is the perfect fantasy read for me: strong political intrigue, stubborn characters, a dastardly plan, and more! I have read Brigid Kemmerer before and have enjoyed her writing style and her fantasy world building. I think I will really like this book and I would like to read it before the sequel comes out.

Available as an eBook on Overdrive and at the library* for checkout.

Gilded by Marissa Meyer

Serilda has been given a gift, or a curse, to be able to weave fantastical true stories. When her tales gain a listening ear from the Erlking, he kidnaps her and asks her to spin gold out of straw. Serilda summons a boy with the ability to keep her alive, but Serilda begins to have feelings for him. Will love make Serilda stronger, or will it cause her to fall apart?

Gilded - Meyer, Marissa

I have always enjoyed Marissa Meyer’s writing especially her re-imaginings of fairytales. Cinder was so much fun, and Heartless was a tough but good read. I like that this is a retelling of Rumpelstiltskin in a new world. I plan on reading this one soon.

Available on Overdrive and at the library* for checkout.

*check the link for available copies or to place on hold


Hello everyone! I’m Amy and I am a Youth Services Librarian at the Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County. When I’m not trying to reach my reading goal for the year, I like to talk about what I’m reading to my family, friends, and coworkers. You could say I am a little obsessed with reading Young Adult books. I enjoy most genres, but my favorites include: Westerns, Historical Fiction, Contemporary, Fantasy, and Mystery. I am always looking for the next great book that makes me connect to its characters and hits me in the feels.