After a tough 2020, 2021 is coming to our rescue with a lot in store for book releases; many top names are returning, and exciting debut authors are emerging, creating a year of bookish excitement and anticipation. The following titles are the ones that are hitting the top of my Goodreads ‘To Be Read’ shelf.
Concrete Rose by Angie Thomas: 12 January
Angie Thomas is best known for her brilliant 2017 novel The Hate U Give, about the police shooting of a young Black man and the reaction to it. Concrete Rose is set 17 years earlier, focusing on Starr’s father, Maverick, and is a complex exploration of Black manhood. While his father, a former gang member, is in prison, Maverick is dealing drugs to help his mother. Although life isn’t ideal, he’s got it under control. That is, until he finds out that he is the father of a baby called Seven.
The Project by Courtney Summers: 2 February
Courtney Summers’ novel Sadie was one of my pleasant surprise reads; I’m normally sceptical when it comes to thrillers, but Summers’ expert exploration of realistic relationships and human emotions created a compelling plot, gripping me to the end. It is no surprise then that I am excited for The Project. This is another familial story by Summers, following journalist Lo Denham, as she works to uncover the truth behind the cult that her sister is ensnared in, leading her directly into the path of its charismatic and influential leader.
The Galaxy and the Ground Within by Becky Chambers: 16 February
The Galaxy and the Ground Within is the final instalment in Becky Chambers’ incredible Wayfarers series. Although part of a series, each of the Wayfarers books are written to also be read as standalones if desired. I would, however, recommend reading the first instalment, A Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet for any worldbuilding – not to mention it’s also an amazing read! In The Galaxy and The Ground Within, three strangers are thrust together when a freak technological failure strands them on the mostly lifeless planet Gora. Together they confront where they’ve been, where they will go, and what they could be to each other.
My Broken Language by Quiara Alegría Hudes: 6 April
The only non-fiction book to make my list, this coming of age memoir comes from Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and co-writer of the Tony Award-winning In The Heights, Quiara Alegría Hudes. My Broken Language is a story of the power of language and finding one’s voice. Hudes details her upbringing as part of her sprawling Puerto Rican family against the backdrop of an ailing Philadelphia barrio, creating a heartfelt exploration of home, memory and belonging.
Witches Steeped in Gold by Ciannon Smart: 20 April
Witches Steeped In Gold is Ciannon Smart’s debut novel. I’ve been sucked in by the publicity hype surrounding this, and I can’t wait to read it. This Jamaican-inspired fantasy focuses on Jazmyne and Iraya. Jazmyne is the queen’s daughter, who, unlike her sister before her, refuses to die to increase her mother’s power. Iraya has spent her life imprisoned, waiting as each day brings her closer to freedom. These two witches are thrust from being enemies to forming a precarious alliance in order to take down a mutual threat.
Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid: 27 May
New York Times’ bestselling author Taylor Jenkins Reid’s Daisy Jones and the Six was one of the standout books of 2019. As a result, her upcoming novel Malibu Rising is hotly anticipated, not least by me. One night in Malibu in 1983, the four Riva siblings are hosting their famous annual party. What happens that night changes the course of their lives forever.
The Chosen and the Beautiful by Nhgi Vo: June
As an avid fan of The Great Gatsby, I am so excited to read Nghi Vo’s reimagining of the story: The Chosen and the Beautiful. Jordan Baker, a criminally under-used character from the original novel, is the protagonist of this version. Growing up in exclusive circles, socialite Jordan is seemingly a part of the elite during the Jazz Age. However, she is also queer, Asian, and adopted, facts that make her an attraction to her peers. This novel is about Jordan’s journey of self-discovery and I can’t wait to read it.
There are so many exciting releases spanning all genres in 2021, and I’m excited to devour my top picks as soon as they hit the bookshop shelves.