2021 YA diverse books I’m excited for!


Heyo, internet land! I was perusing the anticipated releases of this year to add more books to my TBR, and I thought I’d share a couple of the YA diverse reads that I’m excited for!

[Edit: I realized that by the time this is uploaded, a good chunk of these books are already going to be released (I drafted this post early January). That means some of these books aren’t anticipated releases anymore. I still hope you’re able to find a book you’ve never heard of that you’re interested in.]

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All the books’ Goodreads pages are linked to their respective titles in case you guys want read the full blurb and/or add a book to your TBR.

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Happily Ever Afters by Elise Bryant


release date: January 5, 2021
genre: contemporary

Tessa Johnson has never seen herself in the romance books she loves the read except when she’s writing them. She’s accepted into a prestigious creative writing program, but immediately suffers writer’s block at the first workshop. Her friend gives her a list of romantic things to do to get her creative juices flowing, but as Tessa checks the items off the list, she feels less and less like herself. Will she risk her bond that she develops with Sam, the boy across the street, to have her own real-life love story?

One of the Good Ones by Maika & Maritza Moulite


release date: January 5, 2021
genre: contemporary

Kezi Smith (a teen social activist) is killed at a social justice rally. Her sisters Happi and Genny go on a journey to honor their late sister while also questioning why she is remembered as “one of the good ones.” Isn’t being human enough? Along the way, they find a twist in Kezi’s story that could change everything.

Concrete Rose by Angie Thomas


release date: January 12, 2021
genre: contemporary

Considered the prequel of the series, Concrete Rose takes place 17 years before The Hate U Give and follows Starr’s dad, Maverick Carter, and his life dealing with the King Lords and trying to take care of the ones he loves. When he’s offered a chance to turn over a new leaf, he takes it. However, you don’t just walk away from the King Lords, and a murder of someone close threatens to tear everything Mav has worked towards apart.

We Free the Stars by Hafsah Faizal


release date: January 19, 2021
genre: fantasy

Because this is the sequel (and last book) to this series, I’m not going to summarize the blurb in case there are people out there who haven’t read the first book. All you need to know is that this series is about a badass (yet still human) hunter girl and a prince who is tasked to kill her. It’s a slight game of cat and mouse with a cursed forest threatening to kill everyone and everything.

Wings of Ebony by J. Elle


release date: January 26, 2021
genre: fantasy

When her mother is shot dead, Rue is taken away from her younger sister and sent to Ghizon, a secret island of magic wielders. The power-hungry leaders there protect their magic at all costs and thrive on human suffering. When Rue breaks the sacred “do not leave” law to return to Houston, she realizes Black kids are being forced into violence and crime, including her sister. The evil that was plaguing the island is taking over Houston, and Rue must embrace her half-god, half-human identity to save her city and the people she loves.

The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna


release date: February 9, 2021
genre: fantasy

A cross between Children of Blood and Bone and Black Panter, The Gilded Ones is a West African-inspired feminist fantasy novel where girls who are outcasted become warriors by choice. Deka is kicked out of her village on the day of the blood ceremony for her gold, impure blood. Instead of submitting to a fate worse than death, a mysterious woman gives her an out to leave her old home to fight for the emperor. Deka goes to the capital to train and learns that the city is full of surprises, and nothing is quite like it seems.

A Pho Love Story by Loan Le


release date: February 9, 2021
genre: contemporary

Bao and Linh are complete opposites but have one thing in common: they both work at their respective parents’ pho shops. While the competition between the two restaurants is “friendly”, Bao and Linh suspect that there’s a deeper, more serious undercurrent. Sparks fly as they spend more time together, but will the families feud and entangled histories break them apart?

Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley


release date: March 2, 2021
genre: fantasy

Native teen Daunis Fontaine never fit in either her hometown or the Ojibwe reservation. She wants to study medicine but puts her dreams aside to care for her sick mother. She starts to fall for a boy named Jamie, but senses that he’s hiding something. When Daunis witnesses a murder, she goes undercover to secretly start her own investigations to track the criminals using chemistry and traditional medicine. The threats start hitting close to home, and Daunis must do everything to protect her community and everyone she cares about.

The Cost of Knowing by Brittney Morris


release date: April 6, 2021
genre: contemporary/fantasy

Said to be a cross between Dear Martin and They Both Die at the End, The Cost of Knowing is about Alex, a boy who can see the future when he touches an object/person. One day, he touches a photo that brings him a vision of his brother’s impending death. Now, he’s racing against the clock to come to terms with the past, the present, and the future.

Witches Steeped in Gold by Ciannon Smart


release date: April 20, 2021
genre: fantasy

In this Jamaican-inspired fantasy, every day brings Iraya closer to freedom and vengeance. Jazmyne is a princess who has no desire to die to strengthen her mother’s power. Despite being sworn enemies, the two form a pact to take down a mutual foe. While revenge can be deadly, the two will go to extreme lengths to come out on top.

Tokyo Ever After by Emiko Jean


release date: May 25, 2021
genre: contemporary

Izumi, a Japanese-American girl, discovers that she’s a secret princess of Japan. She’s whisked away from her northern-California town to Japan go live with her mysterious father. However, being a princess isn’t all fairy-tales and happy endings, and Izzy soon finds herself caught in between not being “American” enough in the US but not being “Japanese” enough in Japan.

Six Crimson Cranes by Elizabeth Lim


release date: July 6, 2021
genre: fantasy

Shiori, the princess of Kiata, has been hiding her forbidden magic all her life. On the morning of her (dreaded) wedding, she loses control, and her stepmother curses and banishes her and turns her brothers into cranes. Shiori’s quest to find her brothers reveals a conspiracy to overthrow the throne. Now, she has to entrust the boy she fought hard not to marry and embrace her magic to save her kingdom.

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What are some of your anticipated diverse releases?
Have you read any of these books? If so, what are your thoughts?
What is one of your favorite diverse books?

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Stay awkward and amazing!

17 thoughts on “2021 YA diverse books I’m excited for!

  1. Kristin @ Kristin Kraves Books 01/30/2021 / 1:04 pm

    I read both Happily Ever Afters and Concrete Rose this month. I definitely recommend them both!

    I’m hoping to read A Pho Love Story as soon as it comes out. Seems like a perfect read for February!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jessica 01/30/2021 / 3:15 pm

      It’s so exciting to hear that you enjoyed Happily Ever Afters and Concrete Rose (I have high hopes for both)! I didn’t even think about how A Pho Love Story is coming out near Valentine’s Day. I agree that it’ll be a perfect read to get into the romantic mood! ❤


  2. Marta @ of waves and pages 01/30/2021 / 1:13 pm

    This is such a great list!! There are so many 2021 new releases I’m looking forward to! And A Pho Love Story seems really cute! 🥰

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jessica 01/30/2021 / 3:19 pm

      There are a lot of exciting books coming out this year! A Pho Love Story is definitely one of my top anticipated releases for this year. You can’t go wrong with a cute romance and delicious food XD

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Cherry | Letters To The Lost 01/30/2021 / 1:47 pm

    I’m so excited for We Free The Stars! I’m listening to We Hunt The Flame now and its really good so far 😊😄 Its already been released right?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jessica 01/30/2021 / 3:23 pm

      Yes! I’m so happy to hear that you’re enjoying WHTF so far! We Free the Stars came out recently, so whenever you’re done with the first book, you can dive straight into the finale. (Don’t tell my book buying ban this but) I recently got my copy in the mail and it is a stunning, chunky book. XD

      Liked by 1 person

    • Jessica 01/30/2021 / 3:24 pm

      I’m so happy to hear that you enjoyed The Gilded Ones! It’s definitely one of my top anticipated releases, and I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy once it comes out. Plus the cover is *chef’s kiss*


    • Jessica 01/30/2021 / 3:32 pm

      Yes! I’ve heard a lot of great things about Concrete Rose (no one is surprised because Angie Thomas is a queen)! Hope you enjoy the book! ❤


  4. Em @ The Geeky Jock 01/31/2021 / 3:55 am

    Oh! Is Six Crimson Cranes inspired by the Six Swans fairy tale? ( = Favourite!) … regardless, it looks really good!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jessica 01/31/2021 / 11:01 am

      I have no idea, but they definitely sound similar! The author’s other series is based off of Mulan, so it’d be interesting if her newest series is another retelling!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Em @ The Geeky Jock 01/31/2021 / 12:39 pm

        They do!

        I enjoyed her other books – though, I actually didn’t know they were based on Mulan! (Honestly, much better plot than the new Disney version!) I’ll have to go revisit them with that intel …

        Liked by 1 person

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