Book Lists

Our Most Anticipated Reads of 2021: January-July Releases

Most Anticipated Reads of 2021

New year, new books! 2021 is looking to be an excellent year for new book releases. There are so many debut novels, nonfiction biographies, and romances to choose from! There are almost TOO many new books coming out this year, so how does one narrow it down to the most anticipated reads of 2021?! Don’t worry, we’ve done most of the work for you.

Over the course of the past month, we’ve compiled a list of books set to release during the first half 2021 that we’ve added to our TBR- and think you should too! We have also included affiliate links to our Bookshop if you’d like to pre-order any of them. By shopping with, you are supporting independent bookstores, and we get a small commission (at not extra cost to shoppers). Read below for our most anticipated reads of 2021, January – July edition:

Ida B. the Queen: The Extraordinary Life and Legacy of Ida B. Wells by Michelle Duster

Expected publication: January 26th 2021 by Atria/One Signal Publishers

2021 anticipated reads

Ida B. the Queen tells the awe-inspiring story of an pioneering woman who was often overlooked and underestimated—a woman who refused to exit a train car meant for white passengers; a woman brought to light the horrors of lynching in America; a woman who cofounded the NAACP. Written by Wells’s great-granddaughter Michelle Duster, this “warm remembrance of a civil rights icon” (Kirkus Reviews) is a unique visual celebration of Wells’s life, and of the Black experience.

A Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes

Expected publication: January 26th 2021 by Harper

2021 anticipated reads

In A Thousand Ships, broadcaster and classicist Natalie Haynes retells the story of the Trojan War from an all-female perspective. In the middle of the night, Creusa wakes to find her beloved Troy engulfed in flames. Ten seemingly endless years of brutal conflict between the Greeks and the Trojans are over, and the Greeks are victorious. Over the next few hours, the only life she has ever known will turn to ash . . .

The Removed by Brandon Hobson

Expected publication: February 2nd 2021 by Ecco

2021 anticipated reads

Steeped in Cherokee myths and history, a novel about a fractured family reckoning with the tragic death of their son long ago—from National Book Award finalist Brandon Hobson. The Removed seamlessly blends the real and spiritual to excavate the deep reverberations of trauma—a meditation on family, grief, home, and the power of stories on both a personal and ancestral level.

The Arsonists’ City by Hala Alyan

Expected publication: March 9th 2021 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

anticipated reads

The Nasr family is spread across the globe—Beirut, Brooklyn, Austin, the California desert. A Syrian mother, a Lebanese father, and three American children: all have lived a life of migration. Still, they’ve always had their ancestral home in Beirut—a constant touchstone—and the complicated, messy family love that binds them. But following his father’s recent death, Idris, the family’s new patriarch, has decided to sell. In a novel teeming with wisdom, warmth, and characters born of remarkable human insight, award-winning author Hala Alyan shows us again that “fiction is often the best filter for the real world around us” (NPR).

Second First Impressions by Sally Thorne

Expected publication: April 13th 2021 by William Morrow Paperbacks

2021 reads

From the USA Today bestselling author of The Hating Game and 99 Percent Mine comes the clever, funny, and unforgettable story of a muscular, tattooed man hired as an assistant to two old women—under the watchful eye of a beautiful retirement home manager. Hilarious, warm, and romantic, Sally Thorne’s novel delivers an irrepressibly joyous celebration of love and community.

Crying in H Mart: A Memoir by Michelle Zauner

Expected publication: April 20th 2021 by Knopf

2021 reads

From the indie rockstar of Japanese Breakfast fame, and author of the viral 2018 New Yorker essay that shares the title of this book, an unflinching, powerful memoir about growing up Korean American, losing her mother, and forging her own identity.

People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry

Expected publication: May 11th 2021 by Berkley Books

2021 anticipated reads

Two best friends. Ten summer trips. One last chance to fall in love. From the New York Times bestselling author of Beach Read, a sparkling new novel that will leave you with the warm, hazy afterglow usually reserved for the best vacations.

The Soulmate Equation by Christina Lauren

Expected publication: May 18th 2021 by Gallery Books

The New York Times bestselling author of The Unhoneymooners returns with a witty and effervescent novel about what happens when two people with everything on the line are thrown together by science—or is it fate? Funny, warm, and full of heart, The Soulmate Equation proves that the delicate balance between fate and choice can never be calculated. 

Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Expected publication: June 1st 2021 by Ballantine Books

2021 anticipated reads

Four famous siblings throw an epic party to celebrate the end of the summer. But over the course of twenty-four hours, their lives will change forever. Malibu Rising is a story about one unforgettable night in the life of a family: the night they each have to choose what they will keep from the people who made them . . . and what they will leave behind.

One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston

Expected publication: June 1st 2021 by St. Martin’s Griffin

2021 anticipated reads

For cynical twenty-three-year-old August, moving to New York City is supposed to prove her right: that things like magic and cinematic love stories don’t exist, and the only smart way to go through life is alone. But then, there’s this gorgeous girl on the train. Jane. Casey McQuiston’s One Last Stop is a magical, sexy, big-hearted romance where the impossible becomes possible as August does everything in her power to save the girl lost in time.

The Road Trip by Beth O’Leary

Expected publication: June 1st 2021 by Berkley Books

beth o'leary

Addie and her sister are about to embark on an epic road trip to a friend’s wedding in rural Scotland. The playlist is all planned and the snacks are packed. But, not long after setting off, a car slams into the back of theirs. The driver is none other than Addie’s ex, Dylan, who she’s avoided since their traumatic break-up two years earlier. Will they make it to the wedding on time? And, more importantly… is this really the end of the road for Addie and Dylan?

Everyone Knows Your Mother Is a Witch by Rivka Galchen

Expected publication: June 8th 2021 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux

rivka galchen

The story begins in 1618, in the German duchy of Württemberg. Plague is spreading. The Thirty Years’ War has begun, and fear and suspicion are in the air throughout the Holy Roman Empire. In the small town of Leonberg, Katharina Kepler is accused of being a witch. Drawing on real historical documents but infused with the intensity of imagination, sly humor, and intellectual fire for which Rivka Galchen is known, Everyone Knows Your Mother Is a Witch will both provoke and entertain.

Shoulder Season by Christina Clancy

Expected publication: July 6th 2021 by St. Martin’s Press

anticipated reads

A dazzling portrait of a young woman coming into her own, the youthful allure of sex, drugs, and rock and roll, and what we lose―and gain―when we leave home. With a heroine to root for and a narrative to get lost in, Christina Clancy’s Shoulder Season is a sexy, evocative tale, drenched in longing and desire, that captures a fleeting moment in American history with nostalgia and heart.

She Who Became the Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan

Expected publication: July 20th 2021 by Tor Books

Mulan meets The Song of Achilles in Shelley Parker-Chan’s She Who Became the Sun, a bold, queer, and lyrical reimagining of the rise of the founding emperor of the Ming Dynasty from an amazing new voice in literary fantasy.

We hope you’ve added some of our 2021 most anticipated reads to your TBR pile! We’ll be back later this year to talk about our most anticipated book releases for the last half of 2021.

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