The NetGalley Team’s Most-Anticipated Books of 2021

A new year is only a few weeks away, and that means it’s time to start working on a new TBR list. As you can imagine, the NetGalley team loves looking ahead to see which books are coming out next. Here’s a roundup of the books we can’t wait to pick up in 2021!


First Comes Like by Alisha Rai

The first two books in Alisha Rai’s Modern Love series were winners for me—perfectly blending the realities of dating in the age of apps and technology with the magic of finding someone who truly sees you. I loved interviewing her about the most recent release, Girl Gone Viral, and am counting down the days until First Comes Like hits shelves in February! The heroine of this book, Jia, already captured my heart with her brief (and hilarious) appearances in the earlier two books in the series and in Rai’s Forbidden Hearts series. I can’t wait to see her stand out and shine in her own story!

She Drives Me Crazy by Kelly Quindlen

There are some incredible queer YA books coming out next year, and one that I can’t wait to dive into is She Drives Me Crazy. High school rivals Scottie and Irene end up carpooling together after a fender bender, and it leads to Scottie asking Irene to pretend to be her girlfriend to make her ex jealous. Leah Johnson, who wrote one of my favorite books of 2020, called this YA rom-com “the instant serotonin boost we could all use right about now.” Sold!

Quiet in Her Bones by Nalini Singh

Earlier this year I included Quiet in Her Bones in a roundup of 21 highly-anticipated books of 2021, and I can’t resist mentioning it again now that the eerie cover has been revealed! This book follows a son who begins to investigate his socialite mother’s death after her bones are discovered in the forest around her neighborhood. I read Singh’s first mystery novel earlier this year and I’m looking forward to seeing what new thrills and chills she brings with this one.


The Rib King by Ladee Hubbard

When the incredibly talented Ladee Hubbard (author of The Talented Ribkins) has a new novel, everyone should have it on their TBR. The Rib King was featured on BookishFirst recently, and it’s been on my mind ever since. After seeing the deceivingly complex cover and reading the excerpt, the beautiful writing and the story stuck with me for weeks and I haven’t been able to shake it (not that I want to). So I’ll be diving head-first into the full book in early 2021.


The Heiress Hunt by Joanna Shupe

Joanna Shupe was one of my favorite historical romance authors I read in 2020. I read two of her series and now I can’t wait to dive into her upcoming Gilded Age romance. This March release is a friends-to-lovers story that follows a knickerbocker scoundrel who has orchestrated a house party in Newport of eligible heiresses to find a wife. But he’s secretly vying for the heart of his childhood best friend, who he has asked to help with the guest list. The angst that is bound to ensue sounds so delicious and like my perfect read.

Concrete Rose by Angie Thomas, narrated by Dion Graham

Angie Thomas is a phenom and I will read whatever she writes. I am especially excited for Concrete Rose because it revisits Garden Heights, the neighborhood from The Hate U Give, and follows Starr Carter’s father as a teen. I know Maverick’s story is going to be extremely powerful based on events in her prior novel, and it’s nice to going in knowing that no matter what he faces he ultimately ends up with a great family and is an amazing father. I will most likely listen to the audiobook. Both of Thomas’ prior books had a narrator I adored and, as this follows a male protagonist, there is a new narrator: Dion Graham, who is equally amazing. I anticipate crying, laughing, and loving this book with my whole heart.

A Dark and Hollow Star by Ashley Shuttleworth

Admittedly, I judge books by their covers and A Dark and Hollow Star has been on my mind since the cover reveal. Look at how fantastically badass it is! This is a debut YA fantasy set in a fae world—à la Sarah J. Maas or Holly Black—following four queer teens who must solve a murder to save an alliance and avoid a war. It sounds like it will be an action-packed adventure with the main pairing being f/f.


The Sister-in-Law by Pamela Crane

Pamela Crane is a must-read author for me so I don’t need to know anything more before adding new books of hers to my TBR. I’ve read all of her previous books and every one has been a story I couldn’t tear myself away from. She’s fabulous when it comes to writing suspense. Her books often focus on friendships and The Sister-in-Law appears to be just the opposite, so I’m intrigued. I can only imagine how devious and twisty this one is going to get but I am so ready!


Brother, Sister, Mother, Explorer by Jamie Figueroa

I’ve been working hard to decolonize my bookshelf and OwnVoices books are high on my priority list for 2021. As I was browsing the NetGalley catalog, I discovered Brother, Sister, Mother, Explorer and it sounds right up my alley! I am a huge fan of multi-generational family stories and literary fiction. Throw in some amazing blurbs (Tommy Orange, author of There There, called it “so full of voice… utterly bright and original”) and a beautiful cover and it shot straight to number one on my most-anticipated list.

Kid Innovators: True Tales of Childhood from Inventors and Trailblazers by Robin Stevenson, illustrated by Allison Steinfeld

By 2021 I will have a new nephew (my first!) and I am thrilled to start building up his library. It may be a few years before he’s ready for Kid Innovators (and some of its predecessors like Kid Scientists and Kid Activists) but this series just looks so adorable and interesting, and I can’t wait to check out this newest book and discover more children’s books!

A Declaration of the Rights of Magicians by H.G. Parry, narrated by Andrew Kingston

In 2021 I want to make the leap to audio! I’ve been dabbling in podcasts for a full year now and I’m ready to plunge into full audiobooks. I am a huge fan of fantasy and magic, and am looking forward to discovering this “sweeping tale of revolution and wonder in a world not quite like our own.”


Blessed Monsters by Emily A. Duncan

This is the third book in Duncan’s Something Dark and Holy series. I read the first two novels and have been hooked ever since. The story takes place in a world where magic is real, the gods are real and walking among us, and it’s up to a group of teens (a girl who talks to the gods, a young magician prince, and a dark king monster) to save their world. The series is dark, gothic, and gory and I’m so excited to see where this last book will end up!


The Anthropocene Reviewed by John Green

The fact that I love every John Green book I’ve ever read did not prepare me for how much I would love his podcast The Anthropocene Reviewed, in which he offers heavily researched and insightful reviews of various aspects of life on Earth. Sometimes I agreed with his ratings (5 stars for Halley’s Comet and 1 for viral meningitis) and sometimes not (no way does Diet Dr Pepper deserve 4.5 stars), but I always loved hearing everything he had to say about them. The book promises to be even better, as the written word is Green’s strength and additional material will be on display. Even without reading it, I confidently give it 4.75 stars.

What is your most-anticipated read of 2021?

  1. These are three I have already read and really enjoyed, February looks like a fantastic month for books!
    End Of Men by Christina Sweeney-Baird (Feb/Apr depending on where you live) 4/5.stars
    Prepped by Bethany Mangle (Feb) 5/5stars
    The Project by Courtney Summers (Feb) 5/5stars

    I have quite a list of what I want to read to which include:
    Firekeepers Daughter (March)
    The Girl Under The Flag by Alex Amit (Jan)
    Expiration Date by Mardine Perrins (Jan)
    Madam by Phoebe Wynn (Feb)
    The Boy I Am by K.L. Kettle (Jan)
    The Mother Fault by Kate Mildenhall (Jul)

    And there’s load of great Indie releases to come too in 2021 like:
    Mackenzie Grey: The Crown Series by Karina Espinosa
    The Thaw Chronicles Series by Tamar Sloan & Heidi Catherine
    Red Eye Armageddon Series by Claire C Riley & Eli Constant

  2. I love Joanna Shupe and the Gilded Age. Therefore, “The Heiress Hunt” will be one 2021 book I will be targeting.

    NetGalley is my happy place.

  3. Having read Truly Like Lightning by David Duchovny I am really interested in hearing the audible version and seeing how others respond to this novel. I already know that some people will consider the subject matter controversial. However, I consider it to be one of the most thought provoking and timely novels I have read. America is at a crossroads right now in terms of how we define ourselves. This novel is set current times, but it manages to portray traits of the American pioneering characters (both in reality and in the Hollywood mythology) as something we should consider as how it impacts us now and going forward.. i

  4. I have about ten books in my 2021 pile, but the one I’m most excited about about is Emily Henry’s ‘People We Meet on Vacation.’ I loved her ‘Beach Read’ this year. And of course, Taylor Jenkins Reid’s’ ‘ Malibu Rising.’ Thanks!

  5. I highly recommend Debbie Babitt’s debut thriller Saving Grace. Releases March 2021 from Scarlet. A spellbinding story masterfully written with a climax you won’t see coming!

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