Today on The Booked Shelf, we’re wrapping up some the fantastic covers revealed throughout September, featuring over 20+ covers for YA reads releasing in 2021!
1.The Sea Is Salt And So Am I by Cassandra Hartt
Revealed through the author’s Twitter on September 2, this contemporary debut is pitched as “I’ll Give You the Sun meets Normal People.” Its a multi-POV story set in Maine, following Harlow whose determined to save her hometown of West Finch. Harlow also navigates the secrets and friendship she shares with her best friend Ellis and his twin brother Tommy.
Cover designer is Aurora Parlagreco and artist is Jess Cruickshank. The Sea Is Salt And So Am I is set to be released June 8, 2021!
West Finch is one hurricane away from falling into the sea.
Yet sixteen-year-old Harlow Prout is determined to save her small Maine hometown. If only she could stop getting in her own way and find someone, anyone, willing to help. But her best friend Ellis MacQueen “fixes” problems by running away from them―including his broken relationship with his twin brother, Tommy. And Tommy’s depression has hit a new low, so he’s not up for fixing anything.
In the wake of the town’s latest devastating storm, Tommy goes out for a swim that he doesn’t intend to survive. It’s his unexpected return that sets into motion a sea change between these three teens. One that tests old loyalties, sparks new romance, and uncovers painful secrets. And nothing stays secret in West Finch for long.
2. Love Is A Revolution by Renée Watson
On September 2 through Bookpage, Watson’s upcoming Black contemporary is “a love story—about loving another person, loving your community and, above all, loving yourself.” Nala finds herself falling for emcee, Tye Brown. In order to impress Tye, whose also a community activist, Nala begins to tell a few lies and before she knows it, she’s fallen deeper into both her lies and love.
The cover illustrator is Alex Cabal, designer is Jeanette Levy and art director is Donna Mark. Love Is A Revolution by Renée Watson is set to be released February 2, 2021!
From New York Times bestselling and award-winning author Rene Watson comes a new YA–a love story about not only a romantic relationship but how a girl finds herself and falls in love with who she really is.
When Nala Robertson reluctantly agrees to attend an open mic night for her cousin-sister-friend Imani’s birthday, she finds herself falling in instant love with Tye Brown, the MC. He’s perfect, except . . . Tye is an activist and is spending the summer putting on events for the community when Nala would rather watch movies and try out the new seasonal flavors at the local creamery. In order to impress Tye, Nala tells a few tiny lies to have enough in common with him. As they spend more time together, sharing more of themselves, some of those lies get harder to keep up. As Nala falls deeper into keeping up her lies and into love, she’ll learn all the ways love is hard, and how self-love is revolutionary.
In Love Is a Revolution, plus size girls are beautiful and get the attention of the hot guys, the popular girl clique is not shallow but has strong convictions and substance, and the ultimate love story is not only about romance but about how to show radical love to the people in your life, including to yourself.
3. In The Ravenous Dark by A.M. Strickland
As of September 7 through Twitter, Strickland revealed the cover to a new fantasy featuring “blood magic, eerie underworld, pansexual disaster MC…” and much more. The novel is pitched as “a bloodmage reluctantly teams up with an undead spirit to start a rebellion among the living and the dead…”
The cover designer is Natalie C. Sousa. In The Ravenous Dark is set to be released May 18, 2021!
In Thanopolis, those gifted with magic are assigned undead spirits to guard them—and control them. Ever since Rovan’s father died trying to keep her from this fate, she’s hidden her magic. But when she accidentally reveals her powers, she’s bound to a spirit and thrust into a world of palace intrigue and deception.
Desperate to escape, Rovan finds herself falling for two people she can’t fully trust: Lydea, a beguiling, rebellious princess; and Ivrilos, the handsome spirit with the ability to control Rovan, body and soul.
Together, they uncover a secret that will destroy Thanopolis. To save them all, Rovan will have to start a rebellion in both the mortal world and the underworld, and find a way to trust the princess and spirit battling for her heart—if she doesn’t betray them first.
4. Illusionary by Zoraida Córdova
Through The NOVL blog on September 8, the sequel cover to Córdova’s Hollow Crown duology was revealed. Set in a world inspired by 15th Century Spain, readers follow Renata, a memory thief, but when her commander and love get captured she decides to complete his mission.
The cover designer is Billelis. Illusionary is set to be released May 11, 2021!
Reeling from betrayal at the hands of the Whispers, Renata Convida is a girl on the run. With few options and fewer allies, she’s reluctantly joined forces with none other than Prince Castian, her most infuriating and intriguing enemy. They’re united by lofty goals: find the fabled Knife of Memory, kill the ruthless King Fernando, and bring peace to the nation. Together, Ren and Castian have a chance to save everything, if only they can set aside their complex and intense feelings for each other.
With the king’s forces on their heels at every turn, their quest across Puerto Leones and beyond leaves little room for mistakes. But the greatest danger is within Ren. The Gray, her fortress of stolen memories, has begun to crumble, threatening her grip on reality. She’ll have to control her magics–and her mind–to unlock her power and protect the Moria people once and for all.
For years, she was wielded as weapon. Now it’s her time to fight back.
5. The Mirror Season by Anna-Marie McLemore
On September 9, We Need Diverse Books blog unveiled the cover McLemore’s newest magical realism tale titled, The Mirror Season. Alongside the cover reveal was a Q&A with McLemore who explains that major topics of the book navigate being sexual assault survivor, trauma, and the healing process. Graciela and Lock are both survivors and develop a friendship over the course of the story. As McLemore is also known for their Queer Latinx fairytale retellings, Mirror Season draws inspiration from The Snow Queen.
Cover artist and designers are Marly Gallardo and Liz Dresner. The Mirror Season is set to be released March 16, 2021!
When two teens discover that they were both sexually assaulted at the same party, they develop a cautious friendship through her family’s possibly-magical pastelería, his secret forest of otherworldly trees, and the swallows returning to their hometown, in Anna-Marie McLemore’s The Mirror Season…
Graciela Cristales’ whole world changes after she and a boy she barely knows are assaulted at the same party. She loses her gift for making enchanted pan dulce. Neighborhood trees vanish overnight, while mirrored glass appears, bringing reckless magic with it. And Ciela is haunted by what happened to her, and what happened to the boy whose name she never learned.
But when the boy, Lock, shows up at Ciela’s school, he has no memory of that night, and no clue that a single piece of mirrored glass is taking his life apart. Ciela decides to help him, which means hiding the truth about that night. Because Ciela knows who assaulted her, and him. And she knows that her survival, and his, depend on no one finding out what really happened.
6. The Girls I’ve Been by Tess Sharpe
As of September 14, Penguin Teen revealed the cover alongside an excerpt to this “slick, twisty” page-turning Queer thriller about “the daughter of a con artist who is taken hostage in a bank heist.”
It was also announced in late July through Deadline that Sharpe’s upcoming novel is already in the works for an adaptation with Millie Bobby Brown attached! The Girls I’ve Been by Tess Sharpe is set to be released January 6, 2021!
Nora O’Malley’s been a lot of girls. As the daughter of a con-artist who targets criminal men, she grew up as her mother’s protégé. But when mom fell for the mark instead of conning him, Nora pulled the ultimate con: escape.
For five years Nora’s been playing at normal. But she needs to dust off the skills she ditched because she has three problems:
#1: Her ex walked in on her with her girlfriend. Even though they’re all friends, Wes didn’t know about her and Iris.
#2: The morning after Wes finds them kissing, they all have to meet to deposit the fundraiser money they raised at the bank. It’s a nightmare that goes from awkward to deadly, because:
#3: Right after they enter bank, two guys start robbing it.
The bank robbers may be trouble, but Nora’s something else entirely. They have no idea who they’re really holding hostage…
7. Sunny Song Will Never Be Famous by Suzanne Park
On September 14 via Park’s Twitter, she revealed the cover to her 2021 Contemporary / coming-of-age story about a Korean-American social media influencer whose shipped off to a “digital detox summer camp” in Iowa. Its pitched as being perfect for fans of Jenny Han’s Summer I Turned Pretty and Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch.
The cover designer is Nicole Hower and artist is Carolina Melis. Sunny Song Will Never Be Famous by Suzanne Park is set to be released June 1, 2021!
Sunny Song’s Big Summer Goals:
1) Make Rafael Kim my boyfriend (finally!)
2) Hit 100K followers (almost there…)
3) Have the best last summer of high school ever
Not on Sunny’s list: accidentally filming a PG-13 cooking video that goes viral (#browniegate). Extremely not on her list: being shipped off to a digital detox farm camp in Iowa (IOWA??) for a whole month. She’s traded in her WiFi connection for a butter churn, and if she wants any shot at growing her social media platform this summer, she’ll need to find a way back online.
But between some unexpected friendships and an alarmingly cute farm boy, Sunny might be surprised by the connections she makes when she’s forced to disconnect.
8. Simone Breaks All The Rules by Debbie Rigaud
Through IReadYA’s Twitter on there were a series of cover reveals for 2021 releases starting with Rigaud’s upcoming contemporary which follows Simon Thibodeaux, daughter of strict Haitian immigrant parents, who decides to create a senior-year bucket list with her “fellow late-bloomer friends.”
Cover designer is Erick Davila. Simone Breaks All The Rules by Debbie Riguad is set to be released June 1, 2021!
Simone Thibodeaux’s life is sealed in a boy-proof container.
Her strict Haitian immigrant parents enforce no-dating rules and curfews, and send Simone to an all-girls school. As for prom? Simone is allowed to go on one condition: her parents will select her date (a boy from a nice Haitian immigrant family, obviously).
Simone is desperate to avoid the humiliation of the set up — especially since she’s crushing on a boy she knows her parents wouldn’t approve of. With senior year coming to a close, Simone makes a decision. She and her fellow late-bloomer friends will create a Senior Year Bucket List of all the things they haven’t had a chance to do. On the list: kissing a boy, sneaking out of the house, skipping class (gasp!), and, oh yeah — choosing your own prom date.
But as the list takes on a life of its own, things get more complicated than Simone expected. She’ll have to discover which rules are worth breaking, and which will save her from heartbreak.
9. Indivisible by Daniel Aleman
Through Frolic on September 16, the cover to Aleman’s debut was revealed. This contemporary follows “a Mexican-American teenager who is left to care for his young sister after their parents are detained by ICE,” according to the author. Aleman stated that his “favorite things” about the cover are “the symbolism and the figure of Mateo silhouetted against the background, which feels both powerful and intimate.” Alongside the cover, was also an author’s note.
Indivisible by Daniel Aleman is set to be released May 4, 2021!
There is a word Mateo Garcia and his younger sister Sophie have been taught to fear for as long as they can remember: deportation. Over the past few years, however, the fear that their undocumented immigrant parents could be sent back to Mexico has started to fade to the back of their minds. And why wouldn’t it, when their Ma and Pa have been in the United States for so long, they have American-born children, and they’re hard workers and good neighbors?
When two ICE agents come asking for Pa, the Garcia family realizes that the lives they’ve built are about to come crumbling down. And when Mateo returns from school one day to find that his parents have been taken, he must come to terms with the fact that his family’s worst nightmare has become a reality. With his parents’ fate and his own future hanging in the balance, Mateo must figure out who he is and what he is capable of, even as he’s forced to question what it means to be an American teenager in a country that rejects his own mom and dad.
10. The One’s We’re Meant To Find by Joan He
Revealed through He’s Twitter on September 17, was the cover to her upcoming sci-fi thriller that’s pitched as Black Mirror x We We’re Liars. This novel is about “two sisters and the sea between them,” one is abandoned on an island, while the other resides on the last unpolluted place on earth.
Cover designers and artists include Aykut Aydoğdu and Aurora Parlagreco. The One’s We’re Meant To Find is set to be released May 4, 2021!
One of the most twisty, surprising, engaging page-turner YAs you’ll read this year—We Were Liars with sci-fi scope, Lost with a satisfying resolution.
Cee awoke on an abandoned island three years ago. With no idea of how she was marooned, she only has a rickety house, an old android, and a single memory: she has a sister, and Cee needs to find her.
STEM prodigy Kasey wants escape from the science and home she once trusted. The Metropolis—Earth’s last unpolluted place—is meant to be sanctuary for those commited to planetary protection, but it’s populated by people willing to do anything for refuge, even lie. Now, she’ll have to decide if she’s ready to use science to help humanity, even though it failed the people who mattered most.
11. Angel Of Greenwood by Randi Pink
On September 18, Pink revealed the cover to her upcoming historical fiction via Twitter. The novel is set during the Greenwood Massacre on Black Wall Street in 1921. In a subsequent tweet Pink mentioned, “On May 31st, 1921 in Tulsa, a white woman screamed on an elevator. The events that followed led to The Greenwood Massacre where nearly forty blocks of prosperous, Black owned Greenwood…”
Cover artist/designer is Rich Deas. Angel Of Greenwood by Randi Pink is set to be released January 12, 2021!
Seventeen-year-old Isaiah Wilson is, on the surface, a town troublemaker, but is hiding that he is an avid reader and secret poet, never leaving home without his journal. A passionate follower of WEB. Du Bois, he believes that black people should rise up to claim their place as equals.
Sixteen-year-old Angel Hill is a loner, mostly disregarded by her peers as a goody-goody. Her father is dying, and her family’s financial situation is in turmoil. Also, as a loyal follower of Booker T. Washington, she believes, through education and tolerance, that black people should rise slowly and without forced conflict.
Though they’ve attended the same schools, Isaiah never noticed Angel as anything but a dorky, Bible toting church girl. Then their English teacher offers them a job on her mobile library, a three-wheel, two-seater bike. Angel can’t turn down the money and Isaiah is soon eager to be in such close quarters with Angel every afternoon.
But life changes on May 31, 1921 when a vicious white mob storms the community of Greenwood, leaving the town destroyed and thousands of residents displaced. Only then, Isaiah, Angel, and their peers realize who their real enemies are.
12. Daughter Of Sparta by Claire M. Andrews
On September 23, Andrews revealed the cover to her debut fantasy novel set during ancient Sparta, featuring Greek gods. When Daphne’s brother is taken by Artemis, she must find and return items stolen from Olympus.
Cover designer is Amanda Hudson. Daughter Of Sparta by Claire M. Andrews is set to be released June 8, 2021!
Daphne has spent her entire life honing her body into a weapon and her heart and mind into stone, in order to be accepted by the unyielding people of ancient Sparta. But unrest throughout ancient Greece, and the goddess Artemis holding Daphne’s brother for ransom, upends her carefully laid plans.
In return for her brother’s life, Daphne must find and return nine mysterious items stolen from Mount Olympus before the gods’ power wanes and the mortal world is thrown into chaos. Her journey leads her into battle with foes from ancient Greek myths, a growing (and dangerous) attraction to the enigmatic and flirtatious god Apollo, who has a secret agenda of his own, and into the devious games of the gods themselves.
13. The Other Side Of Magic by Ester Manzini
As of September 24 Parliament House Press revealed the cover to an upcoming debut fantasy set in a magical world inspired by 16th Century Italy. Princess Gaiane has been harnessing her powerful magic since she was young, but she’s kept in a tower. Then there’s a commoner girl named Leo who uses her wits to confront any obstacle. The author stated that “if you’re into queer heroines and fireworks, mark this down on your calendar.”
The Other Side Of Magic by Ester Manzini is set to be released April 6, 2021!
A revolution is brewing.
Everyone within the realms of Epidalio and Zafiria is born with magic. However, it is also true that for every spell each and every magic-user casts, their innate abilities begin to slowly wane until their power is feeble and depleted.
True, that is, for almost everyone.
Princess Gaiane Asares of Zafiria is the result of a nearly perfect genetic union. Harnessing royal and magical lineage in her conception, the princess was born infinitely powerful and with no limits upon her magic. Sequestered in a lonesome tower as her strength is used against her will to conquer the land of Epidalio, she must find a way to fight against her captors.
Elsewhere within the realms, Leo—a commoner—was born with no magic at all. Except for her brain, wits, and her own anger, she must confront the circumstances thrown at her without the magical gifts that so many take for granted.
14. A Chorus Rises by Bethany C. Morrow
On Tor Teen’s Twitter the cover to the second novel in Morrow’s A Song Below Water world was revealed. It introduces readers to teen influencer Naema Bradshaw whose an Eloko. She “uncovers the true power of her magical voice when faced with the threat of online radicalism against sirens.”
A Chorus Rises by Bethany C. Morrow is set to be released June 1, 2021!
The Hate U Give meets Shadowshaper in Bethany C. Morrow’s A Chorus Rises, a brilliant contemporary fantasy set in the world of A Song Below Water.
Teen influencer Naema Bradshaw has it all: she’s Portland famous, privileged, gorgeous — and she’s an Eloko, a charismatic person with a unique melody adored by all. Everyone loves her — well, until she’s cast as the awful person who exposed Tavia’s secret siren powers.
Now, she’s being dragged by the media. No one understands her side: not her boyfriend, not her friends, nor her Eloko community. But Naema knows the truth and is determined to build herself back up — no matter what.
When a new, flourishing segment of Naema’s online supporters start targeting black girls, however, Naema must discover the true purpose of her magic.
15. Broken Web by Lori M. Lee
Revealed through Fairy Loot’s Instagram on September 30 was the sequel cover to Lee’s Shamanborn series, starting with Forest Of Souls. Sirscha Ashwyn is training as a royal spy and when its revealed she’s a soulguide, she’s summoned to the Spider King’s realm.
Cover artist is Charlie Bowater. Broken Web by Lori M. Lee is set to be released June 15, 2021!
The Soulless has woken from his hundred-year imprisonment. Now, he lurks in the Dead Wood recovering his power, while Sirscha and her allies journey west to the shaman empire of Nuvalyn. The whole world believes Sirscha is a soulguide–a savior–but Sirscha knows the truth. She’s a monster, a soulrender, just like the Soulless, and if anyone discovers the truth, she’ll be executed.
There’s nothing Sirscha won’t risk to stop the Soulless, since his magic created the rot that’s killing her best friend. While the Soulless is formidable, he’s still a shaman, which means his power must be channeled through a familiar. If Sirscha can discover what–or who–that is, she might be able to cut him off from his power.
But that’s easier said than done with Queen Meilyr pursuing her imperialistic agenda. Sirscha finds herself caught between a war brewing in the north and the Soulless in the south. She should be uniting who she can to face their common enemies, but instead, Sirscha’s hunt for clues about the Soulless leads to a grim discovery, forcing her to question who her enemies really are.
Additional cover reveals ↷
➣Counting Down With You by Tashie Bhuiyan revealed by CW exclusively over at The Quiet Pond! (Sept. 21, 2020)
➣ What’s Not To Love by Austin Siegemund-Broka and Emily Wibberley cover revealed exclusively by Penguin Teen! (Sept. 21, 2020)
➣A Sky Beyond The Storm by Sabaa Tahir (UK limited signed and sprayed edges edition) revealed through Waterstones (September 22, 2020)
➣ Cool For The Summer by Dahlia Adler cover revealed at Frolic (September 23, 2020)
➣Not My Problem by Ciara Smyth revealed through LGBTQ Reads (September 24, 2020)
➣ Meet Cute Diary by Emery Lee revealed through the We Need Diverse Books Blog (Diverse Books) (September 28, 2020)
➣ Lili from Utopia Mind revealed Lucky Girl by Jamie Pacton and The Devil Makes Three by Tori Bovalino (September 15 & 28)