21 YA Romances We're Looking Forward To In 2021

·14 min read

1.Rise to the Sun by Leah Johnson

Release Date: July 6What it's about: Olivia and Toni may be at the Farmland Festival for very different reasons, but while hanging out and listening to music with their best friends, they find one very important thing in common: an attraction that will not be denied — no matter that it's bad timing for Olivia to start something new, and no matter how closed off Toni tries to keep her heart. If you love your romance with a side of heartache that makes you want to hug both characters tight, Johnson's sophomore definitely fits the bill.Get it from Bookshop or a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

Release Date: July 6

What it's about: Olivia and Toni may be at the Farmland Festival for very different reasons, but while hanging out and listening to music with their best friends, they find one very important thing in common: an attraction that will not be denied — no matter that it's bad timing for Olivia to start something new, and no matter how closed off Toni tries to keep her heart. If you love your romance with a side of heartache that makes you want to hug both characters tight, Johnson's sophomore definitely fits the bill.

Get it from Bookshop or a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

Scholastic / Via byleahjohnson.com, Reece T. Williams

2.If You, Then Me by Yvonne Woon

Release date: July 6What it's about: Romance hits up Silicon Valley in this debut YA about a girl named Xia whose favorite preoccupations, app design and her online crush, collide when she joins an incubator for the former and finds out the latter is there too. But Xia's already found a guy to flirt with at the Foundry, and between balancing her love interests, trying to advance in the field with the guidance of the incubator's founder, and dealing with cutthroat competition, it's impossible to choose, even for a girl who literally designed an app that gives advice from her future self. Get it from Bookshop or a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

Release date: July 6

What it's about: Romance hits up Silicon Valley in this debut YA about a girl named Xia whose favorite preoccupations, app design and her online crush, collide when she joins an incubator for the former and finds out the latter is there too. But Xia's already found a guy to flirt with at the Foundry, and between balancing her love interests, trying to advance in the field with the guidance of the incubator's founder, and dealing with cutthroat competition, it's impossible to choose, even for a girl who literally designed an app that gives advice from her future self.

Get it from Bookshop or a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

Katherine Tegen Books, Shirin Borthwick / Via yvonnewoon.com

3.XOXO by Axie Oh

Release Date: July 13What it's about: It's tough to find a dreamier love interest than a straight-up K-pop idol, so it's no wonder Jaewoo wins over usually hyperfocused cellist Jenny, who absolutely does not have time for romance. But how can you not make time when you have the opportunity to spend a night wandering Los Angeles together before he heads back to Korea? And so Jenny gets lost in the impossible magic of it all...until she and her mother move to Seoul, and suddenly things become a little less impossible, especially when Jenny and Jaewoo wind up being classmates at her new school.Get it from Bookshop or a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

Release Date: July 13

What it's about: It's tough to find a dreamier love interest than a straight-up K-pop idol, so it's no wonder Jaewoo wins over usually hyperfocused cellist Jenny, who absolutely does not have time for romance. But how can you not make time when you have the opportunity to spend a night wandering Los Angeles together before he heads back to Korea? And so Jenny gets lost in the impossible magic of it all...until she and her mother move to Seoul, and suddenly things become a little less impossible, especially when Jenny and Jaewoo wind up being classmates at her new school.

Get it from Bookshop or a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

HarperCollins, axieoh.com

4.The Right Side of Reckless by Whitney D. Grandison

Release Date: July 13What it's about: Grandison follows up A Love Hate Thing with this forbidden romance between a boy who's supposed to be cleaning up his act and a girl who needs a break from always being good. Regan does everything

Release Date: July 13

What it's about: Grandison follows up A Love Hate Thing with this forbidden romance between a boy who's supposed to be cleaning up his act and a girl who needs a break from always being good. Regan does everything "right," from her steady boyfriend to her perfect behavior, and it's starting to wear on her. Guillermo can certainly understand that, and makes a perfect sympathetic ear when they meet at the community center. But while they may be clicking in private, things going public would mean certain disaster, especially to Regan's parents.

Get it from Bookshop or a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

Inkyard Press, whitneydgrandison.com

5.Radha and Jai's Recipe for Romance by Nisha Sharma

Release date: July 13What it's about: Radha's at the Princeton Academy of the Arts to get a fresh start and put her past and her budding Kathak dance career behind her. Jai's a star, both academically and as the captain of the Bollywood Beats, but his family's finances mean this is his peak, until he meets Radha and finds in her skills the ticket to a future he never dreamed he could have. They both have baggage, but together, two people who've stopped allowing themselves to hope find a way to take matters into their own hands.  Get it from Bookshop or a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

Release date: July 13

What it's about: Radha's at the Princeton Academy of the Arts to get a fresh start and put her past and her budding Kathak dance career behind her. Jai's a star, both academically and as the captain of the Bollywood Beats, but his family's finances mean this is his peak, until he meets Radha and finds in her skills the ticket to a future he never dreamed he could have. They both have baggage, but together, two people who've stopped allowing themselves to hope find a way to take matters into their own hands.

Get it from Bookshop or a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

Crown Books for Young Readers, nisha-sharma.com

6.Like a Love Song by Gabriela Martins

Release date: August 3What it's about: Fame is a double-edged sword for Brazilian pop star Natalie, who learns the hard way that the other side of being loved by the public is also having them witness your downfalls...like being dumped on live TV. When her PR team comes up with a solution to save face through a fauxmance with British indie film star WIlliam, she reluctantly agrees, despite him being way gentler than her usual type. But maybe she didn't know her type, or herself, as well as she thought. Get it from Bookshop or a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

Release date: August 3

What it's about: Fame is a double-edged sword for Brazilian pop star Natalie, who learns the hard way that the other side of being loved by the public is also having them witness your downfalls...like being dumped on live TV. When her PR team comes up with a solution to save face through a fauxmance with British indie film star WIlliam, she reluctantly agrees, despite him being way gentler than her usual type. But maybe she didn't know her type, or herself, as well as she thought.

Get it from Bookshop or a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

Underlined, gabrielawrites.com

7.How Moon Fuentez Fell in Love With the Universe by Raquel Vasquez Gilliland

Release date: August 10What it's about: Leaving everything behind to become a tour bus merch girl was the best decision Moon ever made, even if it mashes her up with hot but grumpy Santiago, who seems to have been put on Earth just to make her and everyone else miserable. But the more time they spend together, the more she realizes there's something else behind his gruff exterior, and maybe there's more behind her own exterior too.  Get it from Bookshop or a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

Release date: August 10

What it's about: Leaving everything behind to become a tour bus merch girl was the best decision Moon ever made, even if it mashes her up with hot but grumpy Santiago, who seems to have been put on Earth just to make her and everyone else miserable. But the more time they spend together, the more she realizes there's something else behind his gruff exterior, and maybe there's more behind her own exterior too.

Get it from Bookshop or a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

Simon & Schuster, raquelvasquezgilliland.com

8.Cheer Up!: Love and Pompoms by Crystal Frasier, Val Wise, and Oscar O. Jupiter

Release date: August 10What it's about: Annie's on the squad to make friends and add something to her college applications. BeeBee's on the squad to prove to her parents she can live a perfectly lovely life as a girl. Each could use the support of the other to get through the experience of being a queer (and, in BeeBee's case, trans) girl on a cheerleading squad, but they'd both thought their friendship was long over. Is it possible this could bring them back together and turn them into something new?Get it from Bookshop or a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

Release date: August 10

What it's about: Annie's on the squad to make friends and add something to her college applications. BeeBee's on the squad to prove to her parents she can live a perfectly lovely life as a girl. Each could use the support of the other to get through the experience of being a queer (and, in BeeBee's case, trans) girl on a cheerleading squad, but they'd both thought their friendship was long over. Is it possible this could bring them back together and turn them into something new?

Get it from Bookshop or a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

Simon & Schuster, simonandschuster.com

9.The Pick-Up by Miranda Kenneally

Release date: September 7What it's about: Mari's only in Chicago for the weekend, and going to a music festival is the only thing she's got planned. But when the Ryde she takes to that very festival also picks up a hot guy along the way, Mari can't help feeling a connection. It promises to be an interesting weekend, especially when she and TJ are separated upon arrival and are forced to spend the festival trying to find each other again. But even if they do enjoy the time they have left, is this weekend all there is for them, or are they destined to make it work? Get it from Bookshop or a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

Release date: September 7

What it's about: Mari's only in Chicago for the weekend, and going to a music festival is the only thing she's got planned. But when the Ryde she takes to that very festival also picks up a hot guy along the way, Mari can't help feeling a connection. It promises to be an interesting weekend, especially when she and TJ are separated upon arrival and are forced to spend the festival trying to find each other again. But even if they do enjoy the time they have left, is this weekend all there is for them, or are they destined to make it work?

Get it from Bookshop or a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

Sourcebooks Fire, goodreads.com

10.Never Saw You Coming by Erin Hahn

Release date: September 7What it's about: With Meg's conservative upbringing, nothing could be more shocking than the discovery that her biological father isn't who she thought. He's also no longer living, but Meg's determined to spend some time with his remaining family. There, she also meets Micah, a boy whose family is finally slowly recovering from the scandal that landed his pastor father in prison. With both of them so heavily weighed down by the secrets and misdeeds of family, opening their hearts to each other feels almost impossible...or maybe they're each exactly who the other needs. Get it from Bookshop or a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

Release date: September 7

What it's about: With Meg's conservative upbringing, nothing could be more shocking than the discovery that her biological father isn't who she thought. He's also no longer living, but Meg's determined to spend some time with his remaining family. There, she also meets Micah, a boy whose family is finally slowly recovering from the scandal that landed his pastor father in prison. With both of them so heavily weighed down by the secrets and misdeeds of family, opening their hearts to each other feels almost impossible...or maybe they're each exactly who the other needs.

Get it from Bookshop or a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

Wednesday Books, erinphahn.com

11.It All Comes Back to You by Farah Naz Rishi

Release date: September 14What it's about: Kiran and Deen dated four years ago, but no one needs to know that, especially if it's going to make things weird now that their siblings are this close to happily ever after. That said, Kiran would really like to know why Deen ghosted her, Deen would really like to do literally anything to keep her from finding out, and the chemistry that lingers between them is pretty inconvenient, all things considered! Get it from Bookshop or a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

Release date: September 14

What it's about: Kiran and Deen dated four years ago, but no one needs to know that, especially if it's going to make things weird now that their siblings are this close to happily ever after. That said, Kiran would really like to know why Deen ghosted her, Deen would really like to do literally anything to keep her from finding out, and the chemistry that lingers between them is pretty inconvenient, all things considered!

Get it from Bookshop or a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

Quill Tree Books, farahnazrishi.com

12.As if on Cue by Marisa Kanter

Release date: September 21What it's about: In this delightful Jewish YA rom-com, Natalie and Reid have been in competition their entire lives, spurred on by the fact that as a talented musician, Reid is also her bandleader father's teacher's pet. It doesn't help that the band is the most successful club at school, which is why they get to keep their funding even while Natalie's directorial dreams are crushed. But she's already given Reid her dad; she isn't also letting them have this. When her fight for justice lands them in the compromise of writing and directing the school play together, they'll have to learn how to become a team in order to deliver a successful enough show to prove that both clubs should have funding. And they just might discover they're meant to work as a pair in more ways than one. Get it from Bookshop or a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

Release date: September 21

What it's about: In this delightful Jewish YA rom-com, Natalie and Reid have been in competition their entire lives, spurred on by the fact that as a talented musician, Reid is also her bandleader father's teacher's pet. It doesn't help that the band is the most successful club at school, which is why they get to keep their funding even while Natalie's directorial dreams are crushed. But she's already given Reid her dad; she isn't also letting them have this. When her fight for justice lands them in the compromise of writing and directing the school play together, they'll have to learn how to become a team in order to deliver a successful enough show to prove that both clubs should have funding. And they just might discover they're meant to work as a pair in more ways than one.

Get it from Bookshop or a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

Simon and Schuster, Sam Cheung / Via marisakanter.com

13.Where It All Lands by Jennie Wexler

Release date: September 21What it's about: New-to-town Stevie falls into a Sliding Doors situation when best friends Drew and Shane coin toss over who gets to ask her out. Split into narratives where each boy won the toss, the girl who never opens her heart to anyone now gets to give it two different tries in this exploration of the different places life takes us and the choices that get us to where we're meant to be. Get it from Bookshop or a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

Release date: September 21

What it's about: New-to-town Stevie falls into a Sliding Doors situation when best friends Drew and Shane coin toss over who gets to ask her out. Split into narratives where each boy won the toss, the girl who never opens her heart to anyone now gets to give it two different tries in this exploration of the different places life takes us and the choices that get us to where we're meant to be.

Get it from Bookshop or a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

Wednesday Books, Melissa Spector Photography / Via jenniewexler.com

14.Bend in the Road by Sara Biren

Release date: September 28What it's about: Teen rock star Gabe needs a little space from the failures of both his sophomore album and his relationship, and what better place to find it than on the family farm? But the farm hasn't exactly been sitting idle waiting for him to come inherit it; Juniper's family has been taking care of it her whole life, and when Gabe shows up, she's afraid he'll sell it out from under them. And so she gets close to him, pushing into his space to ensure he gets so attached that he won't risk losing her or the land. But she doesn't expect to get every bit as attached in return. Get it from Bookshop or a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

Release date: September 28

What it's about: Teen rock star Gabe needs a little space from the failures of both his sophomore album and his relationship, and what better place to find it than on the family farm? But the farm hasn't exactly been sitting idle waiting for him to come inherit it; Juniper's family has been taking care of it her whole life, and when Gabe shows up, she's afraid he'll sell it out from under them. And so she gets close to him, pushing into his space to ensure he gets so attached that he won't risk losing her or the land. But she doesn't expect to get every bit as attached in return.

Get it from Bookshop or a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

Amulet Books, maris ehlers photography / Via sarabiren.com

15.The Holiday Switch by Tif Marcelo

Release date: October 5What it's about: Prolific women's fiction author Marcelo makes her YA debut with this rivals-to-lovers holiday romance about a girl named Lila who's working at an inn over her last winter break of high school when she gets snowed in with her irritating and hot unexpected coworker, the boss's nephew, Teddy. With completely different styles, the two find working together unbearable, until a phone switch gives them mutual insight and allows the walls between them to come tumbling down.Buy it from Bookshop or your local bookstore via Indiebound here.

Release date: October 5

What it's about: Prolific women's fiction author Marcelo makes her YA debut with this rivals-to-lovers holiday romance about a girl named Lila who's working at an inn over her last winter break of high school when she gets snowed in with her irritating and hot unexpected coworker, the boss's nephew, Teddy. With completely different styles, the two find working together unbearable, until a phone switch gives them mutual insight and allows the walls between them to come tumbling down.

Buy it from Bookshop or your local bookstore via Indiebound here.

Underlined, tifmarcelo.com

16.I'm Dreaming of a Wyatt Christmas by Tiffany Schmidt

Release date: October 5What it's about: Fresh off her Bookish Boyfriends series, Schmidt is jumping right back into the love game with this Christmas rom-com. Noelle, a bored ballerina and babysitter, attends a ski trip with her babysitting clients and is introduced to Wyatt, the cute half-brother of the very kids she's there to watch. But Wyatt isn't just a random guy; he's one of the most talented dancers at the ballet academy that Noelle is working her butt off to attend. Being around him is daunting, especially when the normally on-point dancer is suddenly flubbing every move. But there's no question that something is budding between them, and that there just might be a perfect partnership to be had.Buy it from Bookshop or your local bookstore via Indiebound here.

Release date: October 5

What it's about: Fresh off her Bookish Boyfriends series, Schmidt is jumping right back into the love game with this Christmas rom-com. Noelle, a bored ballerina and babysitter, attends a ski trip with her babysitting clients and is introduced to Wyatt, the cute half-brother of the very kids she's there to watch. But Wyatt isn't just a random guy; he's one of the most talented dancers at the ballet academy that Noelle is working her butt off to attend. Being around him is daunting, especially when the normally on-point dancer is suddenly flubbing every move. But there's no question that something is budding between them, and that there just might be a perfect partnership to be had.

Buy it from Bookshop or your local bookstore via Indiebound here.

Amulet Books, tiffanyschmidt.com

17.Our Way Back to Always by Nina Moreno

Release date: October 12What it's about: Lou and Sam were best friends as kids, torn apart by growing up. Now Sam is one of their school's most popular boys, while Lou is drowning on the familiar expectations heaped on her and all the work she has to do to keep up. When she happens upon a bucket list that she and Sam wrote when they were younger, the fact that she hasn't exactly been living life to the fullest smacks Lou in the face. She needs a change, and this is the perfect way to get it, especially if her one-time partner in crime will join her for the journey. And who knows? Maybe there'll be a new item on there for them both...  Get it from Bookshop or a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

Release date: October 12

What it's about: Lou and Sam were best friends as kids, torn apart by growing up. Now Sam is one of their school's most popular boys, while Lou is drowning on the familiar expectations heaped on her and all the work she has to do to keep up. When she happens upon a bucket list that she and Sam wrote when they were younger, the fact that she hasn't exactly been living life to the fullest smacks Lou in the face. She needs a change, and this is the perfect way to get it, especially if her one-time partner in crime will join her for the journey. And who knows? Maybe there'll be a new item on there for them both...

Get it from Bookshop or a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, ninamoreno.com

18.Sway With Me by Syed M. Masood

Release date: November 2What it's about: Arsalan's grandfather is everything to him. But at 100, he's not likely to be around much longer, which means Arsalan will be alone — unless he can find a partner. Enter Beenish, the matchmaker's stepdaughter and hopefully the answer to Arsalan's problems — if she can find him the right girl to be his partner. She agrees to help, but wants something in return: his assistance in helping her ruin her sister's wedding by pulling off a forbidden dance. With nothing to lose, Arsalan agrees, forcing him to dive into her colorful world and allowing him to finally see what it looks like when friends and family are everywhere. It's a life Arsalan might have liked, and a life that could still be his if the two of them realize their partnership has grown into something neither of them anticipated. Get it from Bookshop or a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

Release date: November 2

What it's about: Arsalan's grandfather is everything to him. But at 100, he's not likely to be around much longer, which means Arsalan will be alone — unless he can find a partner. Enter Beenish, the matchmaker's stepdaughter and hopefully the answer to Arsalan's problems — if she can find him the right girl to be his partner. She agrees to help, but wants something in return: his assistance in helping her ruin her sister's wedding by pulling off a forbidden dance. With nothing to lose, Arsalan agrees, forcing him to dive into her colorful world and allowing him to finally see what it looks like when friends and family are everywhere. It's a life Arsalan might have liked, and a life that could still be his if the two of them realize their partnership has grown into something neither of them anticipated.

Get it from Bookshop or a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, syed-masood.com

19.You Can Go Your Own Way by Eric Smith

Release date: November 2What it's about: Much like any other high schooler, Adam doesn't have time to run a pinball arcade on top of everything else, but he'll do it if it means hanging on to his dad's legacy — even if it means fighting on social media with a chain of gaming cafés. Whitney is behind that very social media account on the other side, feeling out of sorts in every way. But the world starts to make sense again, sort of, when the two get trapped together in the arcade during a storm. Now that they've each finally found what they need, can they count on it lasting once the skies clear?Get it from Bookshop or a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

Release date: November 2

What it's about: Much like any other high schooler, Adam doesn't have time to run a pinball arcade on top of everything else, but he'll do it if it means hanging on to his dad's legacy — even if it means fighting on social media with a chain of gaming cafés. Whitney is behind that very social media account on the other side, feeling out of sorts in every way. But the world starts to make sense again, sort of, when the two get trapped together in the arcade during a storm. Now that they've each finally found what they need, can they count on it lasting once the skies clear?

Get it from Bookshop or a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

Inkyard Press, ericsmithrocks.com

20.If This Gets Out by Cale Dietrich and Sophie Gonzales

Release date: December 7What it's about: The Aussie authors of The Friend Scheme and Only Mostly Devastated team up for the story of a fraught romance between Ruben and Zach, half of one of the biggest boy bands in the world. As the guys increasingly rely on each other to deal with the pressures of fame and all the demands and restrictions that come with it, they find their friendship evolving into something that both thrills and terrifies them, knowing their management may never let them be happy and free with who they are.Get it from Bookshop or a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

Release date: December 7

What it's about: The Aussie authors of The Friend Scheme and Only Mostly Devastated team up for the story of a fraught romance between Ruben and Zach, half of one of the biggest boy bands in the world. As the guys increasingly rely on each other to deal with the pressures of fame and all the demands and restrictions that come with it, they find their friendship evolving into something that both thrills and terrifies them, knowing their management may never let them be happy and free with who they are.

Get it from Bookshop or a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

Wednesday Books, Twitter: @caledietrich, sophiegonzalesbooks.com

21.Here's to Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera

Release date: December 28What it's about: Arthur and Ben of What if It's Us? had their chance, and now they've both moved on to college and other boys...or have they? When the boys land back in the same city two years later, and Arthur stumbles upon Ben with his new guy, they both have to face the fact that they've never really let the other go. But if things didn't work out then, do they still have a chance now?Get it from Bookshop or a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

Release date: December 28

What it's about: Arthur and Ben of What if It's Us? had their chance, and now they've both moved on to college and other boys...or have they? When the boys land back in the same city two years later, and Arthur stumbles upon Ben with his new guy, they both have to face the fact that they've never really let the other go. But if things didn't work out then, do they still have a chance now?

Get it from Bookshop or a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

Courtesy of Harperteen; design by Erin Fitzsimmons and Alison Donalty, Seth Abel Photography