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Most anticipated #LoveOzYA reads due out in 2021

  • 12 January, 2021
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A group of outcast teenagers perform spectacular fight sequences against the backdrop of remote Queensland.

Two sisters disappear from a street in suburban Scotland only to reappear a month later with no recollection of where they’ve been.

A boy with dreams of joining the Australian Ballet School misses a step on a flight of stairs, and ends up with crutches — and an unexpected new friend.

Three very different stories — Dirt Circus League from Maree Kimberley, House of Hollow by Krystal Sutherland, and Anything But Fine by Tobias Madden, respectively — with one important thing in common.

They’re all new #LoveOzYA titles due for release in 2021!

Over the summer break, the #LoveOzYA Committee has been hard at work sleuthing the slates of local publishing teams to help you curate your TBR wishlist for the year ahead.

Read on for our spotlight summaries, or scroll down to see a full calendar list below*.

New books from well-known names

In the months ahead, some of the country’s most celebrated and best-loved young adult writers will share both new standalone stories and hotly anticipated sequels.

First off the rank in February is Rebecca Lim with Tiger Daughter (Allen & Unwin), an Own Voices novel about growing up Asian in Australia that tells the story of Wen Zhou, the daughter and only child of Chinese immigrants.

A school-centric psychological thriller of sorts follows in March as This Is Shyness Text Prize winner Leanne Hall explores the impact a 16 year-old’s abduction has on her Year 10 girls’ school classmates in The Gaps (Text).

Fantasy fans can look forward to April, when best-selling author of the Whisper duology Lynette Noni will introduce them to the notorious death prison, Zalindov, in her new young adult fantasy, The Prison Healer (Penguin) — and they won’t have to wait long for the sequel either, with The Gilded Cage (Penguin), due out in October.

Also in April, Krystal Sutherland is expected to follow up Chemical Hearts’ silver-stream adaptation with House of Hollow (Penguin): a “dark and twisty modern-day fairytale” that tells the story of the mysterious Hollow sisters who disappeared from Scottish suburbia only to return a month later, eerily changed.

Come July, readers can look forward to #LoveOzYA founder Danielle Binks’ Hobart-set young adult debut, The Monster of Her Age (Hachette), which follows her 2020 middle-grade release, The Year the Maps Changed.

And, not to be forgotten, Garth Nix will return to the Old Kingdom in October with Terciel and Elinor (Allen & Unwin).

But that’s not all: a number of other notable names are aiming for as-yet-locked-in book birthdays in 2021.

Helena Fox is set to follow up her lauded debut How It Feels To Float — which took out young adult awards in both the Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards and the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards — with The Quiet and The Loud (Pan Australia), which promises to celebrate “the value of listening to the world around us, and the world inside ourselves”.

Please Don’t Hug Me author Kay Kerr’s Social Queue is also set to hit the shelves in 2021, as well as the third instalment of Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff’s hugely popular Aurora Cycle series, pencilled in for later in the year.

Exciting debuts

TBR-tempting young adult debuts abound on the 2021 slate!

First up is Gary Lonesborough in February with his big-hearted queer Aboriginal novel, The Boy from the Mish (Allen & Unwin) in which readers meet Jackson one particularly hot summer . . . and Jackson meets a mysterious boy with a troubled past.

April heralds the dust-churning arrival of Dirt Circus League (Text) by Maree Kimberley — a debut borne from Kimberley’s fascination with the remote landscapes of Cape York and neuroscience, in equal measure.

Also in April, Sara Haghdoosti’s Sunburnt Veils (Wakefield Press) sees protagonist Tara — who swore off boys to focus on getting into medicine — thrown together with an entitled politician’s son after a bomb threat disrupts her first day of university.

Karen Ginnane will unleash the first instalment of the Time Catchers duology — an historical fantasy adventure set in Victorian London and a strange parallel city — with When Days Tilt (Penguin) in July, which will also see Rhiannon Wilde’s State Library of Queensland Glendower Award-winning Henry Hamlet’s Heart hit the shelves.

And if the name Tobias Madden rings a bell, it’s with good reason — Tobias edited and published Underdog: #LoveOzYA Short Stories in 2019, and will celebrate his debut, Anything But Fine (Penguin) in August, which follows aspiring professional ballet dancer Luca Mason after an injury throws his artistic dreams off track.

Gothic-inspired fantasy fans can also look forward to September release Lakesedge (Pan Australia) by Lyndall Clipstone, a former youth librarian with a self-described love of writing stories “about monsters and the girls who like to kiss them.”

And last, but definitely not least: musician, author, and artist AViVA’s futuristic thriller Self/Less (Pan Australia), is due out in October.

For genre fiction fans

A number of 2021 #LoveOzYA titles are poised to slake local SFF fans’ thirst for all things speculative, fantastical, and downright otherworldly.

LoveOzYA’s very own A.B Endacott will release Deliverance of the Blessed on 31 January, delving deeper into her Legends of the Godskissed Continent world with a standalone that follows Kaylene, a girl kept away from the world because of her magical abilities, mourning the loss of her love, Luka.

Next, in February, Sophie Masson’s The Ghost Squad (MidnightSun) transports readers to a world where two clandestine organisations battle for control of information so dangerous, it could change human life as we know it.

March’s Waking Romeo (Allen & Unwin) from Kathryn Barker kicks off in 2038 and poses brain-tickling questions for fans of Wuthering Heights and Romeo and Juliet: What if Juliet Capulet met someone who made her doubt true love? What if Wuthering Heights was a message to a time traveller?

In a dystopian vein, Claire Zorn’s The Sky So Heavy sequel, When We Are Invisible (UQP) will arrive in April, followed by the third instalment in Bronwyn Eley’s Relic trilogy, Rising (Talem Press) in May.

Out in July, Helen Scheuerer’s A Lair of Bones will kickstart the four-book Curse of the Cyren Queen series, while Bonnie Wynne will continue her Price of Magic series with The Hunter’s Mark (Talem Press) come September.

That same month, those who enjoyed Lisa Walker’s The Girl With the Gold Bikini will be pleased to know the sequel, Trouble is my Business (Wakefield Press) will take them back to the “sunshine noir teen-detective world” of young adult PI, Olivia Grace.

In October, C.S Pacat, best known for her Captive Prince trilogy, will release the first in a YA fantasy trilogy, Dark Rise (Allen & Unwin), an epic fantasy trilogy set in an alternate London” where “the heroes and villains of a long-forgotten war are being reborn, ushering in a dangerous new age of magic.”

For contemporary fans

What do a ski lodge, a failed attempt to woo one’s crush, and a small-town high school all have in common?

They’re all key ingredients for Gabriel Bergmoser’s The True Colour of a Little White Lie (HarperCollins), the new work from the author of The Hunted that is scheduled to reach readers in April.

The month prior, Sophie Gonzales, who charmingly reimagined Grease with a LGBTIQA+ spin in Only Mostly Devastated, will also be back with an around-the-school-lockers dating game in Perfect on Paper (Hachette), in which a bisexual girl who gives anonymous love advice to her classmates is hired by the hot guy to help him get his ex back.

May offers up Can’t Say it Went to Plan (HarperCollins) from Gabrielle Tozer, in which three school leavers’ plans for a dream holiday are flipped upside-down before they even arrive at the beach.

June promises a modern blend of Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time and John Green’s Paper Towns with the release of 100 Remarkable Feats of Xander Maze (HarperCollins) from Clayton Zane Comber, in which the eponymous teen protagonist tries to save his Nanna from stage 4 cancer by doing what he does best: making a list.

Road tripping, it seems, is a big mid-year theme: Felicity Castagna’s June release Girls in Boys’ Cars (Pan Australia) follows two girls who steal a car from one of their boyfriends so they can go off on a road trip, while Poppy Nwosu’s Road Tripping with Pearl Nash (Wakefield Press), due out in July, centres on the eponymous Pearl’s last-ditch effort to save a disintegrating friendship with a whirlwind commute.

And also in July, Robyn Bavati’s A Weekend with Oscar (Walker Books) — the story of sixteen-year-old Jamie and his younger brother Oscar, who has Down Syndrome, after their mother goes away for the weekend and doesn’t come back when expected.

Anthologies, short story collections, and non-fiction

Of course, #LoveOzYA isn’t all about traditional novels.

We’re also looking forward to getting our hands on Scot Gardner’s short story collection Off the Map (Allen & Unwin) in March, and following it up in October with Unlimited Futures: Speculative, Visionary Blak+Black Fiction (Fremantle Press), an anthology for young adults featuring new works by established, new and emerging First Nations writers and Afro-Black writers, co-curated with Djed Press and edited by Rafeif Ismail and Ellen van Neerven.

Fans of non-fiction work Welcome to Your Period might also want to check out Yumi Stynes and Melissa Kang’s follow up, Welcome to Consent (Hardie Grant Children’s Publishing), which is due out in June.

And horror fans will no doubt be counting down to the Halloween release of Hometown Haunts: #LoveOzYA Horror Tales (Wakefield Press), an anthology boasting commissioned contributions from Wai Chim, Sarah Epstein, Alison Evans, Poppy Nwosu, Lisa Fuller, Holden Sheppard, Jared Thomas and Vikki Wakefield, as well as selected stories from Margot McGovern, Emma Osborne, Marianna Shek and Felix Wilkins.

LoveOzYA 2021 releases by month:

January

  • DELIVERANCE OF THE BLESSED by A.B Endacott

February

  • THE GHOST SQUAD by Sophie Masson
  • THE BOY FROM THE MISH by Gary Lonesborough
  • TIGER DAUGHTER by Rebecca Lim

March

  • THE GAPS by Leanne Hall
  • MIRROR’S EDGE: IMPOSTERS 3 by Scott Westerfeld
  • PERFECT ON PAPER by Sophie Gonzales
  • WAKING ROMEO by Kathryn Baker
  • OFF THE MAP by Scot Gardner

April

  • DIRT CIRCUS LEAGUE by Maree Kimberley
  • THE TRUE COLOUR OF A LITTLE WHITE LIE by Gabriel Bergmoser
  • THE PRISON HEALER by Lynette Noni
  • HOUSE OF HOLLOW by Krystal Sutherland
  • WHEN WE ARE INVISIBLE by Claire Zorn
  • SUNBURNT VEILS by Sara Haghdoosti

May

  • CAN’T SAY IT WENT TO PLAN by Gabrielle Tozer
  • RISING by Bronwyn Eley
  • CREST by Jae Waller (eBook release in May; print release in June)

June

  • ECHO IN THE MEMORY by Cameron Nunn
  • 100 REMARKABLE FEATS OF XANDER MAZE by Clayton Zane Comber
  • WELCOME TO CONSENT by Yumi Stynes and Melissa Kang
  • GIRLS IN BOYS’ CARS by Felicity Castagna

July

  • A WEEKEND WITH OSCAR by Robyn Bavati
  • WHEN DAYS TILT by Karen Ginnane
  • HENRY HAMLET’S HEART by Rhiannon Wilde
  • A LAIR OF BONES by Helen Scheuerer
  • THE MONSTER OF HER AGE by Danielle Binks
  • ROAD TRIPPING WITH PEARL NASH by Poppy Nwosu

August

  • ANYTHING BUT FINE by Tobias Madden
  • SUGAR by Carly Nugent
  • BROTHER ORANGE, SISTER SOUL by Gabrielle Williams

September

  • LAKESEDGE by Lyndall Clipstone
  • THE HUNTER’S MARK by Bonnie Wynne
  • TROUBLE IS MY BUSINESS by Lisa Walker
  • I’M WITH HESSE (working title) by Mark Smith

October

  • UNLIMITED FUTURES: SPECULATIVE, VISIONARY BLAK+BLACK FICTION co-curated with Djed Press and edited by Rafeif Ismail and Ellen van Neerven
  • THE GILDED CAGE by Lynette Noni
  • SELF/LESS by AViVA
  • DARK RISE by C.S Pacat
  • TERCIEL AND ELINOR by Garth Nix
  • STARS IN OUR EYES by Jessica Walton and Aśka
  • HOMETOWN HAUNTS: #LOVEOZYA HORROR TALES edited by Poppy Nwosu; various authors

November

  • THE MIDNIGHT GIRLS by Alicia Jasinska

Scheduled for 2021, but no release date set yet:

  • THE QUIET AND THE LOUD by Helena Fox
  • SOCIAL QUEUE by Kay Kerr
  • AURORA CYCLE 3 by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

*Release date estimates correct at the time of publication. If your scheduled release date has changed, please let us know via contact us.

Written by LoveOzYA’s Alex Patrikios