2021 YA Starred Reviews Round-Up (so far)

These YA reads are all pretty stellar, but don’t just take our word for it—check out what Booklist, School Library Journal, and Kirkus Reviews have to say in their starred reviews!

TALES FROM THE HINTERLAND by Melissa Albert

“Albert’s rich and tightly focused collection forms the core of the mythology created in her novels, and her fans will be thrilled at this further glimpse into that world.”
Booklist, starred review

THE PROJECT by Courtney Summers

“A gripping, flawless psychological thriller ready to leave readers shattered.” —School Library Journal, starred review

“A powerful, suspenseful, and heartbreaking thriller about identity, sisterhood, and belonging.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“Winding questions of faith and sacrifice into an already fibrous plot, Summers presents a rich offering that lingers even as it shocks.” —Booklist, starred review

DOWN COMES THE NIGHT by Allison Saft

“Those who pick up Saft’s debut will be richly rewarded on all counts—intricately woven characters, beautiful prose, and darkness around every corner make this fantasy a first purchase.” —School Library Journal, starred review

CAN’T STOP WON’T STOP: A HIP-HOP HISTORY BY JEFF CHANG AND DAVE COOK

“In addition to satisfying committed fans, this stellar work could function as a supplementary text within any social studies narration of the post–civil rights–era U.S. Required history for young hip-hop heads—and everyone else.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“This engrossing, engaging account bills itself as a history of hip-hop, but it’s so much more . . . East Coast, West Coast, Black lives, brown lives, gang wars, civil unrest—all are framed within the context of how they influenced, and were influenced by, the evolving hip-hop scene.” —Booklist, starred review

SLINGSHOT by Mercedes Helnwein

“Wildly real and bursting with all the romance and pain of coming into oneself.”
Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“The writing, especially the dialogue, is magnetic, honest, and brimming with caustic wit, and as Gracie makes a series of social, emotional, and sexual breakthroughs, she learns to trust others with her feelings.” —Booklist, starred review

HURRICANE SUMMER by Asha Bromfield

This is an excellent examination of the ways wealth, gender, and color can shape and at times create mental and emotional fractures . . . A great title for public and high school libraries looking for books that offer a nuanced look at patriarchy, wealth, and gender dynamics.” —School Library Journal, starred review

“Bromfield may have made a name for herself for her role on Riverdale, but with this debut, about a volatile father-daughter relationship and the discovery of ugly truths hidden beneath even the most beautiful facades, she is establishing herself as a promising writer.” Booklist, starred review

COOL FOR THE SUMMER by Dahlia Adler

“Written in Lara’s dry but vulnerable voice and strung through with humor, warmth, and sensuality, this romance will speak to any reader who has ever struggled to know their own heart.” —Booklist, starred review

TOKYO EVER AFTER by Emiko Jean

“A refreshing and spot-on depiction of Japanese Americans exploring their heritage, with appeal far beyond female Asian readers.” —Booklist, starred review

“A fun experience that readers will want to read again and again.”
School Library Journal, starred review

THE DEAD AND THE DARK by Courtney Gould

Download the e-galley on Edelweiss and NetGalley

“The paranormal elements—sounds, ghosts, and possession—support and enhance Gould’s broader project of interrogating the racist, homophobic ideology that has festered in Snakebite for years . . . A complex and sophisticated thriller with haunting real-world connections.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

CAZADORA by Romina Garber

Download the e-galley on Edelweiss and NetGalley

“The follow-up to LOBIZONA (2020) sees its protagonist’s fight for equality and acceptance reach new heights . . . An inspiring, powerful tale of belonging.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

For even more YA and YA-OK titles, check out our 2021 Books for Teens and 2021 Adult Books for Teens.

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