Most Anticipated Adult Books of 2021

I have talked about my most anticipated adult romances of 2021, but now I want to highlight all the other adult novels releasing in 2021 that I am excited for. There are so many and I could break them into more categories, but that would be too many posts! I realize that there is a lot of SciFi on this list, but it is one of my favourite genres. I neglected it a little bit in 2020, but I hope to change that next year. I also have a Goodreads shelf with all of my most anticipated 2021 release, if you want to check that out.

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Explaining the new book’s premise in her own words, Hawkins said: “A Slow Fire Burning starts with a brutal murder on a London canal boat. Laura, a likely suspect, is witnessed leaving the scene and for a while it looks like a straightforward case. But what I wanted to explore in this book is the way that no tragedy happens in isolation: an accident in childhood can have ramifications a decade later; trusting the wrong person at the wrong time can derail a life completely. I am interested in the way we become the people we are: how we choose what to hold onto and how those things can wound us.”

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Release Date: August 31st, 2021

I am so intrigued by the way that Paula Hawkins has described her own book. I know that many of us have read The Girl on the Train, and it has mixed reviews, as does her sophomore novel, Into the Water, but I enjoyed them both. I am curious to read more from her!

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Always run, never fight.
Preserve the knowledge.
Survive at all costs.
Take them to the stars.

Over 99 identical generations, Mia’s family has shaped human history to push them to the stars, making brutal, wrenching choices and sacrificing countless lives. Her turn comes at the dawn of the age of rocketry. Her mission: to lure Wernher Von Braun away from the Nazi party and into the American rocket program, and secure the future of the space race.

But Mia’s family is not the only group pushing the levers of history: an even more ruthless enemy lurks behind the scenes.

A darkly satirical first contact thriller, as seen through the eyes of the women who make progress possible and the men who are determined to stop them…

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Release Date: February 2nd, 2021

Sylvain Neuvel wrote my favourite series, The Themis Files, and I thought that the novella he released last year was brilliant, so I will read anything that he writes. I am so excited to have another series from him!

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Martine is a genetically cloned replica made from Evelyn Caldwell’s award-winning research. She’s patient and gentle and obedient. She’s everything Evelyn swore she’d never be.

And she’s having an affair with Evelyn’s husband.

Now, the cheating bastard is dead, and the Caldwell wives have a mess to clean up.
Good thing Evelyn Caldwell is used to getting her hands dirty

When they said all happy families are alike, this can’t be what they meant…

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Release Date: February 16th, 2021

I have read only one of Sarah Gailey’s books, but I am so excited to pick up more by them. I love SciFi about clones, so I was instantly curious about The Echo Wife. It sounds like an interesting mix between SciFi and thriller, and I am so here for it!

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“She’s the adopted daughter of the Angel of Death. Beware of her. Mind her. Death guards her like one of its own.”

The day Fatima forgot her name, Death paid a visit. From hereon in she would be known as Sankofa­­–a name that meant nothing to anyone but her, the only tie to her family and her past.

Her touch is death, and with a glance a town can fall. And she walks–alone, except for her fox companion–searching for the object that came from the sky and gave itself to her when the meteors fell and when she was yet unchanged; searching for answers.

But is there a greater purpose for Sankofa, now that Death is her constant companion? 

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Release Date: January 19th, 2021

Remote Control is only 106 pages, but I have this feeling that it is going to blow my mind. I have heard incredible things about all of Okorafor’s books, and I am excited to finally read something by her in 2021. The early reviews have been fantastic!

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With no water, no air, and no native life, the planet Gora is unremarkable. The only thing it has going for it is a chance proximity to more popular worlds, making it a decent stopover for ships traveling between the wormholes that keep the Galactic Commons connected. If deep space is a highway, Gora is just your average truck stop.

At the Five-Hop One-Stop, long-haul spacers can stretch their legs (if they have legs, that is), and get fuel, transit permits, and assorted supplies. The Five-Hop is run by an enterprising alien and her sometimes helpful child, who work hard to provide a little piece of home to everyone passing through.

When a freak technological failure halts all traffic to and from Gora, three strangers—all different species with different aims—are thrown together at the Five-Hop. Grounded, with nothing to do but wait, the trio—an exiled artist with an appointment to keep, a cargo runner at a personal crossroads, and a mysterious individual doing her best to help those on the fringes—are compelled to confront where they’ve been, where they might go, and what they are, or could be, to each other. 

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Release Date: February 16th, 2021

Admittedly, I have read only the first book in the Wayfarer series, but it is one of my favourite books of all time! I am determined to finally catch up with the series in 2021, especially as this fourth book comes out in February.

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It’s been centuries since the robots of Earth gained self-awareness and laid down their tools.
Centuries since they wandered, en masse, into the wilderness, never to be seen again.
Centuries since they faded into myth and urban legend.

One day, the life of a tea monk is upended by the arrival of a robot, there to honor the old promise of checking in. The robot cannot go back until the question of “what do people need?” is answered.

But the answer to that question depends on who you ask, and how.
They’re going to need to ask it a lot.

Becky Chambers’ new series asks: in a world where people have what they want, does having more matter?

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Release Date: July 13th, 2021

Oh look! Another Becky Chambers book! She is blessing us in 2021. A Psalm for the Wild-Built is the start of a new series, and I am always intrigued by the idea of self-aware robots. From what I can see on Goodreads, the sequel, which is called A Prayer for the Crown-Sky, also comes out in 2021.

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What if the life you have always known is taken from you in an instant? What would you do to get it back?

Twins Jeanie and Julius have always been different from other people. At 51 years old, they still live with their mother, Dot, in rural isolation and poverty. Their rented cottage is simultaneously their armour against the world and their sanctuary. Inside its walls they make music, in its garden they grow (and sometimes kill) everything they need for sustenance.

But when Dot dies suddenly, threats to their livelihood start raining down. At risk of losing everything, Jeanie and her brother must fight to survive in an increasingly dangerous world as their mother’s secrets unfold, putting everything they thought they knew about their lives at stake.

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Release Date: March 25th, 2021

Claire Fuller wrote two of my favourite novels, Swimming Lessons and Bitter Orange, so I will definitely be picking up Unsettled Ground the day it comes out! No one creates suffocating atmosphere quite like she does, and it seems like that will also be true in this book.

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A lifetime holding it together.
One party will bring it crashing down.

Malibu: August, 1983. It’s the day of Nina Riva’s annual end-of-summer party, and anticipation is at a fever pitch. Everyone wants to be around the famous Rivas: Nina, the talented surfer and supermodel; brothers Jay and Hud, one a championship surfer, the other a renowned photographer; and their adored baby sister, Kit. Together, the siblings are a source of fascination in Malibu and the world over-especially as the offspring of the legendary singer, Mick Riva.

The only person not looking forward to the party of the year is Nina herself, who never wanted to be the center of attention, and who has also just been very publicly abandoned by her pro tennis player husband. Oh, and maybe Hud-because it is long past time to confess something to the brother from whom he’s been inseparable since birth.

Jay, on the other hand, is counting the minutes until nightfall, when the girl he can’t stop thinking about promised she’ll be there.

And Kit has a couple secrets of her own-including a guest she invited without consulting anyone.

By midnight the party will be completely out of control. By morning, the Riva mansion will have gone up in flames. But before that first spark in the early hours before dawn, the alcohol will flow, the music will play, and the loves and secrets that shaped this family’s generations will all come bubbling to the surface.

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Release Date: May 27th, 2021

I think many of us are highly anticipating the release of Malibu Rising! I really enjoyed Taylor Jenkins Reid’s last two books, so I am excited to read more from her. I have also noticed that I am drawn to books set in the 80s!

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Reese almost had it all: a loving relationship with Amy, an apartment in New York City, a job she didn’t hate. She had scraped together what previous generations of trans women could only dream of: a life of mundane, bourgeois comforts. The only thing missing was a child. But then her girlfriend, Amy, detransitioned and became Ames, and everything fell apart. Now Reese is caught in a self-destructive pattern: avoiding her loneliness by sleeping with married men.

Ames isn’t happy either. He thought detransitioning to live as a man would make life easier, but that decision cost him his relationship with Reese–and losing her meant losing his only family. Even though their romance is over, he longs to find a way back to her. When Ames’s boss and lover, Katrina, reveals that she’s pregnant with his baby–and that she’s not sure whether she wants to keep it–Ames wonders if this is the chance he’s been waiting for. Could the three of them form some kind of unconventional family–and raise the baby together?

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Release Date: January 7th, 2021

I have read some very thoughtful and thorough reviews for Detransition, Baby, which have left me compelled to read it. I am so glad that I don’t have to wait much longer!

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Klara and the Sun, the first novel by Kazuo Ishiguro since he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, tells the story of Klara, an Artificial Friend with outstanding observational qualities, who, from her place in the store, watches carefully the behavior of those who come in to browse, and of those who pass on the street outside. She remains hopeful that a customer will soon choose her.

Klara and the Sun is a thrilling book that offers a look at our changing world through the eyes of an unforgettable narrator, and one that explores the fundamental question: what does it mean to love?

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Release Date: March 2nd, 2021

If I had to pick on book from this list that I am most excited for, it would probably be Klara and the Sun. Kazuo Ishiguro wrote Never Let Me Go, which is arguably my favourite novel. I love his take on SciFi and how his books leave you asking yourself a myriad of ethical and moral questions. I have no doubt that will be the case for Klara and the Sun.

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Ryland Grace is the sole survivor on a desperate, last-chance mission–and if he fails, humanity and the earth itself will perish.

Except that right now, he doesn’t know that. He can’t even remember his own name, let alone the nature of his assignment or how to complete it.

All he knows is that he’s been asleep for a very, very long time. And he’s just been awakened to find himself millions of miles from home, with nothing but two corpses for company.

His crewmates dead, his memories fuzzily returning, he realizes that an impossible task now confronts him. Alone on this tiny ship that’s been cobbled together by every government and space agency on the planet and hurled into the depths of space, it’s up to him to conquer an extinction-level threat to our species.

And thanks to an unexpected ally, he just might have a chance.

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Release Date: May 4th, 2021

I adored The Martian but skipped Artemis due to mixed reviews. That said, the early reviews for Project Hail Mary have been stellar, so I have a feeling I will end up reading it and loving it. I have heard the humour is similar to The Martian, which makes me so excited!

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No, I didn’t kill the dead human. If I had, I wouldn’t dump the body in the station mall.

When Murderbot discovers a dead body on Preservation Station, it knows it is going to have to assist station security to determine who the body is (was), how they were killed (that should be relatively straightforward, at least), and why (because apparently that matters to a lot of people—who knew?)

Yes, the unthinkable is about to happen: Murderbot must voluntarily speak to humans!

Again!

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Release Date: April 27th, 2021

I realize that Fugitive Telemetry is book six in the Murderbot series and I have only read the first two, but I plan to catch up before its release date. I have plans to listen to book three and four in that time between Christmas and New Years! I just adore this character and I love knowing that there are so many more books left for me to read.

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One evening in 1924, Katharine “Kay” Swift—the restless but loyal society wife of wealthy banker James Warburg and a serious pianist who longs for recognition—attends a concert. The piece: Rhapsody in Blue. The composer: a brilliant, elusive young musical genius named George Gershwin.

Kay is transfixed, helpless to resist the magnetic pull of George’s talent, charm, and swagger. Their ten-year love affair, complicated by her conflicted loyalty to her husband and the twists and turns of her own musical career, ends only with George’s death from a brain tumor at the age of thirty-eight.

Set in Jazz Age New York City, this stunning work of fiction, for fans of The Paris Wife and Loving Frank, explores the timeless bond between two brilliant, strong-willed artists. George Gershwin left behind not just a body of work unmatched in popular musical history, but a woman who loved him with all her heart, knowing all the while that he belonged not to her, but to the world. 

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Release Date: March 2nd, 2021

I am actually currently reading an ARC of Rhapsody (Thank you Simon and Schuster Canada!) and I am really enjoying it. If you tell me that a book is set in Jazz Age New York City, I am instantly intrigued. I will post a full review once I am finished, so look out for that!

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A poignant fictional oral history of the beloved rock ‘n’ roll duo who shot to fame in the 1970s New York, and the dark, fraught secret that lies at the peak of their stardom.

Opal is a fiercely independent young woman pushing against the grain in her style and attitude, Afro-punk before that term existed. Coming of age in Detroit, she can’t imagine settling for a 9-to-5 job—despite her unusual looks, Opal believes she can be a star. So when the aspiring British singer/songwriter Neville Charles discovers her at a bar’s amateur night, she takes him up on his offer to make rock music together for the fledgling Rivington Records.

In early seventies New York City, just as she’s finding her niche as part of a flamboyant and funky creative scene, a rival band signed to her label brandishes a Confederate flag at a promotional concert. Opal’s bold protest and the violence that ensues set off a chain of events that will not only change the lives of those she loves, but also be a deadly reminder that repercussions are always harsher for women, especially black women, who dare to speak their truth.

Decades later, as Opal considers a 2016 reunion with Nev, music journalist S. Sunny Shelton seizes the chance to curate an oral history about her idols. Sunny thought she knew most of the stories leading up to the cult duo’s most politicized chapter. But as her interviews dig deeper, a nasty new allegation from an unexpected source threatens to blow up everything.

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Release Date: April 20th, 2021

The Final Revival of Opal & Nev is being pitched as a book for lovers of Daisy Jones and the Six. From what I can tell, the story is told in a similar way where it reads like an interview. I have a feeling it will be incredible on audio! This is a debut novel about music, so of course I am going to read it.

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Miranda Fitch’s life is a waking nightmare. The accident that ended her burgeoning acting career left her with excruciating, chronic back pain, a failed marriage, and a deepening dependence on painkillers. And now she’s on the verge of losing her job as a college theater director. Determined to put on Shakespeare’s All’s Well That Ends Well, the play that promised, and cost, her everything, she faces a mutinous cast hellbent on staging Macbeth instead. Miranda sees her chance at redemption slip through her fingers.

That’s when she meets three strange benefactors who have an eerie knowledge of Miranda’s past and a tantalizing promise for her future: one where the show goes on, her rebellious students get what’s coming to them, and the invisible, doubted pain that’s kept her from the spotlight is made known.

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Release Date: August 3rd, 2021

I have yet to read anything by Mona Awad, but Bunny is on my list. I have a feeling that her books are my kind of weird. Also, All’s Well has a Shakespeare element, so that is all I needed to hear to want to pick it up!

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Teddy Crutcher has won Teacher of the Year at the esteemed Belmont Academy, home to the best and brightest.

He says his wife couldn’t be more proud—though no one has seen her in a while.

Teddy really can’t be bothered with the death of a school parent that’s looking more and more like murder or the student digging a little too deep into Teddy’s personal life. His main focus is on pushing these kids to their full academic potential.

All he wants is for his colleagues—and the endlessly meddlesome parents—to stay out of his way.

It’s really too bad that sometimes excellence can come at such a high cost.

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Release Date: July 27th, 2021

I have heard mixed things about Samantha Downing’s books and I have never felt compelled to read them, as I am picky about thrillers to begin with; however, the premise of For Your Own Good sounds so intriguing! I cannot say that I have read many books about a sinister teacher, so it sounds like it has the potential to be really unique.

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In present-day Miami, Jeanette is battling addiction. Daughter of Carmen, a Cuban immigrant, she is determined to learn more about her family history from her reticent mother and makes the snap decision to take in the daughter of a neighbor detained by ICE. Carmen, still wrestling with the trauma of displacement, must process her difficult relationship with her own mother while trying to raise a wayward Jeanette. Steadfast in her quest for understanding, Jeanette travels to Cuba to see her grandmother and reckon with secrets from the past destined to erupt.

From 19th-century cigar factories to present-day detention centers, from Cuba to Mexico, Gabriela Garcia’s Of Women and Salt is a kaleidoscopic portrait of betrayals—personal and political, self-inflicted and those done by others—that have shaped the lives of these extraordinary women. A haunting meditation on the choices of mothers, the legacy of the memories they carry, and the tenacity of women who choose to tell their stories despite those who wish to silence them, this is more than a diaspora story; it is a story of America’s most tangled, honest, human roots. 

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Release Date: March 30th, 2021

Of Women and Salt is a debut novel about the relationship between a mother and daughter. That dynamic is always fascinating to me, and the early reviews have been incredible. I have a feeling this is going to be deeply emotional!

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A triumphant, genre-bending breakout novel from one of the boldest new voices in contemporary fiction

Vern – seven months pregnant and desperate to escape the strict religious compound where she was raised – flees for the shelter of the woods. There, she gives birth to twins, and plans to raise them far from the influence of the outside world.

But even in the forest, Vern is a hunted woman. Forced to fight back against the community that refuses to let her go, she unleashes incredible brutality far beyond what a person should be capable of, her body wracked by inexplicable and uncanny changes.

To understand her metamorphosis and to protect her small family, Vern has to face the past, and more troublingly, the future – outside the woods. Finding the truth will mean uncovering the secrets of the compound she fled but also the violent history in America that produced it.

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Release Date: May 4th, 2021

I have a few of Rivers Solomon’s books on my TBR, and I am hoping to get to them in 2021. I would love to read both An Unkindness of Ghosts and The Deep before Sorrowland comes out in May. I have a feeling that Solomon could become a new favourite author.

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28 thoughts on “Most Anticipated Adult Books of 2021

      1. That is great! He also did The Martian, right? I still want to read that one, but only one of my libraries has it! Now I got two books by him to look forward to. 🙂

  1. I am BEYOND excited for Sylvain Neuvel’s newest book, cannot wait for it! And I’m also beyond excited for Malibu Rising! So hyped for that, I requested an arc but I’m not holding my breath… BUT I WANT TO READ IT ASAP!!

    Thanks for this list, I’ll be adding a few of these to my TBR!

  2. Well, I guess I’m just gonna be kissing more of my money goodbye in 2021 because wow, so many of these weren’t even on my radar but they definitely are now! I love the sound of TJR’s new book and that cover of Sorrowland by Solomon is just… Amazing?! Fab list 😃

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