Top 10 Tuesdays: Most Anticipated Books for the Second Half of 2021

As always, it was so hard to make my list! In some ways, I had way too many books to narrow down, but in other ways, although there are a ton of books from the second half of the year on my list, there weren’t that many that really jumped out. I’m wondering if there’s been a difference between how books are announced/released this year due to the ongoing effects of the pandemic. There are a ton of books coming in July and August, but I didn’t have too many from October-December. I wonder if those books just haven’t been announced yet, or if publishing is a bit slower around that time of year. To be fair, many of the books that I’d consider my most anticipated are ones that I’d find it difficult to describe in detail, since many are sequels and in some cases, sequels in series that I haven’t even started yet! I decided to compromise by putting those books as my honourable mentions instead. This seems to be an especially great year for thrillers and I’m really looking forward to reading all of the books on my list!

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

1) The Stranger In the Mirror by Liv Constantine (July 6)


I feel like this book has been on my TBR forever already, for some reason, so I was glad to see that it’s coming out so soon! I’m very behind on Liv Constantine’s books by now, since I’ve only read The Last Mrs. Parrish, but I’m hoping to catch up soon. This one is about a woman named Addison who is due to get married, but she’s not looking forward to the day because she is not sure who she really is. A few years before, a driver found her injured by the highway and since then, she has not known who she is or how she ended up on that road. Addison also can’t seem to shake the idea that she may have done something bad. At the same time, a man named Julian is trying to figure out what happened to his wife Cassandra, who disappeared two years ago, and he believes that she never would have left him or their daughter voluntarily. Julian is convinced his wife is alive and has always assumed that she’d one day come back. Although I’m a little burnt out on amnesia as a plot point in thrillers, this one sounds very intriguing and I loved Liv Constantine’s writing style in The Last Mrs. Parrish. I’m very interested in giving this one a chance, and I’m excited that it’s finally coming out soon!

2) For Your Own Good by Samantha Downing (July 20)

52379865. sy475

This is definitely one of the books that is highest on my list for this year, and I’m really hoping to be able to buy it soon! This book is about a teacher named Teddy Crutcher who is Teacher of the Year at a prestigious school whose goal is to push his students to their full potential, and he wants their parents and his colleagues to stay out of his way. When the parent of a student dies under mysterious circumstances that look a lot like murder, a student starts to dig a little too deeply into Teddy’s personal life. I recently read My Lovely Wife for the first time and I loved it! I’m definitely interested in reading more by this author, especially this one. Dark Academia has become such a buzzword lately, and it’s definitely something that I tend to look for. I also tend to look for books that deal with academic pressure, and this one seems to fall into that category but from a very different angle than I’ve seen before. This is by far one of my most anticipated thrillers of the year, and I’m really hoping to love it as much as I’m expecting to. It’s currently way too expensive for me to even consider preordering, but I’m hoping it will drop a bit in price closer to the release date so I can snag a copy.

3) Rock Paper Scissors by Alice Feeney (August 19)


Alice Feeney was another author who was right at the top of my list to try this year, and I also read Sometimes I Lie not too long ago. This book is her next release, about a couple, Adam and Amelia, who have won a weekend away in Scotland, which they think could be just the thing that their marriage needs. Adam has lived with face blindness his whole life, making him unable to recognize people including his own wife. Each year on their anniversary, his wife writes him a letter that she never lets him read, until now, when they both know that this weekend could make or break their marriage. I have both of Alice Feeney’s other books on my list to read this year, and I’m not sure I’ll be able to squeeze this one in. If not, it will definitely be at the top of my list to pick up next year, and it will likely also be at the top of my birthday wishlist this fall if I don’t end up buying a copy for myself. This book sounds so interesting and I’m impressed to see such strong reviews for it so far, which is pretty rare for a thriller. I really enjoyed Alice Feeney’s writing style in Sometimes I Lie and ultimately rated it 4.5 stars (4 on Goodreads), so I’m hoping to enjoy her other books just as much.

4) The Heart Principle by Helen Hoang (August 31)

50056075. sy475

I’ve absolutely loved the first two books by Helen Hoang, and I’m very excited for her next one! This book focuses on a violinist named Anna who accidentally gains success in her career after going viral on Youtube, but soon finds herself burnt out. To make matters worse, her long-term boyfriend announces that he wants an open relationship before he can make a true commitment to her, and Anna decides to use the opportunity to have a series of one-night stands and the more unacceptable the partner, the better. One of her choices is Quan, a character who appeared in the previous books, but when their attempts at a one-night stand keep failing, they soon realize that being together might be about something more. At the same time, a family emergency leaves Anna in a role that she is ill-prepared for, leaving her overwhelmed by the additional pressure and forcing the two of them to fight for what they have. I remember liking Quan in the previous books by this author, but I also don’t remember his role that clearly. I’m hoping I don’t need too much of a refresher on him before I pick this one up, although that doesn’t usually seem to be a problem in these kinds of companion novel series. I seem to remember getting a notice that the date has been pushed back by a week or so, but since August 31 is still the date on Goodreads, it’s the one I’m sticking to for now.

5) A Slow Fire Burning by Paula Hawkins (August 31)

43884838. sy475

Apparently I’ve had this book on my TBR since 2018, even though I also remember being surprised to see that Paula Hawkins had a new book coming this year. I absolutely loved her previous two books and I’m very excited to try another one. This one is about a young woman named Laura who is seen leaving the scene of a horrific murder on a London canal boat with blood on her clothes, making her seem like the prime suspect. The book follows Laura and two other women who are all connected to the victim, a boy who was found dead on the houseboat he was renting. All three women seem to have secrets to hide. Like many thrillers, the synopsis is pretty vague but I’ve also been hesitant to look too deeply into any other reviews in case of spoilers. Although both of her previous books had very mixed reviews, I really enjoyed them both. I’m one of the few who absolutely loved The Girl on the Train, although to be fair, it was one of the first of that kind of thriller that I read. I’m really looking forward to trying this book and I’m hoping to enjoy it just as much as the other two.

6) White Smoke by Tiffany D. Jackson (September 14)


Of all the books on this list, I think this is the one that I’m most excited for. Tiffany D. Jackson has quickly become one of my all-time favourite YA authors, and I’m always looking forward to her latest books. This one is about a girl named Marigold whose newly blended family has just moved, giving her the fresh start she’s been looking for. The home they move into has its secrets, and it also has creepy things happening, such as vanishing items, voices, and a foul smell that only Marigold seems to notice. To make things even worse, her stepsister Piper keeps talking about a friend who wants Marigold gone. Even though ghost stories tend to really freak me out, this one sounds amazing! I love books that involve spooky houses and I’m very interested to see how Tiffany D. Jackson takes it on. This book has been compared to The Haunting Of Hill House, which I just read around Halloween last year, and Get Out. I think I need to watch Get Out at some point because I keep seeing comparisons to it, and I have no idea what it is. Either way, Tiffany D. Jackson’s books are always high on my list, and I can’t wait to try this one too!

7) Apples Never Fall by Liane Moriarty (September 14)


Liane Moriarty has been one of my favourite authors ever since I read Big Little Lies during my first reading challenge. To be fair, none of her other books have quite measured up to that one for me, but I’ve really enjoyed them all! This one is about the Delaney family, who seem to have it all, except that the parents, Stan and Joy, still seem to be miserable. When a stranger named Savannah knocks on their door one night looking for somewhere to stay after a fight with her boyfriend, the couple is happy to take her in. However, when Joy later goes missing and Savannah is nowhere to be found, the police soon turn their suspicions on Stan, who seems to have a lot to hide for someone who claims to be innocent. Two of their adult children are sure their father is innocent, but the other two aren’t so sure. I tend to love mystery thrillers that involve someone questioning whether a family member could have done something terrible, although I’ve rarely seen it from this perspective. I’ve read a couple of books where parents are questioning whether their child could have done something, but never one where the children, even as adults, question their parents’ involvement in a crime. This sounds so fascinating, and I can’t wait to give it a try!

8) Gilded by Marissa Meyer (November 2)


This is right up there with White Smoke as my most anticipated book of the year, and I was very surprised to see it announced toward the end of 2020. This book is a retelling of Rumpelstiltskin, focusing on the miller’s daughter Serilda who has developed a talent for telling stories. When one of her stories attracts the attention of the Erlking, she finds herself swept off to a creepy world of phantoms, where she is ordered to complete the impossible task of spinning straw into gold or else she will be killed for telling lies. Out of desperation, Serilda unknowingly summons a mysterious boy who agrees to help her, but his help will come at a price. I’ve always loved the Rumpelstiltskin story and fairy tales in general, and I’m excited to see Marissa Meyer take this one on. I’m a little annoyed that this book comes out just after my birthday, so I can’t put it on my birthday list (unless I want someone to preorder it, I guess, but I’m assuming I’ll likely preorder it well in advance). I’m actually a little surprised that Rumpelstiltskin isn’t retold more often. The only other version I can think of is Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik, which I really need to try again since I was definitely not in the right mindset for it when I last read it. I can’t wait for this one, and it will easily be at the top of my challenge list for next year.

9) Wish You Were Here by Jodi Picoult (November 30)


I just mentioned this one over the weekend in my Stacking the Shelves post, but it’s worth adding to this list too since Jodi Picoult is one of my favourite authors. This book is about a woman named Diana who is separated from her soon-to-be fiance after a pandemic hits, forcing him to stay behind from their planned vacation to the Galapagos, where she expected him to propose. With the island now under quarantine, Diana is stranded until things reopen, and soon develops a connection with a local family after a teenager opens up to her about a secret, forcing Diana to reevaluate her life and her choices. I’m very curious to see if this book will address COVID specifically, or use a similar fictionalized virus as a stand-in. I’m especially interested to see how Jodi Picoult captures the experiences of the pandemic and quarantine, especially because she is such a character-driven author generally. Also, I find the Galapagos Islands fascinating, and I’m very happy to see this as the setting. I’m sure this book will be quite difficult for many people to read since it could hit a little too close to home so soon after (or during, depending where we are by then) the pandemic, but I’m very intrigued to try it.

10) Here’s to Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera (December 28)

55424906. sy475

Becky Albertalli’s books are always at the top of my most anticipated lists, and this one is no exception. This book is a sequel to What If It’s Us, which I read all the way back in 2018. I’ll probably need to reread that one before picking this one up, but I loved it the first time so it’s wroth it. This book follows Ben during his first year of college where he has been working on a manuscript with Mario, his writing partner who also happens to be a great kisser. However, Ben can’t stop thinking about Arthur, who is back in town now two years after the two of them split up. Arthur is in New York for an internship on Broadway and has a boyfriend back home, but after seeing Ben with a new guy, he starts to wonder whether his feelings every really changed. After reading that synopsis, I definitely need to reread the first book because I really don’t remember where it ended! I was actually very surprised to see that it had already been three years since I read the first book. I’m really looking forward to this one, but given that it is coming out literally at the end of this year, I’ll have to save it for my reading challenges next year instead. Either way, I’m really looking forward to this one!

Honourable Mentions:

I’m cheating a bit since these were both out on June 29, but I have to mention This Poison Heart by Kalynn Bayron and Survive the Night by Riley Sager, which I somehow left off my list for the first half of the year.

Kill All Your Darlings by David Bell (July 6)
Any Way the Wind Blows by Rainbow Rowell (July 6)
Such a Quiet Place by Megan Miranda (July 13)
Gods & Monsters by Shelby Mahurin (July 27)
Not a Happy Family by Shari Lapena (July 27)
The Family Plot by Megan Collins (August 17)
Friends Like These by Kimberly McCreight (September 7)
Empire of the Vampire by Jay Kristoff (September 7)
The Night She Disappeared by Lisa Jewell (September 7)
Defy the Night by Brigid Kemmerer (September 14)
Under the Whispering Door by T.J. Klune (September 21)
Kingdom of the Cursed by Kerri Maniscalco (October 5)
Well Matched by Jen DeLuca (October 19)
You Can Go Your Own Way by Eric Smith (November 2)
You’ve Reached Sam by Dustin Thao (November 2)
Aurora’s End by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman (November 9)
The Nobleman’s Guide to Scandal and Shipwrecks (November 16)
You’ll Be the Death of Me by Karen M. McManus (November 30)
The Excalibur Curse by Kiersten White (December 7)
The Winners by Fredrik Backman (unspecified date, but supposedly later this year)


3 thoughts on “Top 10 Tuesdays: Most Anticipated Books for the Second Half of 2021

  1. Pingback: The Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag (2021) | Abyssal Librarian

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s