It's the most wonderful time of the year! And the final day in 2021 seems like the best time to look back at this month and see the last of the books released this year before we turn our eye forward to all of the excellent books to come in 2022.
December 2021 Releases
If This Gets Out by Sophie Gonzales & Cale Dietrich
Eighteen-year-olds Ruben Montez and Zach Knight are two members of the boy-band Saturday, one of the biggest acts in America. Along with their bandmates, Angel Phan and Jon Braxton, the four are teen heartbreakers in front of the cameras and best friends backstage. But privately, cracks are starting to form: their once-easy rapport is straining under the pressures of fame, and Ruben confides in Zach that he’s feeling smothered by management’s pressure to stay in the closet.
On a whirlwind tour through Europe, with both an unrelenting schedule and minimal supervision, Ruben and Zach come to rely on each other more and more, and their already close friendship evolves into a romance. But when they decide they’re ready to tell their fans and live freely, Zach and Ruben start to truly realize that they will never have the support of their management. How can they hold tight to each other when the whole world seems to want to come between them?
The Midnight Girls by Alicia Jasinska
It's Karnawał season in the snow-cloaked Kingdom of Lechija. From now until midnight, when the church bells ring an end to Devil's Tuesday time, will be marked with wintry balls and glittery disguises, cavalcades of nightly torch-lit "kuligi" sleigh-parties.
Unbeknownst to the oblivious merrymakers, two monsters join the fun, descending upon the royal city of Warszów in the guise of two innocent girls. Newfound friends and polar opposites, Zosia and Marynka, seem destined to have a friendship that's stronger even than magic. But that's put to the test when they realize they both have their sights set on Lechija's pure-hearted prince. A pure heart contains immeasurable power, and Marynka plans to bring the princes back to her grandmother in order to prove herself. While Zosia is determined to take his heart and its power for her own.
When neither will sacrifice their ambitions for the other, the festivities spiral into a wild contest, with both girls vying to keep the hapless prince out of the other's wicked grasp. But this isn't some remote forest village, where a hint of stray magic might go unnoticed, Warszów is the icy capital of a kingdom that enjoys watching monsters burn, and if Zosia and Marynka's innocent disguises continue to slip, their escalating rivalry might cost them not just the love they might have for each other, but both their lives.
No Beauties or Monsters by Tara Goedjen
Rylie hasn’t been back to Twentynine Palms since her dad died. She left a lot of memories out there, buried in the sand of the Mojave Desert. Memories about her dad, her old friends Nathan and Lily, and most of all, her enigmatic grandfather, a man who cut ties with Rylie’s family before he passed away. But her mom’s new work assignment means their family has to move, and now Rylie’s in the one place she never wanted to return to, living in the house of a grandfather she barely knew.
At least her old friends are happy to welcome her home. Well, some of them, anyway. Lily is gone, vanished into the desert. And Twentynine Palms is so much stranger than Rylie remembers. There are whispers around the town of a mysterious killer on the loose, but it isn’t just Twentynine Palms that feels off—there’s something wrong with Rylie, too. She sees things she can’t explain—visions of monstrous creatures that stalk the night.
Somehow, it all seems to be tied to her grandfather and the family cabin he left behind. Rylie wants the truth, but she doesn’t know if she can trust herself. Are the monsters in her head really out there? Or could it be that the deadliest thing in the desert . . . is Rylie herself?
The Big Reveal by Jen Larsen
Addie is a talented dancer, a true-blue friend, fat, fierce, and driven. When she's accepted into the prestigious dance program of her dreams, she thinks nothing can bring her down—until she realizes she doesn't have enough money to go. Refusing to give up, Addie and her friends decide to put on a top-secret, invitation-only burlesque show to raise funds. But word soon gets out, and the slut- and body-shaming begin. Has Addie been resisting the patriarchy or playing right into its hands?
How Not to Fall in Love by Jacqueline Firkins
Harper works in her mom's wedding shop, altering dresses for petulant and picky brides who focus more on hemlines than love. After years of watching squabbles break out over wedding plans, Harper thinks romance is a marketing tool. Nothing more. Her best friend Theo is her opposite. One date, and he's already dreaming of happily ever afters. He also plays the accordion, makes chain mail for Ren Festers, hangs out in a windmill-shaped tree house, cries over rom-coms, and takes his word-of-the-day calendar very seriously.
When Theo's shocked to find himself nursing his umpteenth heartbreak, Harper offers to teach him how not to fall in love. Theo agrees to the lessons, as long as Harper proves she can date without falling in love. As the lessons progress and Theo takes them to heart, Harper has a more challenging time upholding her end of the bargain. She's also checking out her window to see if Theo's home from his latest date yet. She's even watching rom-coms. If she confesses her feelings, she'll undermine everything she's taught him. Or was he the one teaching her?
The Upper World by Femi Fadugba
During arguably the worst week of Esso's life, an accident knocks him into an incredible world--a place beyond space or time, where he can see glimpses of the past and future. But if what he sees there is true, he might not have much longer to live unless he can use his new gift to change the course of history.
Rhia's past is filled with questions, none of which she expects a new physics tutor to answer. But Dr. Esso's not here to help Rhia. He's here because he needs her help--to unravel a tragedy that happened fifteen years ago. One that holds the key not only to Rhia's past but to a future worth fighting for.
*Soon to be a major Netflix movie starring Oscar winner Daniel Kaluuya!