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For Readers

5 Young Adult Books To Read in 2021

By: Hidden Gems on March 23, 2021

Hidden Gems Books ARC service.

By: Hidden Gems on March 23, 2021


In case you hadn’t heard, young adult books aren’t just for young adults anymore. Readers of all ages enjoy this genre which can encompass contemporary, fantasy, romance, mystery or whatever elements you enjoy reading. Today we’ve rounded up 5 popular YA books that our Hidden Gems readers gave glowing reviews to, making them stories you must read this year!


The Healing Room

The Healing Room by Michaela James

An unlikely choice for a Nanny, 17-year-old Bronwyn’s world is changed forever when her mysterious employer accepts an invite to The Healing Room. Bronwyn questions the motives behind the heaven like room. Is it truly a portal to another dimension, or something deeply sinister? Perfect for fans of YA that can appreciate a high concept mystery.

“I really, really enjoyed this story,” writes K. Meador in their 5-star review. “Bronwyn, a 17 yr, caught and held my attention throughout this story. She was at the crossroads of staying a child or/and becoming an adult and to watch her growth through the circumstances she found herself tangled into was very interesting. Mateo, 21, an eager college graduate with his first real job found himself embedded in a weave of mystery, coded language and suspicious behavior. Alone, the two individual characters compel you to keep reading but when they get together and the pieces of the puzzle start to fall together, they are unstoppable. However, my favorite character of the whole book is The Welsh Lady. We all need a friend like her in our lives…Highly recommended.”

“So touching, so beautiful,” says Chelsea R. in her 5-star review. “How interesting, the combination of different stories and styles. Mysterious, suspenseful, engaging. Wow! I loved this book. The characters were very well developed. You had enough background to care about them, but weren’t weighed down with endless boring details, just got a taste of their life situation and circumstances. Their personalities were not cliche, rather delightfully original. The plot was bizarre but amazing. I found myself reading through this so quickly, unable to stop reading. One thing that I particularly enjoyed was the length of the chapters. The chapters alternate protagonists. I found this to be really well done. Due to the brief length of chapters, the story moved along at a fast pace, but gave just enough story in each chapter. The author incorporated so much emotion and depth into this story, from the heavy situations of family, life, mistakes, grown and life lessons. Despite the seriousness of some topics, somehow, the book maintained a fun engaging vibe the entire way. It was such a great mystery. It had me laugh, think, cry, fear, a little of everything. I loved the real feel to the story, for example the usage of all of the movie references was terrific. It made it feel so real. A totally realistic and relate-able story. I highly recommend this book.”

Dragon Link

Dragon Link by Ava Richardson

Author Ava Richardson invites you to immerse yourself in a dragon-filled world with epic magic, fearless characters and, at its heart, the deep bond between dragon and rider. With over 80 reviews and a 4.7 star average on Amazon, you’ll want to add this young adult book to your TBR list ASAP.

Jerry E. writes in their 5-star review, “This was a book that grabbed me from the start and had me throughout. I loved the characters and the storyline was great. I enjoyed the drama and the action that the book had. The start of the book had me feeling for the characters so much with them being shuffled around. I loved the world building and enjoyed the descriptiveness used. I could really see the world and envision myself there with them. I can’t wait for more.”

“I loved this story,” raves Sara in her 5-star review. “It was filled with action, yet slowed down enough to build a world that I hope to visit many more times. This is also the first book I’ve read by Ava Richardson and it left me wondering why I waited for so long! Nova and Zephyr are ordinary teenagers living in foster care. At least, they thought they were ordinary until a giant lizard starts talking to them and insisting they come with him to another world. When he claims to know something about Nova’s mother, the girls go with him. This other world is filled with magic. Nova begins training to be a dragon rider while Zephyr is drawn to witchcraft and studies spellcasting. It is illegal to learn both. The girls befriend hatchling dragons and unknown family members. They also run into bullies and evil beings from other worlds. But they always have each other, no matter what trouble or dangers they face. But can they survive by themselves or will they need to begin trusting others to stand by them?”

My Boyfriend Merlin

My Boyfriend Merlin by Priya Ardis

With nearly 250 Amazon reviews, My Boyfriend Merlin brings Merlin to modern day. If you like young adult books with plucky heroines, sizzling love triangles, and innovative twists on Arthurian legends, then you’ll adore Priya Ardis’ captivating academy tale.

“This book is AMAZING!” writes Erin D. in her 5-star review. “I enjoyed the characters, their world, the retelling of the King Arthur legend, and the twists on old myths and legends. Ryan is sucked into the world when she finds out her hot biker somewhat-boyfriend Matt is actually the legendary Merlin, the most powerful wizard to ever exist. While I enjoyed Matt/Merlin’s character, I do have my suspicions about him and have to agree with Ryan at the end when she tells him “at least I know who he is” when referring to Merlin’s brother, Vane. Now, Vane. There is one bad a$$ wizard!”

MartianMan says in his 5-star review. “Ardis’s style is very easy to read and fast paced. I have read it twice and both times I could not stop until I was done! A great retelling of a classic tale done in a manner that would please Mercedes Lackey and Dennis L McKiernan, but with a modern YA twist. A little light on the magic for my tastes, but there was plenty of action to keep me interested. Ryan is a strong female lead and more likely to rescue the prince than sit in a tower awaiting rescue. I liked the love triangle centered around her and oddly found myself hoping for a different guy to ‘win’ with each read.”

Souled Out

Souled Out by Blakely Chorppening

Fans of humorous urban fantasy with a dash of horror and spicy family drama are sure to enjoy the secrets and twists of Souled Out. The Ell Clyne series is full of fangs, dark secrets, and kick ass moments.

“Action, mystery, and a bit of romance kept me entertained and had me turning the pages to see what happened next,” Kit raves in their 5-star review. “Ell is more than she seems. While I loved her snarky attitude, I also liked seeing her more vulnerable side. Despite everything, the love she feels for her sister never wavers. The book is packed with action and intrigue. From fights with vampires to burning houses, there’s never a dull moment. Add in sibling rivalry taken to a whole new level and it’s one surprise after another. If you like adventure fantasy, especially with vampires, Souled Out is a must read! I eagerly anticipate book two so I can join Ell, Gabriel, and Seth on the next part of the journey.”

“This was the first book I’ve read by this author and I have to say I’m glad I gave it a shot,” says Ashley in her 5-star review. “It was written wonderfully and was very enjoyable. I can’t wait to read more by her. This book had so many twists that I honestly did not see coming. So many unseen enemies that are closer to home. And allies she didn’t realize she had. Friendships made under uncertainty and so much more. Vampires with a twist. This story was unique and unpredictable. A wild ride for sure. I definitely recommend this series. I love it!”

Another Midnight

Another Midnight: A Cinderella Story by Amanda Marin

Cinderella meets Groundhog Day in this short story that reimagines the happily ever after you thought you knew. With a 4.5 star average rating on Amazon, this is a quick-read you won’t want to skip.

Catherine B. writes in her 5-star review, “Another Midnight is a retelling of the classic Cinderella tale. The twist on the story being that the clock seems to reset at midnight and she has to relive the night all over again. It is an interesting take on the time loop trope, because the night is different each time. She dances with a different man and notices new things, so there isn’t any of the insipid repetition that tends to bog down narratives of this type. This novella is on the short side but I found it had far more character development and a much more realistic romantic arch than most Cinderella stories get.”

“This Cinderella re-telling is a short story and it’s so good!” raves Megan D. in her 5-star review. “I was worried about the pacing, but it wasn’t an issue at all. Emmeline’s repeating nights were interesting and I loved how it gave her the opportunity to figure out who was right for her. I was very happy with who she ended up with! Also, I was glad that we got to see some of her backstory as it was really interesting! This was a cute short story with a unique twist on the Cinderella tale! Anyone who loves a fairytale re-telling should give this a read! It’s totally clean so younger readers can enjoy it too! I’d recommend it to anyone looking for a short and sweet read, especially a fairytale re-telling!”

Hidden Gems readers got to read these young adult books for free, so if you’re looking for similar novels to spend your day with, sign up today! Subscribers to Hidden Gems receive invitations to read books like these – plus titles from any of up to 15 other genres – for free. All we ask is that you consider leaving an honest review of them on Amazon when you’re done reading!

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