New year, new books: 15 YA releases to watch out for this January

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You Have a Match book cover

You Have a Match by Emma Lord. Image courtesy St. Martin’s Publishing Group

There are a ton of exciting YA releases hitting shelves in January. We couldn’t ask for a better way to ring in the new year, especially after a tumultuous 2020.

You know what they say: New year, new books. Wait, that’s not how the old adage goes? Oh, well. We’ll be picking up a bunch of new books anyway. To be fair, there are a lot of exciting new releases hitting shelves this January. And we couldn’t ask for a better way to ring in the new year, especially after a tumultuous time like 2020.

In the YA category, there really is something for everyone this coming month — so no matter how you’re hoping to escape reality (because we know the woes of 2020 aren’t leaving just because of the new year), you’re likely to find a match. This month is bringing us romances, fantastical adventures, and tales of growing up. Like we said, there’s a story for everyone — and from some recognizable and beloved authors, too.

Read on to find out which YA books to keep on your radar this January.

Be Dazzled by Ryan La Sala

Ryan La Sala made his debut last year with Reverie, and he’s already back with book number two: Be Dazzled. A queer romance branded as “Project Runway goes to Comic-Con,” it’s hard to see what other reasons a reader might need for picking this book up. Of course, the further you get into the synopsis, the more intriguing Be Dazzled sounds.

The novel follows Raffy, who, true to his name, has a penchant for bedazzling things. Stitching, draping, sewing, he does it all — and he’s determined to win a cosplay contest that could get him into art school, where he’ll be able to live out his dream of turning his art into his career.

Naturally, there is one little thing standing in his way: his competition, who also happens to be his ex-boyfriend. Yikes. Crafting was one thing Raffy and Luca had in common during their relationship, but Raffy’s focus on hitting perfection with his art caused the two to split. When they have to partner on a project for the cosplay contest, however, it becomes clear their split wasn’t quite as clean as Raffy might have liked:

“But when Raffy is forced to partner with Luca on his most ambitious build yet, he’ll have to juggle unresolved feelings for the boy who broke his heart, and his own intense self-doubt, to get everything he’s ever wanted: choosing his art, his way.”

Be Dazzled is a story that’s likely to sound familiar to artists, but it’s also a romance that will cater to any readers hoping to be put in their emotions as they flip through the pages. La Sala’s latest arrives on January 5, so we don’t have to wait much longer to see how Raffy and Luca’s story turns out.

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