I had a great reading year in 2021 and have been looking forward to writing about my favorite reads. I had quite a few 5-star reads but these are my top 10, not including rereads. I can’t bring myself to rank them so here they are from earliest read to most recent.
Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse
Only my second read of the year but this one has totally stuck with me. I loved the unique setting and cast of characters. It had a typical high-fantasy feel with lots of characters in various settings which sometimes turns me off but the entire time, I knew it would come together and was trying to figure out how. The ending was great and made me want to jump right into the next one but sadly, it still hasn’t been released. It will definitely be top of my TBR when it does but still crossing my fingers I’ll get early access on NetGalley.
The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevado
The Poet X definitely stands out as my most surprising read of 2021. After so many friends loved this, I decided to pick it up despite really not liking poetry. I read it in an afternoon and was blown away. It was such a powerful story and made more so by the novel in verse format. I’ve read other novels in verse, one by Acevado, in 2021 and really enjoyed all of them but this one was the best. I urge anyone will an open mind to give this one a try, you might just be as surprised as me.
A Court of Silver Flames by Sarah J. Maas
This might not be my favorite from the series but I loved getting a new story in the ACOTAR world. I give Maas a lot of credit for branching out on this one and think having a different main character and a really different type of story really worked. The exploration of mental health was so interesting in this setting and I loved Cassian and Nesta. I hope this series continues to grow, I always love them.
The Illuninae Files by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
I’m including these as a series because I can’t pick one. I loved this series, it was fascinating and utterly unique. The multimedia format was unlike anything I’ve ever read. It took a little while to get used to but then I loved it. The story it told was so good and I loved how each book was another part of the puzzle. I might come back to these one day, I just loved it.
The Martian by Andy Weir
When I tried ranking this list, the only number I came up with was putting The Martian at #1. I will gush about how much I loved this book to anyone who asks. I can’t believe it took me so long to pick up and I’m sad I can’t read it again for the first time. The humor, the science, the story, Mark’s character, I loved them all with all my heart. I couldn’t put this book down, it had so much suspense as I read about this incredible struggle. It also managed to make me laugh out loud on multiple occasions. I’ll stop gushing now but believe me, I could go on and on. This was the perfect read for my engineer brain.
Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé
I had no idea what I was getting into when I picked up this book but I was hooked from the beginning. Stop reading reviews, don’t even read the blurb, it has a 4.32 rating on Goodreads and the book community is raving, just read it. Anything else could spoil this fantastic adventure of a book. It’s phenomenal. I’ll leave it at that.
The Other Side of Perfect by Mariko Turk
Most people will think this is just a cute YA contemporary but it brought me back to being in musicals in high school and I loved the nostalgia. There’s definitely a good story there, a cute romance and good characters. But the winner for me was the musical scenes which were totally perfect down to coming in early on Saturdays in PJs and the week leading up to opening night when we stayed late to run the full show and parents brought dinner.
Amari and the Night Brothers by BB Alston
A middle grade book made this list for the first time since Harry Potter. It’s so good! The world in this book is really well done and very unique. Amari was easy to root for an actually seemed like a kid. I loved getting introduced to this world and characters and can’t wait to read the next one which should be published in 2022.
Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao
I totally fell in love with this story. Finally, a totally kickass female YA main character who actually chooses that role rather than stumbling into it accidentally. The description didn’t immediately grab me but I read it after I saw so many rave reviews and I’m really glad I did. It’s very unique, empowering and has a cliffhanger that will make you want to grab the next book…..when it’s released.
Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir
I immediately added Project Hail Mary to my TBR after reading The Martian (it might have actually been part-way through). I waited a little while as I wasn’t sure it could live up to my expectations. I didn’t love it as much as The Martian but again, I was totally enthralled. It’s a similar idea but different enough that it really was a different story. I loved it and have again been telling everyone to read it, but read The Martian first.
Other 5 Star Reads
Not including rereads, here are my other 5-star reads in 2021 that still deserve some love.
That’s it, I hope you enjoyed! I love reading everyone’s favorites list each year, so please link your below.