December 28, 2021

Best of 2021

Today's Top Ten Tuesday topic is Best Books of 2021. Coincidentally, tomorrow's Top 5 Wednesday post, is also Best of 2021. Easy enough. I'll just start at the beginning of the year and tell you the best books I read this year until I hit 10. Then tomorrow, I'll start where I left off and get to five. Hopefully, I'll have 15 books I love.

I should also note that these are not necessarily books published in 2021. Many of them are, because award reading, but not all. Also, this is entirely subjective. There are several books on this list that people I know IRL would think are trash, so I should really call this, books I liked in 2021.


Legendborn by Tracy Deonn - This was the second book I read in 2021. There is a lot going on in this one. There are two different magic systems at play here. The main character has a LOT going on in her life, outside of being magical. The character growth in this book is phenomenal and I love a girl with power.

Les Mis

Les Miserables by Victor Hugo - I can't believe I read a 1000-page book while I was trying to read for an award! What was I thinking? Anyway, it was fabulous, as expected.

Hell in the Heartland

Hell in the Hearland: Murder, Meth, and the Case of Two Missing Girls by Jax Miller - I think the reason this one was so resonant for me is because I remember when this happened. I was pregnant with my first kid and I was working with teenagers. Meth was only marginally on my radar at that time. It was bigger in small towns than in the bigger cities around here. They have recently begun searching for the bodies of the two girls again.

Firekeeper's Daughter

Firekeeper's Daughter by Andgeline Boulley - This book knocked my socks off. I was not expecting a YA mystery/thriller with this level of intensity. There is a pretty graphic murder/suicide right at the beginning and the entire premise of the novel is about a dangerous new meth that is taking the lives of Native people at an alarming rate. Dawnis, the main character, is one tough chick and she takes no shit. I love her.

Perfect on Paper

Perfect on Paper by Sophie Gonzales - Gonzales doesn't miss. Her last book was on last year's award list. She writes what comes off as just cute romance novels except for one very important component in each book. In this one, it's a conversation in a queer club. Our main character wants to know if she loses her queer card as a bisexual person if she starts dating a guy. The club rallies around her and vehemently insists that dating a guy does not make her less bi, and it is a dialogue I think a lot of teens need to hear.

House in the Cerulean Sea

The House in the Cerulean Sea by T. J. Klune - This book is like a hug made out of paper. It's about a social worker sent off to an isolated orphanage on an island to evaluate it. This orphanage houses all the "worst" kids, including the son of Satan, himself. The kids make this story. They steal all the thunder. They are really just kids, even if the species of one of them cannot be determined.


The Guncle by Steven Rowley - I laughed all the way through this book. It is quite a bit raunchier than Cerulean Sea, but the presence of 2 children keeps in PG. Pat is a former TV star who is holed up in his house in Palm Springs, grieving the loss of his husband, when his sister-in-law dies and his brother leaves his two children to Pat while he goes to rehab. Pat is the least likely of the 3 siblings to be a good choice for children, but he does it, and they grieve and learn to live together.

Blade of Secrets

Blade of Secrets by Tricia Levenseller - Levenseller is another author that hits it out of the park every time. Our main character here is a bladesmith who has magic and can enchant the blades she makes. She also has severe anxiety. When the marauding queen who wants to take over the country comes to request a magic sword, she and her sister have to run.

Girls I've Been

The Girls I've Been by Tess Sharpe - This might be my favorite book of the year. Mona is an amazing main character and I love her sharp tongue and her sharper intellect. She speaks fluent sarcasm and can out-con the conman.

Under the Whispering Door

Under the Whispering Door by T. J. Klune - And here we have the only author with two books on this list. This one is very different from Cerulean Sea, but no less poignant. I may have cried several times. The character growth is fantastic and the side characters all have whole personalities. It's just fabulous.

Ok. There are 10 books that are my favorite reads from this year. What are some of your favorite books from 2021?