Everyone came out with their “best of” lists, so I decided to write up my own list for my favorite books of 2021. This is based on what I read this year, so it’s definitely not all inclusive.
I am including older titles that I first read this year and loved as well, so those are separate from the books published in 2021. Enjoy!
The Personal Librarian, by Marie Benedict & Victoria Christopher Murray
This novel is based off of and follows the real life story of J.P. Morgan’s personal librarian, Belle da Costa Green. Belle becomes one of the most prominent women of her time, curating and building Morgan’s library into a world-class collection of rare books and art. This is an amazing story of a woman who forged a hugely successful career, rising high in the ranks of society and all the while fooling every single person about her heritage.
I loved this story and I loved that the authors research it so well and tried to keep as close to historical fact as possible. This is a must read!
The Heart Principle, by Helen Hoang
Anna is angry and hurt when her boyfriend suggests an open relationship, so much so she decides to do some one night stands herself. On an online dating site, she finds Quan. He’s got tattoos, rides a motorcycle and is the exact opposite of her boyfriend. They connect and learn to understand each other at a much deeper level than Anna didn’t even know could happen.
But the burden of her family’s expectations gets in the way of her relationship with Quan and discovering who she truly is. Her life will crumble if she doesn’t learn to stand up for what she wants.
This story was equal parts heart wrenching and heartwarming with everything Anna has to go through. I loved seeing her grow and be accepted unconditionally by Quan. Helen Hoang never disappoints with her novels.
The Lost Manuscript, by Cathy Bonidan
This charming epistolary novel is about a manuscript found in a hotel room that eventually finds its way back to its owner. Considering herself an amateur sleuth, Anne-Lise can’t stop until she finds the author.
The story of this manuscript’s journey and conception is one of a kind! It had me at the edge of my seat the whole time. So many new friendships and even romance, all from this one manuscript! Another must read.
The Road Trip, by Beth O'Leary
Addie and her sister are about to embark on a road trip to Scotland for their friend’s wedding. Right after they set off, who slams into the back of their car, but Addie’s ex Dylan who she hasn’t spoken to since their breakup years ago. He’s also going to the same wedding, so now they are forced to take a road trip together with all the unresolved feelings all the way to Scotland.
This novel is set up so it alternates from the past to the present. We get to see how their relationship starts and how it all comes to a head at the end. I was on the edge of my seat the whole time. I adore Beth O’Leary and read everything she comes out with, so of course this had to be on my top books list. She’s always five stars in my book.
Anxious People, by Fredrik Backman
This story is about bridges, but it’s also about a bunch of people in an apartment during a robbery. A failed bank robber runs into an apartment for sale during a showing and must figure out what to do in a now hostage situation.
Fredrik Backman always goes right for the heart man. I don’t have the words to tell you how amazing this story is written and told. You just have to read it for yourself.
Oona Out of Order, by Margarita Montimore
Oona’s life gets turned upside down on midnight of her 19th birthday. When she wakes up in her 51 year old body, 32 years in the future. She learns that with each passing year she will jump into another randomly chosen year in her life. Each year she must learn herself all over again. She must be a wife to a husband she doesn’t remember marrying or a friend to people she’s never met. She doesn’t get to live life in order like the rest of us normal people. Oona lives it out of order.
I was so intrigued by the premise of this book and it sure lived up to the expectation. Every new year was as much a mystery to me as the read as it was to Oona. Every year was completely, but Oona learned to manage it all and grew stronger because of it. This is a great great story!
Boyfriend Material, by Alexis Hall
Luc is a guy in the public eye who’s got to get his image straight. Oliver is a guy who he never really liked and had nothing in common with, but would be perfect boyfriend material to get his image more respectable for the press. They strike a deal to fake date for a while. It turns out though that Oliver is actually a really great guy and Luc doesn’t want to let him go.
I’m a sucker for cutesy romances, so of course I got sucked right in to this one. I loved it. I also listened to the audiobook, so I got to hear all the amazing British accents telling me the story.
The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, by V.E. Schwab
In a moment of sheer desperation. Addie LaRue makes a deal with the darkness. It’s not the deal she thought she bargained for, however, and Addie is now forgotten by every single person she meets. The minute she’s out of sight, she’s forgotten. Until someone remembers her.
There’s twist and turns and Schwab does not go with the predictable happy ending. This book was so amazing, I wanted to read it all over again the minute I finished it. I’ll probably end up reading this book many many times!
Braiding Sweetgrass, by Robin Wall Kimmerer
This mystical, amazing book was originally published in 2013 and then this new edition came out in 2020. Half memoir, half nature writing, botanist Robin tells us about her experiences as a citizen of the Potawatomi Nation and the wonders of nature from her studies and teaching. Each chapter is a separate story, but it all connects through sweetgrass, the sacred plant of her peoples. I plan on buying this book to have on my shelf forever.
A Darker Shade of Magic, by V.E. Schwab
More V.E. Schwab because she’s amazing! This is the first novel in the Shades of Magic series which has become one of my favorites of all time. In a realm filled with magic and different dimensions, magician Kell is one of the few is able to travel between worlds and deliver messages to each ruler. But one day he brings back something that has devastating consequences. This action packed series has a diverse set of characters and some romance thrown in which I totally support. It’s such an imaginative world, Schwab really outdid herself with this series. Must must read!
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I hope you enjoyed this list! I promise you all of my favorite books are worth the read. If you’re looking for more best of lists, try my list of lists for 2021.
What was your favorite book of 2021?