2021 in Books

2021 in Books

Exactly one year later–with no blog posts whatsoever in between–I'm back with more book recommendations. While I did not uphold my 2021 intention to use this blog more, I did make good on my intention to continue reading.

This year, I read 106 books. That probably says something poor about my social life, but I feel accomplished regardless. I know I love to look to friends and family for book recommendations, and I hope I can offer some suggestions to my fellow readers in 2022.

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5-Star Reads

In total, I ranked 15 books as 5-star reads this year. I simply could not whittle down to a top 5 or 10, so here are all 15 in no particular order:

Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren (Romance)

I thought about this book for at least 2 weeks after I finished it.

The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah (Historical Fiction)

Pro-tip: Have your tissues nearby. This book is DEPRESSING but so, so good.

In My Dreams I Hold a Knife by Ashley Winstead (Thriller)

This book is what all thrillers should be. This is my gold standard of the thriller genre.

The Wish by Nicholas Sparks (Romance)

LISTEN. I know how it looks to slap a Nicholas Sparks' book with a 5-star rating, but I don't care. I still read every novel this man writes no matter how foolish that makes me, and I'll be the first to admit his recent novels have not been the greatest. But this book– It did it for me. Take this rating with a grain of salt.

The Paper Palace by Miranda Cowley Heller (Contemporary/Romance)

This book is SO good. It's a real will-they, won't-they, should-they-even type of story, and it's just well-written. I've made 3 of my friends either start reading this already or put it on their To Read lists.

It Happened One Summer by Tessa Bailey (Romance)

This is a spicy read. That's all I'll say. Read at your own discretion.

The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams (Historical Fiction)

This was such a beautiful, intriguing look at the creation of the first Oxford English dictionary and the lack of women involved in the process.

The Push by Ashley Audrain (Thriller)

This novel left me unsettled in the best way possible.

People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry (Romance)

If you like romance, you should read all of Emily Henry's books. Next.

Yearbook by Seth Rogen (Biography)

This book made me audibly laugh more than once while reading. Also, I love Seth Rogen.

The Grace Year by Kim Liggett (Dystopian Fiction)

When I tell you this book brought me back to my Hunger Games reading days... I LOVED this book and the concept of this world. I'm patiently waiting for this author to write the second book and make it a series.

Infinite Country by Patricia Engel (Historical Fiction/Contemporary)

This book is short and not-so-sweet. It's actually heartbreaking and important.

The Things We Cannot Say by Kelly Rimmer (Historical Fiction)

This story is set in both Nazi-occupied Poland and modern day, and it is absolutely heartbreaking. And beautiful. Please read it.

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett (Historical Fiction)

Two identical sisters lead very different lives as one lives in the rural south with her Black daughter and the other passes for white in a rich neighborhood with a husband that knows nothing of her past. It was difficult for me to put this book down.

The Mystery of Mrs. Christie by Marie Benedict (Historical Fiction)

I think I'm in the minority with this being a 5-star read, but the classic "mystery" novels are what got me into thrillers– now one of my favorite genres. I loved this twist on the real instance of Agatha Christie's disappearance in 1926.

Honorable Mentions

These books didn't quite reach 5-stars for me, but they were very close and still deserve some recognition.

  1. The Sanatorium by Sarah Pearse (Thriller)
  2. No Exit by Taylor Adams (Thriller/Suspense)
  3. The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave (Suspense)
  4. The First Day of Spring by Nancy Tucker (Thriller)
  5. The Therapist by B.A. Paris (Thriller) *
  6. The Feather Thief: Beauty, Obsession, and the Natural History Heist of the Century by Kirk Wallace (True Crime Nonfiction)
  7. You Deserve Each Other by Sarah Hogle (Romance)
  8. It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover (Romance)
  9. Beautiful World, Where Are You by Sally Rooney *
  10. Wish You Were Here by Jodi Picoult **

*=I would suggest reading anything by either of these authors (B.A. Paris and Sally Rooney). They are excellent always.

**I genuinely enjoyed this one, but it is about the current global pandemic. So, if you're trying to escape the pandemic through reading, don't choose this book.

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1-Star Reads

To each their own, but I highly suggest never reading these books. I only had four 1-star reads this year, but they were truly bad.

  1. The Vacationers by Emma Straub
  2. 99 Percent Mine by Sally Thorne
  3. The Jetsetters by Amanda Ward
  4. The Dating Dare by Jayci Lee
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I'm Harvest. I'm a fifth-year teacher, and I teach 1st grade. I also like to read. My goal with this blog is to give myself an outlet to reflect, share ideas, and grow creatively.

Redwood City, CA