2021 was another…let’s say interesting…year. Yet again, reading helped keep me focused and grounded. It’s been the perfect escape the past two years when I’ve felt stressed. After reading 56 books (almost 57 — the year doesn’t end until tomorrow), these were my favorites. As a reminder, these aren’t all books released this year, but are books I read this year. You can find my full list of what I read in 2021 on Goodreads or the 2021 Books highlight on my Instagram. (Click the images for affiliate links.)
Best New Release
The Four Winds was simply incredible. The story was so powerful and I learned so much about the Dust Bowl, a time in history I honestly knew nothing about. I love a book with a strong female heroine — and this one has two. Be sure to grab a box of tissues for this one.
I was intimidated by the length of this one, but then flew through it. The tales of both the parents and four sisters came together to create such a complex family drama. I didn’t want this one to end.
Best Historical Fiction
I have no idea why I waited so long to read this book that sat on my shelf for years, but now I can easily say it’s one of my favorite books ever. The author paints such a vivid picture of New York City in the late 30s, but it were the surprising twists and turns throughout the story that made this one hard to put down.
Beautiful Country is such a powerful memoir about a family that came from China only to live impoverished and face extreme racism in New York City in the 90s. Wang tells the story of being a young girl getting an education as her parents struggle to earn money.
I honestly had trouble with this one and didn’t give it a 5 star rating at first. But when I reflected on how much I thought about this book and the feelings it brought out in me, I knew how powerful the story and writing were. As a mom, reading about a lack of connection between her and her daughter — and so much more — truly spooked me.
I highly recommend The Hate U Give. The main character lives in two worlds in high school — a poor neighborhood and a fancy private school. When she sees her unarmed friend shot by a police officer, she has to come to grips with what happened and her role in fighting for justice.
I made big strides this year in helping set boundaries with my work, and this book definitely played a role. Whether you need better boundaries with others or with how you live, this is a fantastic read.
Want more book recommendations? These were my favorite books of 2020. Thanks for following along on my reading journey this year!