Hi! I’ve been awol for a while now, but I decided today that it was time to come back and that it (hopefully) isn’t too late to be doing a post that everyone else did in the first week of January…
Anyway, I read 73 books in 2021(!!!) and picking my top 10 was so much fun! So many wonderful books came out last year and it was definitely difficult to decide, but I finally narrowed it down and have 10 exciting YA fantasy, contemporary and thriller recommendations. So, without further ado, the 10 best books I read last year:
Number 10: XOXO – This was one of my last reads of 2021 so was a very last-minute addition to this list! If you love k-dramas, or idols, or cutesy YA contemporaries, I 10000000% recommend this book. It’s a super fun, super sweet, very easy read, and turned out to be exactly what I needed when I was going through a really difficult time last month. It’s my new comfort book, for sure, and I already want to read it again.
Number 9: Jade Fire Gold – This was such a fun, action-packed fantasy read! It fits right into its genre, but I found the protagonists especially easy to root for and I got completely sucked in by the plot. It was a cover-buy that turned into one of my favourite fantasies of the year and, if that sounds like your kind of thing, I’d completely recommend.
Number 8: Once Upon a Broken Heart – I read the Caraval series for the first time fairly recently and, whilst I loved Jacks, I didn’t love him as part of the love triangle that he was in, so I was really excited to learn that he was going to be a protagonist in this one. This book flawlessly lifted him to be one of my favourite protagonists of the year, and I’m so excited to read the next part of his story.
Number 7: All of Us Villains – I’m obsessed with this book. I read it in November last year and I literally still cannot get it out of my head. The multiple perspectives meant I found myself rooting for different characters at different times, but Alistair Lowe is genuinely one of my new favourite protagonists ever and I desperately need to read more about him. Anyway… if you like morally grey protagonists, dark magic and Hunger-Games-esque Battle Royale plots, this book is IT.
Number 6: Gilded – So this book and the next one are both the newest books from very established YA writers that I’m embarrassed I haven’t read before. I’ve had a few of Marissa Meyer’s books on my shelf for years but this is the first one I got round to reading, and I cannot believe how much I’ve been missing out. The world-building was incredible, the protagonist was super fun to root for, though reckless to a fault, and the love interest is a definite new favourite for me.
Number 5: Defy the Night – As with Marissa Meyer, I can’t actually believe I haven’t read any of Brigid Kemmerer’s books before and I’m definitely a little mad at myself for it. Defy the Night is fun, exciting and pretty reminiscent of the 2014 YA that made me fall in love with reading in the first place. It’s not a short book but I was so hooked that I found myself reading it in literally every spare second I had until I was done and got through it, fairly obsessively, in a matter of days.
Number 4: Not Here to Be Liked – This book is the most unexpected one on this list because it’s pretty far from my usual favourite genre, but I completely adored it! It’s incredibly feminist and informative but, while many books with this level of agenda sometimes feel a little too forcefully educational, this one just felt inspiring and fascinating. This, alongside an adorable romance plot and a fiery, unapologetic protagonist, got it added to my top 10 list faster than most of the other ones here.
Number 3: Cemetery Boys – This was literally my first read of the year, and I read it because it was recommended for my ’12 friends, 12 books’ TBR. The description alone had me convinced I was going to love it, but Yadriel and Julian were such perfect protagonists, the LGBTQ+ representation was incredible and, despite having read like a hundred books since this one, I still can’t get it out of my head.
Number 2: Spin the Dawn – This book completely blew me away when I read it. I admit that I wanted it initially because of the cover, but Elizabeth Lim’s storytelling was so mesmerising that I fell completely in love. The sequel, by the way, is equally perfect and Elizabeth Lim’s other recent novel, Six Crimson Cranes, is ALSO incredible! After reading three of her books in quick succession last year, I’d definitely consider her one of my new auto-buy authors.
Number 1: As Good As Dead – …is my absolute favourite book of the year and, honestly, one of my favourite books ever. I was obsessed with A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder when I first read it, and I loved book two, but book three took this series in a direction that I wasn’t entirely prepared for but fell completely in love with. This book was so dark, so twisty and so incredibly clever that I will literally never ever stop recommending it to everyone who will listen.
And that’s all of them! I’d love to hear what your favourite reads of last year were, and if you agree with any of my choices!