Top 17 Books of 2021 & The Winners of Goodreads Choice Awards 2021
This year was full of adventures and quickly passed behind the curtain of the pandemic.
When deciding what to read next, it's always hard to chose. That's why we constantly searching for new titles and not only from traditional publishers but also from self-publishing community in the hope of finding something that will blow our minds! The winners of Goodreads Choice Awards 2021 are included under our selection (updated on December 9), you can also check whether our choice matches with the crowd.
These are our selection and the winner books of Goodreads Choice Awards 2021:
The Sentence, by Louise Erdrich
Louise Erdrich's new novel The Sentence asks what we owe to the living, the dead, to the reader and to the book. A store in Minneapolis is haunted by its most annoying customer for an entire year beginning on All Souls' Day 2019.
Flora was an old lady who simply refused to leave because she didn't want her friends or family members alone. Tookie, who has landed a job selling books after years of incarceration that she survived by reading with murderous attention, must solve the mystery of this haunting.
This novel by Louise Erdrich explores two very different perspectives on prison sentences and the power of language over it all.
Beautiful World, Where Are You, by Sally Rooney
Young people in Dublin, Ireland share an absurd chain of events during a subverted night out.
When Alice, a novelist who writes about an anarchist society in medieval England, meets Felix and asks him to go to Rome with her he must decide if he would like to go. In Dublin, Eileen, her best friend is trying to recover from her last breakup by going on random dates with men who are not right for her. Ultimately she slips back into sleeping with Simon after they have met again at their childhood home near the beach.
Mystery & Thriller category
Our Selection & Winner
The Last Thing He Told Me, by Laura Dave
Hannah Hall knows exactly to whom the note on her pillow refers. The sixteen year old daughter of her husband, Owen, whose mysterious disappearance has unfortunately caught the attention of the FBI.
She has let herself grow increasingly paranoid; worrying that he isn't who he says he is and fearing for what his relationship with that man might mean. The note only deepened her concerns as it confirmed she was right about something important.
Now, as Hannah's phone calls to Owen go unanswered and his unexpected arrest becomes imminent; as a US Marshall and even FBI agents come knocking at her door all but unannounced. She quickly understands how much worse things will become if she can't figure out who Owen really is and why he left for good.
Historical Fiction category
West with Giraffes, by Lynda Rutledge
In 1938, the Great Depression digs deep hole in the society and Hitler began threatening Europe The protagonist found two giraffes that survived a hurricane while crossing the Atlantic.
The tale weaves real-life figures with fictional ones, including headlines from around the world.
West with Giraffes is coming of age story about a man whose aimless life is changed when he drives across the country to deliver all-American giraffes to an exotic zoo. The book explores what it means to be grown up but not loosing all your dreams!
Malibu Rising, by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Malibu, 1983. It’s the day of Nina Riva’s annual end-of-summer party, and anticipation is at a fever pitch. Everyone wants to be around the famous Rivas: Nina, the talented surfer and supermodel; brothers Jay and Hud, one a championship surfer, the other a renowned photographer; and their adored baby sister, Kit. Together the siblings are magnetic center of fascination in Malibu and beyond—especially as the offspring of great music icon Mick Riva.
It was midnight, and the party was already out of control. Within a matter of hours the Riva mansion would be engulfed in flames. Before that first spark of fire in the early hours before sunrise, they would all have drank till they were completely soused, played some music and whisperings would have been exchanged between family members along with many other secrets.
Our Selection & Winner
A Court of Silver Flames, by Sarah J. Maas
Nesta Archeron always knew that she was capable of achieving greatness. She'd shown the world, too, with her glory days as an athlete now well behind her, Nesta is now using her bright mind to pursue newer adventures.
Of course, this also means dealing with new challenges, bigger responsibilities, and more High Fae drama than ever before. Still though Nesta isn't one to back down from a tough situation so she keeps working away at the problems swimming around in her ocean of responsibility.
A Court of Silver Flames follows Nesta and Cassian as they relive the traumatic events of their pasts, fight with fire-breathing beasties with swords drawn, find ways to smash through brick walls in order to be stronger together, lean on each other when times are rough amidst barely conquering monsters or facing battle wounds that would even turn the bravest soldier into a frightened kid.
The Ex Talk, by Rachel Lynn Solomon
A decade ago, Shay Goldstein was embarking on a media career with zero experience. It's safe to say she made the right decision! Over the years, Reilly has thrived as producer of her local Seattle radio show.
Her latest encounter is with her colleague Dominic Yun who is passionate about radio journalism but constantly challenging her opinion based on his recent career change.
Stations with failing ratings need new ideas. Shay proposes a radio show she thinks will help but her boss is slow to catch on. Fortunately, he agrees with Shay's plan after taking advice from an expert that suggests this is truly what the station needs right now. On “The Ex Talk” two ex-spouses host a radio show for people dealing with relationship issues and give live, on air advice.
People We Meet on Vacation, by Emily Henry
Poppy and Alex. Alex and Poppy – one just can't imagine life without the other. Best friends since they were in college, they are so close that they actually share a vacation home. But has something happened between them that makes the precariousness of their relationship even greater than ever before? Over the course of one summer vacation, the pair make new friends, rediscover old loves, and come to realize just how special true friendship really is.
Poppy has everything she could ever want, but she's still feeling unfulfilled. She decides to host a party in an attempt to convince her best friend (who is also her sister) that they need to go on another adventure together, just like the old days. When Misty shows up at the party and agrees, Poppy is ecstatic and the sisters go through with their plan – they head into the unknown together once again, this time leaving all of their baggage behind and letting go of the need to be perfect.
Our Selection & Winner
Project Hail Mary, by Andy Weir
Project Hailey is a 2021 science fiction novel by Andy Weir, it has been published following his second bestseller, 2017's Artemis.
Ryland Grace, a former teacher in the middle school and became an astronaut after waking up from coma. He remembers that he was sent to the Tau Ceti solar system, 12 light-years away from Earth, and was meant to find a means of reversing a solar dimming event that threatened the existence of humanity.
Ryland Grace is a perfect protagonist for sci-fi readers, his is into molecular biology and he has a real passion to teach people not just as a high school teacher.
The Drowning Kind, by Jennifer McMahon
When Jax, the main character of the novel, receives nine missed calls from her older sister, Lexie, it's just another one of her sister’s episodes. Lexie has pushed Jax away for over a year age.
But something happens very soon, next day, Lexie is dead. Drowned in the pool at their grandmother’s estate. When she arrives at the house to go through her sister’s things, she learns that Lexie was researching the history of their family and this very site.
A tepid plot driven ghost story. This story will guide the readers into the past what events happened took place in 1929. We'll experience how the protagonist explores the spooky surroundings to reveal the truth about the past.
The Final Girl Support Group, by Grady Hendrix
The one thing that Lynette would try to tell other women who were victims of a gruesome massacre is that they have to pull through no matter what happens around them. Never forget the fact that you are a survivor & don't let anyone stop you from raising your head up high.
But the thing about a final girl is that she won’t give up. No matter how bad the odds are. No matter what the upcoming hours bring. She will do whatever it takes to survive, even if that means stepping into a dark basement teeming with deadly killers and uncertain peril according to movies like Scream .
Yearbook, by Seth Rogen
This novel by Seth Rogen is somewhat of an autobiography, told through a series of funny stories about his life. The book is definitely one of our winner among Goodreads Choice Awards 2021 books. You can tell by the way it's written that Rogen started out as a comedian, and in fact the first chapter of the novel describes his starting stand-up at age 12.
The chapters are like mini comedic stories, where Rogen recalls some funny things he says he experienced during certain periods in his life. By the time you finish reading, you learn quite a significant amount about Rogen's life and upbringing while still being entertained by his wild antics and writing style.
Rogen's style of comedy is unique. You might not like it, but if you've seen any of the movies he's appeared in, then you know what his brand of comedy feels like.
Broken (in the best possible way), by Jenny Lawson
Jenny Lawson’s fans love her because she doesn't shy away from being honest. In her new book, Broken , Jenny shares what it's like to live with anxiety and depression, including the types of panic attacks she's lived through – and where you can find the best ice cream in America.
Jenny definitely has quite a unique writing style that is quite raw, but still human and honest. The stories are relatable and indulge the reader with an emotional experience. Her books have been successful, and they're well worth your time if you're a big fan of autobiographies and/or women's lives in general. She writes to be pleasing without shying away from the harsher realities of life, which happens to be something I greatly appreciate about her work.
Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don't Know, by Adam M. Grant
Adam Grant is an expert when it comes to opening other people's minds in the workplace.
As Wharton's top-rated professor he found himself being one of the world's best debaters in both high school and college. His book Think Again reviews ways to argue your point instead of starting fights, making people feel welcome in an organization, showing how vaccine whisperers are changing minds all over the country.
You'll learn how a man persuaded white supremacists to abandon hate by putting forward context alongside information, how a Frenchman convinced Yankees fans to root for the Red Sox – you might be surprised at how important empathy is when persuading someone!
Everyone has their own unique voice – it's time you use yours confidently in all aspects of your life!
The Anthropocene Reviewed, by John Green
The Anthropocene is the current geologic age and the beginning of human beings’ impact on the planet, including climate change. In these astonishing adaptations from his groundbreaking podcast of the same name, author John Green looks at facets of the human-centered planet that have been changed by humans. In general, he rates animal attributes on a five-star scale. Examples include Canada geese and down comforters.
John Green is a renowned storyteller and his gift lies at the heart of this masterful collection. Centering around one individual narrative, The Anthropocene Reviewed takes you on a journey through many different experiences of diverse locations and people.
Memoir & Autobiography category
Beautiful Things, by Hunter Biden
Hunter was two years old when he was involved in a car accident that killed his mother and sister.
In 2015, Hunter lost the one person he respected most in the world, his older brother Beau who had succumbed to cancer at the age of forty-six. These devastating loses were compounded by divorce and long battles with drug and alcohol abuse.
This book is full of raw emotions from the heart from the author. It takes us through a painful journey throughout, but we feel thankful that we were able to walk with Hunter Biden during this difficult time in his life and support him every step of the way until he felt restored enough to embrace a new, positive outlook on life.
The book makes us go deep into the author's mind and experience the effects addiction has had on his family.
Crying in H Mart, by Michelle Zauner
In this charming and vital story, author Michelle Zauner— with her charisma, sense of humor, resilience and willingness to open up about her life— draws readers in with her honest storytelling abilities. In Crying in H Mart , Zauner delves into the tale of childhood pressures that may not have been entirely normal (particularly for such a high achiever), but are far from extraordinary for those who haven’t yet learned how to “play it safe” as an adult. And through it all we see the importance of family and finding people you can trust in this world.
As she grew up, Michelle settled in New York state for college. Jobs in the restaurant industry opened up and led to performing gigs with her fledgling band and meeting the man who would become her husband. Howbeit, her Korean heritage began to feel ever more distant as she pursued what she wanted out of life. It was only after her mother's diagnosis of terminal cancer that her perspective changed once more, leading to a comprehension of why being multi-faceted may be the greatest gift of all.
History & Biography category
Amazon Unbound: Jeff Bezos and the Invention of a Global Empire, by Brad Stone
Stone's latest work is his second book, and he found a big story to tell: Amazon. This time chronicling the company's meteoric rise into becoming one of The US’s 10 most valuable organization.
This evolution hasn't come without hiccups though. Since the outbreak of The Web, which Amazon helped to spearhead, many other companies have taken its place atop the technology world.
The only downside of the book that the author doesn't make a face to face interview with Jeff, but otherwise the book is definitely one the best that tells to story of Jeff Bezos.
Empire of Pain: The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty, by Patrick Radden Keefe
In the early 2000’s, medical doctors were introduced to a new, ultra-powerful pain medication. Those who had been suffering from terminal cancer didn't want to be in pain anymore and so they chose this drug called OxyContin that was manufactured by the Sackler family. However, some of those patients who used this powerful drug found it gave them great highs and they soon started abusing the drug non-stop. Who was behind the mounting death toll?
Read “Empire of Pain” by Patrick Radden Keefe to learn more about how the Sackler family became billionaires from their controversial pharmaceutical company Purdue Pharma.
Graphic Novels & Comics category
Dune: the Graphic Novel, by Frank Herbert, illustrated by Raúl Allén and Patricia Martín
A classic sci-fi story in the form of a magnificent graphic novel.
Dune, Frank Herbert's epic science-fiction masterpiece set in the far future amidst a feudal interstellar society, is the story of how Paul Atreides accepts control of the desert planet Arrakis.
An artful mix of action, mysticism, politics and environmentalism, Dune presents a groundbreaking look at our universe as it delves into uncharted territory to offer up an enthralling fantasy tale.
Lore Olympus: Volume One, by Rachel Smythe
Rachel Smythe’s Lore Olympus series is about the Greek gods, but it’s not the buttoned up, serious take on them. Persephone and Hades privately struggle with their love for each other, but they consistently put on a show of being in control by acting as demigods to all of their worshippers.
This comic series builds intensely on a foundation of history while still eschewing traditional historical approach when it comes to storytelling. Volume One includes 25 episodes and includes Smythe’s first GCA nomination in addition to her first win!
Where Hope Comes From: Poems of Resilience, Healing and Light, by Nikita Gill
Nikita Gill's new poem collection Where Hope Comes From explores the darkness in which we find ourselves when the world seems to be falling apart around us.
Her poetry takes us on a journey through the five stages of grief caused by our collective trauma up to the five stages of hope found in our lives when we look up at the skies above us.
This collection is sure to help us, or someone you know who mourns over losses in their own lives.
The Hill We Climb: An Inaugural Poem for the Country, by Amanda Gorman
On January 20, 2021 the 6th poem for a presidential inauguration was read with great anticipation by the whole world ever since it was announced that Amanda Gorman would be the one to write and deliver a poem unto their President Joe Biden. Her ideas expressed in “An Inaugural Poem for the Country” gave people hope and made them think outside of themselves for a moment as her call for unity and healing rang throughout all who were present on that special day at such an emotional time in America's history.
This beautiful keepsake edition of this historical moment contains an enduring foreword from your past best friend Oprah Winfrey and will be cherished by any reader looking to seek inspiration in times of uncertainty during these modern times we live in!
Debut book category
The Gilded Ones, by Namina Forna
Sixteen year old Deka lives in huts with her tribe of fellow monks saving for the day when she will begin an initiation ceremony called the Blood Rite. The Blood Rite has many stages but the last stage is particularly physically taxing which is why they must all subsist on almost entirely pure freeze dried fruit pulp at least three times a day just to keep up their energy levels.
Deka can't believe how long it's taking for this thing to happen. All of the kids go through already except for her brother who is supposed to go through it tomorrow night. This stinks! Things are so unfair! She hates that she has red blood since all her friends have blue, purple, orange and all sorts of cool colors.
A bold and immersive fantasy series featuring Deka, a beloved heroine who fights for marginalized girls by defeating monsters made of their fears.
The Spanish Love Deception, by Elena Armas
I've heard a lot about this book—and for good reason! It's clearly very anticipatory, but I appreciated the different approach to some of the typical romantic storylines that you often see in contemporary novels.
Catalina Martín desperately needs a date to her sister’s wedding. Especially since the marriage is taking place in Spain and since she told everyone she had a U.S.-based boyfriend – which means that now that ex-boyfriend and his fiancée are also set to attend.
Catalina is running out of time to find someone willing to cross the Atlantic and aid in her deception!
Young Adult fiction category
Ace of Spades, by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé
The story is set at a prestigious private school called Niveus Academy.
Two students, Devon and Chiamaka are the only two black students there. Both are targeted by the Aces, neither knows who he is nor what they want. Aces is determined to have these students suffer for their choices by sharing their secrets with the school and seems to know everything about them and be everywhere.
Should they confront him? Or try to go on as if nothing were wrong? They don’t know who they can trust…
Firekeeper's Daughter, by Angeline Boulley
Eighteen-year-old Daunis Fontaine has never quite fit in, both at home and on the nearby Ojibwe reservation she was raised on. She doesn't want to disappoint her family by looking off from her dream of boarding school, but when tragedy strikes unexpectedly it complicates everything.
The only bright spot is meeting Jamie, a charming new recruit on her brother Levi's hockey team helps Daunis feel at ease with starting a new chapter of her life far away from home.
Young Adult Fantasy & Science Fiction category
Lore, by Alexandra Bracken
Every 7 years, the Agon begins…
As a way of imposing punishment for a past rebellion, nine Greek gods are forced to walk the earth as mortals, hunted down by descendants of ancient bloodlines all yearning to avenge a family member's murder at the hands of a rival line, or seize their divine power and immortality.
An easy, mythological, young adult novel to read. This book does not end in a cliffhanger and I think that's great because I don't like it when novels leave you hanging. It was a very well-constructed story and I enjoyed reading it!
Rule of Wolves, by Leigh Bardugo
When I first met Nikolai in Shadow and Bone, I really enjoyed his character. He’s another one of those characters I just feel like I know as if he were a friend. Having the opportunity to continue my journey with him felt very natural because of how much growth he has shown from the first novel to this one. The themes of love, strength and redemption run tightly through both books even though they probably don’t feel particularly strong or pronounced. Nina is a phenomenal character who goes through some incredible growth throughout her journey in this novel.
Here I sit, so torn as how to rate this book in its entirety. I liked it, but I didn't love it. As hard as I tried to put aside the distractions that marred my reading experience and enjoy this story for what it was, there were just too many off-kilter moments for me to really want to stay invested in the characters and plot of this one.
Middle Grade & Children's category
Eyes That Kiss in the Corners, by Joanna Ho
A Chinese girl notices that her eyes look different from her peers'. They have big, round eyes and long lashes just like her mother's and grandmother's.
She realizes that her eyes are like those of the women in her family who were born with a gift, a blessing they treasure as something greater than themselves.
This is a beautiful book written and illustrated. It's a great story for many cultures, not just Asian ones!
Daughter of the Deep, by Rick Riordan
Ana Dakkar is a freshman at Harding-Pencroft Academy, a five-year private school that has produced the highest percentage of graduate students accepted into the most prestigious marine programs in the world.
The school's philosophy revolves around an ongoing commitment to community service, and those who can't swim are required to participate in special remedial courses to become competent swimmers before graduation.
Professor Mint from Phoenix State University informs us that Land Institute and Harding-Pencroft have been going head to head for the past 160 years.
Every year, thousands of books that are published and become eligible for the Goodreads Choice Awards 2021. It is one of the most prestigious book awards worldwide, with many literary prizes to its name. Since we see a lot of familiar books on the list we always feel urge to share our opinion our “Goodreads Choice Awards winning titles”. But it's only one opinion at the end of the day.
This fall seventeen categories were showcased in Goodreads Choice Awards 2021. With the winner chosen by public votes, the final results have been published at the beginning of December. We would like to congratulate both to the winners and all books showcased in Goodreads Choice Awards 2021.