Monday, December 13, 2021

Favorite Books of 2021

Wow, if I thought 2020 was pitiful when it comes to how many books I read, then 2021 is even worse! It's been a trying year, to say the very least, which has made it hard to keep up with reading consistently. And though I have enjoyed many of the books that I have read, very few of them have really knocked my socks off and pulled me in to the point where I just have to keep reading. Has anyone else struggled to keep up with reading this past year, or is it just me?

Nonetheless, I do have some favorites of the year, so let's go ahead and get to them...
A Good Girl's Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson
Synopsis:  For readers of Kara Thomas and Karen McManus, an addictive, twisty crime thriller with shades of Serial and Making a Murderer about a closed local murder case that doesn't add up, and a girl who's determined to find the real killer--but not everyone wants her meddling in the past. Everyone in Fairview knows the story. Pretty and popular high school senior Andie Bell was murdered by her boyfriend, Sal Singh, who then killed himself. It was all anyone could talk about. And five years later, Pip sees how the tragedy still haunts her town. But she can't shake the feeling that there was more to what happened that day. She knew Sal when she was a child, and he was always so kind to her. How could he possibly have been a killer? Now a senior herself, Pip decides to reexamine the closed case for her final project, at first just to cast doubt on the original investigation. But soon she discovers a trail of dark secrets that might actually prove Sal innocent . . . and the line between past and present begins to blur. Someone in Fairview doesn't want Pip digging around for answers, and now her own life might be in danger. This is the story of an investigation turned obsession, full of twists and turns and with an ending you'll never expect. 

Why it made the list: I've been very into mysteries of late, probably because they actually keep me invested and tend to be page-turners compared to other genres. This year, this mystery in particular was my favorite. It's definitely very pertinent to today in how people are so interested in true crime, in particular women, for some reason. And if you've ever considered yourself an amateur sleuth, then you will certainly relate to the main character, Pip, in this story.

Skyhunter by Marie Lu
Synopsis: In a world broken by war, a team of young warriors is willing to sacrifice everything to save what they love. The Karensa Federation has conquered a dozen countries, leaving Mara as one of the last free nations in the world. Refugees flee to its borders to escape a fate worse than death—transformation into mutant war beasts known as Ghosts, creatures the Federation then sends to attack Mara. The legendary Strikers, Mara's elite fighting force, are trained to stop them. But as the number of Ghosts grows and Karensa closes in, defeat seems inevitable. Still, one Striker refuses to give up hope. Robbed of her voice and home, Talin Kanami knows firsthand the brutality of the Federation. Their cruelty forced her and her mother to seek asylum in a country that considers their people repugnant. She finds comfort only with a handful of fellow Strikers who have pledged their lives to one another and who are determined to push Karensa back at all costs. When a mysterious prisoner is brought from the front, Talin senses there’s more to him than meets the eye. Is he a spy from the Federation? Or could he be the weapon that will save them all? 

Why it made the list: I have read nearly all of Marie Lu's books, and while I have enjoyed some more than others, they are all almost always interesting stories about different worlds where marginalized people must overcome some sort of oppressor. Interestingly, at this moment I am reading the sequel to Skyhunter, Steelstriker, and it's not grabbing me nearly as much as this first book did, which is a shame as I really enjoyed Skyhunter and was looking forward to the sequel. Action, mystery, hints of romance, and of course, lots of personal trauma and drama, if you love a good scifi fantasy, then I would give Skyhunter a try.

The Searcher by Tana French

Synopsis: Retired detective Cal Hooper moves to a remote village in rural Ireland. His plans are to fix up the dilapidated cottage he's bought, to walk the mountains, to put his old police instincts to bed forever. Then a local boy appeals to him for help. His brother is missing, and no one in the village, least of all the police, seems to care. And once again, Cal feels that restless itch. Something is wrong in this community, and he must find out what, even if it brings trouble to his door.

Why it made the list: Another mystery? Yes, this time by one of my favorite mystery writers, Tana French. Though this isn't in her Dublin Murder Squad series, it does still take place in Ireland and does still feature a mystery. If you've ever read any of her other books, this one will not disappoint. And if you haven't read any of her books, why not? They're all well-done, and The Searcher is no exception.

Other books I enjoyed this year, but wouldn't call my favorites: To Sleep in a Sea of Stars by Christopher Paolini, The Cousins by Karen McManus, The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by VE Schwab.

You can check out all of the books I’ve read on my Goodreads page, but let me know if you’ve had any favorites from this year that I should check out!

Past Years:
2020 | 20192018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012

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