It’s the end of 2021. And I literally cannot believe that I’m writing these words so soon.
It feels like just yesterday that I posted my massive January of 2021 wrap up, reading 26 books and talking about how the new year has just started. This entire year has gone by way too fast, and so many things have happened, some good, some bad. But one constant is that I still read a lot and that I’m still bad at keeping track of my books.
Last year, my first end-of-year in the blogging community, I remember being so impressed with all the graphs and charts and lovely posts that everyone rolled out talking about their spreadsheets they kept of the books they read, and how much data they had, and everything like that. It was something I really really wanted to do, and I started a new spreadsheet for 2021 immediately, looking forwards to creating those lovely graphs at the end of the year.
I got exactly 4 books into the spreadsheet before I gave up.
So, unfortunately for both me and everyone here who’s reading this and really wanted to see some pretty graphs, there will be none in this post. Instead, I will do my best to talk about my favorite books of 2021 without the aid of graphs, using simply my own terrible memory for help.
Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender
Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender was without a doubt my favorite book of 2021. I read this book right at the beginning of the year, back in January when I had that phenomenal reading month (26 books, I truly do not understand my own power). And wow, I remember loving this so much. I just talked about it over and over on my blog, to my friends, to everyone.
I do not remember books. I’ll read one book, and the next week, the plot will have totally slipped from my mind. But Felix Ever After is a book that I remembered. It was just such an amazing book that brought to light so many issues, gave so much amazing representation, and just wove a totally awesome story, that I’ve thought about this thing ever since I read it, even asking for it for Christmas despite the fact that I’ve read it before (this is a rare occurrence; if I read a book from the library, I almost never then request to own it).
Loveless by Alice Oseman
This book, you guys. Like honestly, just this book. It is so amazing, so beautiful that I just don’t know what to say. Loveless, by Alice Oseman, follows Georgia as she starts University and learns some new terms, and begins questioning her own sexuality. Throughout the book, she realizes that she is aromantic and asexual and comes to terms with this.
Loveless is such an important book to the aroace community (okay I can’t speak for everyone, but at least for me). It is so hard to find aroace rep of any kind in books, and to have this one come out and not only have an aroace main character but to follow that main character’s questioning journey and journey with coming to terms with herself is just so important to have in books. And not only was this book great for the representation, but the characters were the literal best, I mean Oseman went above and beyond with all the side characters in this one, and the plot was extremely interesting throughout the whole book.
Not My Problem by Ciara Smyth
Not only was Not My Problem one of my favorite’s of the year, but it was probably also the funniest book that I read all year. There are books whose plot is funny, but then there are books whose character is actually funny, the main character actually has that type of personality that makes you laugh, and actually having that woven into the character and making it authentic is not something that many books are able to pull off.
Humor aside, this was an awesome book. The characters–I feel like I’ve been talking about characters a lot–were absolutely amazing, they each had their own unique personalities and did their own things and it all felt very real. Besides, there was some more great representation in this book (seems like representation=favorite books) and another thing that was interesting to read about was how Aideen, the main character, was poor because really, this is not at all something that is addressed in YA books, and it was good to see.
A Clash of Steel by CB Lee
When I started A Clash of Steel, I did not expect it to make it onto my favorites of the year list. The thing about this book is that it starts out slow. It’s a bit over 400 pages I think (I actually don’t remember, it could be anywhere from 300 to 500 for all I know, but goodreads says 432), but the inciting incident, which is mentioned in the synopsis, doesn’t happen until over 100 pages in.
But wow, once this book picks up, it certainly picks up, and while I don’t read many pirate adventures, this one was certainly one of the best. A Clash of Steel is a Treasure Island retelling, and I actually have not read Treasure Island before, nor do I know much about it (I assume there is some kind of treasure involved, correct?), I’m beginning to wonder if I should pick it up. It’d been a while since I last read a full blown adventure book, and I do believe that I forgot how much I enjoyed these kinds of things.
Perfect on Paper by Sophie Gonzales
I read Perfect on Paper at the peak of my realistic fiction reading binge, and if any of the books that I read stood out, it was this one. It had a really unique plot and the characters were great and the representation was great and EVERYTHING WAS GREAT (you’re welcome for that 10/10 analysis).
Okay, but if you’d like me to be a little bit calmer: probably the best thing about this book was the deep dive it takes into biphobia, especially internalized biphobia. There have been more or more books recently that have bi characters, but rarely does a book look so deeply into the way that bi people are sometimes treated by the rest of the LGBTQ+ community (particularly gay and lesbian people, more specifically).
But while this book does have stellar representation, I mean it’s also just a great book. Like I mentioned before, the characters are really well written and they all have their own personalities, the plot stays interesting and progresses nicely and, of course, there’s plenty of banter.
Well, that’s it for my 2021 books of the year! Have you read any of these books? What did you think of them? What are some of your favorite books of this year? Let’s talk in the comments!