My 5 Favorite Books of the Year

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!

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Baby it’s Cold Outside Book Tag

Thank you so much to Cherelle @A Bolt Out of the Book, Madeline @The Bookish Mutant and Cherry @Cherry Blossom Books for tagging me to do this! (wow, when did I become so immersed in the blogging community that I get tagged 3 times for something!) I am so so so sorry it took me so long to get this out…I know that it may be a little past the time when this tag is appropriate to do but I’m going to go ahead and do it anyways since the questions aren’t thaaaaat related to the holidays (if they are, well, just let me do my tag in peace).

~Rules~

  • Thank the person who tagged you and link to their post.
  • Display the banner (copy and paste).
  • Link to the original creator: erin @ Reading On A Star !
  • Answer the questions!
  • Tag however many people as you want!

~Questions~

Snow Day: What’s your comfort book?

Aaah, well it turns out I actually don’t reread many books over and over again. If I had to choose one I would probably say the Percy Jackson books (the original ones) or the Harry Potter books because when I was younger I used to just read these books over and over and over, whenever I didn’t have a book from the library or something I’d just pick these up. I can’t count how many times I’ve read the Harry Potter series. (And ever since certain comments from the author have been revealed I have yet to pick it up again. *sigh*)

Snow Angels – What’s a book that you love so much you would want to be buried with it (a little morid, but…)?

I have to choose one book to take with me to the afterlife? To read over and over again for all of eternity? Ha ha just kidding. Okay…a book that I want to be buried with. Hmm, this one’s hard. You know, in about April when I actually read this book, it was my favorite book, I absolutely loved it, it was awesome…and then I read a lot of other books, got more immersed in the reading (and blogging) community and it sort of got pushed to the background. But I think for this one, I will say All the Stars and Teeth by Adalyn Grace. It’s adventure fantasy so it’s just really fun to read and…well there are parts of it that are a little cliche, it’s soooort of just another adventure fantasy but I really really enjoyed it.

Warm Socks – What’s a book that makes you feel warm inside? (The fluffiest, cutest romance you’ve ever read?)

So…I do not like romance much. Like, at all. I really really don’t enjoy reading books that are just straight up romance, as in that’s a main part of the book.
However. I suppose for this question I will say…well this is a bit of a weird one, since they’re not really a main couple in the book but then again they might be in book 3…anyways, I’m going to say Sev and Kane from Crown of Feathers. Yeah, not a romance AT ALL but…I dunno. And, disclaimer, I read this book a while ago so I might not be remembering Kane’s name right…my brain is swiss cheese. I apologize.
I don’t know what it was about them that made me like them…I mean it was a biiiit of an enemies to lovers romance but they weren’t enemies, they just disliked each other…anyways, whatever it was, I shipped them from the moment Kane appeared in the book (yes, when the two still disliked each other)

Hot Cocoa – What winter-themed novels have you previously read?

Yeah, I really don’t read many seasonal novels. I’m not even sure what winter-themed means….I mean, I suppose, like, it’s winter out? Cold and snow? Which, you know, is a liiiittle odd since there’s plenty of places that never even get snow but okay I’ll go with it. For some reason the book that first comes to my mind is Absolutely Truly, by Heather Vogel Fredricks. This is a middle grade novel that I read several years ago and if I recall correctly it’s based mainly, if not completely, in a small town in…New Hampshire? Vermont? In the winter.

Sledding – What’s a book with the best plot twists? Who’s an author that always keeps you on your toes?

I’ll have you know that it took considerable self restraint NOT to put Four Dead Queens here (and if you want to see the numerous posts where I talk about the crazy plot twist in this book, see my yearly wrap up, my liebster award post, and my original tag, the 2020 book tag). Instead, I chose Eight Will Fall by Sarah Harian. This is possibly the only spooky (I guess horror?) YA book that I’ve ever read but I REALLY loved it. There were definitely a lot of twists that I never really expected.

Ugly Sweaters – What’s a book with the ugliest cover?

So, I’m going to have to agree with Cherelle on this one that A Court of Silver Flames has a REALLY ugly cover. But I’ll also say a book that I’ve actually read because I’ve never read any ACOTAR books and will probably never read them. So I’ll go with Lupe Wong Won’t Dance. This is a middle grade novel so maybe it’s a little unfair of me since I understand that even the covers of middle grade novels are a little different than YA novels but I feel like in this cover there’s way too much going on in this cover. The main premise of Lupe Wong Won’t Dance is this girl who’s a huge Mariners fan and a huge baseball player as well–she plans to be a pitcher in the major leagues. Her uncle works for the Mariners and promises Lupe that he’ll introduce her to her favorite baseball player if she gets all A’s in school. But then, in gym which she loves, it’s the square dancing unit and Lupe does NOT want to square dance.
I didn’t like this cover for a few reasons. There’s a lot going on in this cover–we have her school’s mascot behind her on what I assume is the gym floor? And then around Lupe there’s people dancing–square dancing, I assume. The title is also super colorful and just all those different colors and things happening, it’s a lot for eyes to take in? But also, there’s a lot of words on the cover. Of course we have the title, in large letters at the bottom, and then the author, but also Lupe’s jersey that she’s wearing has the words ‘Mexinese’ on it–Lupe is mexinese and that’s definitely touched on in the book–as well as her school mascot behind her has words around that. I feel like on a cover, really the only words should be the title, the author and maybe a short phrase or something.
Lastly, the jersey she’s wearing isn’t the same colors as a Mariners jersey and I know it’s not a Mariner’s jersey but I feel like since that’s her favorite team it should be at least the same colors. These are the colors of a Mets jersey.
(please excuse the formatting for this answer. Thank you)

Movie Marathon – What’s the last book you binge read?

I’ve actually been reading a lot of books really quickly, lately…I’ve spent a lot of time, just, reading which is pretty nice. So, there’s been several books that I read in under 24 hours but I think I’ll say that the last book I actually binge read was probably Ice Dogs by Terry Lynn Johnson. I read this in one sitting, in a little under 2 hours I think. Someone I know had been RAVING about this book so I picked it up one day and just gave it a go. It was…pretty interesting? A really cool adventure, and crazy that it was realistic fiction. I learned some survival skills and it was cool that it was about dog sledding since you don’t see many books about that.

Letter to Santa – What’s a book that’s on your wishlist this year?

Well, here’s the one question that is a biiiit out of season. But fortunately, there’s birthdays! Eventually! I’m not actually gonna tell you when my birthday is (sorry guys) but I WILL tell you it’s in less than a year. I know, that really narrowed it down.
Aaanyways, either my birthday or Christmas will come first or maybe someone will just give me a book randomly (every reader’s dream). But the book that I probably want most for a holiday would be…A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder. I’ve heard a lot about this book and it’s a mystery and I’ve recently been reading more mysteries and they’re super interesting and yeah I just want to read this now!

~Tags~

Well it’s a little late in the season to tag anyone, However, there’s been several new bloggers in the goodreads YA book blogs group (check it out if you haven’t already!) and I thought I’d tag them! So I’ll tag:

Well, friends, that’s this week’s post! Have you read any of these books! And be sure to check out the four blogs I tagged–they’re new bloggers and would love your support! As always, thank you so much for popping by and checking my post out! It means the world. Stay safe and keep on reading!