Fiction Read in 2021

Happy New Year! As always, last year was full of great reads. While I’m not keeping up the blog so actively anymore for individual book reviews, I’m still tracking my reading and excited to discuss the stories I’ve enjoyed. While I read mostly non-fiction last year, I did make time for 25 novels in various genres. I’ll blurb them here as my year in review:

This was a DNF which I reviewed here. I think the author has a good thing going here so I may revisit in 2022!

Gripping YA philosophical dystopia. Strong world-building.

I don’t know why I was so reluctant to jump on the bandwagon but finally decided to see what everyone was buzzing about. Glad I did! This was a beautiful YA LGBTQ romance.

Started reading this sci-fi romance on Kindle Unlimited and couldn’t put it down. Very cute YA paranormal sci-fi romance/buddy road trip novel.

A little silly and dated, but I was curious and it was on KU. Cool that this book basically started the YA horror genre!

Wanted to give Fear Street another chance, so I tried the next one. I think my issue is that it’s quite dated as YA has evolved so much since this was originally published.

SUCH A GOOD NOVEL! Ambitious, spanning from the dawn of human civilization to the late 1800s. Each individual story touched me deeply in its own way. What a journey! Highly recommend to fans of historical women’s fiction with a touch of magical realism.

Review can be found here.

Decent cultural read for fans of John Green and YA books about culture and mental illness.

Review can be found here.

Review can be found here.

Review can be found here.

This is one of the COOLEST books I’ve ever read. It’s got everything: YA, horror, sci-fi, mystery, suspense… Reminded me of a Bradbury novel. One of my new favorites.

Dark & fun haunted mansion mystery. Spooky and sassy YA horror. I liked it!

This book was a decent way to spend an afternoon on Halloween weekend. Nothing paranormal, just survival suspense and a little torture horror, but at a YA level.

Read this YA serial killer horror on Halloween 2021. While it fit the mood and was super suspenseful at first, I don’t understand the author’s decision to reveal who the killer was midway through the novel. A mystery until the end would’ve been far more suspenseful. Motive was OK but could’ve been more fleshed-out.

This has got to be the freakiest YA horror novel I’ve ever read. The paranormal/psychic element is super neat and the weird, atmospheric bayou swamp town and its creepy secret-keeping residents made the whole story genuinely terrifying. Easily one of my favorite books.

Perfect for fans of Horrid (above) and The Dead Girls of Hysteria Hall. Another haunted mansion YA horror with a feminist twist. I couldn’t stop reading.

This one I couldn’t connect with. It was well-written for an historical, but seemed derivative of so many other things. I think on Goodreads I posted that it was like a paranormal Mysterious Benedict Society, except if Mr. Benedict was Satan. Seemed like it was trying to be the next Miss Peregrine’s, but unlike Miss Peregrine’s, had no likable protagonist.

I’m going to echo everybody else on the Internet and describe it as sapphic YA academia horror. My 2 qualms with it are: (1) The author should’ve made the characters college students and set the story in the 1960s (or at the very least, the ’80s), because that would’ve better explained why modern-day high school girls were living as full-grown adults, smoking cigarettes, drinking whiskey, wearing old-world fashion, typed on typewriters, and owned no cell phones; and (2) the writing & characters were pretentious, but I think they were supposed to be. Other than that, Ellis was a fascinating character and I stayed up all night to read this!

From the very beginning, I was invested in little Mary’s voice and story. Very solid historical women’s fiction for YA and adult readers.

This was a DNF from 2007 that I finally circled back to reread and finish. BEST DECISION EVER. I cannot say enough about how much I loved this book, how poignant and haunting it was. This is magical realism at its finest. Just an evocative, strange, unforgettable work of genius. Another new favorite.

I finally read this children’s Holocaust classic. It’s short but oh so powerful. Everyone on Planet Earth should read this book. Timeless, tragic, and unforgettable.

I thought I would enjoy an Anastasia retelling, but unfortunately found this one predictable and contrived. Like the author had nothing new to say or add to the movie. That said, I did find it well-written and liked Nadya as a character. I think I would’ve enjoyed this more if I were middle school-aged.

Technically, I finished reading this in 2022, but I couldn’t not include it. What a way to end the year with another fantastic read! This coming-of-age historical women’s fiction chronicles the lives of 2 orphans from 2 different time periods. A masterfully structured, heartrending novel with a happy ending. Loved this! Add to favorites!

So, there you have it, my 2021 fiction reading year in review. Looking forward to more riveting and fantastic reads in 2022!

What are you reading? Follow me on Goodreads and let’s connect!

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