2021 was a big year of reading for me! I stepped outside my comfort level and read books from new genres, took up some classics, and discovered new favorites. I discovered my favorite writer (Michael Crichton) and Waterstones, and those things alone make it a pretty successful year if I do say so myself. I also finally reached my book reading goal, and even surpassed it- I read 50 books this year!
Instead of listing my top favorite books of the year, I decided to rank every book I read this year- the good, the bad, and the mediocre. I decided not to rank the following books simply because of their nature- one of them being a rereading of my favorite book- but I wanted to document the fact that I read them:
I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness by Austin Channing Brown
A line that I still think about: “Sadly, most white people are more worried about being called racist than about whether or not their actions are in fact racist or harmful.”
Freddie Mercury: The Definitive Biography by Lesley-Ann Jones
An insightful look into Freddie Mercury’s life, fame, and relationships.
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
My favorite book, which I reread and annotated for my sister; after COVID, the story feels very different but is still just as amazing.
And now, without further ado, I present to you my official ranking of the books I read in 2021, with a sentence that accurately depicts my feelings on the book:
47. One Last Stop by Casey McQuinston
I am so sorry but I hated this book. The attempt at being quirky annoyed me so much, the plot was all over the place (and a lot of useless plot points that didn’t need to happen), and I did not like the main characters (side characters were cool, but more “quirky” overboard).
46. American Royals by Katharine McGee
Maybe I’m just not the target demographic for these types of stories, but I can’t help but feel like all these royal teenagers have MUCH more important things going on in their lives than who they currently have a crush on.
45. Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust
There were a few rare moments when I enjoyed this book, but many where I really didn’t; main character felt weirdly inconsistent and she just really annoyed me.
44. Hyde by Craig Russell
I really enjoyed the writing style in the beginning, but I didn’t care much for the main character which made it hard to care about the story. There was also a lot of useless homophobia that made me very uncomfortable, and another pointless romance.
43. Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me by Marino Tamaki and Rosemary Valero-O’Connell
Graphic novel, not awful but fairly forgettable.
42. Felix Ever After by Karen Callender
I really appreciate the representation and self-discovery in this story, but it fell flat overall.
41. Written in the Stars by Alexandria Bellefleur
Sometimes I think I should stop trying to read romance books; is it really enemies-to-lovers if they like each other after their second encounter??
40. Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan
Dramatic and entertaining, but it’s hard to be sympathetic to the struggles of billionaires.
39. The Falling in Love Montage by Ciara Smyth
Felt like your typical YA cheesy rom-com, cute but not my style (at least it was gay).
38. Wilder Girls by Rory Power
I liked the way information was slowly revealed as the plot progressed, it helped make the story more intense and interesting.
37. Pirate Latitudes by Michael Crichton
Not a bad story- good adventure and danger, morally-grey characters, entertaining!
36. Airframe by Michael Crichton
The beauty of Michael Crichton’s writing carried into this one, but the story wasn’t quite as enjoyable as others.
35. They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera
Interesting concept with nice character growth, but it felt like with the hype surrounding the book, it was lacking.
34. With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo
Quick-paced coming-of-age novel, felt very typical but the characters were enjoyable.
33. Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
Very intriguing, beautiful writing style; I loved the way information was revealed to the readers at different times than the characters.
32. Queen’s Shadow by EK Johnston
Sadly my only Star Wars read of the year; a little slow at times but still interesting learning more about Padme’s life.
31. Wishbone: A Memoir in Fractures by Julie Marie Wade
Very inventive way of telling a story- I liked some styles of writing better than others, but overall, it was a very well-written and interesting memoir!
30. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz
Cute story and interesting writing style, took me a minute but I ended up enjoying it!
29. Anxious People by Fredrick Backman
I typically love when random characters connect in odd, but something was missing. I think it was trying too hard.
28. Happiness is Wasted on Me by Kirkland Ciccone
Told over a decade, unique and wonderful character voice that carries the story.
27. The List of Things That Will Not Change by Rebecca Stead
Cute and light-hearted middle-grade novel, it was a nice escape but written well.
26. It Came From the Sky by Chelsea Sedoti
Very fast-paced story that kept me interested all the way through; felt a little outlandish but the main characters helped make up for it.
25. Middlemarch by George Eliot
This thick book took me so long to get through, but I thoroughly enjoyed the writing style, the drama, and the romances.
24. Fellowship of the Ring by JRR Tolkien
Took me some time to get into it, but it is enjoyable once you understand the writing style.
23. Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
My sister annotated this book for me, which I think helped me enjoy it more because it was like I was reading it with her; a solid mix of story, character building, and detail.
22. Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo
Beautifully written, full-formed characters and setting with a good message; I love novels in verse!
21. What’s Not To Love by Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka
My favorite writing duo did very well with this one! Enemies-to-lovers that really worked, such good banter, and the development of a relationship made me smile so much.
20. The Two Towers by JRR Tolkien
Now we’re getting somewhere- exciting and enjoyable, and Tolkien’s writing style is growing on me.
19. The Vanishing Half by Britt Bennett
I understand the hype- it is well deserved! Great storytelling, beautiful writing.
18. The Mountains Sing by Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai
Beautiful and heartbreaking generational story, touching on the effects of war on a family.
17. The Road Trip by Beth O’Leary
Such a cute romance told through flashbacks with actual strong character growth and an amazing sister relationship.
16. The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas
Heartbreakingly real and relevant, stirs up a lot of emotions, but is very important.
15. The Return of the King by JRR Tolkien
My favorite of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, a great ending.
14. The Henna Wars by Adiba Jaigirdar
Now THIS is how you write a sapphic YA novel! So well-written, every scene had a purpose, beautiful and well-rounded characters, and a sister relationship that brought me to tears.
13. The Cat and the City by Nick Bradley
A really interesting group of characters whose lives connect in various ways.
12. Loveless by Alice Oseman
ASEXUAL AND AROMANTIC REPRESENTATION!!!
11. Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney
A great introduction to Sally Rooney, I really enjoyed the descriptions and how messy and complicated the characters and their relationships were.
10. Timeline by Michael Crichton
More amazing writing by Mr. Michael Crichton, kept me on the edge of my seat and he never failed to surprise me!
9. The Shadow of Kyoshi by FC Yee and Michael Dante DiMartino
It’s hard for a sequel to live up to the amazing first book, but this one did it! I love Kyoshi, and it was so cool to learn more about the Fire Nation.
8. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Breathtaking characters and storytelling, very interesting style of writing, felt very real and inspiring.
7. The Love Curse of Melody McIntyre by Robin Talley
We love a good gay musical theater story- it was everything I wanted and more.
6. Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Everything about this book was beautiful; I loved the usage of time throughout the story, and I cried several times.
5. Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner
So thought provoking and beautiful- made me sob like no book has done before.
4. The Rise of Kyoshi by FC Yee and Michael Dante DiMartino
Perfect! It felt like I was watching Avatar- the same vibe and style as the show, very consistent!
3. The Lost World by Michael Crichton
All the best parts of Jurassic Park minus Dr. Grant, but more Malcolm is always a good thing.
2. East of Eden by John Steinbeck
A true masterpiece with beautiful storytelling and unforgettable characters.
1. Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton
This book made me fall in love. Brilliant storytelling and world building, incredible all the way through, Michael Crichton at his best.
I have so many exciting books on my list for 2022 and I can’t wait to see what my favorite reads of the new year will be!