I know, I know, I’m late, but better late than never right? I’m really enjoying reading at the moment, and got so many new books to add to my shelf over Christmas and my Birthday, that I’m really excited to get my head down and lost in all my new books in 2022. But I read so many great stories in 2021 that I really wanted to do a recap and shout out my favourite novels before moving on to the next batch! So without much more babbling from me, here’s a brief synopsis of the books I loved in 2021.
A dual perspective novel- which I love- showcasing the depths of white privilege and racism in modern day America. It is told from the perspective of both a struggling young black woman named Emira, and Alyx, the middle class white woman who hires her as her baby-sitter. The story opens with a public incident born from systemic racism in a supermarket, and so from the get-go you begin to learn about the characters and how their lives are affected and driven by privilege and racism. Reid’s writing also explores a variety of relatable socio-economic struggles, and although there is not too much depth in the actual dialogue in this book, it is definitely a modern eye opener and really makes you open your eyes that little bit wider after reading.
A real easy holiday read, as you could guess from the title. It follows the main character Poppy and her tradition to travel with her best friend Alex over the course of their 10 year friendship. The novel explores the fun and vibrancy of each place they travel to, whilst also capturing really sweet moments within their friendship, all whilst heading towards the present day. I read this in September whilst lapping up the final days of sunshine, and it really was a joyous read. It is bit corny and the main character can actually be a little annoying, but the connection between the two characters in this book is gripping, not to mention the sexual tension that the author manages to create, I’ve actually never read anything that builds up so much. Definitely recommend fo your next summer holiday.
A real different one for me here with it being a mystery novel. I know the whole point of reading book in general is that you don’t know what is going to happen, but with this one, I had absolutely no idea what was going to happen in the next chapter, never mind the end of the book! The story see’s Libby receive a long-awaited letter on her 25th birthday, which she hopes will help her find out about her birth-parents. Little does she know what else was going to be unvieled from receiving this life-changing letter… Turn’s out she inherits something big, and I mean BIG! And the can of worms that it opens is next-level. I don’t want to spoil anything, go and read it! This one would be an insane Netflix series, let’s hope one day we will see it!
It wouldn’t be a yearly book highlight if there wasn’t some TJR in the mix now would it?! I am slowly working my through her back catalogue after reading Daisy Jones & The Six, and The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo (which I think is one of my favourite EVER reads), so After I do was the 3rd instalment from TJR to hit my shelf. I loved it! I hadn’t heard any hype about the rest of her novels but I loved the first 2 so much that I gathered all of her writing will be a good read for me -and I’m right so far. After I Do basically surrounds a sticking point in a 10 year relationship of a Lauren and Ryan, who met in their teens at University and went on to get married. As she approaches 30, Lauren started to feel the relationship isn’t right anymore and worries they are falling out of love after potentially getting married too young. The couple decide to take a complete break for 1 whole year, only rule being that they cannot contact one another- at all. The journey follows Lauren’s self-discovery and some real ups and downs… but after the year apart and everything they learnt whilst separated, is the relationship going to be worth salvaging and fighting for?
In honesty this was a slow burner for me, I found it took a real long time to really get into the story, but about half way through I was hooked and I totally flew through the rest. This is another dual perspective book between 2 siblings who were separated at a young age. They have both gone on to live their lives in ways that are polar opposite to each other, and so when they come back into one another’s lives, it is a bit of a clash of worlds, and it isn’t the smoothest journey. The story follows the struggles they both follow in accepting one another back into their lives, and on top of that, they are struck with some life changing heartbreak that will change their lives forevermore. This one is a very deep and emotional read but a beautiful one at that, make sure you are prepared!
Another summer read, as the name suggests, and yet another mystery.. and a murder mystery at that! This one is a juicy pool-side read including a dreamy aspirational setting within a French vineyard (the dream), but with a not-so dreamy plot- as I said, it involves a murder. A group of middle aged women who have been friends since university arrange a fancy summer holiday for them and all of their families, but it becomes clear very quickly that they have all gone in very different paths and grown apart massively since those nostalgic uni days. There are some big clashes, suspicions of adultery and some very mischievous hormonal teenagers floating around, which pads out this holiday plot with a lot of sudden twists and turns, and I really would never have guessed the ending until I read it!
I was going to keep this as a fiction only post, but I really wanted to make sure I gave this one a mention. I have followed Grace for years and find her so inspiring. So naturally I was straight on the pre-order list when this book was announced, I needed to read everything Grace had to write. And honestly, she did not disappoint me. There’s a lot of really useful insights and tips in here on how to make the most of your working day but also really switch off and make the most of your not-working time too, all in order to contribute to your own success and happiness.
And there we have it, the top bunch of books I love in 2021, let me know what your thoughts are if you’ve read any of them too, I love a good book-club discussion! Like I said I’ve already got a serious stack piled up on my to-read shelf already, but please do let me know if you have any recommendations based on the books I loved in 2021!