Best Books of 2021 So Far

Best Books of 2021 So Far


2021 has been a fairly good reading year so far…not knocking it out of the park, but good. I’ve been able to read more than in 2020, but the quality is not quite as high as 2020 was. 

I’ve read 51 books (4 more than last year at this point) and liked 73% of the books I read (10% less than last year). My average star rating is 4.146 (although, this is skewed high because y’all know I don’t finish many books I don’t like) and I’ve read seven 5 star books this year (compared to 5 at this point last year). A couple of the books on this list rose above the others as my top books of 2021 so far (Malibu Rising, When the Stars Go Dark), but there isn’t one that’s blown me away so much more than the others that I’m confident it will finish the year in my #1 spot. We’ll see what happens the rest of this year…


I also wanted to share where I am with my diversity stats so far this year. 31% of my books read are by authors of color (compared to 17% at this point last year). 

43% of my books read are diverse books (meaning feature marginalized characters, but this includes other categories of marginalization like LGBTQIA, etc), compared to 34% last year.

This post contains affiliate links (plus: here’s your Amazon Smile-specific affiliate link), through which I make a small commission when you make a purchase (at no cost to you!).

My Best Books of 2021 So Far

Empire of Painby Patrick Radden Keefe
The exceptionally researched and completely engrossing true story behind the Sackler family, the makers and marketers of Oxycontin. Plus, it’s excellent on audio!

Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid (my review)
A family story that balances substance with glamour and fun…and is perfect for summer.

Seven Days in June by Tia Williams (my review)
A smart, snappy #ownvoices romance that is much more than your traditional romance (it has depth and avoids being cheesy).

The Bad Muslim Discountby Syed M. Masood (my review)
This debut novel is a deeply layered story of two families, the Muslim faith (and struggling with it), being an immigrant in the U.S., discrimination against Muslims following 9/11, and fighting for the life that will make you happy…told in an irreverently humorous voice.

The Damage by Caitlin Wahrer (my review)
A debut legal / crime drama about the aftermath of a violent male on male rape spotlights how navigating the U.S. legal system can be incredibly traumatic for already traumatized rape victims.

The Final Revival of Opal & Nev by Dawnie Walton (my review)
This fictional oral history about a 1970’s rock duo is obviously getting compared to Daisy Jones and the Six…but, Opal & Nev is darker, grittier, and has a strong message about race in America.

The Push by Ashley Audrain (my review)
The debut psychological drama everyone is talking about this year.

What Comes After by JoAnne Tompkins (my review)
A highly literary, but also propulsive debut novel that explores anger and grief, but also growth and forgiveness.

When the Stars Go Dark by Paula McLain (my review)
A literary mystery / police procedural that focuses on the impact of childhood trauma…that’s heavy on character and style without sacrificing plot (a “unicorn” book for me).

What are your favorite books of 2021 so far?

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Best Books of 2021 So Far


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