I'll be honest I've been in a serious reading rut since the start of the pandemic in 2020.
I feel like 2021 if anything just exacerbated that reading rut for me.
It was very hard for me to stick with reading anything this year, let alone make this list.
Only three of these books really stood out to me this year, everything else just seemed kind of average to me.
The only thing that really got me through this reading rut this year was my love for manga, so when in doubt just Graphic Novel it out.
As always let me know in the comments which of these books you also read this year, or which of these you plan on reading in the upcoming new year.
Top Books I Read in 2021
Nobody Knows but You by Anica Mrose Rissi
Maybe a killer only looks like a killer in the moment just before, during, or after.
Maybe a liar, a good one, never shows it.
Kayla is still holding on to Lainie’s secrets.
After all, Lainie is Kayla’s best friend. And despite Lainie’s painful obsession with her on-again, off-again boyfriend, and the ways he has tried to come between them, friends don’t spill each other’s secrets. They don’t betray each other’s trust.
The murder at the end of the summer doesn’t change all that.
Besides—Kayla knows that the truth is not the whole story.
Three Things I Know Are True by Betty Culley
The reminder is always there—a dent on the right side of Jonah’s forehead. The spot you’d press when you felt a headache coming on. The bullet tore away bone, the way dynamite blasts rock—leaving a soft crater.
Life changes forever for Liv when her older brother, Jonah, accidentally shoots himself with his best friend Clay’s father’s gun. Now Jonah needs round-the-clock care just to stay alive, and Liv seems to be the only person who can see that her brother is still there inside his broken body.
With Liv’s mom suing Clay’s family, there are divisions in the community that Liv knows she’s not supposed to cross. But Clay is her friend, too, and she refuses to turn away from him—just like she refuses to give up on Jonah.
We Contain Multitudes by Sarah Henstra
Jonathan Hopkirk and Adam "Kurl" Kurlansky are partnered in English class, writing letters to one another in a weekly pen pal assignment. With each letter, the two begin to develop a friendship that eventually grows into love. But with homophobia, bullying, and devastating family secrets, Jonathan and Kurl struggle to overcome their conflicts and hold onto their relationship...and each other.
They Wish They Were Us by Jessica Goodman
In Gold Coast, Long Island, everything from the expensive downtown shops to the manicured beaches, to the pressed uniforms of Jill Newman and her friends, looks perfect. But as Jill found out three years ago, nothing is as it seems.
Freshman year Jill's best friend, the brilliant, dazzling Shaila Arnold, was killed by her boyfriend. After that dark night on the beach, Graham confessed, the case was closed, and Jill tried to move on.
Now, it's Jill's senior year and she's determined to make it her best yet. After all, she's a senior and a Player--a member of Gold Coast Prep's exclusive, not-so-secret secret society. Senior Players have the best parties, highest grades and the admiration of the entire school. This is going to be Jill's year. She's sure of it.
But when Jill starts getting texts proclaiming Graham's innocence, her dreams of the perfect senior year start to crumble. If Graham didn't kill Shaila, who did? Jill vows to find out, but digging deeper could mean putting her friendships, and her future, in jeopardy.
Bright Burning Stars by A. K. Small
Best friends Marine Duval and Kate Sanders have trained at the Paris Opera Ballet School since childhood, where they’ve formed an inseparable bond forged by respective family tragedies and a fierce love for dance. When the body of a student is found in the dorms just before the start of their final year, Marine and Kate begin to ask themselves what they would do to win the ultimate prize: to be the one girl selected to join the Opera’s prestigious corps de ballet. Would they die? Cheat? Seduce the most talented boy in the school, dubbed the Demigod, hoping his magic would make them shine, too? Neither girl is sure.
But then Kate gets closer to the Demigod, even as Marine has begun to capture his heart. And as selection day draws near, the competition—for the prize, for the Demigod—becomes fiercer, and Marine and Kate realize they have everything to lose, including each other.
The Girls I've Been by Tess Sharpe
Nora O’Malley’s been a lot of girls. As the daughter of a con-artist who targets criminal men, she grew up as her mother’s protégé. But when mom fell for the mark instead of conning him, Nora pulled the ultimate con: escape.
For five years Nora’s been playing at normal. But she needs to dust off the skills she ditched because she has three problems:
#1: Her ex walked in on her with her girlfriend. Even though they’re all friends, Wes didn’t know about her and Iris.
#2: The morning after Wes finds them kissing, they all have to meet to deposit the fundraiser money they raised at the bank. It’s a nightmare that goes from awkward to deadly, because:
#3: Right after they enter bank, two guys start robbing it.
The bank robbers may be trouble, but Nora’s something else entirely. They have no idea who they’re really holding hostage…
Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
Simon Snow is the worst Chosen One who's ever been chosen.
That's what his roommate, Baz, says. And Baz might be evil and a vampire and a complete git, but he's probably right.
Half the time, Simon can't even make his wand work, and the other half, he starts something on fire. His mentor's avoiding him, his girlfriend broke up with him, and there's a magic-eating monster running around, wearing Simon's face. Baz would be having a field day with all this, if he were here — it's their last year at the Watford School of Magicks, and Simon's infuriating nemesis didn't even bother to show up.
Top Graphic Novels I Read In 2021
Something's Wrong With Us by Natsumi Ando
Nao has followed in her mother's footsteps to become a traditional Japanese sweets maker. Even at 21, her skills are unparalleled, landing her a spot at a world-class confectionary company. However, when she meets the young, handsome heir to the company, she recognizes Tsubaki: her first friend, and the same boy who framed her mother for murder over a decade ago. As the only witness to the crime, Nao seizes her chance to get close to him, but instead of finding answers, she falls deeper for Tsubaki's allure...
Ao Haru Ride by Io Sakisaka
Futaba Yoshioka thought all boys were loud and obnoxious until she met Kou Tanaka in junior high. But as soon as she realized she really liked him, he had already moved away because of family issues.
Now, in high school, Kou has reappeared, but is he still the same boy she fell in love with?
Perfect World by Rie Aruga
Perfect World is Rie Aruga's touching drama about the romance that develops between an interior designer and her first love, whom she reencounters one day only to find he is wheelchair-bound. At first, she feels she couldn't date a guy in a wheelchair, but then her feelings begin to change.