This year I made it a goal to read more than I had been in the past couple of years, and so I really want to talk about the five best books I read this year. Because five is a nice round number. I did seriously kick some reading butt this year and intend to keep up that trend so I did meet that goal at least, and I also found some books and authors that I love, and hope to keep reading great reads.
Since I’m such a book nerd, I have given serious thought to which books I read this year that were the BEST. I mean, in my opinion. And I’ve come up with a list of those books that I am going to share with you today.
I do want to preface this by saying, I didn’t realize until I looked at all the books I read, how much these titles would overlap in terms of genre and atmosphere. It’s a huge surprise to me how much I’ve read and loved in these genres this year. Let’s just dive in to the five best books I read in 2021.
The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell
I was in hospital when I read this one. Luckily I had access to my local library’s e-libary, so I was able to read a couple of books while there. And this book was really, really good. I mean, disturbing but very good. I had never read anything quite like this, but it certainly had a style and unsettling quality that drew me in and kept me searching for books by this author. While not a thriller in the traditional sense, as it pushes horror boundaries (I think) this is certainly a novel that a wide variety of readers can enjoy.
Small Favors by Erin A. Craig
I had stopped reading YA for a while, as I was tried of a lot of YA tropes. However, I thought I’d give a few YAs a try this year, and was pleasantly surprised by the ones I chose—enough that I have added more to my library. Small Favors is another unsettling novel, paranormal and I think considered horror. I really liked that the novel explored the horror that is within us. Plus it was super well written and atmospheric. This novel is definitely one I would re-read as I loved the creeps and thrills that this novel gave me.
The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
A classic, this was one book I was really looking forward to reading, and I really liked it. It was nothing like the Netflix series, but it certainly had it’s own haunting that was equally scary and unsettling. It actually really reminds of the short story, The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. It just had that same kind of creepy vibe all throughout the novel. Something about the writing style of Jackson makes her stories fascinating even when you are not really sure exactly what is scary.
The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare
Now, you might think given the title and the first three selections, that this is another horror, but this novel is actually YA historical fiction written in 1958. I first read this when I was ten years old, and I even remembered a line from the very first page. The reason I picked this novel up again of course, was to see if it lived up to memory. And it did, but I was also very surprised at how adult the novel was as well, dealing with such topics as suitability in marriage, a witch hunt and detailing the grievances of pioneer settlers in American against the King in the 1600s. I also loved that the main character allowed us as readers into a glimpse of Puritan life into which she was not born, and did not agree with in many respects. I would definitely recommend this, and also, it was a Newbury Medal winner.
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HOrrid by Katrina Leno
Well, the title might give this away. It’s YA horror, and while horror and thrillers are not usually my thing…I guess I grew this year as a reader and really dived (without meaning to) into a new genre and style of writing. And I guess, loved it! Horrid was creepy. Like, you were constantly creeped out as you read this, sort of of jump scare movies where it’s just unsettling so much of the time that when the jump scare happens, you just can’t help but jumping. But there were not jump scares in the same way as there are in movies. Just more and more strange revelations until the ending and then the ending is a bit of a jump scare as in–that’s the ending?! It might not be the book for everyone, but it worked so well for me.
So apparently, I might be a bigger fan of horror and thriller than I previously thought as I’ve never read horror really and only started reading thrillers in the past couple of years. But didn’t think I was really a thriller girl when it came to reading. I’ve learned something new about myself by writing this post! Given that, I would recommend to you to dive into genres or authors you think you might not like because maybe, like me, you will. We all grow and change and our tastes in art change as well as we change as people.
Those are the five best books I read this year. Did you read any of them? What awesome books did you read this year?