Hi all! This year, or rather last year, I read almost 50 books, which is probably the most I’ll ever read in a year. 😆 Today I’ll be sharing my top 5 novels of 2021! However, I’ll be sharing some honourable mentions as well because I read so many amazing books this year. Also, if you’ve recapped your 2021 in any way on your blog, do share the link in the comments. I’d love to see all the lovely books you’ve read in 2021 too. Alrighty, let’s get into it!
(PS: Click on the book covers to add them to Goodreads.)
5. Instructions for Dancing by Nicola Yoon
I loved loved loved Instructions for Dancing…until the ending. Unfortunately, it was too anti-climatic. However, the journey this book puts you through is incredible. The main characters are so lovable, and the writing was humorous yet heart-wrenching. Instructions for Dancing was the perfect mix of emotional yet funny, which in hindsight is an odd combination, but definitely a good one.
4. Made in Korea by Sarah Suk
Made in Korea was my first physical ARC, so it’ll always hold a special place in my heart. I also interviewed the author, you can find that post here! The banter in this book was phenomenally done, to the point where I even want to re-read it, and I never re-read! The entrepreneurial aspect was awesome too.
3. Rumaysa: A Fairytale by Radiya Hafiza
This book surprised me so much! It’s a middle-grade novel that features beautiful illustrations inspired by South Asia. (It’s not a graphic novel though, in case you were wondering. 🙂) Nevertheless, Rumaysa was amazing! The heroine was spunky, and the story was absolutely hilarious! However, it’s the important lessons of following one’s heart and helping others that really stuck with me…and also the delicious descriptions of desi food. *sigh* I’d really love a hot cup of chai and a samosa right now.
2. Once Upon an Eid by A Collection of Authors (Edited by S.K. Ali and Aisha Saeed)
Once Upon an Eid made my heart feel so full! It tells a variety of stories, all of which show diverse perspectives and traditions that happen during the month of Ramadan, and on Eid. I felt like I learnt so much about the world through this book. Overall, it was incredibly wholesome and very joyful. I highly recommend it!
1. A Castle in the Clouds by Kerstin Gier
And now, in first place I give you 🥁*drumroll please*🥁 A Castle in the Clouds by Kerstin Gier! This was one of my first reads of the year, and it was amazingly cozy. It’s essentially a mystery set in the mountains, and I loved it! From the hilarious dialogue, to the warm writing, A Castle in the Clouds is the winter read you’ve been endlessly searching GoodReads for! You can read my full review here.
Both of these books are adventure based, and are very easy reads. In Deeper Waters by F.T. Lukens was a sweet book with lovely writing. I definitely recommend! Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne was such a fun and enticing book that I recommend to anyone wanting to get into classical novels.
Feel free to read my interview with the author of In Deeper Waters here! I wish I could also interview Jules Verne, but sadly time travelling back to the 1800s will be a difficult feat. You can however, read my full review of Journey to the Center of the Earth here!
I hope you enjoyed reading about my favourite books of 2021. I’m grateful to have read such amazing books, and hope to expand my reading to new genres like fantasy and historical novels. What genres do you hope to read more of in 2022? Have a lovely day!
Hiya!! It’s been a while since I’ve done a tag, so I thought why not do one again? For those of you who don’t know, this tag is a bit like a six month bookish wrap up in tag form. I hope you enjoy!
The Best Books You’ve Read so Far
New Releases You Haven’t Read Yet, but WantTo
Most Anticipated Releases for the Second Half of the Year
There are so many that come to mind! But here are the first three that I thought of. It All Comes Back to You by Farah Naz Rishi looks so fun! The cover is also stunning as well! The Lady or the Lion by Aamna Qureshi is a YA fantasy with a Pakistani setting. I’ve never read a fantasy inspired by Pakistani culture, so I’m super excited to read it! Not Here to Be Liked by Michelle Quach is another release I’m also very excited for!
I had such high hopes for One Last Stop. However, it unfortunately missed the mark for me.
This is a middle grade retelling of three fairytales but with a desi (South Asian) twist. And I adored it! It was filled with girl power, fun plots, and amazing representation!
Favorite New to You Author
We Can’t Keep Meeting Like This by Rachel Lynn Solomon was my first book of theirs, and probably won’t be the last!
Favorite Debut Author
Sarah Suk’s debut novel was one of my favorites this year. I didn’t think I’d love it as much as I did, but Made in Korea was so good!
Newest Favorite Characters
I really enjoyed reading about Evie and X from Nicola Yoon’s newest book Instructions for Dancing! They were both funny and charming.
A Book That Made You Cry
Juleah del Rosario’s Turtle Under Ice was incredibly heartbreaking and emotional. It’s about a mother’s death and sisterly love, and was just so beautiful.
A Book That Made You Happy
A Taste For Love by Jennifer Yen was such a fun book on food and familial relationships. It definitely put a smile on my face!
Favorite Post You’ve Done This Year
In January I did a post where I gave recommendations based off of people’s favorite Avatar the Last Airbender and Legend of Korra character. Feel free to read the post here!
Books You Need to Read By the End of the Year
I hope you enjoyed the tag! Here are some lovely people I nominate to do this one as well. (This is just for fun, so if you don’t feel like it, than no worries!) Also, if you’ve done this tag before, feel free to link it in the comments so I can read yours as well. 😀
Hi all! Today I’ll be talking about some YA novels by authors of color that I believe need more recognition. I tried to pick books that aren’t necessarily as present in the book community so that you could discover some new voices!
Disclaimer: Some synopsis’ are summarized by me, others are taken from goodreads.)
(PS: To add the books to goodreads, simply press on the book covers.)
1. The Downstairs Girl by Stacey Lee
The story centers around seventeen-year-old Jo Kuan. By day, she works as a lady’s maid for the cruel daughter of one of the wealthiest men in Atlanta. By night, Jo writes for a newspaper advice column for the genteel Southern lady, “Dear Miss Sweetie.” And the story takes off from there in such an intriguing way.
This is a young adult historical novel about fighting racism and gendernorms, and I am 100% here for it!
2. Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko
Raybearer revolves around Tarisai, a teen who has always longed for the warmth of a family. She was raised in isolation by a mysterious, often absent mother known only as The Lady. The Lady sends her to the capital of the global empire of Aritsar to compete with other children to be chosen as one of the Crown Prince’s Council of 11. If she’s picked, she’ll be joined with the other Council members through the Ray, a bond deeper than blood. However, The Lady wants Tarisai to kill the Crown Prince once she gains his trust, as she as compelled to obey this order. Tarisai won’t stand by and become someone’s pawn—but is she strong enough to choose a different path for herself?
Doesn’t this sound like such a unique fantasy story? I definitely think so!
3. Butterfly Yellow by Thanhha Lai
Butterfly Yellow is a story about a young Vietnamese girl and her little brother. As they get ready to go to America, her brother Linh is ripped from her arms, leaving Hằng behind in Vietnam. After six long years, she makes it to Texas, USA as a refugee. Once Hằng finally reunites with her brother Linh, he doesn’t remember her! She has come so far, and will do anything to bridge the gap between them.
This is an incredibly heart wrenching and beautiful novel.
4. The New David Espinoza by Fred Aceves
The New David Espinoza revolves around a teenage boy named David. When a video of him getting knocked down by a bully’s slap goes viral at the end of junior year, David vows to use the summer to bulk up— do what it takes to become a man—and wow everyone when school starts again in the fall. Soon David is spending all his time and money at Iron Life, a nearby gym that’s full of bodybuilders. Frustrated with his slow progress, his life eventually becomes all about his muscle gains. As David falls into the dark side of the bodybuilding world, pursuing his ideal body at all costs, he’ll have to grapple with the fact that it could actually cost him everything.
Male body dysphoria is something I rarely see present in books, so I’m happy to see the issue being addressed! This is also an own voices novel.
5. This Train Is Being Held by Ismée Williams
This is a young adult romance featuring two New York teens; Isabelle and Alex. Isabellle is a dancer, and Alex, a baseball player who wants to be a poet. Over the course of multiple subway encounters spanning the next three years, Isabelle learns of Alex’s struggle with his father, who is hell-bent on Alex being a contender for the major leagues, despite Alex’s desire to go to college and become a poet. Alex learns about Isabelle’s unstable mother, a woman with a prejudice against Latino men. But fate—and the 1 train—throw them together when Isabelle needs Alex most.
This is an authentic young adult drama with one of the best family dynamics I have ever seen!
6. Once Upon an Eid by A Collection of Authors
This is a collection of short stories that showcases the most brilliant Muslim voices writing today, all about the most joyful holiday of the year: Eid!
This book is just the cutest thing ever! If you’re looking for an own-voices Muslim rep, this is definitely the book for you!
7. Want by Cindy Pon
Jason Zhou survives in a divided society where the elite use their wealth to buy longer lives. The rich wear special suits that protect them from the pollution and viruses that plague the city, while those without suffer illness and early deaths. Frustrated by his city’s corruption and still grieving the loss of his mother, who died as a result of it, Zhou is determined to change things, no matter the cost. With the help of his friends, Zhou infiltrates the lives of the wealthy in hopes of destroying the international Jin Corporation from within. Jin Corp not only manufactures the special suits the rich rely on, but they may also be manufacturing the pollution that makes them necessary. Yet the deeper Zhou delves into this new world of excess and wealth, the more muddled his plans become. And against his better judgment, Zhou finds himself falling for Daiyu, the daughter of Jin Corp’s CEO. Can Zhou save his city without compromising who he is or destroying his own heart?
This is a perfect novel for all the science fiction and dystopian lovers out there!
8. Internment by Samira Ahmed
Set in a horrifying near-future United States, seventeen-year-old Layla Amin and her parents are forced into an internment camp for Muslim American citizens. With the help of newly made friends also trapped within the internment camp, her boyfriend on the outside, and an unexpected alliance, Layla begins a journey to fight for freedom, leading a revolution against the internment camp’s Director and his guards.
Despite being fictional, Internment tells the story of many people today. It’s an eye-opening book perfect for those who enjoyed The Hate U Give.
9. Ancestor Approved: Intertribal Stories for Kids by A Collection of Authors
This is a collection of intersecting stories set at a powwow that bursts with hope, joy, resilience, the strength of community, and Native pride. In a high school gym full of color and song, Native families from Nations within the borders of the U.S. and Canada dance, sell beadwork and books, and celebrate friendship and heritage. They are the heroes of their own stories.
If you want to read more Indigenous own voice books, then this is 100% the book for you!
10. Pet by Akwaeke Emezi
Pet is a rather unusual, but gripping tale about a girl named Jam. In her city Lucille, there are no more monsters anymore, or so the children in the city are taught. With doting parents and a best friend named Redemption, Jam has grown up with this lesson all her life. But when she meets Pet, a creature made of horns and colors and claws, who emerges from one of her mother’s paintings and a drop of Jam’s blood, she must reconsider what she’s been told. Pet has come to hunt a monster, and the shadow of something grim lurks in Redemption’s house. Jam must fight not only to protect her best friend, but also to uncover the truth, and the answer to the question — How do you save the world from monsters if no one will admit they exist?
Pet is a bizarre yet astounding tale that I just know whimsical fiction lovers will come to adore!
I hope you found some great books to add to your TBR! Have you read any of these? I’d love to know. Stay safe everyone! 💙