Top 10 Reads of 2021

We don’t know about you, but we read a lot last year! Although we loved a bunch, here are a few of our favorite books from 2021 (not listed in any particular order).

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Jonah

A picture of a poster in the library

 

  1. The Murderer’s Ape by Jakob Wegelius

I read this one pretty recently, and I LOVED it!! This book follows Sally Jones (a gorilla) who has been a sailor for as long as she can remember, along with her captain/owner, Henry Koskela. When Koskela is sentenced to 25 years in jail for a crime he didn’t commit, Sally tries to find the mysterious person behind her owner’s wrongful conviction and set her beloved captain free. It’s the perfect combination of adventure and suspense and will keep you on the edge of your seat the entire time.

2. Scars Like Wings by Erin Stewart

This is a bit of a more mature read. It features Ava, a sixteen-year-old burn survivor who lost her parents, her best friend, and almost her own life in a fire. She has to get surgery to heal the parts of her that are burned off and finds she looks much different than she used to. When she starts school again after her house burned down, she starts to feel even more insecure about her scars. She gets bullied and whispered about in the hallways, and tries to change herself to make her look more like other girls. But then, she meets Piper, another burn survivor, who helps Ava accept her scars and realize that they’re not the only things that define her. If you liked Firegirl, you’ll enjoy this read.

3. Sadia by Colleen Nelson

This is a heartfelt, inspiring story about a Muslim girl, Sadia, whose dream is to be a basketball star. She faces discrimination for wearing a hijab and is told she can’t play basketball if she doesn’t take it off. When her team starts fighting back, Sadia realizes that she can make the rules too. She fights for her love of basketball while trying to repair her friendship with her friend, Mariam. Definitely worth reading!

4. Echo Mountain by Lauren Wolk

This is a historical fiction book that takes place in the era of the Great Depression and tells the story of a 12-year-old girl, Ellie. When her parents lose their jobs and they are forced to move to a mountain, she quickly adapts to the new environment and likes her new home. But suddenly, Ellie’s life is turned around when her dad has an accident and goes into a coma. She tries to find ways to wake him up – like dumping ice-cold water on him and stinging him with bees – while the rest of her family try more gentle methods, like singing lullabies. When that doesn’t work, Ellie still doesn’t lose hope. She keeps trying, but then unexpectedly stumbles upon a mysteriously familiar woman who just might be able to save her father.

(This one is also on the Battle of the Books list.)

5. Almost American Girl by Robin Ha

This graphic novel is about a girl (Robin) who moves from China to America and has to find her way around the obstacles of coming to a new country. It’s also an autobiography, so the author is sharing her story. A great read for fans of Other Words for Home and American Born Chinese.

6. 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Minor trigger warning: this book contains mentions of suicide, drug use, and other content that may not be suitable for sensitive readers.

This is one of my favorite books! Before high schooler Hannah Baker commits suicide, she records thirteen tapes on why she does this and sends them to the people mentioned in the tapes. Clay Jensen (who had a crush on Hannah) gets one and this book is about him listening to her story. I can’t tell you anymore or I’ll end up spoiling it, so there you go!

7. Black Brother, Black Brother by Jewell Parker Rhodes

This is a realistic-fiction novel about a 12-year-old boy, Donte, and his plan of revenge against a popular bully, Alan, who is also the school’s fencing champion. After moving from his upstate town to a new suburb in a rich neighborhood, Donte feels suddenly surrounded by white kids, unlike his previous city, filled with people of all different backgrounds and ethnicities. Donte is constantly teased by Alan and his friends for being the younger brother of Trey, who has white skin like his dad, while Donte got his mother’s skin. This book is about someone strong-willed and passionate about what he does and is VERY motivational to do what you can for what you love.

(This one is also on the Battle of the Books list.)

8. Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt

This is a classic that takes place around 1910 and features a girl named Winnie who leads an ordinary life of routine and tidiness, the exact opposite of what she wants. One day, she encounters an unusual family and mysteriously disappears. The ending is a bit heartbreaking, though, so you might shed a few tears.

9. Evernight by Claudia Gray

Note: Has some inappropriate talk and intimate scenes

A teenage girl, Bianca, and her two parents move when her parents get a job at a boarding school that she must also attend; Evernight Academy. Her new home takes her centuries back with the whole school being built like a palace, with dorms, chandeliers, towers, and anything else you would imagine to be part of a palace in medieval times. Everyone acts all mature, cold, and different, except Lucas. This is a supernatural-romance novel about vampires and a juicy teenage love story. It’s suspenseful and spooky, with an adventure that leads you to the rest of the books in the series.

This book is similar to Twilight, so if you enjoyed that series, you’ll like this one.

10. 14 Ways to Die by Vincent Ralph (also known as Are You Watching?)

When Jessica Simmons gets accepted into a reality television show, she uses her newfound platform to spread awareness about the serial killer who killed her mother (who she calls “the Magpie Man”), but soon finds out he’s much closer than she thought. An irresistible thriller that’ll keep you turning the pages for hours!

What were your favorite books this past year? Please let us know in the comments!