I can’t believe we’re already two months into 2022! It’s scary how fast 2021 went by. Last year as super busy, with most of my time spent either working, applying for jobs, socialising or doing courses. However, I did still manage to find the time to do some reading, and I reached my goal of 55 books. I actually started off the year with 50 books on my Goodreads Reading Challenge (or was it 45?), but at the end of summer I decided to increase it as I’d ticked off more books than I’d anticipated.
As with other years, I stuck mainly to chick-lit and contemporary in 2021, but I also read some YA, romance, thriller and new adult books. The majority of the books I read in 2021 were released in earlier years: exceptions included The Road Trip, The Party Crasher, The Miseducation of Evie Hepworth, Peach Blossom Spring (will be officially released in 2022), Concrete Rose and Someone I Used to Know.
It may be late, but here are my top books of 2021:
1. Losing Hope – Colleen Hoover
Losing Hope was the second book I read in 2021, and it set up the year to a great start. It’s one of those books I’m sure I’ll reread in the future, despite how emotionally intense it is. I loved reading the events from Hopeless again, from Holder’s perspective, and it didn’t feel repetitive at all. The fact that I already knew the ending didn’t put me off either. I was able to understand why Holder acted the way he did and kept secrets from Sky. Read my full review here.
2. Other Colleen Hoover books
I also really enjoyed 3 other Colleen Hoover books at the start of the year – Finding Cinderella, Finding Perfect and All Your Perfects – and I gave them all 4.5/5 stars. Finding Cinderella is a companion to Hopeless and Losing Hope, and focuses on the relationship between Six and Daniel. As I mentioned in my mini review, Finding Cinderella drew me in right from the start and I loved the ‘forbidden romance’ aspect.
Finding Perfect is a really short novella, with only 60 pages, and is a continuation of Finding Cinderella. While I started to like Daniel in Finding Cinderella, I fell even more in love with him in Finding Perfect. He really did care so much for Six.
All Your Perfects is loosely connected to the Hopeless/Losing Hope and Finding Cinderella/Finding Perfect books, so I’d recommend reading them first. It’s a truly gut-wrenching novel that’ll make you empathise with the protagonists. Colleen Hoover explores marriage and how relationships may seem perfect on the outside, but you don’t actually know what the couple is going through.
I’ve now read 7 books by Colleen Hoover, so I can safely say that she’s one of my favourite authors. I’m sure I’ll be reading a lot more by her in the near future.
3. The Last Letter From Your Lover – Jojo Moyes
The Last Letter From Your Lover is further proof of why Jojo Moyes is one of my top auto-buy authors. She writes so beautifully, and you can’t help but like the protagonists. While the previous books I’ve read by Jojo Moyes are all set in the 21st century, The Last Letter From Your Lover has a dual timeline, with alternating chapters between the present day and the 1960s. It centres on a journalist who uncovers a collection of letters between a woman and her lover, and sets out to find out what really happened all those years ago.
4. Where the Crawdads Sing – Delia Owens
I was recommended Where the Crawdads Sing by so many people, and I’m glad I gave it a chance. I absolutely loved Where the Crawdads Sing, and I was gripped from start to finish. It’s the story of a girl called Kya who lives by the swamps, and learns to fend for herself and try to survive away from society when her father disappears. I’m not surprised it’s going to be turned into a film. Add Where the Crawdads Sing to your TBR list now!
5. The Road Trip – Beth O’Leary
The Road Trip was the third book I’ve read by Beth O’Leary, and she’s quickly become one of my current fave authors. It’s such an entertaining novel, full of characters with distinct personalities and intriguing backstories. I’d love to see it as a film or TV show. Check out my full review of The Road Trip here!
6. The Last Song – Nicholas Sparks
Another real standout from the books I read in 2021 has got to be The Last Song. I actually read The Last Song several years ago, around the same time that the film came out, but as I enjoyed it so much I just had to reread it! The Last Song is a stunning coming of age novel about a rebellious teenage girl who reluctantly stays with her estranged father for the summer and falls in love for the first time, whilst rebuilding her relationship with her father. And as you’d expect from a Nicholas Sparks book, The Last Song is utterly heartbreaking and the last few chapters will have you in floods of tears. I’d also highly recommend the film – it stars Miley Cyrus, who is perfect as Ronnie.
7. The Party Crasher – Sophie Kinsella
The Party Crasher is another hilarious comedy from one of my most favourite authors of all time, Sophie Kinsella. It’s a delightful book and I kept wondering if Effie (the protagonist) would get caught at the party. Whilst I loved the plot, the best part of The Party Crasher would have to be the characters. I adored the bond between Effie and her siblings Bean and Gus, and Krista adds an ‘evil stepmother’ element to the book, which is one of my favourite tropes. The Party Crasher is probably the lightest book in this list. It’s the ideal book to get lost in when you’re on holiday or have a few hours to spare, and don’t want to read anything to challenging.
8. Such a Fun Age – Kiley Reid
Last but not least is Such a Fun Age. This is a wonderfully powerfully book from American newcomer Kiley Reid, that touches on the important topics of race and feminism. The characters of Alixa and Emira are multi-layered, compelling and have interesting dynamics – you’re bound to like Emira and roll your eyes at Alixa! Such a Fun Age is one of those books everyone was talking about last year, so definitely check it out!
Other books I really enjoyed reading in 2021 include Mind the Gap, Dash & Lily, The Vintage Guide to Love and Romance (fans of Sophie Kinsella will love this one), Someone I Used to Know, The Miseducation of Evie Hepworth, Anne of Green Gables, Queenie and Next Year in Havana.
My Goodreads Reading Goal for 2022 is 50, which is only 5 books less than last year. I’ll probably increase it – we’ll see how things go! This year I’d really love to revisit some classics that I enjoyed when I was younger, such as Chinese Cinderella, Black Beauty and I Capture the Castle, and test out some audiobooks (I recently finished listening to I’ve Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella). I’d also like to tick off books that have been sitting on my bookshelves and Kindle library for a while, such as Rescue Me by Sarra Manning, The Spanish Love Deception by Elena Armas, A New Life for Ariana Byrne by Liz Hurley, The One Plus One by Jojo Moyes, The Authenticity Project by Clare Pooley, A Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult, You Had Me at Hola by Alexis Daria, Ghosts by Dolly Alderton, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou, The Beekeeper of Aleppo by Christy Lefteri and Endgame by Malorie Blackman.
What books did you read in 2021? Are there any that I’ve mentioned in this post?