Top 5 Reads of 2021

January 4, 2022

Before 2021, I had one habit (one story in mind, really) that caused a good amount of shame. It might surprise you to learn exactly what it was….

Finishing a book. 

Outside of an academic setting, I rarely read a book in its entirety. For whatever reason, books would sit next to my bed, or atop a living room table, or in my backpack, or simply on a shelf for months. The bookmark was always about 50 pages in, the dust would accumulate and I’d forget what was even happening in the book when the interest would, finally, pique to read a book. Back to the beginning, I’d go, starting the cycle all over again. 

The story played on repeat for longer than I’d like to admit. At the beginning of 2021, I decided it would be the year I finished a book. At the beginning of 2022, I’m thrilled to say I did it! I made my way through books that I found intimidating in size, explored authors with lived experiences different from mine, and found the genre I love the most. Not surprisingly, I love psychological thrillers; particularly those involving murder. 

As we launch into a new year, I wanted to share a few of my favorites with you. 

5. The Silent Patient 

This book was a wild ride. It made my top 5 of the year as the ending of each chapter pulled me into the next. That said, some of the twists in the plotline were a bit predictable. The ending, however, had me thinking about it for days after. I consumed much of this as I was laying in bed, recovering from a COVID booster shot. So glad I had a full afternoon to read this one! 

4. The Guest List 

This story had me dreaming about stressful life events set in Ireland for multiple nights in a row. The ending to this one was amazing! If you love a really good plot twist, you’ll love this book! After I finished this one, I was genuinely thinking about what happened to each character for days, even imagining what a sequel would look like. It was a suspenseful read and I highly recommend it! 

3. Little Fires Everywhere

Now, I realize this book is already a series on Hulu, but I don’t have a Hulu subscription so I decided to read the book. I am SO glad I did! I inhaled this story. With themes like family, identity, and friendship, I loved the way this story unfolded. It was also really interesting to imagine Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington in their respective maternal roles. After reading the book, I have no desire to watch the series. I cannot imagine it being better than this beautiful novel that will live as one of my favorite books. 

2. Legendborn 

This was the first time I’ve dived into a Young Adult series in a very long time. I don’t think I’ve done so since reading The Hate You Give many years ago. That said, I cannot wait for the sequel to this book set to be released this summer! This book, too, explored identity, family, grief, personal growth, bravery, belief systems, racism, sexism, outdated structures of privilege, and… witchcraft. Yes, all of that in one novel. This book was long but worth the investment. Also, the cover art caught my eye and sucked me in almost immediately. I loved this book! 

  1. The Thursday Murder Club

Oh, what a charmer! A group of seniors living in a senior community come together each Thursday to discuss, you guessed it, murder. The suspense of the story was interesting, but it was the characters that kept me reading. I found myself laughing consistently and falling in love with the main characters and laughing at the detectives who grew to respect them as a force to be reckoned with in the investigation. My favorite book of 2021, I cannot recommend this one highly enough. You’ll laugh, you’ll be excited to read more, and your heart with break just a little for the stories of the individual characters. Of all the books I read in 2021, this is the only book that had me saying “I want to be best friends with them”! And that, right there, is the magic of reading. 

If you decide to read any of these books, I hope you’ll share your thoughts! My to-be-read pile for 2022 is already high. As I make my way through all the books I read, I post photos and rank them over on Instagram (@coachcamryn). I’d love to see you there!

Happy reading! 

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