Sharing the best books I read in 2021 and why you should read them, too.
I will be honest – I didn’t read as much as I wanted to this year. Whoops. I think I honestly just spent a ton of time outside, which…no complaints about that! Some years I read a ton, and other times I don’t. I did finally join GoodReads, so you can always find me over there!
Best Books I Read In 2021
With that in mind, I did want to share some of the top books I read
If You Tell – This may have been the best book I read all year, but it was also the most heartbreaking and twisted. Trigger warnings here for child abuse, neglect, and pure terror. I could not put it down, and because it’s based on a true story, my brain worked overtime to understand the true horror of it all.
After more than a decade, when sisters Nikki, Sami, and Tori Knotek hear the word mom, it claws like an eagle’s talons, triggering memories that have been their secret since childhood. Until now. For years, behind the closed doors of their farmhouse in Raymond, Washington, their sadistic mother, Shelly, subjected her girls to unimaginable abuse, degradation, torture, and psychic terrors. Through it all, Nikki, Sami, and Tori developed a defiant bond that made them far less vulnerable than Shelly imagined. Even as others were drawn into their mother’s dark and perverse web, the sisters found the strength and courage to escape an escalating nightmare that culminated in multiple murders.
Good Me, Bad Me – This was a book that was chosen for me via a book club with my friend, so I didn’t know anything about it before I picked it up. That was a good thing! I was immediately drawn in by the way the book was written (first person perspective), but I will warn you…this book is incredibly disturbing.
Milly’s mother is a serial killer. Though Milly loves her mother, the only way to make her stop is to turn her in to the police. Milly is given a fresh start: a new identity, a home with an affluent foster family, and a spot at an exclusive private school. But Milly has secrets, and life at her new home becomes complicated. As her mother’s trial looms, with Milly as the star witness, Milly starts to wonder how much of her is nature, how much of her is nurture, and whether she is doomed to turn out like her mother after all.
On All Fronts – I have long admired the work of CNN’s Clarissa Ward. She’s an outstanding international correspondent and was most recently at the center of CNN’s coverage on the Afghanistan withdrawal. This book dives deep into her professional career and personal journey to who she is today…and I COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN!
The Other Woman – This is an easy read that will keep you guessing until the end. I think I found this recommendation from Reese Witherspoon’s book club, but I could be wrong. Either way, it was a page turner that I enjoyed!
He loves you: Adam adores Emily. Emily thinks Adam’s perfect, the man she thought she’d never meet. But she loves you not: Lurking in the shadows is a rival, a woman who shares a deep bond with the man she loves. And she’ll stop at nothing: Emily chose Adam, but she didn’t choose his mother, Pammie. There’s nothing a mother wouldn’t do for her son, and now Emily is about to find out just how far Pammie will go to get what she wants: Emily gone forever.
The Mother-In-Law – I discovered this book on GoodReads and ordered it right away. I loved that it kept me guessing the entire time and I definitely didn’t guess the ending!
From the moment Lucy met her husband’s mother, Diana, she was kept at arm’s length. Diana was exquisitely polite, and properly friendly, but Lucy knew that she was not what Diana envisioned. But who could fault Diana? She was a pillar of the community, an advocate for social justice who helped female refugees assimilate to their new country. Diana was happily married to Tom, and lived in wedded bliss for decades. Lucy wanted so much to please her new mother-in-law. That was five years ago. Now, Diana has been found dead, a suicide note near her body. Diana claims that she no longer wanted to live because of a battle with cancer. But the autopsy finds no cancer.
Just Mercy – This book was gifted to me by my friend Claire for my birthday. I had a general idea about it, but shamefully, didn’t know the full story. This book made me cry (a lot) and I learned a ton. Some parts are
After graduating from Harvard, Bryan Stevenson heads to Alabama to defend those wrongly condemned or those not afforded proper representation. One of his first cases is that of Walter McMillian, who is sentenced to die in 1987 for the murder of an 18-year-old girl, despite evidence proving his innocence. In the years that follow, Stevenson encounters racism and legal and political maneuverings as he tirelessly fights for McMillian’s life.
What books did you read and love this year?