And the Winner is! - Goodreads Best Books of 2021

Jane Cowell

2 May, 2022

Looking for your next good read?  Here is the Goodreads Best Books of 2021 voted by over 4 million readers around the world.  There is sure to be one here just for you.

Category: Fiction General

Beautiful World, Where Are You? By Sally Rooney (2021)

Irish author Sally Rooney wins this year’s Best Fiction award for her celebrated novel on the complexities of romance, sex, and friendship on our swiftly tilting planet. A kind of deep-focus love quadrangle story, the book clearly hit a nerve for readers. This is the second Goodreads nomination for Rooney—she came in second for her 2018 novel, Normal People.

Beautiful World Where Are You is also available as an eBook.



Category: Mystery/Thriller

The Last Thing He Told Me By Laura Dave (2021)

Laura Dave wins this year’s Mystery & Thriller award for The Last Thing He Told Me, in which a mother and her stepdaughter try to unwind a lethally knotted secret. When Owen Michaels disappeared, he left his new wife, Hannah, a single cryptic message: Protect her. The note clearly refers to Bailey, Owen’s 16-year-old daughter. But why? The U.S. Marshals want to know, too.

The Last Thing He Told Me is also available as an eBook.


Category: Historical Fiction

Malibu Rising By Taylor Jenkins Reid (2021)

It’s August 1983, and the Riva clan’s legendary end-of-summer party in Malibu is quickly going off the rails. Taylor Jenkins Reid’s jagged ode to the 1980s explores the combustible nature of family secrets, severe heartbreak, and Too Much Alcohol. Reid has a way with recent history. She won the Historical Fiction category in 2019 for her 1970s pop parable, Daisy Jones & the Six. 1983 is classed as historical fiction? – slightly horrified but putting it on my TBR list. 

Malibu Rising is also available in Large Print and as an eBook.


Category: Fantasy

A Court of Silver Flames By Sarah J. Maas (2021)

Prolific author Sarah J. Maas notches her sixth GCA prize with this fourth instalment in the insanely popular series A Court of Thorns and Roses. Maas’ imaginative world-building is something to behold—a kind of fractal blossoming of fantasy, romance, and adventure in the realms of the fae. The series has been officially optioned for adaptation on the streaming platform Hulu. If you have missed this series you can start with Book 1 here.

A Court of Sliver Flames is also available as an eBook and eAudiobook.



Category: Romance

You and Me on Vacation By Emily Henry (2021)

Poppy and Alex have been best friends since forever, and each year they take a vacation together—a glorious, uncomplicated summer holiday. Except that last year it got complicated, and this year it’s weirdsies for all. Emily Henry takes home this year’s Best Romance for her insightful investigation into that unknowable gray area between friendship and true love. 

You and Me on Vacation is also available as an eBook.


Category: Science Fiction

Project Hail Mary By Andy Weir (2021)

Engineer-turned-novelist Andy Weir is on a crazy run. Best career switch ever? Project Hail Mary—concerning a resourceful astronaut and an extinction-level event—is Weir’s third nomination…and his third win. As with his previous books The Martian and ArtemisProject Hail Mary is final evidence that old-school hard science fiction is back. Quantum physics! Chemistry! Exobiology! Aerodynamics! It actually is rocket science.

Also available in  Large Print, eAudio, MP3 and eBook formats and also in Spanish (eBook).


Category: Horror

The Final Girl Support Group By Grady Hendrik (2021)

Author Grady Hendrix has carved out his own unique domain in horror by playing around with the genre’s blurry edges and recurring tropes. His latest novel—and winner of this year’s Best Horror award—considers the scary movie concept of the final girl, the one victim who fights back, defeats the killer, and lives to see another day. Hendrix’s open question: What if some of these women got together?

Also available in Large Print.


Category: Humour

Broken By Jenny Lawson (2021)

Impossibly funny and beautifully empathetic, Jenny Lawson’s writing works like medicine. It makes you feel better. With Broken, Lawson brings her delightful style of deliberate lateral thinking to a new batch of topics: marriage, lizards, dentists, experimental transcranial magnetic stimulation—you know, that sort of thing. A case can be made that Broken is, quite literally, the feel-good book of the year.

And you can have your choice of eAudio and Audio CD to listen to it too!


Category: Debut Novel

The Spanish Love Deception By Elena Armas (2021)

Spanish author Elena Armas brings several new twists to a classic rom-com setup with this debut novel, which has already won a devoted following in the Goodreads community. Catalina Martin is taking her new American boyfriend to her sister’s wedding in a small Spanish town. Aaron Blackford is tall, handsome, and supremely aggravating. Alas, he’s not actually Catalina’s boyfriend. This is Armas’ first Goodreads win, naturally.

Also available as an eBook.


Category: Young Adult

Firekeeper’s daughter By Angeline Boulley (2021)

Winner of this year’s award for Young Adult Fiction, Firekeeper’s Daughter introduces a compelling new heroine to the YA scene. As a biracial and unenrolled tribal member, 18-year-old Daunis Fontaine feels like an outsider both on and off the local Ojibwe reservation. But she soon finds a higher purpose when she witnesses a terrible murder—and decides to go undercover with her own investigation.

Also available as an eBook.


Category: Young Adult Fantasy

Rule of Wolves By Leigh Bardugo (2021)

Perennial contender Leigh Bardugo earns her second Goodreads Award win with Rule of Wolves, the concluding book in her King of Scars duology, set in the innovative and sprawling Grishaverse. Bardugo’s nuanced stories and elaborate world-building continue to break new ground in YA fantasy, and she’s expanding the empire, too: Netflix’s Shadow and Bone series is likely the first of many TV and film adaptations. Not read Book 1 yet? You can find Book 1 here.

Rule of Wolves is also available as an Audio CD too.


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