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My Favorite Reads of 2021 | Part Three

Posted December 31, 2021 by Kait in Best Of, Creative Post / 0 Comments

Happy New Year’s Eve and welcome to Part Three of my Favorite Reads of 2021!

Hi there! You probably don’t need a third intro for part three of this post, so I’m just going to jump right in!

Today’s post covers all the books that I couldn’t stop yelling about this year that didn’t get covered in the previous two posts. I love them all and I hope that you love them all too!

Enjoy!

My Favorite Reads of 2021 | Part ThreeCinderella Is Dead by Kalynn Bayron
Published on July 7, 2020 by Bloomsbury YA
Genres: Romance, YA, Alternate History, Fantasy, Horror, Queer, Retellings
Pages: 400
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It’s 200 years after Cinderella found her prince, but the fairy tale is over. Teen girls are now required to appear at the Annual Ball, where the men of the kingdom select wives based on a girl’s display of finery. If a suitable match is not found, the girls not chosen are never heard from again.
Sixteen-year-old Sophia would much rather marry Erin, her childhood best friend, than parade in front of suitors. At the ball, Sophia makes the desperate decision to flee, and finds herself hiding in Cinderella’s mausoleum. There, she meets Constance, the last known descendant of Cinderella and her step sisters. Together they vow to bring down the king once and for all–and in the process, they learn that there’s more to Cinderella’s story than they ever knew . . .
This fresh take on a classic story will make readers question the tales they’ve been told, and root for girls to break down the constructs of the world around them.

My Favorite Reads of 2021 | Part ThreeFollow Your Arrow by Jessica Verdi
Published on March 2, 2021 by Scholastic Press
Genres: Queer, Romance, YA, Contemporary
Pages: 320
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CeCe Ross is kind of a big deal. She and her girlfriend, Silvie, are social media influencers with zillions of fans and followers, known for their cute outfits and being #relationshipgoals.
So when Silvie breaks up with her, CeCe is devastated. She's lost her first love, and now she can't help but wonder if she'll lose her followers as well.
Things get even messier when CeCe meets Josh, a new boy in town who is very much Not Online. CeCe isn't surprised to be falling for a guy; she's always known she's bi. And Josh is sweet and smart and has excellent taste in donuts... but he has no idea that CeCe is internet-famous. And CeCe sort of wants to keep it that way.
But when CeCe's secrets catch up to her, she finds herself in the middle of an online storm, where she'll have to confront the blurriness of public vs. private life, and figure out what it really means to speak her truth.

[Review Here!]

My Favorite Reads of 2021 | Part ThreeDaughter of the Deep by Rick Riordan
Published on October 26, 2021 by Disney-Hyperion
Genres: Contemporary, Alternate History, Middle Grade, Neurodivergent, Queer, Retellings, Science Fiction, Thriller
Pages: 352
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Author Links: Website, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Amazon, Instagram

Ana Dakkar is a freshman at Harding-Pencroft Academy, a five-year high school that graduates the best marine scientists, naval warriors, navigators, and underwater explorers in the world. Ana's parents died while on a scientific expedition two years ago, and the only family's she's got left is her older brother, Dev, also a student at HP. Ana's freshman year culminates with the class's weekend trial at sea, the details of which have been kept secret. She only hopes she has what it'll take to succeed. All her worries are blown out of the water when, on the bus ride to the ship, Ana and her schoolmates witness a terrible tragedy that will change the trajectory of their lives.
But wait, there's more. The professor accompanying them informs Ana that their rival school, Land Institute, and Harding-Pencroft have been fighting a cold war for a hundred and fifty years. Now that cold war has been turned up to a full broil, and the freshman are in danger of becoming fish food. In a race against deadly enemies, Ana will make amazing friends and astounding discoveries about her heritage as she puts her leadership skills to the test for the first time.

[Review Here!]

My Favorite Reads of 2021 | Part ThreeGirls Save the World in This One by Ash Parsons
Published on May 25, 2021 by Philomel Books
Genres: Contemporary, Queer, Retellings, Romance, Horror, Science Fiction, Thriller, YA
Pages: 448
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Mega-fan June Blue's whole life has been leading up to this moment: ZombieCon! The Ultimate in Undead Entertainment has finally come to her hometown. She and her two best friends--gorgeous, brilliant Imani and super-sweet, outrageously silly Siggy--plan on hitting all the panels and photo ops, and meeting the heartthrob lead of their favorite zombie apocalypse show, Human Wasteland. It's going to be the best time of their lives--and one of their last adventures before they all split up for college.
And when they arrive, everything seems perfect. June's definitely not going to let anything get in the wayof the flawless con experience--even though she's endlessly anxious about the SATs and college admissions, and she can't seem to avoid her ex-best friend Blair, whose VIP badge lets her walk straight to the front of every single line. No matter what, June is determined to make the best of her dream day at ZombieCon!
But something's not quite right at the con--there are strange people in hazmat suits running around, enthusiastic cosplayers taking their shambling a little too far, and someone actually biting a cast member. Then, at a panel gone wrong, June and her friends discover the truth: the zombie apocalypse is here.
Now June, Imani, and Siggy must do whatever it takes to survive a horde of actual flesh-eating zombies--and save the world. A hilarious and heartfelt horror comedy, that is an ode to zombies, friendship, and girl power.

My Favorite Reads of 2021 | Part ThreeKate in Waiting by Becky Albertalli
Published on April 20, 2021 by Balzer + Bray
Genres: Contemporary, Queer, Romance, YA
Pages: 387
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Author Links: Website, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Instagram, Tumblr

Contrary to popular belief, best friends Kate Garfield and Anderson Walker are not codependent. Carpooling to and from theater rehearsals? Environmentally sound and efficient. Consulting each other on every single life decision? Basic good judgment. Pining for the same guys from afar? Shared crushes are more fun anyway.
But when Kate and Andy’s latest long-distance crush shows up at their school, everything goes off script. Matt Olsson is talented and sweet, and Kate likes him. She really likes him. The only problem? So does Anderson.
Turns out, communal crushes aren’t so fun when real feelings are involved. This one might even bring the curtains down on Kate and Anderson’s friendship.

[Review Here!]

My Favorite Reads of 2021 | Part ThreeThe [Un]Popular Vote by Jasper Sanchez
Published on June 1, 2021 by Katherine Tegen Books
Genres: Contemporary, YA, Queer
Pages: 416
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Vaseline on the teeth makes a smile shine. It’s a cheap stunt, but Mark Adams knows it’s optics that can win or ruin an election.
Everything Mark learned about politics, he learned from his father, the congressman who still pretends he has a daughter and not a son. To protect his father’s image, Mark promises to keep his past hidden and pretend to be the cis guy everyone assumes he is. But when he sees a manipulatively charming candidate for student body president inflame dangerous rhetoric, Mark decides to risk the low profile he assured his father and insert himself as a political challenger.
One big problem? No one really knows Mark. He didn’t grow up in this town, and he has few friends; plus, the ones he does have aren’t exactly with the in-crowd. Still, thanks to countless seasons of Scandal and The West Wing, these nerds know where to start: from campaign stops to voter polling to a fashion makeover. Soon Mark feels emboldened to get in front of and engage with voters—and even start a new romance. But with an investigative journalist digging into his past, a father trying to silence him, and a bully front-runner who stands in his way, Mark will have to decide which matters most: perception or truth, when both are just as dangerous.

My Favorite Reads of 2021 | Part ThreeRebel Spy by Veronica Rossi
Published on June 23, 2020 by Delacorte Press
Genres: YA, Historical Fiction, Mystery, Retellings
Pages: 356
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Rebellious Frannie Tasker knows little about the war between England and its thirteen colonies in 1776, until a shipwreck off her home in Grand Bahama Island presents an unthinkable opportunity. The body of a young woman found floating in the sea gives Frannie the chance to escape her brutal stepfather—and she takes it.
Assuming the identity of the drowned Emmeline Coates, Frannie is rescued by a British merchant ship and sails with the crew to New York. On the way, she meets nineteen-year-old Asa Lane, an American rebel, with whom she reluctantly shares her truth. In turn, he teaches her the rules of civility and decorum she will need to follow to pass as a lady.
For the next three years, Frannie lives a lie as Miss Coates, swept up in a courtship with a dashing British lieutenant. But after witnessing the darker side of the war, she realizes that her position gives her power. Soon she finds herself eavesdropping on British officers, risking everything to pass information on to George Washington's Culper Spy Ring under the alias 355. Frannie believes in the fight for American liberty—but what will it cost her?
Inspired by the true "355" and rich in historical detail and intrigue, this is the story of an unlikely New York society girl turned an even unlikelier spy.

My Favorite Reads of 2021 | Part ThreeA Sisterhood of Secret Ambitions by Sheena Boekweg
Published on June 1, 2021 by Feiwel & Friends
Genres: YA, Alternate History, Historical Fiction, Neurodivergent, Queer, Aspec
Pages: 352
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Author Links: Website, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Amazon, Instagram

Behind every powerful man is a trained woman, and behind every trained woman is the Society. It started with tea parties and matchmaking, but is now a countrywide secret. Gossips pass messages in recipes, Spinsters train to fight, and women work together to grant safety to abused women and children. The Society is more than oaths—it is sisterhood and purpose.
In 1926, seventeen-year-old Elsie is dropped off in a new city with four other teenage girls. All of them have trained together since childhood to become the Wife of a powerful man. But when they learn that their next target is earmarked to become President, their mission becomes more than just an assignment; this is a chance at the most powerful position in the Society. All they have to do is make one man fall in love with them first.

[Review Here!]

My Favorite Reads of 2021 | Part ThreeKind of a Big Deal by Shannon Hale
Published on August 25, 2020 by Roaring Brook Press
Genres: Contemporary, YA, Fantasy
Pages: 400
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There's nothing worse than peaking in high school. Nobody knows that better than Josie Pie.
She was kind of a big deal―she dropped out of high school to be a star! But the bigger you are, the harder you fall. And Josie fell. Hard. Ouch. Broadway dream: dead.
Meanwhile, her life keeps imploding. Best friend: distant. Boyfriend: busy. Mom: not playing with a full deck? Desperate to escape, Josie gets into reading.
Literally. She reads a book and suddenly she's inside it. And with each book, she’s a different character: a post-apocalyptic heroine, the lead in a YA rom-com, a 17th century wench in a corset.
It’s alarming. But also . . . kind of amazing?
It’s the perfect way to live out her fantasies. Book after book, Josie the failed star finds a new way to shine. But the longer she stays in a story, the harder it becomes to escape.
Will Josie find a story so good that she just stays forever?

My Favorite Reads of 2021 | Part ThreeNow Entering Addamsville by Francesca Zappia
Published on October 1, 2019 by Greenwillow Books
Genres: Contemporary, YA, Fantasy, Horror, Mystery, Paranormal, Queer, Aspec
Pages: 357
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Zora Novak has been framed.
When someone burns down the home of the school janitor and he dies in the blaze, everyone in Addamsville, Indiana, points a finger at Zora. Never mind that Zora has been on the straight and narrow since her father was thrown in jail. With everyone looking for evidence against her, her only choice is to uncover the identity of the real killer. There’s one big problem—Zora has no leads. No one does. Addamsville has a history of tragedy, and thirty years ago a similar string of fires left several townspeople dead. The arsonist was never caught.
Now, Zora must team up with her cousin Artemis—an annoying self-proclaimed Addamsville historian—to clear her name. But with a popular ghost-hunting television show riling up the townspeople, almost no support from her family and friends, and rumors spinning out of control, things aren’t looking good. Zora will have to read between the lines of Addamsville’s ghost stories before she becomes one herself.

My Favorite Reads of 2021 | Part ThreeWhat We Devour by Linsey Miller
Published on July 6, 2021 by Sourcebooks Fire
Genres: Dystopian, Fantasy, Horror, Neurodivergent, Paranormal, Queer, Aspec, YA
Pages: 336
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Author Links: Website, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Instagram, Tumblr

Lorena Adler has a secret—she holds the power of the banished gods, the Noble and the Vile, inside her. She has spent her entire life hiding from the world and her past. She’s content to spend her days as an undertaker in a small town, marry her best friend, Julian, and live an unfulfilling life so long as no one uncovers her true nature.
But when the notoriously bloodthirsty and equally Vile crown prince comes to arrest Julian’s father, he immediately recognizes Lorena for what she is. So she makes a deal—a fair trial for her betrothed’s father in exchange for her service to the crown.
The prince is desperate for her help. He’s spent years trying to repair the weakening Door that holds back the Vile…and he’s losing the battle. As Lorena learns more about the Door and the horrifying price it takes to keep it closed, she’ll have to embrace both parts of herself to survive.

My Favorite Reads of 2021 | Part ThreeCheer Up: Love and Pompoms by Crystal Frasier, Val Wise
Published on August 10, 2021 by Oni Press
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, YA, Graphic Novels, Neurodivergent, Queer
Pages: 128
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Annie is a smart, antisocial lesbian starting her senior year of high school who’s under pressure to join the cheerleader squad to make friends and round out her college applications. Her former friend BeeBee is a people-pleaser—a trans girl who must keep her parents happy with her grades and social life to keep their support of her transition. Through the rigors of squad training and amped up social pressures (not to mention micro aggressions and other queer youth problems), the two girls rekindle a friendship they thought they’d lost and discover there may be other, sweeter feelings springing up between them.

And that’s it for me! What were some of your favorite reads of 2021? Let me know in the comments and have a splendiferous day!

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