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Top Ten Tuesday | December 28, 2021

Posted December 28, 2021 by Kait in Best Of, Bookish Memes, Top Ten Tuesday / 11 Comments

Happy Tuesday!

Top Ten Tuesday is a Bookish Meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, and this week’s theme is BEST BOOKS I READ IN 2021!

Happy Tuesday!

So it looks like this is going to be another three part post (oops). It turns out that in addition to not being able to choose my favorite covers (1, 2, 3) of 2021, I also cannot choose my favorite books of the year! (or at least not just ten of them) Today’s post covers my top eleven standalone books I read in 2021, and there will be more posts later this week that cover my top twelve through my top thirty one!

And now without any further ado, here’s this week’s Top Ten Tuesday!

Top Ten Tuesday | December 28, 2021The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow
Published on October 13, 2020 by Redhook
Genres: Queer, Alternate History, Fantasy, Historical Fiction, New Adult, Paranormal
Pages: 517
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In 1893, there's no such thing as witches. There used to be, in the wild, dark days before the burnings began, but now witching is nothing but tidy charms and nursery rhymes. If the modern woman wants any measure of power, she must find it at the ballot box.
But when the Eastwood sisters--James Juniper, Agnes Amaranth, and Beatrice Belladonna--join the suffragists of New Salem, they begin to pursue the forgotten words and ways that might turn the women's movement into the witch's movement. Stalked by shadows and sickness, hunted by forces who will not suffer a witch to vote-and perhaps not even to live-the sisters will need to delve into the oldest magics, draw new alliances, and heal the bond between them if they want to survive.
There's no such thing as witches. But there will be.

Top Ten Tuesday | December 28, 2021It Goes Like This by Miel Moreland
Published on May 18, 2021 by Feiwel & Friends
Genres: Contemporary, YA, Queer
Pages: 352
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Eva, Celeste, Gina, and Steph used to think their friendship was unbreakable. After all, they've been though a lot together, including the astronomical rise of Moonlight Overthrow, the world-famous queer pop band they formed in middle school, never expecting to headline anything bigger than the county fair.
But after a sudden falling out leads to the dissolution of the teens' band, their friendship, and Eva and Celeste's starry-eyed romance, nothing is the same. Gina and Celeste step further into the spotlight, Steph disappears completely, and Eva, heartbroken, takes refuge as a songwriter and secret online fangirl...of her own band. That is, until a storm devastates their hometown, bringing the four ex-best-friends back together. As they prepare for one last show, they'll discover whether growing up always means growing apart.

Top Ten Tuesday | December 28, 2021The One True Me and You by Remi K. England
Published on March 1, 2022 by Wednesday Books
Genres: Queer, YA, Contemporary, Neurodivergent, Romance
Pages: 272
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Author Links: Website, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Instagram, Tumblr, TikTok

One small fandom convention. One teen beauty pageant. One meet cute waiting to happen.
Up and coming fanfic author Kaylee Beaumont is internally screaming at the chance to finally meet her fandom friends in real life and spend a weekend at GreatCon. She also has a side quest for the weekend:
Try out they/them pronouns to see how it feels
Wear more masculine-presenting cosplay
Kiss a girl for the first time
It’s… a lot, and Kay mostly wants to lie face down on the hotel floor. Especially when her hometown bully, Miss North Carolina, shows up in the very same hotel. But there’s this con-sponsored publishing contest, and the chance to meet her fandom idols… and then, there’s Teagan.
Pageant queen Teagan Miller (Miss Virginia) has her eye on the much-needed prize: the $25,000 scholarship awarded to the winner of the Miss Cosmic Teen USA pageant. She also has secrets:
She loves the dresses but hates the tiaras
She’s a giant nerd for everything GreatCon
She’s gay af
If Teagan can just keep herself wrapped up tight for one more weekend, she can claim the scholarship and go off to college out and proud. If she’s caught, she could lose everything she’s worked for. If her rival, Miss North Carolina, has anything to do with it, that’s exactly how it’ll go down.
When Teagan and Kay bump into one another the first night, sparks fly. Their connection is intense—as is their shared enemy. If they’re spotted, the safe space of the con will be shattered, and all their secrets will follow them home. The risks are great… but could the reward of embracing their true selves be worth it?

Top Ten Tuesday | December 28, 2021Speak for Yourself by Lana Wood Johnson
Published on June 1, 2021 by Scholastic Press
Genres: Contemporary, Neurodivergent, Queer, Aspec, Retellings, YA
Pages: 352
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Girl meets boy. Girl likes boy. Girl gets friend to help win boy. Friend ends up with crush on boy...
Skylar's got ambitious #goals. And if she wants them to come true, she has to get to work now. (At least she thinks so...) Step one in her epic plan is showing everyone that her latest app is brilliant. To do that, she's going to use it win State at the Scholastic Exposition, the nerdiest academic competition around.
First, she'll need a team, and Skylar's not always so good with people. But she'll do whatever it takes to put one together ... even if it means playing Cupid for her teammates Joey and Zane, at Joey's request. When things get off to an awkward start for them, Skylar finds herself stepping in to help Joey. Anything to keep her on the team. Only, Skylar seems to be making everything more complicated. Especially when she realizes she might be falling for Zane, which was not a #goal. Can Skylar figure out her feelings, prove her app's potential to the world, and win State without losing her friends--or is her path to greatness over before it begins?

Top Ten Tuesday | December 28, 2021Several People Are Typing by Calvin Kasulke
Published on August 31, 2021 by Doubleday Books
Genres: Contemporary, Queer, Adult, Horror, Science Fiction
Pages: 248
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A work-from-home, comic tour-de-force that takes place entirely in a PR firm's Slack channels--a strange digital landscape where an employee claims to be literally trapped inside. For fans of Office Space, Then We Came to the End and Severance. And anyone who has ever struggled with an emoticon.
Gerald, a mid-level employee of a New York-based public relations firm, has been uploaded into the company's internal Slack channels--at least his consciousness has. His colleagues assume it's just an elaborate ploy to exploit their lax work-from-home policy, but now that his productivity is through the roof, they are only too happy to indulge him. Disembodied and alarmed by the looming abyss of an eternity on-line, Gerald enlists his co-worker Pradeep to find out what happened to his body and help him escape. As Gerald plunges deeper into the surprisingly expansive Slack landscape, he finds an unlikely ally in Slackbot, Slack's AI assistant, who helps him navigate his new digital reality. Meanwhile, the team's real-world problems are in danger of snowballing out of control. Top client Bjärk dog food might be poisoning Pomeranians across the country; someone is sabotaging the boss's office furniture; Tripp and Beverly are breaking the unspoken rule against office romances; and the incessant howling of wild dogs is starting to drive Lydia insane. Also: Why is Slackbot so interested in Gerald? And what in the hell does the :dusty-stick: emoji mean? Hilarious, irreverent, and wholly original, Calvin Kasulke's Several People Are Typing is a satire of both corporate and contemporary life, and a perfect antidote to the way we live now.

Top Ten Tuesday | December 28, 2021One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston
Published on June 1, 2021 by St. Martin's Griffin
Genres: Contemporary, Queer, Magical Realism, Mystery, New Adult, Romance, Time Travel
Pages: 418
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Author Links: Website, Twitter, Goodreads, Instagram, Tumblr

For cynical twenty-three-year-old August, moving to New York City is supposed to prove her right: that things like magic and cinematic love stories don’t exist, and the only smart way to go through life is alone. She can’t imagine how waiting tables at a 24-hour pancake diner and moving in with too many weird roommates could possibly change that. And there’s certainly no chance of her subway commute being anything more than a daily trudge through boredom and electrical failures.
But then, there’s this gorgeous girl on the train.
Jane. Dazzling, charming, mysterious, impossible Jane. Jane with her rough edges and swoopy hair and soft smile, showing up in a leather jacket to save August’s day when she needed it most. August’s subway crush becomes the best part of her day, but pretty soon, she discovers there’s one big problem: Jane doesn’t just look like an old school punk rocker. She’s literally displaced in time from the 1970s, and August is going to have to use everything she tried to leave in her own past to help her. Maybe it’s time to start believing in some things, after all.

Top Ten Tuesday | December 28, 2021Among the Beasts & Briars by Ashley Poston
Published on October 20, 2020 by Balzer + Bray
Genres: Fantasy, Retellings, YA, Queer
Pages: 352
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Cerys is safe in the kingdom of Aloriya.
Here there are no droughts, disease, or famine, and peace is everlasting. It has been this way for hundreds of years, since the first king made a bargain with the Lady who ruled the forest that borders the kingdom. But as Aloriya prospered, the woods grew dark, cursed, and forbidden. Cerys knows this all too well: when she was young, she barely escaped as the woods killed her friends and her mother. Now Cerys carries a small bit of the curse—the magic—in her blood, a reminder of the day she lost everything. The most danger she faces now, as a gardener’s daughter, is the annoying fox who stalks the royal gardens and won’t leave her alone.
As a new queen is crowned, however, things long hidden in the woods descend on the kingdom itself. Cerys is forced on the run, her only companions the small fox from the garden, a strange and powerful bear, and the magic in her veins. It’s up to her to find the legendary Lady of the Wilds and beg for a way to save her home. But the road is darker and more dangerous than she knows, and as secrets from the past are uncovered amid the teeth and roots of the forest, it’s going to take everything she has just to survive.

Top Ten Tuesday | December 28, 2021The Nature of Witches by Rachel Griffin
Published on June 1, 2021 by Sourcebooks Fire
Genres: Fantasy, YA, Paranormal, Queer
Pages: 384
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For centuries, witches have maintained the climate, their power from the sun peaking in the season of their birth. But now their control is faltering as the atmosphere becomes more erratic. All hope lies with Clara, an Everwitch whose rare magic is tied to every season.
In Autumn, Clara wants nothing to do with her power. It's wild and volatile, and the price of her magic―losing the ones she loves―is too high, despite the need to control the increasingly dangerous weather.
In Winter, the world is on the precipice of disaster. Fires burn, storms rage, and Clara accepts that she's the only one who can make a difference.
In Spring, she falls for Sang, the witch training her. As her magic grows, so do her feelings, until she's terrified Sang will be the next one she loses.
In Summer, Clara must choose between her power and her happiness, her duty and the people she loves... before she loses Sang, her magic, and thrusts the world into chaos.

Top Ten Tuesday | December 28, 2021This Golden State by Marit Weisenberg
Published on March 1, 2022 by Flatiron Books
Genres: Contemporary, Mystery, Thriller, YA
Pages: 400
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Author Links: Website, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Instagram

The Winslow family lives by five principles:
1. No one can know your real name.
2. Don’t stay in one place too long.
3. If you sense anything is wrong, go immediately to the meeting spot.
4. Keeping our family together is everything.
5. We wish we could tell you who we are, but we can’t. Please—do not ask.
Poppy doesn’t know why her family has been running her whole life, but she does know that there are dire consequences if they’re ever caught. Still, her curiosity grows each year, as does her desire for real friends and the chance to build on something, instead of leaving behind school projects, teams, and crushes at a moment’s notice.
When a move to California exposes a crack in her parents’ airtight planning, Poppy realizes how fragile her world is. Determined to find out the truth, she mails in a home DNA test. Just as she starts to settle into her new life and even begins opening up to a boy in her math class, the forgotten test results bring her crashing back to reality.
Unraveling the shocking truth of her parents’ real identities, Poppy realizes that the DNA test has undone decades of careful work to keep her family anonymous—and the past is dangerously close to catching up to them. Determined to protect her family but desperate for more, Poppy must ask: How much of herself does she owe her family? And is it a betrayal to find her own place in the world?

Top Ten Tuesday | December 28, 2021Cool for the Summer by Dahlia Adler
Published on May 11, 2021 by Wednesday Books
Genres: Contemporary, Queer, Romance, YA
Pages: 272
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Author Links: Website, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Instagram, TikTok

Lara's had eyes for exactly one person throughout her three years of high school: Chase Harding. He's tall, strong, sweet, a football star, and frankly, stupid hot. Oh, and he's talking to her now. On purpose and everything. Maybe...flirting, even? No, wait, he's definitely flirting, which is pretty much the sum of everything Lara's wanted out of life.
Except she’s haunted by a memory. A memory of a confusing, romantic, strangely perfect summer spent with a girl named Jasmine. A memory that becomes a confusing, disorienting present when Jasmine herself walks through the front doors of the school to see Lara and Chase chatting it up in front of the lockers.
Lara has everything she ever wanted: a tight-knit group of friends, a job that borders on cool, and Chase, the boy of her literal dreams. But if she's finally got the guy, why can't she stop thinking about the girl?
Cool for the Summer is a story of self-discovery and new love. It’s about the things we want and the things we need. And it’s about the people who will let us be who we are.

Top Ten Tuesday | December 28, 2021The Throwback List by Lily Anderson
Published on October 5, 2021 by Hyperion Avenue
Genres: New Adult, Contemporary, Queer
Pages: 400
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Author Links: Website, Twitter, Goodreads, Amazon, Instagram

Welcome to Sandy Point, Oregon: a sleepy beach town that's home to a giant anchor statue, a sometimes-karaoke-bar, and Frosty's questionably legendary Sunday Sundae Surprise. A town Jo, Autumn, and Bianca thought they'd left far behind when they graduated high school, finally moving on to greener pastures than the midway point for tourists heading to the Goonies house. But life seldom goes according to plan.
Bianca Boria-Birdy, former prom queen and valedictorian, has always been an overachiever. As she juggles managing the family tattoo parlor, caring for her grandmother, and adjusting to a new marriage, Bianca's schedule becomes stricter than ever, with no room for disruption. What she really needs is a vacation, but not even Bianca Boria-Birdy can achieve the impossible.
Autumn Kelly used to be an actress. Now she teaches drama at Sandy Point High. She may have had to kiss her movie-star dreams goodbye, but molding the next generation of performers has given her life meaning in a whole new way. Until the sudden reappearance of her ex-best friend throws everything off-balance.Jo Freeman has it all together. With a cool job in Silicon Valley, connections at the trendiest fitness studios, and a down payment on her dream condo, she's well on her way to reaching every one of her goals before thirty. Or she was, before she got fired and landed right back home with her parents and teenage sister.
When Jo finds an old bucket list in her childhood bedroom, it sets the three women on a path that brings them closer to one another with each task. And it just might lead to a life none of them could have planned.

What were your best books of 2021? Let me know in the comments below and have a magical week!

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