Today’s post is almost on theme? If you squint and turn your head sideways at least! One thing that I’ve been trying to focus on lately is reading my arcs before they publish, so that I can at least tell myself that I will get the review up before publication day. And since my list of 2021 books that I’ve already read/am currently reading (that have covers!) just barely goes over ten, I decided that today I would share my list of 2021 BOOKS I’VE ALREADY READ AND LOVED! Listed in order of publication date, of course!
And now without any further ado, here’s this week’s Top
Ten Eleven Tuesday!
Oh My Gods! by Stephanie Cooke, Insha Fitzpatrick, Juliana Moon
Series: OMGs #1
Published by Houghton Mifflin on January 1, 2021
Genres: Middle Grade, Graphic Novels, Fantasy, Mythology, Retellings
Karen is just an average thirteen-year-old from New Jersey who loves to play video games with her friends and watch movies with her mom. But when she moves to Greece to live with her eccentric, mysterious father, Zed, suddenly everything she thought about herself—about life—is up in the air.
Starting a new school can be difficult, but starting school at Mt. Olympus Junior High, where students are gods and goddesses, just might take the cake. Especially when fellow classmates start getting turned to stone. Greek mythology . . . a little less myth, a little more eek! And if Karen’s classmates are immortal beings, who does that make her?
The Wife Upstairs by Rachel Hawkins
Published by St. Martin's Press on January 5, 2021
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Mystery, Thriller, Retellings
A delicious twist on a Gothic classic, Rachel Hawkins's The Wife Upstairs pairs Southern charm with atmospheric domestic suspense, perfect for fans of B.A. Paris and Megan Miranda.
Meet Jane. Newly arrived to Birmingham, Alabama, Jane is a broke dog-walker in Thornfield Estates––a gated community full of McMansions, shiny SUVs, and bored housewives. The kind of place where no one will notice if Jane lifts the discarded tchotchkes and jewelry off the side tables of her well-heeled clients. Where no one will think to ask if Jane is her real name.
But her luck changes when she meets Eddie Rochester. Recently widowed, Eddie is Thornfield Estates’ most mysterious resident. His wife, Bea, drowned in a boating accident with her best friend, their bodies lost to the deep. Jane can’t help but see an opportunity in Eddie––not only is he rich, brooding, and handsome, he could also offer her the kind of protection she’s always yearned for.
Yet as Jane and Eddie fall for each other, Jane is increasingly haunted by the legend of Bea, an ambitious beauty with a rags-to-riches origin story, who launched a wildly successful southern lifestyle brand. How can she, plain Jane, ever measure up? And can she win Eddie’s heart before her past––or his––catches up to her?
With delicious suspense, incisive wit, and a fresh, feminist sensibility, The Wife Upstairs flips the script on a timeless tale of forbidden romance, ill-advised attraction, and a wife who just won’t stay buried. In this vivid reimagining of one of literature’s most twisted love triangles, which Mrs. Rochester will get her happy ending?
This Is Not the Jess Show by Anna Carey
Series: This is Not the Jess Show #1
Published by Quirk Books on February 2, 2021
Genres: YA, Historical Fiction, Thriller
Black Mirror meets My So-Called Life in this fast-paced, timely YA thriller about separating fact from fiction--and how far we'll go to create our own version of reality.
Like any other teenager, Jess Flynn is just trying to get through her junior year without drama ... but drama seems to keep finding her. Between a new crush on her childhood best friend, overprotective parents cramping her social life, and her younger sister's worsening health, the only constant is change--and her hometown of Swickley, which feels smaller by the day.
Swickley is getting weirder by the day, too. Half the population has been struck down by a mysterious flu. Conversations end awkwardly when Jess enters the room. And then one day, a tiny, sleek black device--with an apple logo on it--falls out of her best friend's backpack and lands at Jess's feet.
Muse by Brittany Cavallaro
Series: Muse #1
Published by Katherine Tegen Books on February 2, 2021
Genres: YA, Historical Fiction, Alternate History, Fantasy, LGBTQIA+
American Royals meets The Winner’s Curse in the first book of bestselling author Brittany Cavallaro’s new duology, set in an alternate history American monarchy where a girl grapples for control of her own life in the middle of a looming war.
The year is 1893, and war is brewing in the First American Kingdom. But Claire Emerson has a bigger problem. While her father prepares to reveal the mighty weapon he’s created to showcase the might of their province, St. Cloud, in the World’s Fair, Claire is crafting a plan to escape.
Claire’s father is a sought-after inventor, but he believes his genius is a gift, granted to him by his daughter’s touch. He’s kept Claire under his control for years. As St. Cloud prepares for war, Claire plans to claim her life for herself, even as her best friend, Beatrix, tries to convince her to stay and help with the growing resistance movement that wants to see a woman on the throne. At any cost.
When her father’s weapon fails to fire on the fair’s opening day, Claire is taken captive by Governor Remy Duchamp, St. Cloud’s young, untried ruler. Remy believes that Claire’s touch bestows graces he’s never had, and with his governing power weakening and many political rivals planning his demise, Claire might be his only and best ally. But the last thing that Claire has ever wanted is to be someone else’s muse. Still, affections can change as quickly as the winds of war. And Claire has a choice to make: Will she quietly remake her world from the shadows—or bring it down in flames?
A Shot at Normal by Marisa Reichardt
Published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (Byr) on February 16, 2021
Genres: YA, Contemporary
Marisa Reichardt's A Shot at Normal is a powerful and timely novel about justice, agency, family, and taking your shot, even when it seems impossible.
Dr. Villapando told me to get a good attorney. He wasn't serious. But I am. I'm going to sue my parents.
Juniper Jade's parents are hippies. They didn’t attend the first Woodstock, but they were there for the second one. The Jade family lives an all-organic homeschool lifestyle that means no plastics, no cell phones, and no vaccines. It isn’t exactly normal, but it’s the only thing Juniper has ever known. She doesn’t agree with her parents on everything, but she knows that to be in this family, you've got to stick to the rules. That is, until the unthinkable happens.
Juniper contracts the measles and unknowingly passes the disease along, with tragic consequences. She is shell-shocked. Juniper knows she is responsible and feels simultaneously helpless and furious at her parents, and herself.
Now, with the help of Nico, the boy who works at the library and loves movies and may just be more than a friend, Juniper comes to a decision: she is going to get vaccinated. Her parents refuse so Juniper arms herself with a lawyer and prepares for battle. But is waging war for her autonomy worth losing her family? How much is Juniper willing to risk for a shot at normal?
Winterborne Home for Mayhem and Mystery by Ally Carter
Series: Winterborne Home #2
Published by HMH Books for Young Readers on March 2, 2021
Genres: Middle Grade, Mystery
Five orphans. Two sword-wielding vigilantes. One mansion. No rules. April thought she had her happy ending. After all, she has her new house and new friends and new guardian. But she also has a very big new secret. The kids of Winterborne House are the only ones who know that Gabriel Winterborne—famous billionaire and terrible cook—is really a sword-wielding vigilante. What they don’t know is that he’s not the only one. When a masked figure breaks in, looking for something—or someone—it’s clear that Gabriel has met his match, and now no one is safe. April and her friends will have to solve a decades-old mystery in order to hang on to the most important thing in the world: each other.
That Way Madness Lies: 15 of Shakespeare's Most Notable Works Reimagined by Dahlia Adler, Kayla Ancrum, Lily Anderson, Patrice Caldwell, Melissa Bashardoust, A.R. Capetta, Cory McCarthy, Brittany Cavallaro, Joy McCullough, Anna-Marie McLemore, Samantha Mabry, Tochi Onyebuchi, Mark Oshiro, Lindsay Smith, Kiersten White, Emily Wibberley, Austin Siegemund-Broka
Published by Flatiron Books on March 16, 2021
Genres: YA, Anthology, Retellings, LGBTQIA+
Fifteen acclaimed YA writers put their modern spin on William Shakespeare’s celebrated classics!
West Side Story. 10 Things I Hate About You. Kiss Me, Kate. Contemporary audiences have always craved reimaginings of Shakespeare’s most beloved works. Now, some of today’s best writers for teens take on the Bard in these 15 whip-smart and original retellings!
Contributors include Dahlia Adler (reimagining The Merchant of Venice), Kayla Ancrum (The Taming of the Shrew), Lily Anderson (All’s Well That Ends Well), Patrice Caldwell (Hamlet), Melissa Bashardoust (A Winter’s Tale), Amy Rose Capetta and Cori McCarthy (Much Ado About Nothing), Brittany Cavallaro (Sonnet 147), Joy McCullough (King Lear), Anna-Marie McLemore (A Midsummer Night’s Dream), Samantha Mabry (Macbeth), Tochi Onyebuchi (Coriolanus), Mark Oshiro (Twelfth Night), Lindsay Smith (Julius Caesar), Kiersten White (Romeo and Juliet), and Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka (The Tempest).
Kate in Waiting by Becky Albertalli
Published by Balzer + Bray on April 20, 2021
Genres: YA, Contemporary, Romance, LGBTQIA+
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.
Chaos on CatNet by Naomi Kritzer
Series: CatNet #2
Published by Tor Teen on April 27, 2021
Genres: YA, Thriller, Science Fiction, LGBTQIA+
In this follow-up to the award-winning near future YA thriller Catfishing on CatNet, It takes an AI to catch an AI…
When a mysterious entity starts hacking into social networks and chat rooms to instigate paranoia and violence in the real world, it’s up to Steph and her new friend, Nell, to find a way to stop it—with the help of their benevolent AI friend, CheshireCat.
Lucky Girl by Jamie Pacton
Published by Page Street Kids on May 11, 2021
Genres: YA, Contemporary, LGBTQIA+
A hilarious and poignant reflection on what money can and cannot fix
58,643,129. That’s how many dollars seventeen-year-old Fortuna Jane Belleweather just won in the lotto jackpot. It’s also about how many reasons she has for not coming forward to claim her prize.
Problem #1: Jane is still a minor, and if anyone discovers she bought the ticket underage, she’ll either have to forfeit the ticket, or worse...
Problem #2: Let her hoarder mother cash it. The last thing Jane’s mom needs is millions of dollars to buy more junk. Then...
Problem #3: Jane’s best friend, aspiring journalist Brandon Kim, declares on the news that he’s going to find the lucky winner. It’s one thing to keep her secret from the town, it’s another thing entirely to lie to her best friend. Especially when...
Problem #4: Jane’s ex-boyfriend, Holden, is suddenly back in her life, and he has big ideas about what he’d do with the prize money.
As suspicion and jealousy turn neighbor against neighbor, and no good options for cashing the ticket come forward, Jane begins to wonder: Could this much money actually be a bad thing?
The Tea Dragon Tapestry by Katie O'Neill
Series: Tea Dragons #3
Published by Oni Press on June 1, 2021
Genres: Fantasy, LGBTQIA+
Join Greta and Minette once more for the heartwarming conclusion of the award-winning Tea Dragon series!
Over a year since being entrusted with Ginseng's care, Greta still can't chase away the cloud of mourning that hangs over the timid Tea Dragon. As she struggles to create something spectacular enough to impress a master blacksmith in search of an apprentice, she questions the true meaning of crafting, and the true meaning of caring for someone in grief. Meanwhile, Minette receives a surprise package from the monastery where she was once training to be a prophetess. Thrown into confusion about her path in life, the shy and reserved Minette finds that the more she opens her heart to others, the more clearly she can see what was always inside.
Told with the same care and charm as the previous installments of the Tea Dragon series, The Tea Dragon Tapestry welcomes old friends and new into a heartfelt story of purpose, love, and growth.
Have you read any 2021 books yet? Let me know your favorites in the comments and have a splendiferous week!