Books I Loved in 2021 but Didn’t Talk About Enough

I feel like whenever I do end of year reading wrap-ups, there are always books that I don’t get to talk about, despite how much I loved them. I had a very good reading year in 2021, and which meant I especially couldn’t talk about all the books I enjoyed, so my options were either force you to endure a thousands of words long post, or shut up. I chose to be merciful. (But clearly not merciful for very long, hence this post.)

Because I have been feeling lots of love for reading in general and didn’t want to miss out on talking about these gems of books, I thought I’d talk about 7 books I read and adored last year that I feel like I haven’t given much love to on my blog—but deserve it!

fae divider (2)

THE TANGLEROOT PALACE

The Tangleroot Palace: StoriesI feel like people never love most short stories in short story collections/anthologies, myself included, but this book broke that curse—I loved all but one in this collection. From hoodoo dolls to supervillains to vampires, every story is unique and captivating, many reading like fairy tales or twisting regular tropes into new shapes. If you want fresh takes on fantasy with powerful magic and women, told through gorgeous writing and set in enthralling worlds, this is a book you absolutely have to pick up.

Content warnings: murder, death, violence, gore, depictions of blood [see review linked above for more]

subdivider

THE MIRROR SEASON

The Mirror SeasonI’ve loved every Anna-Marie McLemore book I’ve read, each newly read one adding on to the expectation that I’ll love the next—and this one did not disappoint. It was heartbreaking and beautiful, as all McLemore books are, and so wonderfully gentle. Following two characters in the aftermath of their sexual assault, this is a book of healing from trauma in all its messy, broken forms, and miraculously finding solace in other people when it’s difficult to feel safe at all.

Content warnings: sexual assault, victim blaming, racism, homophobia

subdivider

PET

PetThis is such a brilliant book, especially for how it manages to emotionally impact you despite its short length. I love Akwaeke Emezi’s writing style, how simple yet slicing it is, and it works so well for this story of sexual abuse told from a young teen’s perspective, of realizing that the world is not perfect and it is perhaps this illusion of perfection that allows monsters to breed. I feel like this is a book best left to discover on your own, so that’s all I’ll say—but this is truly a story like no other.

Content warnings: child sexual abuse

subdivider

THE GHOST BRIDE

The Ghost BrideWhile a bit slow at times, there’s no doubt that The Ghost Bride is just a gorgeous book. From its detailed descriptions of Malacca and the Chinese afterlife, to its mysterious, dreamlike atmosphere, the world of The Ghost Bride is vivid and a wonder to experience. It’s so entrancing to follow along on the protagonist’s journey, both physically, romantically, and emotionally, and Yangsze Choo’s delicate writing makes it all the more magical.

Content warnings: death

subdivider

SISTER OUTSIDER

Sister Outsider: Essays and SpeechesThis collection of Audre Lorde’s essays is a must-read, its topics ranging from the intersecting difficulties of being a Black lesbian woman in a racist, homophobic, misogynistic world, the complete failures of white feminism, and the anger and criticism Black women (mis)direct toward each other. Each piece was interesting and thought-provoking in their own ways, Lorde’s writing smart and incredibly engaging. Lorde’s background in poetry clearly shines through in this collection and her words—sadly—hold so much significance even now.

subdivider

SÉANCE TEA PARTY

Séance Tea PartyI hadn’t expected much from this book, but I came out of it feeling close to tears. It’s about friendship and how the good friends are everlasting, about trying new things and realizing that who you are changes as you grow. It’s a special story in that even though it’s geared towards kids, I think teens and adults can also find themselves soothed by it—I think we all are a little fearful of growing up sometimes, but this book does an excellent job of showing how being able to grow old is a gift. And of course, the whimsical and cute art adds so much to the story and the comforting feel of it.

Content warnings: talk of death, illness

subdivider

TRISTAN STRONG PUNCHES A HOLE IN THE SKY

Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky (Tristan Strong #1)This book truly captures the heart of middle grade: lovable characters, fun adventures, and humor—all paired with important themes and messages. It tackled generational trauma and the importance of remembering the pains of the past so well, especially for the target audience of children, as well as general themes of grief and guilt. Tristan was such a wonderful protagonist, a kid who wants to be a hero but still with fears and doubts. Both immensely enjoyable and well-crafted, what more could you want!

Content warnings: death, violence, references to slavery


shall we chat

what are the books you loved last year but didn’t get to discuss much? or beyond last year? have you read any of these books?

blog signoff

16 thoughts on “Books I Loved in 2021 but Didn’t Talk About Enough

  1. This is such a lovely idea 🥰 I just read Séance Tea Party this month and I loved it so much!! The art was stunning and I loved the theme of growing up and letting go, the end got me really emotional 🥺 I definitely have to highlight Other Words for Home by Jasmine Warga, I read it last spring and it was SO lovely ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ll take this as a sign to move Tristan Strong up higher on my tbr and finally read some of the RR presents books because they all sound soo good!!!! Also, I’m definitely intrigued by the mirror season and I’ve been wanting to read a Anna-Marie McLemore book for a while….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. i really need to read more rr presents books too! i’ve read a few, but definitely not enough, especially since they all look so good. and ahh i ADORE anna mclemore—whether you read the mirror season or another of their books, i hope you come to enjoy their books too!!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. i haven’t heard of seance tea party but that cover is so beautiful it just caught my eye! i started tangleroot palace before my reading slump hit last year and never got back to it, but i adored the first couple stories i read, i’ll have to pick it up soon in the future! this is such a great idea and now i want to take a scan for my 2021 reads and see which titles i haven’t given enough love to on my blog :D

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ahh i’m so happy to see another person who read the tangleroot palace! i hope you enjoy the rest of the stories whenever you get to finish it <3 and yess!! whenever bloggers have q&as i always love asking them about the books they love but haven't talked about yet, so i'd love to see whatever you come up with <3

      Like

  4. MAY, THIS POST IS EVERYTHING OKAY. i haven’t read any of these, so now i’m confused whether to thank you for all the wonderful sounding recs or be mad for lengthening my TBR so much and also me freaking out about which ones to start with! i can’t wait to read the ghost bride especially BECAUSE CHINESE AFTERLIFE????? I AM SO HERE FOR IT! AND ALSO SEANCE TEA PARTY! AND BASICALLY EVERY SINGLE BOOK ON THIS LIST AHHHH!! Thank you so much for the recs and i cannot wait to read all of them!! LOVED YOUR POST!!! ❤❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. so glad you enjoyed the post! the ghost bride was so good (and there’s a netflix show if that also interests you!), and i wish i saw more people read seance tea party <3 i'm so happy you found a lot of books to check out and i hope you enjoy them!

      Liked by 1 person

The Mango Queen demands your opinions.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s