We’re more than halfway done the year and what a year it’s been! There have been so many amazing books published in 2021 that it’s really hard to narrow our favorites…but here we are! An Apple Best Book of the Year and other award winning bestsellers top our list. And we have a hunch they’ll top your list, too!
Honey Girl by Morgan Rogers
Named Most Anticipated of 2021 by Oprah Magazine * Marie Claire * Ms. Magazine * E! * Parade Magazine * Buzzfeed * Cosmo * The Rumpus * GoodReads * Autostraddle * Brit & Co * Refinery29 * Betches * BookRiot and others!
“HONEY GIRL is an emotional, heartfelt, charming debut, and I loved every moment of it.”— Jasmine Guillory, New York Times bestselling author of The Proposal
When becoming an adult means learning to love yourself first.
With her newly completed PhD in astronomy in hand, twenty-eight-year-old Grace Porter goes on a girls’ trip to Vegas to celebrate. She’s a straight A, work-through-the-summer certified high achiever. She is not the kind of person who goes to Vegas and gets drunkenly married to a woman whose name she doesn’t know…until she does exactly that.
This one moment of departure from her stern ex-military father’s plans for her life has Grace wondering why she doesn’t feel more fulfilled from completing her degree. Staggering under the weight of her parent’s expectations, a struggling job market and feelings of burnout, Grace flees her home in Portland for a summer in New York with the wife she barely knows.
In New York, she’s able to ignore all the constant questions about her future plans and falls hard for her creative and beautiful wife, Yuki Yamamoto. But when reality comes crashing in, Grace must face what she’s been running from all along—the fears that make us human, the family scars that need to heal and the longing for connection, especially when navigating the messiness of adulthood.
The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner
INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
Named Most Anticipated of 2021 by Newsweek, Good Housekeeping, Hello! magazine, Oprah.com, Bustle, Popsugar, Betches, Sweet July, and GoodReads!
“A bold, edgy, accomplished debut!” —Kate Quinn, New York Times bestselling author of The Alice Network and The Huntress
A forgotten history. A secret network of women. A legacy of poison and revenge. Welcome to The Lost Apothecary…
Hidden in the depths of eighteenth-century London, a secret apothecary shop caters to an unusual kind of clientele. Women across the city whisper of a mysterious figure named Nella who sells well-disguised poisons to use against the oppressive men in their lives. But the apothecary’s fate is jeopardized when her newest patron, a precocious twelve-year-old, makes a fatal mistake, sparking a string of consequences that echo through the centuries.
Meanwhile in present-day London, aspiring historian Caroline Parcewell spends her tenth wedding anniversary alone, running from her own demons. When she stumbles upon a clue to the unsolved apothecary murders that haunted London two hundred years ago, her life collides with the apothecary’s in a stunning twist of fate—and not everyone will survive.
With crackling suspense, unforgettable characters and searing insight, The Lost Apothecary is a subversive and intoxicating debut novel of secrets, vengeance and the remarkable ways women can save each other despite the barrier of time.
The Last Bookshop in London by Madeline Martin
INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
“An irresistible tale which showcases the transformative power of literacy, reminding us of the hope and sanctuary our neighborhood bookstores offer during the perilous trials of war and unrest.”—Kim Michele Richardson, author of The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek
August 1939: London prepares for war as Hitler’s forces sweep across Europe. Grace Bennett has always dreamed of moving to the city, but the bunkers and blackout curtains that she finds on her arrival were not what she expected. And she certainly never imagined she’d wind up working at Primrose Hill, a dusty old bookshop nestled in the heart of London.
Through blackouts and air raids as the Blitz intensifies, Grace discovers the power of storytelling to unite her community in ways she never dreamed—a force that triumphs over even the darkest nights of the war.
Local Woman Missing by Mary Kubica
Dark and twisty, with white-knuckle tension and jaw-dropping surprises.” —Riley Sager, New York Times bestselling author of Home Before Dark
In this smart and chilling thriller, master of suspense Mary Kubica takes domestic secrets to a whole new level, showing that some people will stop at nothing to keep the truth buried.
People don’t just disappear without a trace…
Shelby Tebow is the first to go missing. Not long after, Meredith Dickey and her six-year-old daughter, Delilah, vanish just blocks away from where Shelby was last seen, striking fear into their once-peaceful community. Are these incidents connected? After an elusive search that yields more questions than answers, the case eventually goes cold.
Now, eleven years later, Delilah shockingly returns. Everyone wants to know what happened to her, but no one is prepared for what they’ll find…
The Woman with the Blue Star by Pam Jenoff
“An emotional novel that you will never forget.” —Lisa Scottoline, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Eternal
From the author of The Lost Girls of Paris comes a riveting tale of courage and unlikely friendship during World War II — Now a New York Times bestsller!
1942. Sadie Gault is eighteen and living with her parents amid the horrors of the Kraków Ghetto during World War II. When the Nazis liquidate the ghetto, Sadie and her pregnant mother are forced to seek refuge in the perilous sewers beneath the city. One day Sadie looks up through a grate and sees a girl about her own age buying flowers.
Ella Stepanek is an affluent Polish girl living a life of relative ease with her stepmother, who has developed close alliances with the occupying Germans. Scorned by her friends and longing for her fiancé, who has gone off to war, Ella wanders Kraków restlessly. While on an errand in the market, she catches a glimpse of something moving beneath a grate in the street. Upon closer inspection, she realizes it’s a girl hiding.
Ella begins to aid Sadie and the two become close, but as the dangers of the war worsen, their lives are set on a collision course that will test them in the face of overwhelming odds. Inspired by harrowing true stories, The Woman with the Blue Star is an emotional testament to the power of friendship and the extraordinary strength of the human will to survive.
Highly recommended by Entertainment Weekly, Washington Post, CNN, BookTrib, Goodreads, Betches, AARP, Frolic, SheReads, and more!
The Warsaw Orphan by Kelly Rimmer
Instant New York Times bestseller!
Inspired by the real-life heroine who saved thousands of Jewish children during WWII, The Warsaw Orphan is Kelly Rimmer’s most anticipated novel since her bestselling sensation, The Things We Cannot Say.
In the spring of 1942, young Elzbieta Rabinek is aware of the swiftly growing discord just beyond the courtyard of her comfortable Warsaw home. She has no fondness for the Germans who patrol her streets and impose their curfews, but has never given much thought to what goes on behind the walls that contain her Jewish neighbors. She knows all too well about German brutality–and that it’s the reason she must conceal her true identity. But in befriending Sara, a nurse who shares her apartment floor, Elzbieta makes a discovery that propels her into a dangerous world of deception and heroism.
Using Sara’s credentials to smuggle children out of the ghetto brings Elzbieta face-to-face with the reality of the war behind its walls, and to the plight of the Gorka family, who must make the impossible decision to give up their newborn daughter or watch her starve. For Roman Gorka, this final injustice stirs him to rebellion with a zeal not even his newfound love for Elzbieta can suppress. But his recklessness brings unwanted attention to Sara’s cause, unwittingly putting Elzbieta and her family in harm’s way until one violent act threatens to destroy their chance at freedom forever.
From Nazi occupation to the threat of a communist regime, The Warsaw Orphan is the unforgettable story of Elzbieta and Roman’s perilous attempt to reclaim the love and life they once knew.
The Girl from the Channel Islands by Jenny Lecoat
AN INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER!
Inspired by true events, the riveting story of a young Jewish woman trapped on the occupied island of Jersey during World War II.
Summer 1940: Hedy Bercu fled Vienna two years ago. Now she watches the skies over Jersey for German planes, convinced that an invasion is imminent. When it finally comes, there is no counterattack from Allied forces—the Channel Islands are simply not worth defending. Most islanders and occupying forces settle into an uneasy coexistence, but for Hedy, the situation is perilously different. For Hedy is Jewish—a fact that could mean deportation, or worse.
With no means of escape, Hedy hides in plain sight, working as a translator for the Germans while silently working against them. She forges a tentative friendship with a sympathetic German officer who is likewise trapped by circumstance. But as the war intensifies, Hedy knows she is in greater danger each day. Soon, her survival will depend not just on her own courage but on the community she has come to cherish and a man who should be her enemy.
Vividly recreating little-known events, this is an unforgettable tale of resilience and bravery, and of the extraordinary power found in quiet acts of heroism and love.
Grace and Glory by Jennifer L. Armentrout
THE FINALE TO THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING HARBINGER SERIES
Trinity Marrow has lost the battle and her beloved Protector. Even with both demons and Wardens on her side, Trin may not win the war against the Harbinger.
Bringing Lucifer back to the world to fight the Harbinger is probably a really, really bad idea, but they’re out of options—and the world’s ultimate fallen angel is the only being powerful enough to impact the outcome.
As Trin and Zayne form a new and more dangerous bond and Lucifer unleashes Hell on earth, the apocalypse looms and the world teeters on the end of forever. Win or lose, one thing is certain—nothing will ever be the same.
What’s the best book you read so far this year? Let us know in the comments below!