When you read a TON of incredible books every year, it’s very hard to narrow down my favorites because I don’t want to leave any book out. Books that I DNF (do not finish) I do not include in my final count, leaving only the books I deemed worthy to see to the end.
Favorite YA Book: You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson
As I’ve mentioned before, I do not read a ton of YA, so I am pretty picky about what I select. You Should See Me in a Crown had rave reviews and the plotline appealed to me- I was not disappointed. Senior High School student Liz Lighty has big plans to attend college and become a doctor, but when her financial aid falls through she only has one resort left- try to win Prom Queen and get the scholarship she needs to make her dreams come true. While it dealt with tough issues, such as bullying, illness of a family member and hiding your sexual identity, it was overall fun, fast and enjoyable.
Favorite BOTM selection: The Beauty in Breaking by Michele Harper
I am a Book of the Month member (join here) but after getting a few books based more on hype than my preference, I’ve become pretty picky about what months I choose to get a book or instead, skip. The Beauty in Breaking stands out as my favorite overall BOTM. You can read my thoughts about it here in a previous post. It’s a book that I have recommended a handful of times.
Favorite Holiday Books: The Matzah Ball by Jean Meltzer and A Magical New York Christmas by Anita Hughes
I honestly never really read holiday books but this year there was a lot that sounded just perfect for getting into the holiday spirit. To be fair, I chose both a Hanukah and a Christmas-themed book. There do not seem to be a lot of Jewish holiday fiction stories out there so I was thrilled to find out about a debut book, The Matzah Ball. It was an amusing take on what happens when a nice Jewish girl- who is secretly a famous Christmas book author/Christmas LOVER- has to flip everything she loves to write to produce a Jewish-themed book for her publishers. Then enter her camp nemesis/first love who is back in NYC and holds the key to her attending this allusive event. So much is packed into this book I could not put it down!
If you are looking for a sweet & romantic Christmas love story (bonus: set in gorgeous New York City at Christmas time!), A Magical New York Christmas is the book for you.
I was looking for something light and heartwarming with a touch of holiday spirit- this totally did the trick! The story is not only set in NYC but the plot primarily takes place at the glamorous Plaza Hotel and peeks into the life of ELOISE author Kay Thompson and her time spent at the Plaza.
Favorite Summer Reading Book: Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Summer is my favorite season but it’s also the time I read the least! Luckily a lot of “summer reads” tend to come out in May so I can get a jump start before the hot weather hits. Malibu Rising was a very hyped book and on the hot list months before its release. But I have always enjoyed Taylor Jenkins Reid so I had my hopes high. This fast-paced, family drama takes place in Malibu, California highlighting the Riva family- a motherly love, a father’s desertion and the bonding and lives of the four Riva children. What we do know is there is a fire- but how does it happen and how does it end? Alternating between the past and present we learn how everyone became a part of this event and it does keep you guessing to the end.
Favorite “Why Did I Wait So Long to Read This” Book: A Woman is No Man by Etaf Rum
A Woman is No Man is incredibly heartbreaking and difficult to read but beautifully written. Told in the time periods of Palestine in 1990 and Brooklyn 2008, we intimately learn about 3 generations of Palestinian-American women and the struggles and confine within their Arab culture as they try to lead a life they desire not the one created for them. This is not an easy book to read as it has multiple triggers including violence, oppression and abuse. It shook me to the core as really good books should.
Favorite AudioBook: Open by Andre Agassi
Let me first say, I know nothing about tennis. I briefly took lessons 15 years ago, I was horrible and pretty much blotted out the experience. Suffice to say, I really didn’t follow professional tennis, though I knew who the big players were from the media. Open is a raw, close-up, no holds bar look at the life of Andre Agassi told by Andre himself. From being forced to play as a child to becoming an international superstar his glory was anything but and he straight out says he hates the game…but he could not stop. While the audio was not read by Andre, I thought the narrator did an incredible job voicing the emotions, struggles, heartbreak, anger and disappointment Andre faced over the year. I love a good celebrity memoir and this was as juicy as it gets.
Favorite Book of the Year: Between Two Kingdoms by Suleika Jaouad
This will not come as a shock that I chose Between Two Kingdoms. This book just gripped me in a way no other has. Now, understand, because I do read 100+ books a year, I hardly EVER re-read. EVER! There just isn’t the time. But this book I listened to twice and then purchased the hardcover to visually read. You can read my thoughts about the book, here.
I’m looking forward to seeing what books 2022 brings and wonder if it will top my favorites from 2021?