Our Favorite 2021 Releases
So many books came out this year, and it's pretty impossible to pick our favorites, but we tried our best.
The one book we as a collective all loved?
Psalm for the Wild-Built.
Our booksellers all have very distinct taste. Click their names to see each bookseller's complete staff pick list!
- Meg's Picks
- Julie's Picks
- Katie's Picks
- Lizy's Picks
- Alyssa's Picks
- Jessi's Picks
- Laura's Picks
- Vickie's Picks
The Sound and The Fury meets Fast and Furious in this queer gothic horror from Lee Mandelo that made me laugh out loud, cry (a lot), and pace the room clutching the book to my chest and talking to myself because I had so many feelings about it. Andrew and Eddie have always been unnaturally close for best friends, but after Eddie dies and Andrew essentially inherits his life, he has to learn to function alone. Eddie's death raises more questions than it answers, though, and Andrew's investigation will unearth deeper truths than he bargained for. - Lizy
This is the story of Angrboda Iron-Witch, Sorrow-Bringer, first wife of Loki and mother of “monsters.” This is the story of a woman thrice burned, thrice reborn. This is the story of the gods who lived before Asgard and the gods who lived after. This is the story of Ragnarok. Gornichec weaves a fresh take on an ancient and well-loved tale in THE WITCH'S HEART. I had to stop reading multiple times because I was so entranced I was forgetting to breathe. This is Vikings as they actual were. This is my new answer to the question "what's your favorite book?" - Lizy
So you like Dark Academia. Would you try some Punk Rock Academia?
In Burning Girls and Other Stories, Schanoes gives us a collection of short stories filled with fierce women; they take tea with the Baba Yaga, avenge the murders of their fathers, and turn the American immigrant narrative on its' head.
Okay, so 'Nerdy space scholars and their scavenger crush fight the man with giant robots' wasn't a genre I knew I needed, but trust TorDotCom to find a new Niche for me to fall in love with. - Meg
Light From Uncommon Stars is an absolutely breathtaking examination of love in all its forms. Whether it is the love of friendship, parent for child, siblings, lovers for one another, or the love of queer found family. It is a warm and beautiful story of a Faustian bargain, interstellar travel, a trans girl violin prodigy coming into the fullness of her talent, and the quest to make the perfect donut. Although it never shies away from trauma, it is at the same time a quirky and gentle tale, that will make you happy for having read it. This is a book that will stick with you long after you have put it down, and leave you feeling better for having experienced it. - Vickie
CL Clark's debut novel, THE UNBROKEN is an enthralling North African inspired political fantasy. Touraine is without a country, striving to find her place. Is it with Princess Luca as her spy, with her conscripted soldiers as their leader, or with the revolution in the country she was stolen from? Luca is a princess desperate to take the throne, and rule her Empire as their queen. But first she needs magic to prove she is worthy. These two headstrong, passionate women clash, come together, and clash again, as each figures out what they want, and what they have to do to get it. THE UNBROKEN is captivating from the first page until the last, and its end left me begging for the sequel. Great for fans of queer female centered fantasy that has a strong moral center. - Vickie
I throughly enjoyed immersing myself in modern world of Greek mythology in Neon Gods. Persephone found herself lost and alone after fleeing a publicly announced engagement to Zeus. Only desperation made her cross the River Styx but the freedom she finds gives her the courage to reevaluate everything she knows. A spicy hot romance and fantastic world-building makes me impatient for the next visit to Olympus. - Julie
What would you sacrifice for your own ambition?
Through dual POV narratives, this book tells the stories of Zhu and Ouyang, two survivors who suffered tragic losses and ruthlessly clawed their way into positions of power through manipulation and bloodshed. When they are set against each other as generals of rival armies, the threads of fate that bind them are set ablaze with their burning for power and their lives will never be the same.
This enthralling epic fantasy that swept me from burning monastery to burning battlefield crushed my open heart in its brutal searing palms and I felt blessed to be present for the entire journey. Heartbreaking, lovely, bloody, and burns with a radiance of ten thousand suns. An unmissable historical fantasy debut! - Jessi
Brimming with magic, romance, and mystery, A Marvellous Light is simply marvelous. Robin is a cheery, warm, nonmagical person who is thrust into a world of impossible magic and hair-raising danger when he is accidentally assigned to work in a magical bureau. He is partnered with Edwin, a cold, enigmatic magician who seemingly wants nothing to do with Robin or the liability he presents. But when Robin and Edwin encounter a terrifying curse, a mysterious fog faced man, a murderous maze, a sentient house pulsing with ancient magic, and powerful contract magic that would be deadly in the wrong hands, they realize that the only way to survive is to stick together. This historical fantasy/romance was equal parts gripping, sexy, and thrilling, and had me flipping pages for sleepless night after sleepless night. I am infatuated with Robin and Edwin and can't wait to see where Freya Marske takes them next! - Jessi
Dystopian Western packed with identity and gender role commentary? Yes please. - Nikki
Delightful, engrossing, and horrifying at times, this is the perfect read for true crime and science nerds. -Nikki
I loved this collection! You don't need to be familiar with all the plays to enjoy the stories, but it is fun to recognize details and see how the authors have interpreted and adapted the originals. My personal favorite stories were "King of the Fairies" by Anna-Marie McLemore, "I Bleed" by Dahlia Adler, and "The Tragedy of Cory Lanez: An Oral History" by Tochi Onyebuchi. - Katie
A darkly funny novel about a theater professor suffering chronic pain, who in the process of staging a troubled production of Shakespeare's most maligned play suddenly and miraculously recovers. - Katie
Another reviewer described this as Westworld meets Stepford Wives meets Orphan Black. This describes it perfectly. It's an original take on cloning with a delightfully creepy twist that I didn't see coming but made perfect sense in the context of the story. An ethics question for book group discussions... is it murder if you kill a clone? I couldn't put this one down. - Laura
This is a worthy sequel to Hollow Kingdom, which was one of my favorite books from last year. S.T. the crow is still as full of heart and snark as ever. It's fascinating to see humankind from the perspective of these insightful animals (yes, I do know they are fictional) and even more fascinating to see Dee grow up within this new world. The author's voice is inventive, original, charming and biting at the same time. Her use of language and quirky dark humor reminds me a bit of Christopher Moore. I'm usually not a huge fan of series, but I'm hoping for Hollow Kingdom #3. - Laura
Everything you adored about the first book is here, plus more. More lyrical, raw writing. More tenderness and joy, vulnerability and heartache. More courage and advocacy in the face of oppression and tragedy. MORE. KISSING. You’ll fall in love with Ari and Dante all over again in this timely, exhilarating sequel! - Alyssa
Lyrical, lush, magical, and sexy, THE CHOSEN AND THE BEAUTIFUL is everything a retelling of THE GREAT GATSBY should be. Nghi Vo's coming-of-age novel celebrates queerness, subversiveness, and multiculturalism, reimagining 1920s New York socialites Daisy, Tom, Gatsby, Nick, and Jordan, who takes center stage as an Asian immigrant adoptee. You won't so much read this book as drink it in like an enchanted elixir. Absolutely spellbinding! - Alyssa