Every year thousands of our readers vote for their favorite books of the year in the She Reads Best of 2021 Awards. Find out more about the books that were nominated and see which book was voted the Best Book Cover of 2021.
The winner of the Best Cover Book of 2021 is . . .
The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner
In eighteenth-century London, hidden away from the mainstream, was a secret apothecary shop. Almost like a speakeasy, this store wasn’t for everyone; in fact, there was a specific audience searching for these magical elixirs. Women would seek out Nella’s concoctions to use against oppressive men in their lives. However, things spiral out of control with one mistake, leaving a tangled mess that will take years to clean up. This story will take you down the rabbit hole of both suspenseful revenge and the solidarity of sisterhood with every page turned.
The nominees for Best Book Cover of 2021 are:
Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley
Daunis Fontaine has never felt like she fit in in her hometown or the Ojibwe reservation, and has been anticipating a fresh start in college for a while. But then Daunis watches her dreams fade when a family tragedy puts her college plans on hold, and she has to take care of her mother. Things start to look up when she meets the handsome Jamie, a new player on her brother’s lacrosse team, but something tells Daunis he is hiding something. After witnessing a murder, Daunis reluctantly goes undercover for the FBI and uses her knowledge of traditional Ojibwe medicine to help investigate a deadly new drug.
Ghost Forest by Pik-Shuen Fung
This is a captivating short debut about how to grieve when your family doesn’t talk about feelings. When the father dies of the unnamed protagonist of Ghost Forest, she revisits memories of her father over the years: as one of the Hong Kong “astronaut” fathers, he stayed there to work while the rest of her family immigrated to Canada before the 1997 Handover, when the British returned sovereignty over Hong Kong to China. This read envelopes the reader in a poetic yet haunting voice, weaving an oral history of a Chinese Canadian astronaut family.
Harlem Shuffle by Colson Whitehead
Two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning author Colson Whitehead returns with a tale set in Harlem in the 1960s. The protagonist Ray leads a double life as a furniture salesman and fencer of jewelry until his two worlds begin to converge as Ray desperately works to keep them separate. A love letter to Harlem and a commentary on race and power, Harlem Shuffle brings to life 1960s’ New York City.
How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House by Cherie Jones
This brilliant Caribbean writer weaves the story of four people, each desperate to escape a legacy of violence in an assumed “paradise.” This is an intimate portrait of interconnected lives, across race and class in a quickly changing resort town, and was hailed as one of 2021’s most anticipated new fiction by O Magazine, Elle.com, Entertainment Weekly, and more.
Infinite Country by Patricia Engel
Elena and Mauro have been together since they were teenagers in Colombia, a country torn apart by years of war and violence. As their family grows, they move to the US with tourist visas, but once settled, they get a taste of a real future in America. Three children later, they choose to let their visas expire, a decision with heavy consequences – Mauro gets deported and Elena must make a painful choice that could destroy the family forever. This novel is timely and touching, about the American Dream and the sacrifices made by those who seek it.
Long Division by Kiese Laymon
This debut novel about Black teenagers alternates between two interwoven stories and timelines, funny and introspective, brutal and smart. In one, it’s 2013 and 14-year-old City Coldson goes from being an overnight YouTube sensation to sent away to his grandmother in a small coastal town, where a young girl named Baize Shephard recently disappeared. City begins reading a book called Long Division, with no author to speak of, which is set in 1985. The main character is named City Coldson, who discovers how to time travel to the future and steal a laptop and cellphone from a teen named Baize Shephard, and use that technology to travel to 1964 to help protect a family from the KKK. The two stories ultimately converge for a satirical exploration of celebrity, authorship, violence, and coming of age.
Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid
From the New York Times bestselling author of Daisy Jones & The Six . . . Four famous siblings throw an epic party to celebrate the end of the summer. But over the course of twenty-four hours, their lives will change forever. Truly a night that nobody will forget, this story of fame and family will keep you guessing until the very end.
The Echo Wife by Sarah Gailey
This domestic thriller is as trippy as its cover. Martine is a genetic clone created by Evelyn Caldwell’s research, and is all Evelyn could have hoped she would be. Except she’s having an affair with Evelyn’s husband. Pretty soon, both Caldwell wives have a mess to clean up. This book takes the extramarital affair trope to an entirely new—and very weird—level.
The Hunting Wives by May Cobb
Shortly after Sophie and her husband leave Chicago to raise their son in a small Texas town, Sophie finds herself restless and missing the big city. Then, Sophie meets the mystifying Margot and her clique known as the Hunting Wives. As Sophie bonds with the new women in her life, she finds herself in way over her head in a new world of late-night target practice and copious amounts of cocktails. Sophie’s world comes crashing down as her family life starts to fall apart, and the police find the body of a teenage girl close to where Sophie and her friends get together. This book is like Mean Girls with martinis and guns. It is non-stop entertainment and the perfect summer thriller to have you laughing one minute and picking up your jaw off the floor next.
Unbound by Tarana Burke
Powerful, empathetic, intelligent and courageous. If those words inspire you, then so will the story of Tarana Burke. She writes about her journey of healing and the life that empowered her to speak up and make a difference for those around her, and herself. Tarana not only changed the way of society but the way she viewed herself. This memoir might just be the self-help book that everyone needs.
Within These Wicked Walls by Lauren Blackwood
Andromeda is a debtera, an exorcist hired to cleanse households of the Evil Eye. She is forced to take a job from Magnus Rochester after her mentor threw her out. Unfortunately, the job isn’t quite what she was trained for and she is risking her life for a rude, eccentric Patron that she refuses to leave. How do you walk away from the guy who is cursed, and that you’ve fallen in love with?