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 of 2021.
The winner of the Best Book of 2021 is . . .
The Rose Code by Kate Quinn
The New York Times and USA Today best-selling author returns with another heart-stopping World War II story, centered around three very different women who are recruited to the mysterious Bletchley Park, where the best minds in Britain train to break German military codes. Twisty and evocative, these women come together, only to find that the real puzzle lies inside the Park itself as a traitor sets them against each other in a betrayal reaching past the end of the war.
The nominees for Best Book of 2021 are:
Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner
Named a best book of April 2021 by TIME, Entertainment Weekly and Glamour, this powerful raw portrait painted by Zauner is a celebration of and introspective look at her heritage, where she reclaims the gifts of language, history, and flavors her mother passed on to her. The story is lyrical, radiant, and delicious we might add, about growing up Korean American, the customs and foods close to her heart, losing her mother, and forging her own identity.
Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley
There are multiple reasons why readers nominated this captivating and thrilling novel. Daunis Fontaine watches her dreams fade when a family tragedy puts her college plans on hold, and she has to take care of her mother. 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. This is a story about self-discovery and strength when the only world you’ve ever known is ripped apart.
Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead
It is no surprise that Great Circle is a reader’s favorite this year; it’s an epic tale with an unforgettable intertwining of two stories. A daredevil female aviator, Marian Graves who is determined to chart her own course in life at any cost, and a century later, Hollywood starlet Hadley Baxter who is cast to play Marian in a film that centers on her disappearance in Antarctica. Through Prohibition and World War II, from Montana to London to present-day Hollywood, the reader is taken on a journey of two women’s fates and their hunger for self-determination in vastly different geographies and times.
Hour of the Witch by Chris Bohjalian
Bohjalian’s thrilling novel was one of the standouts in this year’s thrillers. A narrative told from a world that is always on the lookout for the signs of the devil, Mary Deerfield is your average young Puritan woman. Yet, she must fight to not only escape her marriage, but also the gallows. This is a brutal telling of the original American witch hunt.
Infinite Country by Patricia Engel
This is a heart-wrenching and yet heart-warming tale of a multi-generational Colombian family that immigrates to America. Their undocumented status has separated them from themselves, their loved ones, and in some ways, their own future. This book will make you experience a range of emotions—and it also has some uniquely major fairy tale vibes, especially in the ways the characters feel archetypal in their experiences and emotions.
People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry
Poppy and Alex have nothing in common besides their decade-long tradition of joint summer beach vacations. However, two years ago they had a falling out and haven’t spoken since. The only thing that Poppy knows is that the last time she was truly happy was that last beach vacation, so she decides to take Alex with her on vacation once more. With only a week to fix everything, Poppy doesn’t know if she can face the one big truth that stood quietly in the middle of their relationship.
Razorblade Tears by S.A. Cosby
This book centers around two convict fathers who band together and use their past resources in the underworld to find their sons’ killer. It’s gritty, touching on issues like vigilante justice, drug addiction, and the secrets we keep. But the fathers find more than blood on their hands as they are faced with confronting their own prejudices and redemption. This is a thrilling-paced story of revenge and a suspenseful twist on avenging that you won’t be able to put down.
The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah
Its no surprise the number one best-selling author is nominated; she does not disappoint with this American epic novel set during the Great Depression in Texas and California. Elsa Wolcott Martinelli could be a composite of thousands of Depression-era dustbowl farm women. Displaced from her Texas homeplace, Elsa is abandoned by her husband. She and her children travel to California in search of the proverbial land of milk and honey. This is a powerful story with a shocking ending that will stay with you.
The Heart Principle by Helen Hoang
No doubt nominated by readers for its sizzling quality, this novel combines romance, culture, and coming-of-age with anguish and desire. Quan Diep is on the road to success as CEO of a new high-profile retail business, suddenly making him the object of all the single ladies’ desires. Camilla has certainly noticed him, but she’s also the girl who brushed him off several years ago. So has her sister Anna, who claims to detest him—but who is fooling who?
The Prophets by Robert Jones, Jr.
This is a stunning debut novel about the forbidden love between two young Black men enslaved on a Mississippi plantation, and the refuge they find in each other. The story of Samuel and Isaiah will move you and stay with you after the last page. The author said in an NPR interview that the book “came to him in whispers from people whose stories haven’t been told, and whose history has often been wiped from the record: Black queer people who were enslaved in America.”
We Begin at the End by Chris Whitaker
Readers love a good mystery and that’s why We Begin at the End, with it’s teenage outlaw and epic road trip quest for revenge, was not a surprising nominee. This read packs a serious emotional punch as it follows multiple storylines and will have you wondering what is truly right and wrong long after you finish the last page.