My Favorite Reads of 2021

2021 was an interesting reading year for me. With the wedding, and all the planning that had to be done for it taking up most of my free time, I assumed that I would fall behind on my usual reading goal of 70 books. Surprise of all surprises, not only did I meet that goal weeks earlier than expected, but I ended up reading 73 books! 😀

What surprised me the most about my reading experience in 2021 was that I went through several reading slumps throughout the year, something that, in years past, would only happen once or twice. I’m guessing it was just due to the stress I was under at the time, and am hoping that in 2022, those slumps will be less frequent.

Nevertheless, I still found several five-star reads last year, and can’t wait to share my favorites with you! Scroll on to discover my top favorite reads of 2021!

Restart by Gordon Korman

After reading rave reviews about this middle grade book from friends in the book and author communities, I immediately added Restart to my TBR years ago. When I finally got the chance to read it last year, I was hooked! Middle grade is a genre I don’t read enough of, and Restart was a fresh reminder of what I love about the genre. Gordon Korman’s writing style is both humorous and engaging, and I can’t wait to read more books by him.

The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

Last year, I read The Outsiders for the first time, and WOW. I don’t think I have ever cried that much while reading a book. But dang it, this one will leave you with all kinds of emotional scars. I found it impossible to put down. It easily made it onto my all-time favorites list.

The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han

I had The Summer I Turned Pretty on my TBR for the longest time after reading Han’s To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before trilogy, but I didn’t pick it up until my sister’s best friend said that it was one of her favorite books. Let’s just say, I completely understand her hype of this adorable summer read! I found this one to be much more wholesome than the To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before trilogy, and cannot wait to read book two this summer. ❤

Earth’s Last Empire by John Hagee

For a year or two now, I’ve really enjoyed watching sermons by Pastor John Hagee and his son, Matt Hagee, on YouTube. I was super excited to get Earth’s Last Empire for my birthday last year, as I had been wanting to learn more about the end times from a biblical perspective. Though it was a long read and took me a few months to get through, this was a fascinating read and one that I would love to reread again!

God, Greed, and the Prosperity Gospel by Costi Hinn

Another Christian nonfiction read that I fell head over heels for last year was God, Greed, and the Prosperity Gospel by Benny Hinn’s nephew, Costi Hinn. Y’ALL. Please read this book. I just bought it on a whim one day, since I like watching YouTube videos on the dangers of prosperity gospel, but this book was a complete jaw-dropper, and is filled with information on the prosperity gospel movement from a former insider. Just read it, because I could rave about how important this book is for hours.

The Truth About Romantic Comedies by Sean C. McMurray

This book right here is THE best Christian young adult romance I’ve ever encountered. Sean C. McMurray’s writing voice is similar to John Green’s (The Fault in Our Stars | Paper Towns), but without all the language and innuendos. I had a dopey grin on my face the whole time I read this book. If you’re looking for an adorable romance with depth, RUN to get this one.

Every Stolen Breath by Kimberly Gabriel

One thing I realized in 2021 is that I need to find more clean young adult mysteries and thrillers, mainly because Every Stolen Breath by Kimberly Gabriel was fantastic, and I want to read more books like it. This thriller follows a teenage girl who is trying to solve the mystery of who is behind a flash mob that killed her father and a couple other victims. The book kept me guessing throughout, and made me crave a sequel!

Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch

Love & Gelato is hands-down one of the cutest YA romances I’ve ever read. For a secular book, it’s clean, and it offers a deep immersion into it’s setting of Italy. The characters were all fleshed out well, and I laughed out loud on several occasions. I can’t wait to get my hands on the next two books in the trilogy! ❤

Royally in Trouble by Jenny B. Jones

Book 2 of Jenny B. Jones’s Enchanted Events cozy mystery series proved to be just as good as Book 1, Engaged in Trouble. Jones is one of (if not my favorite) authors of all time, so I knew going in that I would love this book due to her hilarious sense of humor, and her epic ability to write compelling characters in small southern towns.

Maybe This Time by Kasie West

The first book I read by Kasie West was By Your Side, back in 2020. I didn’t enjoy that one as much as I’d hoped, so going in to Maybe This Time, I was skeptical that I would have a similar opinion. Nevertheless, Maybe This Time was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. I could not put it down to save my life. I loved how it covered each major holiday over the course of a year, and the main character and her love interest had the best chemistry. I still smile every time I think about this sweet little read. ❤ It convinced me that my first judgment of West’s books was incorrect, and I can’t wait to read more by her in 2022.

Matched by Ally Condie

This may be my favorite read of 2021, next to A Walk to Remember. I have been struggling for YEARS to find another dystopian series that I love as much as The Hunger Games, and Matched FINALLY satisfied my craving. I love, love, love that Condie writes a compelling dystopian government system without being too graphic and using clean language. As I’m writing this post, I’m currently reading book two, Crossed, and am happy to say that it’s just as good as book one so far. ❤

A Walk to Remember by Nicholas Sparks (Re-read)

Um, are you new here? 😛 As usual, I reread my favorite book of all-time, A Walk to Remember, the week of Christmas. In all, I’ve read this adorable book nine times, and plan to keep doing so as long as I live. ❤

Check out my Instagram Reels inspired by this list!

Part One:

Part Two:

Talk to Me, Arrowheads!

What were some of your favorite reads in 2021? Drop your recommendations in the comments below!

Now, I need your help on something, y’all. Last year, I realized that I really want to read more cozy mysteries and YA mysteries or thrillers. I enjoyed reading We Were Liars, but the content was a bit much for me. Does anyone have any clean or Christian mystery/thriller recommendations? Please and thank you. 🙂

Aim high, stay strong, and always hit your mark.

-Allyson 😀

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As an author and blogger, my goal is to teach writers that there is a way to write realistic, thought-provoking, redemptive Christian fiction that honors God while not sugarcoating the realities of the world. 

6 thoughts on “My Favorite Reads of 2021

  1. Love this wrap-up! I don’t read many cozy mysteries, but Dearest Josephine by Caroline George was one of my top 5 reads of 2021! And she has another clean YA thriller coming out in March called, The Summer We Forgot. Highly recommend!

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