2021 has been quite the ride, but books have been there for us at every twist and turn, offering comfort, escape and even illumination. As the year comes to a close, it’s time to look back on the titles BookPage readers have enjoyed the most.
20. Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead
In her exhilarating third novel, Maggie Shipstead offers a marvelous pastiche of adventure and emotion as she explores what it means (and what it takes) to live an unusual life.
19. Seven Days in June by Tia Williams
Readers will feel as attached to Tia Williams’ characters as Eva and Shane are to each other.
18. The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner
Like a well-brewed potion, Sarah Penner’s first novel simply overwhelms with its delicate spell.
17. Last Night at the Telegraph Club by Malinda Lo
This young adult historical fiction novel is as meticulously researched as it is full of raw, authentic emotion.
16. Razorblade Tears by S.A. Cosby
Razorblade Tears transcends genre boundaries and is a must-read for anyone looking for a mystery that provokes and thrills in equal measure.
15. One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston
Bursting with heart, banter and a respect for queer history and community, One Last Stop may be the best read of the summer.
14. Before the Ruins by Victoria Gosling
An abandoned English manor house sets the stage for a cracking mystery involving a missing friend and a long-lost diamond necklace.
13. Blow Your House Down by Gina Frangello
There is pain in every divorce story, but not every divorce story can be related by a narrator as capable as Gina Frangello.
12. Once There Were Wolves by Charlotte McConaghy
With her second novel, Charlotte McConaghy proves that her particular brand of deeply evocative literary lightning can indeed strike twice.
11. The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot by Marianne Cronin
Even in the face of death’s inevitability, friendship can be found, forgiveness can flourish and fun can ease fear.
10. The Kitchen Front by Jennifer Ryan
Grab a cup of tea and a scone, and curl up with Jennifer Ryan’s positively delicious novel about a cooking contest during World War II.
9. The Witch’s Heart by Genevieve Gornichec
The Witch’s Heart shifts the focus of a well-known myth to a secondary character with stunning and heartbreaking results.
8. The Children’s Train by Viola Ardone, translated by Clarissa Botsford
Viola Ardone’s novel will appeal to fans of Elena Ferrante, but it stands on its own as a fictionalized account of a complicated social experiment.
7. The Liar’s Dictionary by Eley Williams
Two lexicographers employed by the same company and separated by a century are at the heart of this imaginative, funny, intriguing novel by Eley Williams.
6. The Reading List by Sara Nisha Adams
The Reading List illustrates the ways one book can act as a shared point of empathy, uniting individuals into a community.
5. Billy Summers by Stephen King
Though Billy Summers includes many classic King touchstones, its dedication to realism and intense, almost meditative focus on the titular main character make it a standout among his works.
4. What Comes After by JoAnne Tompkins
In JoAnne Tompkins’ debut novel, faith is simply part of life, a reality that is rarely so sensitively portrayed in fiction.
3. The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave
Laura Dave has given us what we crave right now—a thoroughly engrossing yet comforting distraction.
2. Win by Harlan Coben
Harlan Coben raises moral dilemmas and offers pulse-pounding action scenes in this suspenseful and surprising novel.
1. Golden Girl by Elin Hilderbrand
Killing off the main character just a few pages into a book is somewhat unorthodox, but it’s just the first of many interesting choices Elin Hilderbrand makes.
This list was compiled based on analytics from BookPage.com between Jan. 1 and Dec. 1, 2021.