Best Books Book Discussion Books

Best books of 2021 that should be on your bookshelf


Hey everyone and welcome to Owl Book World! Today I’m wanting to talk about the best books of 2021. All of these books I have read and LOVED so I have to share them with you. Most of these books are going to be horror and thriller because that’s mostly what I read. If that’s what you enjoy as well then great! If not then let me know in the comments what some of your favorites are!

Best books of 2021

I feel like this year I have a lot more to add to my favorite list. I’m not really sure if that’s because this year I was a little lenient or if I was better at picking books I knew I would enjoy. Or maybe it’s a little bit of both because COVID has made me realize I shouldn’t be so harsh and be a little particular about what I pick up. What have been some of the best books of 2021 to you?

Here are the best books of 2021 (for me)!

Best books of 2021 (thrillers)

The Stowaway

best books of 2021

I love books that deal with summer, boats, or the ocean. The Stowaway deals with all three! I have always wondered what things would be like if a killer managed to get on a cruise. Not that I would want that to happen but it does make me wonder what exactly are the protocols when it comes to these sorts of things. It’s kind of scary that a killer could potentially get on a cruise and do a lot of damage.

However, I love books like these. This is actually the perfect thriller for summer and will keep you on your toes. The story has a unique twist when it comes to serial killers and how the man in the story is able to get away with it. What he does is something that I never really considered and has made me wonder if there are killers who have done this.

But be warned because this story gets a little graphic with the murders. It’s not as bad as some stories but I do want to put it out there.

Amazon | Bookshop

The Perfect Family

Best Books of 2021

The Perfect Family is about a family (obviously) that thinks they are perfect. They have nothing to hide and they don’t have any enemies. Of course, there are people who don’t like them but that’s because they have everything that they need plus that. No one would go to such lengths to harm their family until it happens.

I can’t even begin to explain how I would feel if I were made to feel unsafe in my own home and the police weren’t exactly forthcoming. Especially with children, this would be one mad mom. The Perfect Family is a great invasion type of story that almost any thriller would love. Through the whole story, you get to guess what everyone’s secrets are and why that would cause someone to come after them.

Amazon | Bookshop

We Were Never Here

Best Books of 2021

We Were Never Here is probably one of my favorite thrillers so far this year. The story follows two best friends who travel out of the country every year. It’s the only time they really get to spend time with each other since they live on different continents. They’re like sisters and don’t like being away from each other very long. Not long into the trip one of the girls kills a man because he was going to hurt her. Something like this has happened before on one of their other trips. Why is it happening again? Can the girls get away with it again?

We Were Never Here is definitely one of the best books of 2021 for me at least. The story has the perfect balance of slow parts and parts that are fast and keep you on your toes. To me, this is another perfect summer read to take to the beach or wherever you go on vacation.

Amazon | Bookshop

The Sinful Lives of Trophy Wives

Best books of 2021

The Sinful Lives of Trophy Wives kind of reminds me of The Stepford Wives and just so happens to be another book that’s a great summer read. The story follows multiple women living in the same neighborhood. The neighborhood is exclusive and only people with money are allowed in. But things are starting to happen that has never happened before. The rumors surrounding one woman are only getting worse.

This is a scandal-type book where the women in the book actually stick together after tragedy. The women don’t exactly like each other but they still have each other’s backs. I just love this story because I don’t know what I would do if I lived in a neighborhood where there’s so much scandal. I personally don’t like drama when it deals with me but I do like watching it unfold! That’s mostly because I’m like one of the characters in this book and I get inspiration from other people.

Amazon | Bookshop

14 Ways to Die

YA Thrillers

14 Ways to Die is another one and I don’t see a lot of people talking about this one. The story follows a high-school-aged girl who joins in on a reality tv show to find her mother’s killer. Her mother was killed when she was a lot younger but he still has a lot of recent victims. This is her way of pulling the killer out and enticing him.

The only issue with this is story is that it’s very hard for me to imagine the police or her father for that matter letting her do this. If you don’t look too deep into that aspect the story is really good. For me, it was pretty fast-paced and actually kept my attention. I constantly wondered what was going to happen next so I can’t wait to read more by this author. If you’re looking for more YA thrillers you can find them here.

Amazon | Bookshop

The Girl in the Headlines

The Girl in the Headlines

The Girl in the Headline is another YA Thriller that I feel like not a lot of readers are talking much about. The story follows a girl whose family is killed and it’s blamed on her. On top of that, she looks pretty guilty because she wakes up in a location that she doesn’t remember going to and she doesn’t remember what exactly happened that night.

I don’t know what it is but I really enjoy amnesia type of thriller books. I would hate to imagine me waking up not remembering what happened the night before and wondering if I potentially did something wrong. Not that I’m a bad person but sometimes there’s just no telling what you will do when you black things out.

Amazon | Bookshop

Best books of 2021 (Horror)


Middle-Grade Horror Books

When I first got ahold of this book I didn’t realize that it was middle grade. I got an advanced copy of it and didn’t really pay attention to who the audience was towards. But that doesn’t change how much I enjoyed this book. The story follows a young girl who just recently moved to a new home with her family only to find out that it’s haunted. Her family doesn’t believe her no matter what she tells them. There are some creepy parts to the story but it’s so good! I actually recommend this book to those who want to read horror but want to start somewhere a little tame.

Mine is definitely one of the best books of 2021. I just hope that more kids who have an interest in horror actually check it out. If you want to check out more middle-grade horror novels you can find them here.

Amazon | Bookshop

Quiet Village

Quiet Village is the perfect book for those who enjoy small-town horror types of books. The book is even better because it also includes main characters that are a part of the LGBTQ community. The story follows a woman who adopts her niece after her sister just passes away. They move to a small town they never heard of to get a fresh start but from the very beginning, things start to go wrong.

This story isn’t too creepy so don’t go in thinking you are going to get the scare of your life but it does keep you on your toes and wondering what’s going to happen next. The story has perfect pacing with characters that aren’t super in-depth but are still super great!

Amazon | Bookshop

Children of Chicago

So Children of Chicago is the first book that I have read by this author and I will be reading more. I get the Grimm tales are a thing but I haven’t really heard of modern-day books putting a twist to the old fairy tales. I’m all here for the scary fairy tales. I love fairy tales. Even though I don’t remember much about this particular one I still very well enjoyed it. I just wish I could find more books like it! I feel like we don’t really get enough on a modern take on things besides Disney. Nothing wrong with that but I would love a Grimm take on it. If you’re reading this and have any suggestions then please let me know in the comments!

Children of Chicago is a fast-paced story as well and it’s so creepy. If you’re looking into getting into horror that doesn’t have a lot of gore then please check this book out.

Amazon | Bookshop

Wicked Little Deeds

Wicked Little Deeds is a YA horror novel that surrounds a town that has an urban legend. The main character doesn’t believe it one bit. That is until she starts seeing things.

I use to have such a huge love for urban legends to the point where I would go down a dark hole trying to look them up. Now I don’t exactly do that anymore but Wicked Little Deeds definitely sparked an interest in me doing this again. Reading up on urban legends, the creepiness behind them, and how exactly they got started has always been a big interest of mine. And the fact that people still keep them alive even if they are real or not.

This was such an amazing book with an amazing ending and I will never stop recommending it! If you’re looking for more YA Horror books make sure to check out my list of them here.

Wicked Little Deeds is now called Burden Falls. When I had read the story in was an advanced copy called Wicked Little Deeds!

Amazon | Bookshop

The Redwood Asylum

The Redwood Asylum is my first book by this author and I was hooked from the very beginning.

I don’t know why I haven’t read many horror books that take place in an asylum but I really need to start looking into it more since this story is a pretty crazy ride. There are tons of people who go to an asylum needing lots of help and sometimes it does make me wonder if they leave anything behind once they leave.

The storytelling in The Redwood Asylum is very well done and the ending isn’t what I wasn’t expecting. I’m not giving too much away but I love scary stories that don’t have a happy ending and this is one of those. They seem to catch my attention a little more than those with happy endings.

Amazon | Bookshop

Best Books in Contemporary

The Castle School

The Castle School

I know I’m adding a lot of YA books to my best books of 2021 posts but I can’t help it. I have a tendency to read a lot of YA books. The Castle School (for Troubled Girls) follows Moira. She is being sent to an all-girls school for troubled kids. She’s not really that bad of a kid but her parents don’t really know how to handle her.

I’m not sure what it is about books that deal with boarding schools but I love them. I get that they are probably nothing special but I’m not exactly familiar with them. I don’t know how they run or how they are like. It’s understandable that YA novels aren’t a good representation of them and they are probably boring places like your typical public school. With that in mind, I still love these versions better.

They are more interesting than what your typical boarding school might be like. The Castle School (for Troubled Girls) is one of those books! I can’t wait to read more books by Alyssa.

Amazon | Bookshop

The Half Orphan’s Handbook

The Half Orphan’s Handbook is about a brother and sister dealing with the loss of their father. He was a great father and it has taken a big toll on them so much so that it’s affecting their lives. Their mother’s resolution is to put them in a camp that will help them grieve and grow.

I enjoyed this story so much when I had read it and I wish there was something like this when I was growing up and had lost my mom. Maybe there was but I just didn’t know about it. Then again I was a pretty shy kid and kept to myself a lot so something like this may not have worked well for me.

The idea of it is pretty cool though and if I hadn’t been so shy around other kids I probably would have loved something like this since kids at school had no idea what to say to me.

Amazon | Bookshop

Perfect on Paper

Perfect on Paper is an awesome contemporary book with LGBTQ representation. I love the idea of a student giving out relationship advice. I just hate how the school handled things once they found out what the main character was doing. The story is sweet and has an enemies-to-lovers type of storyline. Also, the representation deals with a girl that is bi. I feel like we don’t get enough representation of bi women and men and they have a tendency to get a lot of hate.

The story is perfect for those who want a little representation and a little bit of romance added to their story.

Amazon | Bookshop

Amelia Unabridged

Amelia Unabridged is about a girl going to a convention with her best friend that ultimately leads them into a fight. When one of them dies the other struggles to figure out what to do with her life.

This story makes me so sad because the friend that lived spent most of her time at her friend’s home because she hated being at her own home. And now that her friend is gone she doesn’t exactly have an escape root. The story is inspiring despite that. It makes you realize that you can overcome just about anything. All you need is time and a little bit of growth.

Amazon | Bookshop

If you’re wanting to check out New York Times best books 2021 you can find that here. Part of me wishes, there were more books that I have read on this list but most of them aren’t genres I typically read. However, I did have to go back and look at the Young Adult version of it and found several books on the list that I still have to read. A few of them I have bought while there are others that I got advanced copies of but still need to get to.

What have been the best books of 2021 for you? Are there any books published this year that you keep recommending to others?

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