The AJA’s are here for 2021! The “Awesome Job Authors” are my favorite reads from the year passed and doesn’t necessarily mean that they were released/published in 2021.
So, without further ado, let us start this countdown with NUMBER 5!
What can I say that will do this book the justice it deserves, while trying to limit spoiling anything?
The story is SO well written as it bounces between two characters in first person almost like they’re writing down in a journal. Except that’s not all we get. Periodically, we transport back to “THEN” as a third person narrative unfolds alongside the main storyline.
It’s a bit slow if you’re not into the romantic love triangle story, but the writing is too well done to ignore. Regardless of your views on the trope, the last 50 pages of the book will be IMPOSSIBLE to set down.
. . .
Coming in at the NUMBER 4 spot and a late edition in 2021 is a debut novel that I’m quite envious of . . .
This masterfully cringe-tastic adult mystery whittles away at any sense of reader’s common decency in the search for answers to not only the ‘whodunnit,’ but one family’s disquieting secrets.
Flynn knocks this one out of the park with her characters’ depth, her cringe-worthy real world destructive behavior that certainly hangs out on the extremes, and her masterful handling of mental health.
The ending is an adept execution of a short concise resolution with a whiplash of a twist. An elegant sense of closure for readers, who bared alongside Camille’s neuroses and self-harm, to discover that the worst villains might just be a handful of mean girls.
. . .
For the midpoint in our countdown, we have a fellow Mizzou Alumnus and his first novel in the Lincoln Rhyme Series. NUMBER 3 for 2021 is:
Crime Scene Investigator extraordinaire, Lincoln Rhyme, literally wrote the book on forensics, only to spend the last three years as a quadriplegic after a horrific accident.
Though, he’s finally found what he needs. A doctor who’s willing to euthanize him, which is the perfect time for The Bone Collector to appear.
The narrative does well to comment on the tragic nature of being paralyzed and the amount of work that goes into taking back your life. It addresses real topics of feminism and gender discrimination, as it gives power to a woman who had all but resigned herself to a desk job.
For her, returning from her own abyss is as equally courageous as Lincoln’s, and epitomizes the strength it takes to confront your past and move forward.
The ending, damn, I thought I had it. I looked to my significant other halfway through, and said, “I know who did it. I’ve got this one in the bag.” You can probably guess, I was not correct.
. . .
In the penultimate spot, coming in at NUMBER 2, we have a cult classic and a book that will remain a favorite of mine for years to come!
It starts off as a bit of a slow burn through the first act, but by the time you reach act two it becomes clear that this book is not what it seems (the same could be said for the little Maine town of Jerusalem’s Lot).
The second act was absolutely riveting and produced so many great characters, but the third act. . . I couldn’t put it down. It was absolutely thrilling, suspenseful, and devastating. It’s hard to believe this is only the second book King had ever published.
That said, if you don’t know anything about Salem’s Lot, like I didn’t, then the twist will throw you for a loop because, I’ll tell you what, I did not see that coming!
. . .
Lastly, at NUMBER 1, we have a book that I have been able to comp for my upcoming novel (I say that like it hasn’t been rejected countless times in the query trenches), and a book I could not put down to save my life.
HOLY BAJEEZUS! This is non stop suspense horror at its finest.
Immediately, the problem is set, as the inciting incident arrives promptly with “The Hungry Man.” A stranger who worms his way into the isolated island campsite of our five protagonist Boy Scouts of Troop 52 and their scoutmaster.
This horrifying slender man is not what he seems as he eats everything, and I mean everything, in an attempt to quell the hunger deep inside him. Things escalate when Scoutmaster Tim, the only doctor from the mainland, and the only adult on the island, determines that this stranger is ill and needs medical attention.
This is where SHIT HITS THE FAN, and will keep readers on the hook all the way to the acknowledgments.
. . .
There you have it! What were your favorite books from 2021? Let me know in the comments so I can continue to grow my TBR, and happy reading in 2022!
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