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Books That Should Be On Your 2021 TBR List

To all my fellow bibliophiles who want to leave 2020 behind, I’m right there with you. This year was just not it. However, it’s time to move on and usher in 2021. Here are some of the fantastic book releases I’m looking forward to celebrating the upcoming new year! 

Fiction: The Little French Bridal Shop by Jennifer Dupee

Everyone has dealt with misunderstandings at one point, right? Well, look no further, for this novel puts all the spotlight on this concept. Larissa Pearl returns to her great aunt’s estate, and her life at the moment is a complete mess. She just broke up with her boyfriend, lost her job, and is forced to confront her mother’s deteriorating health. (Looks she had an awful year as well). Eventually, on one of her walks, she encounters The Little French Bridal Shop, where she spots a gorgeous wedding gown, and for a second, she wants to erase everything and just live in the moment. After wearing the gown, one thing leads to another, and now Larissa is planning her wedding. The entire town is elated by the news. Here’s the twist: she has no groom. Now the question remains: how long can she keep up the act until she is compelled to face the truth. 

Mystery and Thriller: The Woman Outside My Door by Rachel Ryan

All children have had imaginary friends at one point in their lives. But what if those friends aren’t imaginary in the first place. Meet Cody, a seven-year-old, tells his mother about a new friend he made at the park, which he calls New Granny. His mother, Georgina, feels skeptical regarding the whole situation. The timing seems too perfect, considering that Georgina’s mother had recently passed away. Then again, could all of this be a figment of Georgina’s imagination? For all my psychological thriller fans, this is a must-read for you, especially if you’re looking for a book that constantly keeps you on edge. 

Historical Fiction: The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner

This is a book I’m eagerly waiting to get my hands on. To all my feminists who love strong female leads and women empowerment, this is meant for you. The cover is so beautiful, giving off an aura of mystery and magic. Add to the fact that it’s set in London (one of my favorite places in the world), and I was sold. There are three female protagonists. The first is Nella, the owner of the hidden apothecary. Initially, she was a respected healer, but now she sells poisonous potions to women desperate to get rid of the toxic men in their lives. The second is Eliza, a twelve-year-old who becomes Nella’s newest customer and later on her friend. Finally, we have Caroline Parcewell who investigates the apothecary murders that took place two centuries ago. Still not excited? Well, read the blurb below, and I guarantee you will be swept off your feet.   

Fantasy: A Vow So Bold and Deadly by Brigid Kemmerer

Another novel at the top of my list! This is the last book of the Cursebreaker series. The first and second books were so well written, there’s absolutely no doubt that this will meet my expectations. Even though this falls under the category of fantasy, there is a lot of upcoming drama and suspense to look forward to once you read the blurb. Coming out on January 26th (one of the earliest publication dates), so Cursebreaker fans, be ready and start refreshing your minds in advance!   

Science Fiction: The Echo Wife by Sarah Gailey

Science fiction, a genre that I consider to be pretty out of this world at times, and with this novel, it has surpassed that benchmark. Evelyn Caldwell is a scientist renowned for her research regarding cloning. It’s no surprise that she created a clone named Maritine, who is a replica of her, except with an opposite personality. So, would you find it strange if you found out that your husband was cheating on you with your clone? Now, I’m dying to find out how Evelyn will deal with this. 

Horror: The Drowning Kind by Jennifer McMahon

I’m not particularly fond of horror but I do know some of you are in love with the genre so it’s only fair that I provide equal representation. At first glance when you read the blurb, you might think this was another supernatural fantasy novel. Unfortunately, this is pure horror and after reading some of the reviews on Goodreads I’m officially scared. Jax, the protagonist, receives nine missed calls from her older sister. She chooses to disregard them and the very next day she finds out she is dead. How? She drowned in a pool at their grandmother’s estate. Only when Jax returns to the estate does she uncover her family’s dark and spooky history. 

Nonfiction: Everybody Has a Podcast (Except You) by Justin, Travis, and Griffin

Usually, Nonfiction can be a drag for me, but this is one of the few books I’m interested in. This book goes through the steps on how to make your own podcast, from torching content to editing, to promotions. Written by the McElroy brothers, they go through the ups and downs of their journey of becoming one of the most successful podcasters of their time. So for all the people who want to have their voice heard through podcasts, this might be the inspiration and motivation you were looking for. 

Memoir & Autobiography: Unfinished by Priyanka Chopra Jonas

Priyanka Chopra Jonas: a winner of the Miss World 2000 pageant, a highly acclaimed Bollywood actress who entered Hollywood and won over the globe, a producer, and now an activist. It seems impossible, yet she has accomplished success in all of the roles I mentioned above. As the famous adage goes, “it’s not about the destination, rather the journey itself” and we finally get a sneak peek of that. 

Food and Cookbooks: Taste of Home Chocolate: 100 Cakes, Candies and Decadent Delights 

I think it’s evident that everyone wants to start the new year off on a good note. The sweeter the better. Well look no further for this is the right book for you. Got a chef in the house? Great! It’s time to get cooking these delicious, mouth-watering pastries that you will find your stomach asking for more. 

Graphic Novels and Comics: The Makeup Remover by Lee Yeon (can be found on Webtoons)

For those of you who don’t know what Webtoon is, it’s basically an app that allows you to access digital comics ranging from various genres and new creators. Most comics are unfinished and episodes (aka chapters) are updated once a week more or less depending on the artist. I literally stumbled upon The Makeup Remover two days ago and I loved it. It has the perfect mix of comedy while demonstrating how makeup and appearances play a role in society and questioning it as well. Oh yeah, did I mention the drawing style is so on point? 

Poetry: While the Earth Sleeps We Travel: Stories, Poetry, and Art from Young Refugees around the World by Ahmed M. Badr 

I’ve always had a soft corner for poetry and oftentimes it can be really eye-opening. So when I discovered this book, I knew it was a must-read. For those of you who keep up with the latest world news, we know that the refugee crisis for our youth worsens by the day. Although we do have journalists covering the situation in refugee camps, I think it’s fair to say that we should hear what the conditions are like from a young person’s perspective to be able to fully comprehend the struggles they're going through and ways in which we can better support them. 

That’s a wrap of all my top book choices. Hopefully, you all look forward to reading some of these books just as much as I am! Here’s to making 2021 an enjoyable bookish year! 

Sharupa Azmal

St. John's '24

Sharupa Azmal is a sophomore who is majoring in Pharmacy at St. John’s University. Besides writing for Her Campus, she finds herself journaling or blogging frequently. Her other pastimes include reading books and webtoons, watching movies (yes Bollywood films are included), and dragging her friends on little trips throughout New York City.
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