2021: My Best and Worst Books of the Year | 12 Days of Blogmas

I had a pretty good reading year – my average rating was over 4/5 stars! So when it came to finding my best and ‘worst’ books of the year, it was actually quite hard to choose. I enjoy looking back at the books that I enjoyed and didn’t – I just think it’s really interesting!

Below I have 15 books listed – 5 worst books, 5 best books, and 5 special mentions. Let’s get into it!

The Worst Books of the Year

Now, before I get into this, I would like to say that “worst” just means my personal least favourites! Obviously, some people may love the books I’ve listed – and worst doesn’t mean they are objectively bad, it just means that I personally did not enjoy them. I don’t want it to be negatively reflected on the author or book as a whole! In fact, I still want to read books by the same authors, so it doesn’t even put me off!

  • Terror Kid by Benjamin Zephaniah – I spoke about this book in my upcoming December 2021 Wrap Up blog post, but I didn’t really get the… point? of this book? It just made me feel super depressed!
  • Galatea by Madeline MillerThis is a short story and just not very enjoyable for me. I absolutely love her other books though!
  • The Lamplighters by Emma Stonex – I was super excited for this book, and it was a massive disappointment! I wasn’t the only one who felt this way, but the ending was a real let down!
  • Stories to Make you Smile by the Reading Agency – this was a free eBook released for World Mental Health Day and it was just… meh. Not worth it for me!
  • The Fandom Rising by Anna Day – I loved the first book The Fandom, and this was a let down. I read the first 10% or so in depth, then literally skimmed the rest in twenty minutes, found out one of my favourite characters died in a very badly written death, and was incredibly disappointed. I think Anna Day has wonderful ideas, so I may be interested in something she writes in the future.

The Best Books

Okay so now we’ve heard what disappointed me, let’s get onto what I loved! Thankfully I read some wonderful books this year. Only two or three stood out, so I’ll list those first, then I had to choose from the rest (hence the special mention sections!). Let’s go.

  • Deal with the Elf King by Elise Kova – this book reminded me of the wonderful world of fantasy and how escapist reading can be. I completely fell in love with Kova’s world and characters, and definitely need to read more by her.
  • Circus of Wonders by Elizabeth Macneal – I think I read this book in like a day? It was amazing. Not everyone has loved it, but I borrowed a copy and then messaged all of the indie bookshops I knew to try and hunt down a special edition – and managed to get one! This book was so magical and wonderful and I loved it.
  • Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan – this is the most recent favourite on my shelf, and I LOVED IT. I still need to read the rest of the series but the first was wonderful. I immediately bought the second two in the series because I know I’m going to love them!
  • Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk – I loved this book so much I have actually managed to get it onto the curriculum at the school I teach. Yup, really. It’s hard hitting in places but wonderful. I definitely recommend it.
  • The Haunting of Alma Fielding by Kate Summerscale – this is a non-fiction book and it’s fascinating. In the 1920s-40s, many people, having lost so many loved ones in the wars, believed in clairvoyance, and this book follows journalists tracking Alma Fielding, who was haunted…

Special Mentions

There are five more books I just had to talk about and recommend to you. These books didn’t quite make it onto my top 5, but are worthy of being talked about!

  • The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman – this book made me feel really sad so didn’t quite make it to my Top 5, but it makes you think. I also taught this at school, and the kids loved it too.
  • Adventures in Stationery by James Ward – another non-fiction book literally about stationery! I thought this was fascinating, and I borrowed it from the library but I would love to buy a copy so I can reread it whenever I want.
  • Dear Reader by Cathy Rentzenbrink – another non-fiction book! This was really lovely to read – it’s essentially an adventure through the author’s literature history.
  • Kate in Waiting by Becky Albertalli – I love Becky Albertalli and this book was so wonderful! I also associate lovely memories of travelling to see my partner, so it makes me happy to think about!
  • Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan Mcguire – I read two books in the Wayward Children series this year and I definitely want to finish it up (or finish as much as possible) next year. It’s an amazing concept – about the children who went through magic doors like Alice in Wonderland, and came back. And the storytelling is wonderful!

I am so excited to see what my favourites for 2022 will be! I really cannot wait. There are so many wonderful books to read! 🙂

What did you think of my lists? What would be on your worst, best, and special mentions?

Until next time,



2 thoughts on “2021: My Best and Worst Books of the Year | 12 Days of Blogmas

  1. I’m glad to hear Deal with the Elf King is one of your favorites of the year! It’s been on my TBR for ages and I have a copy of it and the audiobook so I hope to read it sometime soon! 🙂

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