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The Best of 2021 – Caroline’s List

I wrote a Best of 2021 So Far post that ran a month or so ago, and since then I’ve been reading frantically to see what would fill out my final post. (Every year, I delude myself that I’ll be able to have read EVERYTHING, and thus will have THE PERFECT LIST. I never learn).

A few books have stayed on the list since my early draft:

In Not Here To Be LIked by Michelle Quach, an eminently qualified young woman running for high school newspaper editor loses to the last-minute candidacy of a newbie male jock, prompting our heroine and the entire school to confront systemic misogyny and what feminism really means. It’s nuanced, compelling, important, and well worth an adult read. This book is my top new release of 2021.

Buy it at AmazonAudible or your local independent retailer

Catfishing on CatNet by Naomi Kritzer is a fast-paced tech thriller about a girl on the run from her father and the AI helping to keep her safe. It has an f/f romance subplot and a happy ending for those characters.

Buy it at AmazonAudible or your local independent retailer

A Marriage of Equals by Elizabeth Rolls takes on a Regency interracial couple in the midst of a suspense plot as they try to help a young woman on the run from an exploitative forced marriage.

Buy it at: Amazon or your local independent retailer


And here are the newbies to the list!

Rachel Smythe’s Lore Olympus, the flagship webcomic of Webtoon, won its first print release this year. Hades and Persephone are a popular archetype to riff on. Not only are these my favorite versions of the characters; they’ve become what I picture now for every version (and, spoiler, nobody lives up to them). With gorgeous art and luxurious print quality, the only downside to this edition is that we have to wait for more.

Buy it at Amazon or your local independent retailer

I wasn’t sure Float Plan by Trish Doller could live up to the buzz, but it did. Anna hires Keane to help her sail her late fiance’s boat around the Caribbean, and the resulting story is a tribute to the islands, to facing grief and loss, to love, and to new beginnings.

Buy it at: AmazonAudible, or your local independent retailer

This was the year I finally read K.J. Charles, and yikes, what took me so long? The Gentle Art of Fortune Hunting was both moving and delightful as an impoverished trickster meets his match in the man whose niece he’s trying to marry. This book set me on a binge of Charles’s backlist I’m still in the throes of, and I have zero regrets.

Buy it at: Amazon, Audible or your local independent retailer

There are more I should be adding! There are more I haven’t read yet! But it’s the holidays and I have a deadline and this is the best I can do!

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