Blog, Book Reviews, Bookish Life

The Ones That Got Away in 2021


2021 was a year filled with teaching, trying to survive in a pandemic, and some bits of reading. As I am writing this in mid-December, I have finished 33 books toward my goal of reading 52. BUT, we at Feminist Book Club do not shame anyone for how they read, what they read, or how many books they have read in a year. So with this in mind, I am proud of my reading accomplishments and I have read some really great books this year, like some of my new favorites The Poet X and The Undocumented Americans.

That being said, I have filled my TBR pile on StoryGraph and my physical bookshelves with some incredible books published in 2021 that I have just not gotten around to reading. I am truly feeling FOMO by not having already read these 10 books, especially after asking Feminist Book Club members why they loved the book! So without further ado, here are the books that got away in 2021 and I am prioritizing to read in 2022:

The Ones That Got Away

The Sentence by Louise Erdrich

Literary Fiction | Published in November 2021

“It is already one of my favorite books. Louise Erdrich is already a must read author for me, but reading her processing of what it means to be haunted and what it means to live in a haunted city and country was soothing and thought provoking and helped me organize some thoughts on 2020 that I had been struggling with. It being largely set in a bookstore didn’t hurt either.” -Sarah, FBC Member

The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina by Zoraida Córdova

Magical Realism | Published in September 2021

The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina was magical! The writing was beautiful and trying to figure out how the pieces all fit together kept me really invested in the story!” – Jean, FBC Member

A World Between by Emily Hashimoto

Sapphic Fiction | Published in September 2021

A World Between is a beautifully written coming of age story of two millennial women. Their romance goes through various stages of complication during their college years, twenties, and thirties, as Eleanor is comfortable with coming out to her Jewish/Japanese American family and Leen struggles with how her Indian-American family will accept her.” -Matilda, FBC Member

Seven Days in June by Tia Williams

Contemporary Fiction | Published in June 2021

Seven Days in June was so good. I’m not usually one for second chance romances, but it was different. Loved seeing a character with invisible, chronic pain. Loved seeing Black characters as more than just struggling or broken- there were aspects of that, but it wasn’t their whole character. They were also successful in their careers (I honestly loved that they were both authors) and had loving, nuanced relationships.” -Rachel, FBC Member

The Other Black Girl by Zakiya Dalila Harris

Thriller | Published in June 2021

The Other Black Girl was one of the best books I read in 2021! There are unpredictable twists that kept me glued to the (e-reader) page!” -Emily, FBC Member (listen to Renee talk about it here!)

Caul Baby by Morgan Jerkins

Magical Realism | Published in April 2021

“The book is a stirring generational novel in the heart of Harlem with an excellent twist.” -Ashley, FBC Blogger (read Ashley’s view here!)

The Final Revival of Opal & Nev by Dawnie Walton

Historical Fiction | Published in March 2021

The Final Revival of Opal & Nev is hands down one of my favorite new releases of the year. I loved everything about it: the rock and roll vibes, Opal’s kick ass/take names attitude, the scandal between the two, the social injustice messaging that is still prevalent today. I could go on and on (believe me, I think I already have) but this is a must read, especially for music lovers.” -Mel from the My Night is Booked Blog

What’s Mine and Yours by Naima Coster

Fiction | Published in March 2021

“This is it, people. This is the next big hit. This book eloquently narrates two stories about very different families and how each family’s background, history and issues affects the children for generations to come. It also beautifully ties together the two families and shows how intertwined people’s lives can become.” -Yasi, FBC Blogger (read Yasi’s review here!

Detransition, Baby by Torrey Peters

Literary Fiction | Published in January 2021

Detransition, Baby is unlike any other book I read in 2021 An examination of womanhood and motherhood as told through the stories of three women (trans and cisgender), Detransition, Baby is a laugh out loud funny and thought provoking tale of the choices we make, and how they define ourselves and our futures.” -Marissa, FBC Member

Claudia Neu is a teacher with a passion for language immersion and intersectional children's literature. When she is not working with kindergarteners or reading, you can find Claudia cuddling with her cat or trying to keep her houseplants alive. Check out her instagram @claudianeureads for more book recommendations and reviews. Favorite genres: queer literature, contemporary fiction, and young adult.

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