My favorite books from 2021

Published 6:21 pm Tuesday, January 4, 2022

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What a year! For the past two years, I have read over 100 books each year. Which means I always have lots of options for recommendations in this column! Here are my favorites that I haven’t mentioned yet.

Kindred: A Graphic Novel Adaptation, written by Octavia E. Butler, adapted by Damian Duffy, illustrated by John Jennings
This searing graphic-novel adaptation of the science fiction classic is a powerfully moving, unflinching look at the violent disturbing effects of slavery on the people it chained together, both black and white–and made kindred in the deepest sense of the word.

Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson
A moving and uproarious novel about a woman who finds meaning in her life when she begins caring for two children with remarkable and disturbing abilities. With white-hot wit and a big, tender heart, this is a most unusual story of parental love.

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Every Last Fear by Alex Finlay
Told through multiple points-of-view and alternating between past and present, this novel is not only a page-turning thriller, it’s also a poignant story about a family managing heartbreak and tragedy, and living through a fame they never wanted.

The Push by Ashley Audrain
A tense, page-turning psychological drama about the making and breaking of a family, and a woman whose experience of motherhood is nothing at all what she hoped for–and everything she feared.

Break Your Glass Slippers by Amanda Lovelace
A modern poetry collection about overcoming those who don’t see your worth, even if that person is sometimes yourself. In the epic tale of your life, you are the most important character while everyone is but a forgotten footnote. Even the prince.

X by Ilyasah Shabazz and Kekla Magoon
Co-written by Malcolm X’s daughter, this riveting and revealing young adult novel follows the formative years of the man whose words and actions shook the world. X follows Malcolm from his childhood to his imprisonment for theft at age twenty, when he found the faith that would lead him to forge a new path and command a voice that still resonates today.

Five Total Strangers by Natalie D. Richards
A hitched ride home in a snowstorm turns sinister in this young adult thriller set on Christmas Eve. As the drive progresses and weather conditions become more treacherous, the passengers realize they’re not just dealing with heavy snowfall and ice-slick roads, but the fact that somebody will stop at nothing to ensure their trip ends in a deadly disaster.

Jen Pace Dickenson is the youth services librarian for Polk County Public Libraries. For information about the library’s resources, programs, and other services, visit or call 828-894-8721.