The Best Fiction Books I’ve Read in 2021 (So Far)

Last Updated on March 21, 2023 by Taylor

It’s over halfway through the year, so I wanted to share my favorite fiction books of 2021 so far! This is the first year ever that I’ve been on track to read 100 books, so I have a lot of great books to choose from.

And now, on to the list!

The Best Fiction Books I've Read in 2021 (So Far)

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My Favorite Books in 2021

The Push by Ashley Audrain

Genre: Domestic Thriller

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“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.”

Click here to read my full review of The Push.

Release date: January 5th

Shiver by Allie Reynolds

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When ex-snowboarder Milla is invited back to the French Alps for a reunion with some friends from her competition days, she’s intrigued enough to show up. It’s been years since they’ve all seen each other, and the remote mountain resort they’re staying at brings back lots of memories – and secrets. But things aren’t always as they seem, and it turns out someone will do anything to get the truth.

Read my full review of Shiver here.

Release date: January 19th, 2021

Finlay Donovan is Killing It by Elle Cosimano

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

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This book follows Finlay Donovan, a struggling writer and mother of two who’s dreading an impending custody battle with her cheating ex-husband. While discussing her latest book project with her agent at a Panera, a woman sitting nearby mistakes Finlay for a contract killer. That’s when things really take a turn for Finlay and her nanny/friend, Vero.

Check out my full review of Finlay Donovan here.

Release date: February 2nd, 2021

We Begin at the End by Chris Whitaker

Genre: General Fiction/Mystery

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Walk is the chief of police in a small California town. He’s comfortable where he is, and he doesn’t want anything – including the town – to change. But one thing is about to: his best friend from when he was 15 years old, Vincent King, is being released from prison after 30 years.

Duchess is a tough 13-year-old girl who would do anything for her little brother Robin, especially since their mother has trouble taking care of them. But one explosive night, everything changes for Duchess and Robin, setting changes into motion for them and for Walk.

Release date: March 2nd, 2021

House of Hollow by Krystal Sutherland book cover

House of Hollow by Krystal Sutherland

Genre: YA Fantasy/Horror

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When they were little girls, the Hollow sisters went missing. They returned a month later, but their eyes had turned darker and their hair had turned white. Years later, the eldest sister goes missing again, and it’s up to the younger two to find her.

Release date: April 6th, 2021

The Drowning Kind by Jennifer McMahon

Genre: Mystery/Horror

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The Drowning Kind is about two sisters and the aging mansion where they spent their summers growing up. There’s a pool there that’s fed by a natural spring said to have healing powers – but it has a sordid past.

Release date: April 6th, 2021

The Last Thing to Burn by Will Dean

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

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Set on an isolated farm in the U.K., The Last Thing to Burn is a tense suspense story with hints of Room and Misery – but with a unique twist all its own.

Release date: April 20th, 2021

Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir

Genre: Science Fiction

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“A lone astronaut must save the earth from disaster in this incredible new science-based thriller from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Martian.”

(If you loved this book too, here are more awesome books like Project Hail Mary to enjoy!)

Release date: May 4th, 2021

Ariadne by Jennifer Saint

Genre: Mythology/Retelling

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This book makes me want to read ALL the mythology retellings. I was enchanted by its ancient settings, its lore, and the way it gave a voice to the women who have otherwise been invisible for centuries.

I raced through the book, desperate to find out what would happen to the characters. (I took a Greek mythology class in college but apparently didn’t remember a whole lot of it). At the same time, I wanted to slow down so the book wouldn’t end. If that’s not the sign of a good story, I don’t know what is.

While I felt like it petered out a bit toward the end, I understand the author wanted to stay true to the mythology, so the story was under some constraints in that respect. But overall, this was wonderfully well-written and I really enjoyed it!

Release date: May 4th, 2021

People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry

Genre: Contemporary Romance

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Two best friends. Ten summer trips. One last chance to fall in love. From the New York Times bestselling author of Beach Read, a sparkling new novel that will leave you with the warm, hazy afterglow usually reserved for the best vacations.”

Release date: May 11th, 2021

Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead

Genre: Historical Fiction

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In Great Circle, we follow the magnificent life of Marian Graves – a female pilot in the early-to-mid 1900s – and the many lives she touches. In her final daring act, she attempts to circumnavigate the Earth over the North and South Poles in a plane. Decades later, the story follows an actress playing Marian in a movie that’s being made about her life.

Release date: May 4th, 2021

The Book of Accidents by Chuck Wendig

Genre: Horror

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“A family returns to their hometown—and to the dark past that haunts them still—in this masterpiece of literary horror by the New York Times bestselling author of Wanderers.”

My thoughts: this book was the perfect pick for some summerween fun. It totally gave me Stephen King’s IT vibes, but it was definitely its own story too. You can’t help but love Oliver (and feel fiercely protective over him).

Getting glimpses into the history of the area where the novel is set (remote coal mines with a sordid past) was as fascinating as it was chilling, and added another layer to the story.

There were definitely some gross moments, so if that’s too much for you then this might not be your thing. But if you’re looking for a unique, addicting, and engaging horror novel with great characters: this is it!

Release date: July 20th, 2021

Once There Were Wolves by Charlotte McConaghy

Genre: Environmental Fiction/Mystery

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Once There Were Wolves is about a woman named Inti, who’s in charge of a project to re-introduce wolves in the Scottish Highlands. The nearby farmers aren’t happy about this change, though, and when a man is found dead, tensions rise even further. At the same time, Inti is desperately trying to heal her emotionally traumatized twin sister.

Read my full review of Once There Were Wolves here.

Release date: August 3rd, 2021

Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr

Genre: Historical Fiction/Science Fiction

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This is a wide-reaching novel, following many characters in different places and times – from Constantinople in the late 1400s to an Idaho town in present day to a space ship many years from now. But somehow, each of these threads is tied together by an ancient story.

You can read my review here.

Release date: September 28th, 2021

The Last House on Needless Street by Catriona Ward

Genre: Horror/Thriller

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This story is eerie and strange, with a haunting atmosphere. It’s the kind of book you know practically nothing about before you start it – and that’s the best way to read it. So I won’t give a synopsis here, other than to share the tagline from Goodreads: “This is the story of a serial killer. A stolen child. Revenge. Death. And an ordinary house at the end of an ordinary street.”

Release date: September 28th, 2021

The Lighthouse Witches by C.J. Cooke

Genre: Fantasy/Gothic Horror

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“Two sisters go missing on a remote Scottish island. Twenty years later, one is found–but she’s still the same age as when she disappeared. The secrets of witches have reached across the centuries in this chilling Gothic thriller from the author of the acclaimed The Nesting.”

Release date: October 5th, 2021

Once Upon a Wardrobe by Patti Callahan

Genre: Historical Fiction

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Inspired by C. S. Lewis’s life, this fictional story is about a young woman and her sick younger brother in the 1950s.

It’s heartwarming and emotional, with a strong sense of atmosphere. With settings from a cozy cottage in the snowy English countryside to C.S. Lewis’s childhood home in Ireland, I felt transported by this wonderful book.

Release date: October 19th, 2021

Comfort Me With Apples by Catherynne M. Valente

Genre: Horror/Thriller

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Sophie lives with her perfect husband in her lovely house in a perfect neighborhood called Arcadia Gardens. But something happens that makes her question if everything really is all that perfect.

Release date: November 9th, 2021

These Silent Woods by Kimi Cunningham Grant

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

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These Silent Woods follows a father and his young daughter who live in a cabin in the Appalachian woods, living off the land – and hiding a secret. But when their yearly supply delivery doesn’t show up and they stumble on a stranger in the woods, the father is forced to make a decision.

Release date: November 16th, 2021

I hope this list gives you some reading inspiration! Do we have any favorite books in common?

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