Best Reads of 2021

By: Ada Muqqadus — Correspondent

Feel like you’ve run out of options to read this year? Tired of searching for good reads? Need some recommendations on what to read this year? Here are some of the best books of 2021 that you should add to your booklist.

Tarnished are the Stars is a blend of space opera, fantasy, and dystopian literature that discusses what’s right and wrong. It teaches ethics, technology, and loyalty. Anna is a gifted mechanic who goes against the laws of technology. Nathaniel, son of an abusive and powerful commissioner, just wants to make his father pleased. And Eliza, who dedicated her life to serving as the Queen’s spy is preparing for a strategic marriage. 

In the far-off future, these teens have to navigate their agendas, identities, and a strange illness that attacks the hearts of anyone born on ‘Earth Adjacent.’ Nathaniel explores an asexual and aromantic orientation, while Eliza and Anna develop a connection. These teens are cued as white, but racial identity classes could never live on through the disaster nor did it resemble a community for LGBTQ people. 

Not long ago it was black history month. We have all seen the “Black Lives Matter” movement and we have all seen the mess it caused, the racial slurs, racial harassment, coded prejudice, and color discrimination. We have seen what it did to the community and we have seen what it did to our people. “Wings of Ebony” is about a teenage girl who was whisked away from the only home she knew. Swept to a hidden land of magic and secrets. 

Last year was a jerking series of events for a 17-year-old African American Rue. After their mother died in an insensible shooting, Rue and her 12-year-old sister Tasha are separated. Tasha lives with her father back in Houston, while Rue finds herself on the coast of Madagascar on the mysterious island of Ghizon with her absent father Aasim. Rue struggles to accept a magical world, until her new friend, Bri accepts her and teaches her the Ghizoni ways. 

Despite being submerged into a world of wonder, nothing can replace a sister. Rue breaks the rules and heads back to Houston to reunite with Tasha. Everything goes well until a man with a snake tattoo offers Tasha a ride to school. Rue’s world is flipped upside down and this threatens her world and changes Ghizon forever. Rue is willing to face the tough realities of living in an underserved world and fights against the odds with her sense of community, family, and duty.

For those horror story fans, A Darker Shade is the book for you. It is a supernatural thriller where a teen caregiver takes care of a tween who may be haunted by a dark spirit. Molly is jobless for two weeks until she accepts a remote position at home in Maine. She becomes the “au-pair” and tutor of a 14-year-old, Hailey Prescott, and a 12-year-old, Liza Prescott. Molly has never worked as a live-in employee, but the job came with an exceptional salary with a $10,000 bonus if she could get the mute Liza to speak again. 

Molly was hoping the money earned will allow her younger sister, Ali, to apply to medical school, but her employer was certain she wouldn’t stay long. The previous au-pair had quit and one of the women went “nuts.” Hailey’s mother, the widow, also lives in the house but isn’t very welcoming. 

Liza’s mother died two years ago and ever since she never uttered a word, but Molly is determined to help her. Nathaniel admits before she stopped speaking, her last words said she’d been speaking with her mother’s ghost, but they didn’t encourage the discussion of spirits. Molly, Liza, and Nathaniel decide to delve into the family history and find out whose ghost may be posing a threat to everyone in the house. 

Concrete Rose is a story by Angie Thomas who is the author of The Hate U Give and On The Come Up are a reverberating success. Angie Thomas is an activist and her stories teach us about the importance of activism, social justice, and media portrayals. In Concrete Rose the story began in 1998 in Garden Heights when Starr’s parents Maverick and Lisa are high school seniors in love and planning for the future. 

Garden Heights is under siege and its pressures for royalty faces are profound for the realness that no magic can ease. Mav’s a prince whose family likelihood is contracted due to his father’s federally decree absence. He and his best friend King are “homies,” lower in status, and with everything to prove, especially after Mav becomes a father. The boys’ identities are stuck to the fathers whose names they bear, and with their own legacies they must withstand, but for them measuring up to that legacy means it ends in jail or the grave.

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