Crystal’s 2021 Favorites

Choosing my favorites from a reading year is never easy. There have been many books that have grabbed me and are worthy of giving a little love on an end of the year list. After pouring over my 2021 reads multiple times over the past few weeks, here are my top picks in no particular order.

Book cover shows four Black women in dresses. One stands in the back, two are seated in chairs, and one is kneeling on the floor in the front.So Many Beginnings: A Little Women Remix (Remixed Classics #2) by Bethany Morrow
Feiwel Friends [My Review]

North Carolina, 1863. As the American Civil War rages on, the Freedmen’s Colony of Roanoke Island is blossoming, a haven for the recently emancipated. Black people have begun building a community of their own, a refuge from the shadow of the old life. It is where the March family has finally been able to safely put down roots with four young daughters:

Meg, a teacher who longs to find love and start a family of her own.

Jo, a writer whose words are too powerful to be contained.

Beth, a talented seamstress searching for a higher purpose.

Amy, a dancer eager to explore life outside her family’s home.

As the four March sisters come into their own as independent young women, they will face first love, health struggles, heartbreak, and new horizons. But they will face it all together. — Cover image and summary via Goodreads

Bright yellow book cover with a young lady with long dark hair falling through air. She's wearing a white dress. The title is in white lettering. Yolk is written in all lowercase letters and the letter O is solid orange and looks like the yolk of an egg.Yolk by Mary H.K. Choi
Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers [My Review]

Jayne Baek is barely getting by. She shuffles through fashion school, saddled with a deadbeat boyfriend, clout-chasing friends, and a wretched eating disorder that she’s not fully ready to confront. But that’s New York City, right? At least she isn’t in Texas anymore, and is finally living in a city that feels right for her.

On the other hand, her sister June is dazzlingly rich with a high-flying finance job and a massive apartment. Unlike Jayne, June has never struggled a day in her life. Until she’s diagnosed with uterine cancer.

Suddenly, these estranged sisters who have nothing in common are living together. Because sisterly obligations are kind of important when one of you is dying. — Cover image and summary via Goodreads

A young person with long hair is wearing headphones, wearing a camisole and long skirt and is holding a book. A snake is at the bottom of the skirt along the ground. It's head is to the right of the person and the body is in a backwards s and the tail is somewhere behind the standing person..A Snake Falls To Earth by Darcie Little Badger
Levine Querido [My Review]

Nina is a Lipan girl in our world. She’s always felt there was something more out there. She still believes in the old stories.

Oli is a cottonmouth kid, from the land of spirits and monsters. Like all cottonmouths, he’s been cast from home. He’s found a new one on the banks of the bottomless lake.

Nina and Oli have no idea the other exists. But a catastrophic event on Earth, and a strange sickness that befalls Oli’s best friend, will drive their worlds together in ways they haven’t been in centuries.

And there are some who will kill to keep them apart.

Darcie Little Badger introduced herself to the world with Elatsoe. In A Snake Falls to Earth, she draws on traditional Lipan Apache storytelling structure to weave another unforgettable tale of monsters, magic, and family. It is not to be missed. — Copy and summary via Goodreads

Book cover shows the outline of a raised fist. The fist is filled in with photos and items from the past including a photo of Angela Davis with a microphone.Revolution in Our Time: The Black Panther Party’s Promise to the People by Kekla Magoon
Candlewick Press [My Review]

In this comprehensive, inspiring, and all-too-relevant history of the Black Panther Party, Kekla Magoon introduces readers to the Panthers’ community activism, grounded in the concept of self-defense, which taught Black Americans how to protect and support themselves in a country that treated them like second-class citizens. For too long the Panthers’ story has been a footnote to the civil rights movement rather than what it was: a revolutionary socialist movement that drew thousands of members—mostly women—and became the target of one of the most sustained repression efforts ever made by the U.S. government against its own citizens.

Revolution in Our Time puts the Panthers in the proper context of Black American history, from the first arrival of enslaved people to the Black Lives Matter movement of today. Kekla Magoon’s eye-opening work invites a new generation of readers grappling with injustices in the United States to learn from the Panthers’ history and courage, inspiring them to take their own place in the ongoing fight for justice. — Cover image and summary via Goodreads

What have been some of your favorites this year? Let us know in the comments.