Bookish Item | 2021 Favorite Reads: Backlist Edition

Today it’s time for our third list of 2021 favorites! Tuesday we had favorite graphic novels & manga and Wednesday it was time for favorite romance novels. Today we want to share our favorite backlist books we read in 2021. We read some amazing reads so hopefully you’re ready for two great list. Let’s jump in!


In 2021 I read a lot of backlist books and I was very proud of that. They weren’t all on my shelf before 2021, but I found some amazing reads. I had 41 backlist books that ended up being 5 stars. Thankfully a few already made an appearance in my favorite romances list yesterday. It was quite the challenge to narrow it down to only 15!

15. Nana Vol. 1 – Ai Yazawa
5 stars

Nana¬† was actually my first time reading manga and I have to say it was an interesting experience. I really had to get used to reading the opposite way of what I’m used to. I’m already familiar with Nana after watching the anime with my boyfriend, but I loved seeing it drawn like this too. I’m hoping to get more volumes, but when I last checked the next one wasn’t available.

14. Serpent & Dove – Shelby Mahurin
5 stars

Serpent & Dove is a book that was all over the place when it first released. At a certain point I did pick it up and start, but once again got distracted. Last year I ended up completely reading it and loved Lou and Reid’s story. When hearing the end of the book it was just hard to put down. At the moment I’m about a third into the sequel.

13. Angelfall – Susan Ee
5 stars

Angelfall released in 2012 and I’ve had in on my shelf for quite some time. A friend of mine loves this trilogy, so she decided to reread while I gave it a shot. I ended up loving it more than expected and it was so dark. I’ve never read a take on angels like this. I will definitely be finishing this trilogy.

12. A Reaper at the Gates – Sabaa Tahir
5 stars

An Ember in the Ashes is a series I started quite some time ago and loved the first two books. Then there was a cover change and I guess I just put it to the side for a while. A couple friends were reading this series, so I decided to join in when they got to books 3 & 4. I’m so glad I decided to join. The last two books rip your heart out, put it back together and are just really so intense!

11. Eva Evergreen, Semi-Magical Witch – Julie Abe
5 stars

Middle grade is so much fun to read, so I had to join a readalong when it was organized. Eva Evergreen is such an interesting character and lets us see that you can do great things even with only a pinch of magic. This book ended up being very heartwarming and I’m excited to read the sequel.

10. Only Mostly Devastated – Sophie Gonzales
5 stars

Only Mostly Devastated was a book I heard amazing things about and I’m so glad I loved it just as much. When I finally sat down and read this book I couldn’t put it down and basically read it in one sitting! This is a boy meets boy spin on Grease and I loved the main character. Only Mostly Devastated had me laughing and crying.

9. Nightbooks – J.A. White
5 stars

Nightbooks is a middlegrade book I knew about, but just hadn’t had the chance to read. And wow was it spooky! The stories the main character tells are truly creepy and it’s one I have thought about frequently since reading. There is now a movie adaptation on Netflix I really need to sit down and watch.

8. The Vanishing Stair – Maureen Johnson
5 stars

7. Pet – Akwaeke Emezi
5 stars

Truly Devious is a series I truly loved last year and I’m really sad it’s over. The Vanishing Stair is the second book and I loved the switch between past and present. There are plenty of twists and trying to figure it out along with the characters kept me turning the pages. This series definitely has me wanting to read more mysteries and thrillers.

Pet is unlike any book I’ve ever read and it was so good. This book is 200 pages long, but so packed with action and things that make you think. Monsters don’t seem to exist in this world, but in the end they still do. The main character realizes there is more to the world than her parents are open about and it’s not an easy lesson.

6. Crazy Rich Asians – Kevin Kwan
5 stars

Crazy Rich Asians is a book I’ve been curious about for quite some time after all the hype it got when the movie was released. I finally got around to reading it and it was such an addicting read. There is so much drama it’s ridiculous, but also makes this such an interesting read. I’m currently reading the third book and I’m sad I’m almost out of books in this world.

5. Beach Read – Emily Henry
5 stars

Beach Read is another book I saw everywhere and finally got to read it when it was chosen as a book for Swoonalong. I was actually surprised that this didn’t turn out to be the romance I was expecting, but so much more. There were a lot of serious subjects dealt with and the characters have been through a lot. But while dealing with everything they end up finding each other.

4. The Extraordinaries – TJ Klune
5 stars

TJ Klune is quickly becoming a favorite author of mine. After reading and love The House in the Cerulean Sea I knew The Extraordinaries should be next on my list. I loved this book so much more than I was expecting. It’s the best mix of emotional, fluffy, sarcastic, and has a mix of superheroes. The sequel is on my list to be read very soon.

3. King of Scars – Leigh Bardugo
5 stars

The Grishaverse has become such an interesting world and one I’m not ready to let go of. That’s why it took me so long to read King of Scars. The characters are amazing as well as the world-building and we’re taken on quite the ride. I’ve started Rule of Wolves and have loved what I’ve read so far.

2. The Iron Flower – Laurie Forest
5 stars

I’ve said it before, but The Black Witch really is a book that deserves much more hype than I’ve seen it get. So I finally sat down and read the sequel, The Iron Flower. I was warned that this book would hurt, but it’s so good. I’m so invested in all of the characters and how everything is going to turn out. The fourth book was delayed, so I’m waiting until next month to continue before it releases in March.

1. The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue – V.E. Schwab
5 stars

If you’ve been involved in the bookish community I don’t think you missed The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue. It was a book I was so excited for, but took a bit to read. And believe me when I say I regretted not reading this one right away once I was done. Schwab has a way with words and this book gets you thinking. What if you truly couldn’t be remembered by anyone? I love going through past and present with Addie and seeing how everything played out. I’ve never read anything like this before and I don’t think anything will ever be like it again.



I haven’t read as many books as I would like this year but in the end I did manage to read some amazing books. There are 5 5 star backlist books in this list and I figured out the order pretty quickly. I’m very happy with this list!

15. One to Watch – Kate Staymna-London
4 stars

I wasn’t expecting to enjoy this as much as I did! Candyce gave me a copy since she had 2 (yes that has happened multiple times hahaha) and I decided to just give it a shot. Contemporary Romance isn’t my favorite genre and I hardly ever pick up a book like this, but I ended up enjoying it a lot. I liked the characters and the messages.

14. The Mystwick School for Musicraft – Jessica Khoury
4 stars

One of my last reads of the year! I listened to it on Audible and expected it to be okay but I ended up enjoying it a lot. The plot wasn’t anything surprising but I really enjoyed the magic system and thought the characters were cute. Can’t wait for the next book in the series.

13. A Closed and Common Orbit – Becky Chambers
4 stars

Becky Chambers writes amazing sci-fi books with a contemporary feel to it. It took me a while to pick up this second book in the series as I was disappointed it would follow different characters than in the first book. But after reading another Becky Chambers story I just wanted to get back to her writing. I have two more books to read and I can’t wait.

12. The Great Hunt – Robert Jordan
4 stars

With the Wheel of Time tv-show coming out in 2021 I really wanted to finally read the series. And after listening to the audiobook of the first book, I used my next credit to get the second book as well (and I’m currently listening to book 3). This second book expands the world and I can’t wait to see it in the second season.

11. The Damned – Renee Ahdieh
4 stars

I adored The Beautiful but had a harder time getting into The Damned at first. We get an added POV here and I was just struggling for a while. But once I did get into it, I got some momentum and flew through the last part of the book. I liked the ending and I’m excited to read The Righteous soon.

10. The Library of the Unwritten – A.J. Hackwith
4,5 stars

This book was definitely added to my to-read list because of the title haha. I thought it sounded great! And once I got the book and finally read it, I was not disappointed. I realised I didn’t really know what the story was about haha. But it was good and I want to read the next book in the series.

9. Warbreaker – Brandon Sanderson
4,5 stars

I was planning on reading most of my Brandon Sanderson books in 2020 and 2021 but that didn’t really work out. However, the one I did read this year was a great one! I loved Warbreaker and it just reminded me that I have to pick up more Brandon Sanderson in 2022.

8. The Extraordinaries – T.J. Klune
4,5 stars

I’ve been wanting to read a T.J. Klune for awhile as I’ve heard he was very funny. And he did not disappoint with this book! I enjoyed it a lot, it was very funny and while most of the plot was predictable I was also surprised by some of the ending.

7. The Eye of the World – Robert Jordan
4,5 stars

As I said before, I really wanted to read The Eye of the World before the Wheel of Time tv-show aired. And thanks to the audiobook I was able to listen to at least the chapters that were in the first episode before that aired haha. I also quickly listened to the rest and really enjoyed it! Definitely want to listen to the rest of the series in 2022.

6. This Is How You Lose the Time War – Amal El-Mohtar & Max Gladstone
4,5 stars

This was such a good book! And I could tell from the first chapter. I immediately loved the story, the characters and the world building. In the end I was very right and it was such a great book. I will say I didn’t completely understand everything that was going on because of the world building but that might also be because it was pretty short.

5. Eva Evergreen, Semi Magical Witch – Julie Abe
5 stars

I had high hopes for Eva Evergreen and heard amazing things about the books. Through Audible I was able to listen to the audiobook, which was great. I liked the world and I loved that Eva wasn’t ‘the strongest of her generation’ or something like that. She really had to work for everything!

4. The Love Hypothesis – Laura Steven
5 stars

I adore Laura Steven so I was very excited for this one. And I bought my copy when I was in Paris so that makes it extra special to me, especially because I read it there as well. It was just as funny as I would expect from Laura Steven with messages to make you think and a cute romance!

3. The House in the Cerulean Sea – TJ Klune
5 stars

This was on almost everyones favorite list last year! It took me a bit longer to pick it up then the rest of the world but I’m so glad I finally did haha. This is such an amazing read with wonderful characters and a great message. If you haven’t read this yet, please take this as your cue to pick it up!

2. A Deadly Education – Naomi Novik
5 stars

Uprooted is one of my favorite books ever and I was so excited to read another Naomi Novik book. A Deadly Education did not disappoint! I adored it so so much and flew through it. This world is pretty brutal and the characters have to make hard choices. I loved it so much! And I’m currently reading the sequel ;).

1.The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue – V.E. Schwab
5 stars

My undisputed number one! Funnily I read the whole top 3 before February was over so I guess my reading really went down hill from there haha. V.E. Schwab is one of my favorite writers ever and I love all of her books. But this one might be my favorite! I loved reading about the different points in time and only wish it was twice as long haha. Also that ending; QIULKZLKNSLA!

And those were our favorite backlist books we read in 2021! Have you read any of these books? Do you agree with our choices? We would love to hear from you!

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