Recommendations: My 5 Star Reads of 2021, Part 1

Hi and welcome to the reading world!

I’m still in the process of figuring out how I want to share my monthly reading wrap ups (and lately I’ve been trying out the concept of sharing snapshots of the books I read on my Bookstagram and using my Monthly Wrap Up format I’ve been enjoying for blog posts here) but today I want to spotlight a few books.

Today I’m going to share recommendations of my 5 star reads of 2021 from January- March! This is definitely a little delayed (hello, May) but nonetheless I’m excited to share this recommendation post and potentially continue this throughout the year.

For this post, I’m not necessarily including all of my favorite reads (stay tuned for some fun posts on those in a few months) but I am sharing the ones that I ended up rating 5 stars. I know that rating systems aren’t for everyone and that they are ultimately subjective, but this is just me taking the time to highlight some books I thought were great reads in case your reading taste is similar to mine and you’d like some ideas of what to check out!

I’d love to hear what books you’ve read and loved/rated 5 stars in the comments! Let’s get into my list:

The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang

This is a standalone graphic novel that was absolutely adorable! It read like a fairy tale and was incredibly sweet and heartfelt. The story follows a prince and a dressmaker as they come into each other’s lives and the unique perspectives and hopes and dreams they bring together. It also covers important topics such as gender roles and identity throughout the story, and the ending was so heartwarming.

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The Bride Test by Helen Hoang
2nd in The Kiss Quotient series

This is the sequel to The Kiss Quotient and one that I’ve written a full review on. I honestly loved this book even more than The Kiss Quotient! Khai and Esme were characters that had so much development, growth, and complexity throughout the story. I would be laughing, frustrated, nervous, and excited as I read along. This is a romance novel that has plenty of lighthearted moments, some steamy moments, and a lot of heart. I’m also so excited to pick up Quan’s novel later this year!

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Heartstopper: Vol 1, 2, and 3 by Alice Osman

This is another graphic novel series that follows Charlie and Nick, two high schoolers navigating life, love, and identity. It’s a story that has so many sweet moments but also deals with issues around coming out, homophobia, and other difficult topics as well. I’m excited to read volume 4, which I’m sure will be another 5 star read.

With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo

I’m noticing that a lot of the YA I read in the first few months of the year were favorites! With the Fire on High also has a review on the blog, and I’ll just summarize briefly. Emoni’s story integrates themes of family, food, home, and finding and following your dream. I absolutely loved this novel, and I would highly recommend the audiobook of this one as well!

Patsy by Nicole Dennis-Benn

Patsy is the story of Patsy, her daughter True, and how their lives unfold over years after Patsy makes a life changing decision. This is a powerful and oftentimes difficult read, but one I still think back on. I’ve also got a review for this book, and I would highly recommend it if you’re looking for a contemporary/literary fiction that features LGBTQ characters and stories, exploration of difficult topics such as immigration and separation, and the impact issues around these topics can have across generations.

Kindred by Octavia E. Butler

This was my first Octavia E. Butler novel, but definitely won’t be my last! Kindred is a sci fi that tells the story of Dana, a black woman, as she is unwillingly pulled back in time to a plantation and must navigate the dangerous circumstances as she tries to figure out why she is there and how to get home. It is an incredibly well written story that kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time. This book definitely covers a lot of very difficult topics, so please check out The Storygraph for a compiled list of trigger and content warning.

Speaking of The Storygraph, I would highly recommend using it as a resource for any of these reads to check into trigger and content warning as well as a resource for recommendations, book challenges, and more! I’ve been enjoying using it lately.

There are the 5 star reads I had from January, February, and March! I keep my Goodreads updated with my current reads and star ratings, so feel free to follow along on there as well! I haven’t had as many 5 star reads so far in the months since, but I’ve got some exciting books on my TBR so hopefully my check in for the second quarter of the year will have some great picks as well!

What are some of your recent 5 star reads?

Thank you so much for stopping by!


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