2021 went by really fast (which is a thing old people say, I am aware).
Actually it went fast AND slow, and I’m somehow absolutely exhausted despite having not done much of anything. Every year I look forward to doing these recaps because it’s fun to nerdily make pie charts and write lists of favourites and just admire rows of books. Clinging to the small joys here. 😩🙌🏻
Overall it really wasn’t my best reading year, with 5-stars being scarce and a lot of the books I’d highly anticipated falling flat. But on the flip side — I discovered I really like reading horror (and wrote my first horror book) and I’ve explored more adult literary which I occasionally very much like. 2021 has been about noticing reading tastes changing and tentatively exploring new things, and I’m okay with that.
…some highlights of the year
- super pleased to have read 200 books (something I regularly do but it just wasn’t stressful this year!)
- The Boy Who Steals Houses earned out its advance and I got my first ever royalties 😭
- tagged in posts where TBWSH was in schools and book clubs and, I swear, that will always feel like the biggest honour and utterly surreal
- got rid of my wardrobe and put a bookshelf there (this is a huge life achievement)
- went viral on instagram for a post that has 500,000 views 💀 cannot fathom that amount of people to be quite honest
- super proud of my photography! my instagram account grew 20,000 followers this year and I just hit 90,000! (I also started a TikTok and that is not an achievement it is a means of procrastination 😪🙌🏻 but it is at 5,000 followers which is neat).
- I rewrote a whole book in a month into a horror + rewrote #babykrakenWIP + wrote half a book for NaNoWriMo.
- I launched my Patreon account where I’ll be sharing the sequels for The Boy Who Steals Houses!! This starts in 2022 and I seriously can’t wait to be back with the De Laineys again 🥺💛. More info on the sequels here.
But I’ll admit, when it comes to writing, I end this year pretty crushed. I worked really really hard, and have nothing but 5 years of rejections to show for it. I have written so, so many books since ATPN and TBWSH and they just sit here, unread and unsold. After 5 years of this consistently you start to question what you’re doing!! I always feel like complaining is pretty taboo for authors. You’re only supposed to say things were rough after they’ve gotten better and you have the shiny success story to show for it. But you’ve been here for my journey since before I even queried my first little novel back in like 2013 — so we’ve been in this together for a while. I always appreciate everyone’s support. 🥺 Here’s to, perhaps, 2022 being kinder or new directions being found.
I was challenging myself to read “more books on my shelves” and, well, I failed!!! But next year I will. I promise this to myself 🤨 However I read a ton of underrated books and random library books, and so many books for MTMC Tours (which was great), and overall am happy with what I achieved.
As always, reading isn’t about how much we do — but just rather finding good books and enjoying them. I love talking stats, and I do this for me mostly. 😂👌🏻
So I had seventeen 5-star reads but only nine NEW 5-stars (the rest were rereads of old favourites). 9 of 200 this is a worry 😂 So hoping to fix that next year and read more books I’m really excited for (instead of procrastinating them!!)
2-stars went from 16% last year to 22% this year so like I said. We have a problem sir, just slightly.
If I combine all the sub-genres of fantasy…then it wins this year!!! Usually contemporary wins, so this new 👀 Sci-fi and historical are always my lowest genres, but horror is growing and hopefully this will double in 2022. I have PLANS. (The library doesn’t endorse my plans by buying new horrors though so will have to work on them.)
I listened to 49 audiobooks this year!! And overall it’s 110 physical books and the rest are ebooks/audios. Last year I was at 17% for audiobooks and this year it’s 24% and let me just say — I am more likely to love a book if I listen to it. Why? We do not know, we also do not question.
As always, the library wins!! The irony is I save very scrupulously so that I can buy beautiful hardcovers and then…I do not read them 😂 (I think partially this is because I want to love them, so I wait for the right “time”, and then instead read library books where it doesn’t matter how I feel about them. Do not ask for logic here!!)
I read so many MTMC Tour books too. We were so busy this year which is endlessly nice.
What I didn’t read? ARCs. I barely touched eARCs and also didn’t request them. I’m so behind now I just–
Adult bumped up from 17% last year to 27% this year! But if you think I’m leaving YA…solid no. This is my place. I’m just enjoying exploring more and also researching for future adult wips I want to try. I also appreciate some adult themes that are resonating with me more (as I grow old and, quite literally, my hair goes white — would like that to stop though, thanks).
Country & Pub Year
I’m actually surprised by this! I felt I read more backlist books? Because I swear all the hyped releases this year are still on my TBR and I’m a bit ashamed. Look, I read 200 books and yet I swear “read nothing” 😂 (But I did read well over 100 new releases last year — so this year was more about backlist.) And as usual I read mostly American books. My bad.
I don’t know if this is publishing at the moment or just me not finding the books I want, but I struggle to pick up mental health/disability books?? It truly feels like they’re not “trendy” enough to feature anymore. I read a wide range too — but also I didn’t read as many new and hyped YA releases as I’d hoped. 😩
I also need to read more books featuring diverse protagonists because this is a lot lower than I’d like. (Although only 108 of the books I read were for reviews/tours so, I take that into consideration.)
Alright time to show you my featured favourites of the year!! 😭 I truly found some absolutely gems in 2021 and several books that absolutely, deeply changed me (looking at you These Violent Delights and A Little Life). When you find those heart books? THAT is what I’m here for. Also The City Beautiful came out of nowhere and I totally adore it.
(Side note, I listened to 7 of these on audio. Proof I end up liking audios better 😂)
I only read 19 sequels this year oops (for comparison, I read over 120+ standalones). These were my highlights!
I say “surprise favourites” not meaning I assumed they’d be bad, but I just read them with not pre-judgments or preconceived notions and I just loved them.
Adding these authors to my “auto-buy” list basically!!! Their work is absolutely incredible.
Shout out to some books I should’ve read ages ago, but at least!! I’m finally reading them now. (And they are so so good.) Howl’s Moving Castle was so good though?! 😂 I had so much fun.
I really liked a LOT of the horror books I tried. I am disturbed and enjoying it, apparently!! I’m still thinking about The Only Good Indians also. Also I really like utterly unhinged queer horror and if anyone has recs, I need more.
For once I barely did any rereads — who am I, sir. There are only 12!! I did my annual Foxhole Court reread though, which is basically my highlight for Januaries.
Also…I read These Violent Delights TWICE this year so. Not sure if I should be proud of that or if it’s a worry. (Don’t answer this question 😪)
Black Water Sister was an absolute hilarious delight, and Bloody Spade was a ton of fun 😍 Cinders & Sparrows renewed my life long goal of: owning a castle.
Contemporaries that made me laugh OR cry 😩👌🏻 We love to see it. I seriously cannot recommend them all enough, these are absolute gold. (Baby & Solo made me cry though.)
So far my goals for next year are going to be working on The Boy Who Steals Houses sequels and upkeeping my Patreon, plus writing an adult wip. And I want to read 200 books again with a big focus on my backlist. I think it’ll be a reading year instead of a writing year too. Bit more lowkey.
Looking back at my list from last year, and I actually read 7 of 12!! Which seems pretty bad for books I am so hyped for 😂 but still!! I try!!! And I need to prioritise THESE in 2022 for sure…
I haven’t had a chance yet to go through all the upcoming releases lists so 👀👌🏻 I’ve got a lot to discover still. But these are ones I am so keen for and I have preordered a few too. There are also are more autistic books coming out next year from traditional pubs and I have to say!!! I am so ready for this. (There’s also a lot of queer fantasy I’m dying for.)
Also HOLLY BLACK ADULT BOOK. And The Chorus of Dragon series is ENDING 😭 excited and also sad.
Happy new year
I hope 2022 treats us all a little bit kindly. And I’d love to hear about your reading year in the comments! Let me know if you had lots of good or meh reads? do we have any of the same favourites?