Reading more seems to routinely top the list of New Year's resolutions. Currently, 1.9 million people are signed up for Goodreads' reading challenge, with the average goal of reading 43 books this year.
Luckily, 2021's upcoming books have something that will appeal to everyone. If you're looking to add some of the most buzzy books of the new year to your list, Goodreads has the recommendations for you.
To determine the most anticipated books of the year, Goodreads takes a look at users' "want to read" and "read" shelves, as well as early reviews posted to the site. An effort to amplify voices from authors of color is also at the forefront of these picks.
Suzanne Skyvara, vice president of editorial and marketing at Goodreads, believes people read for three main reasons: entertainment, escape and education. Be on the lookout for a number of debuts as well as new work from names you'll recognize that might fulfill one of those needs.
"We're starting to see more promotion of Black authors from publishers," Skyvara said. "We're seeing excitement with Goodreads Members for 'The Other Black Girl' by Zakiya Dalila Harris, 'This Close to Okay' by Leesa Cross-Smith and 'The Prophets' by Robert Jones Jr. Given the controversy around 'American Dirt' last year, which highlighted the need for more promotion and publication of Latinx authors, it's really encouraging to see 'Of Women and Salt' coming out in March that is already starting to get a lot of traction on Goodreads."
Check out the highly anticipated 2021 reads available for preorder below.
1. "This Close to Okay," by Leesa Cross-Smith
Taking place over one weekend in Kentucky, therapist Tallie Clarke talks a man off a bridge. After convincing the man, Emmett, to join her for a cup of coffee, he also agrees to come back to her home. Over the course of the weekend, she realizes that he's not the only one with secrets and in need of healing.
2. "The Four Winds," by Kristin Hannah
As a drought grips the Great Plains of Texas in 1934, Elsa Martinelli is faced with the choice of whether to stay or go west. This novel will show you a portrait of America through one woman's eyes.
3. "Of Women and Salt," by Gabriela Garcia
In present-day Miami, one daughter of a Cuban immigrant sets out to understand her family's history while also taking in the daughter of neighbors detained by ICE. You'll follow the characters from past to present and through multiple memories, choices and legacies made by extraordinary women.
4. "The Other Black Girl," by Zakiya Dalila Harris
This debut novel is one you cannot miss. The story follows Nella Rogers, an editorial assistant and the only Black employee at Wagner Books. So she's elated when Hazel joins the company. But when menacing notes appear on her desk, Nella can't believe it might be from Hazel. This thriller will be one you won't be able to put down.
5. "Every Last Fear," by Alex Finlay
This thriller follows the Pine family and two of its surviving members after an apparent accident. Matt Pine must return to his volatile hometown and reckon with his (possibly wrongly) imprisoned brother. Does Matt hold the key to his brother's crime and the death of their family?
6. "The Survivors," by Jane Harper
Mistakes have consequences, sometimes devastatingly so. When a body washes up on the beach on a small coastal town, secrets threaten to reappear.
7. "Klara and the Sun," by Kazuo Ishiguro
Nobel Prize in Literature winner Kazuo Ishiguro is back with the story of Klara, an "Artificial Friend." She keeps an eye on those who stroll into or pass by the store she's in, noting everyone's behavior and hoping a customer will choose her.
8. "Project Hail Mary," by Andy Weir
Humanity is on the brink of disaster and it's up to Ryland Grace and his last-chance mission to save it. Except, he doesn't even know it. All he knows is that he's woken up millions of miles from home.
9. "The Light of Days: The Untold Story of Women Resistance Fighters in Hitler's Ghettos," by Judy Batalion
This nonfiction books tells the important stories of women from World War II. You'll learn about the brave Jewish women who became resistance fighters and whose stories have gone untold until now.
10. "Leaving Isn't the Hardest Thing: Essays," by Lauren Hough
This book of personal essays from Lauren Hough tells stories of cults, homelessness and hunger while also finding light in dark places. Hough grew up in The Children of God cult and writes about identity and living freely.
For more book recommendations, check out:
- Looking for an inspirational story? 10 feel-good books to read right now
- 13 classic books you'll love if you're a fan of 'Little Women'
- 11 author-approved books worth adding to your reading list
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