I’ve been procrastinating on writing this post for days now as I truly hate picking favorites, especially when it comes to the books I read.
2021 was a great reading year and I truly read so many books that I adored. However, I do think one book stands out in my mind as being my top favorite this year. I accidentally added it twice to my list while I was pulling this together so I take that as a sign that it deserves special recognition.
With the exception of the first book on this list, the rest of the list is in no particular order.
Most, if not all, of these books were 5-star reads, but not all of my 5 star reads made it onto my favorites. I was pulling this list together I was thinking of the books that stuck with me the most and that I tend to recommend frequently as must-reads. If you follow me on Instagram, I don’t think any of these will come as a major shock.
Okay, enough babbling! Here’s my top 10 reads of 2021:
CW:suicidal thoughts, pregnancy, difficult birth, discussion of past sexual assault, flashbacks to sexual assault, PTSD, depression, death, violence
I wasn’t planning on reviewing this book at all while I was reading it. However, it gave me so many emotions that I felt like I needed to process some of them on paper. When it comes to the A Court of Thorns and Roses series, better known as ACOTAR in the book world, it seems you either love it or hate it. I fall more on the love side, though I definitely don’t think these books are perfect.
Seriously, where has this book been my whole life and why haven’t I read it sooner? I’ve read other books by Lindsey Leavitt, but this book was just what I was looking for. Funny, sweet and heartwarming, Going Vintage shows that its hard to be a teen, no matter what era.
The premise of this book is simple, but makes for a cute read. After Mallory discovers that her boyfriend has been cybercheating on her, Mallory decides it is time for a change. When Mallory discovers a list of goals her grandmother had in 1962, Mallory decides it is time to demodernize. Going vintage for Mallory has its ups and downs, and along the way Mallory learns a lot about herself and those around her.
I loved how much Mallory grew throughout the course of the entire novel. In the beginning, Mallory was soley focused on her boyfriend. When she breaks up with him, she does not really know who she is or what to do. While deciding to try to live its the 1960s seems a bit drastic, for Mallory, it fits. She’s a bit different, marching to the beat of her own drum, and sticking to something she believes in. She was sarcastic and funny and I loved her voice. Mallory is obsessed with keeping lists, part of the reason why she becomes fascinated with her grandmother’s own list, and I loved that each chapter would begin with one of her lists.
The secondary characters really helped to complement Mallory and round out the story. I loved Mallory’s entire family. Her dad and her mom had their own little side story that ended up working nicely into the plot. I loved that her dad’s job was sort of “Storage Wars”-esque, while Mallory’s mom was busy running, and hiding, savings blog. I really liked her parents and their story. Mallory’s sister Ginnie was so cute. She was very different from Mallory, but the pair complemented each other well. Their relationship was spot on. Mallory’s Grandma was the character who surprised me the most. Her list from junior year of high school is what drives Mallory and I loved learning about the women behind it. She’s not exactly what you would expect, and she proves that high school back in the 60s was just as difficult as it is today.
The romance in the book was very cute. Oliver Kendall, who just happens to be Mallory’s ex-boyfriend’s cousin, proves to be a good match for Mallory. The scenes between the two of them were so fun to read; I couldn’t help from grinning. While they have their misunderstandings, their relationships works really well. Going Vintage isn’t primarily a rom-com book, but the romance fits in well with the plot.
Despite the fact that giving up all modern technology to accomplish outdated goals (what is pep club anyways?) is a bit of an outlandish idea, Lindsey Leavitt makes the book work. The book could have easily been very cheesy and full of fluff, but Leavitt manages to expertly weave a tale that tackles the difficulties of being a teenager and finding yourself. This book was heartfelt and showed that high school is never perfect; every teenager, no matter what decade, faces their own unique challenges.
This is my second book by Lindsey Leavitt that I’ve read, but I will definitely be checking out any of her other books. She has an incredible talent of telling entertaining stories, that also deal with real issues facing teens. Going Vintage is a cute and fun read that delivers a heartfelt story about the difficulties of being a teenager. If you are looking for a quick and enjoyable read this summer, I’d pick this up.
Sean Griswold’s Head is a cute, quick read that is extremely enjoyable. I sat down and read this in one sitting and had a huge smile on my face the whole time.
I loved the characters in this book. Payton, the main character, had such a distinct voice that I loved. Payton was a hysterical, I loved how she narrated the book, I was constantly in giggles. In the beginning of the book, Payton starts out as a control freak, everything must be in order. Through out the book though, Payton grows and changes because of what happens to her family. Yet, Payton’s voice still stays the same, but she has a matured and it comes across by her actions and words.
One of the things that I loved about this book was the whole premise. I loved that to deal with her father’s MS, Payton’s told to get a focus object, and that the object is the back of Sean Griswold’s head. I love how Payton’s feelings slowly begin to form and grow. I loved Sean and Payton’s relationship. It didn’t exactly go perfectly, which I loved. It was filled with things that got in the way and made for heart-wretchy moments. And Sean was such a cutey. I really liked him. He is a genuinely nice a guy who cares about Payton.
I really liked how Lindsey Leavitt dealt with the issue of Payton’s father’s illness. Multiple sclerosis is not a disease commonly featured in literature and I really liked that it. I loved how once Payton came to terms with her father being sick that she began to learn more about MS and even took to joining a bike race to raise money to help find MS.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It had that special something that just touches your emotions. This book is a fun, enjoyable, quick read that will put a smile on your face. I highly recommend it to everyone. It’s a great contemporary novel.