2021 5-Star Predictions Wrap-Up (Part 1)

This year was my third year of making 5-star predictions for the books I’m reading, and it is always one of my favourite ways to get excited for some of the books I’m planning to read! I tend to treat this list as an add-on to my list of priority books to read within the year, since I usually end up dividing the books that I’m most excited for over both lists anyway. After so many years of doing reading challenges, I’ve become very good at picking books that I’m sure I will enjoy, although it’s sometimes a little harder to tell which will be 4 stars and which will be 5. For this year, I gave myself a structure of choosing 3 books from each of my 7 reading challenges for a total of 21. I have still yet to finish all of the books on my 5-star prediction lists in a single year though! I was doing so well on my goal for most of the year, but things just kind of fizzled out toward the end. Anything that I did not read yet will be in my challenge plans for next year, so at least I’ll still be getting to them. In the interest of keeping these posts a reasonable length, I’m splitting it into three parts, just like I did with the initial predictions posts earlier this year.

Goodreads Around the Year Challenge

1) The Book of Two Ways by Jodi Picoult


Prediction: Jodi Picoult is my favourite author, and I have loved all of her books so far, although some more than others. I was especially intrigued by this one because of the focus on archaeology and Ancient Egypt, which are subjects I’ve always been very interested in. In general, Jodi Picoult’s books are often 5-star reads for me because I love her writing style and her complex characters. I thought it was interesting that this one did not tackle a specific social issue like most of her other books, and liked that she was branching out a bit.

What I Actually Rated It: 4.5 stars, rounded up to 5 on Goodreads

Why It Was/Was Not 5 Stars?: I loved the overall theme of the book and especially the focus on the different paths people can take in their lives. I also really loved the explanations of Dawn’s role as a death doula, which is something I had never heard of before and I found her job absolutely fascinating. I also really liked the way the two possible paths for Dawn were explored and her relationships with both men, and especially liked the chapters focused on her marriage to Brian. I think the main thing that held it back from being a full 5 stars for me was I found the timelines a bit more confusing than I expected, especially since I’d thought Dawn’s two paths would be handled more like two parallel “what if” realities.

2) Anxious People by Fredrik Backman


Prediction: I’ve absolutely loved Fredrik Backman’s writing in the few books of his that I’ve read, and I keep meaning to pick up more. I thought this one seemed like the best place to start since it is a locked-room mystery that seems very character-driven, which are two things that I love. This book was also very highly recommended in the ATY Goodreads group, and came up frequently as different members’ choice for Book of the Month throughout the year.

What I Actually Rated It: Nothing yet, and I’m so mad at myself that I didn’t get to this one! I literally don’t even have an excuse for why I didn’t read it since I bought a copy around the time it came out, and was really looking forward to picking it up.

Would I Still Predict 5 Stars?: Absolutely! I think this author’s writing style alone makes it very likely that I’d love this, and I also love the way he builds his characters. I definitely need to make sure I get to this one as soon as possible in 2022, and possibly some other books by this author as well. I really hope I enjoy this as much as I’m expecting to!

3) A Court of Silver Flames by Sarah J. Maas


Prediction: I have loved every single book I’ve read by Sarah J. Maas so far, but especially the ACOTAR series once I finally gave in to the hype and gave it a fair chance. It very quickly became one of my favourite fantasy series, and the characters were a huge part of that in general. Nesta and Cassian were two of my favourite characters and I was very interested to see a book where they were the focus. I love the world the author built through this series and I was very intrigued to see it from a different perspective.

What I Actually Rated It: 5 stars!

Why It Was/Was Not 5 Stars: While I don’t think I quite connected with this book as strongly as I did with the rest of the series, I absolutely loved the character development for Nesta and her journey to learning how to let others in sometimes. I loved her dynamic with Cassian and the way their relationship evolved and her friendships with Gwyn and Emerie. I also loved the way the author handled the discussions around trauma and the long-lasting impact it had on several of the characters.

Popsugar 2021 Challenge

1) The Devil and the Dark Water by Stuart Turton


Prediction:  This one could have gone either way for me since I don’t love books that are set mostly on boats, but I loved The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle last year, so I was hoping to find this one just as fascinating! I loved how intricate the mystery was in his previous book, and thought that another strong mystery like that might be enough to get me past a setting that I don’t necessarily love. However, being set at sea also made this into more of a locked-room mystery which is something that I tend to love.

What I Actually Rated It: 4.5 stars, eventually rounded up to 5 but it took some time to make that decision

Why It Was/Was Not 5 Stars: This was a very close one, but I ultimately gave it 5 stars because I enjoyed the overall mystery and especially the characters, and I also loved the way some supernatural elements were woven in through the suspicions of demonic activity aboard the ship. I was drawn into the story a lot more easily than I expected and loved the introduction to the characters and the mystery, but found the book a bit slow-paced and it didn’t quite grab me as easily as this author’s previous book.

2) The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab


Prediction: V.E. Schwab is one of my all-time favourite authors and I’ve been looking forward to this book ever since I first saw her mention it a few years ago. I naturally assumed I would love this because I love this author’s writing style, and I’ve already loved everything else that she’s written so far. I also thought this one had an incredible premise and I was excited to see what the author did with this character.

What I Actually Rated It: 5 stars!

Why It Was/Was Not 5 Stars: I was not surprised at all that this easily became one of my favourite books of the year! I thought it was so beautifully written and I especially loved the way the author brought up so many interesting ideas about time, legacy and memory. I loved all of the characters, and I was especially interested by how Addie had learned to work with her curse to survive but also the limitations it placed on her. This book was absolutely amazing, and definitely worth the wait!

3) The Maidens by Alex Michaelides


Prediction: I love dark academia, so this was already something I was very interested in, but even moreso because The Silent Patient was one of the best thrillers I read in the past few years! I devoured the majority of that book in a single day, and I loved the author’s writing style, so I was really looking forward to trying more of his books. I was especially intrigued to see that this one had a strong focus on Greek mythology, and I tend to love academic settings in general, so it seemed like something I was bound to enjoy!

What I Actually Rated It: 5 stars!

Why It Was/Was Not 5 Stars: I found this book so compelling and as expected, I loved the focus on Greek mythology as well as on psychology. I was immediately drawn in by the writing and the atmosphere of the book, although it was a bit slower than The Silent Patient. I also absolutely loved the twists, which I had not expected at all! I still think I liked The Silent Patient a tiny bit better overall, but I loved this and can’t wait for his next book!

ATY Top Picks Challenge

1) Early Departures by Justin A. Reynolds

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Prediction: I was very intrigued by the premise of this one, especially since it was such a change from the typical YA romance or contemporary. I expected this book to be very impactful, especially due to the focus on grief as well as friendship. I’d also heard such great things about this author in general, and I was looking forward to giving his books a try. Some of my favourite YA contemporaries are the more hard-hitting books and I tend to love YA contemporaries that have a bit of a different twist to them so this one definitely seemed to fit the bill.

What I Actually Rated It: 5 stars!

Why It Was/Was Not 5 Stars: This book was so impactful, and I especially loved all of the characters. I especially loved the way the author developed the friendship between Jamal and Q, even when they were both angry at each other, and I also loved how they both had so much support from their friends and family. I loved that this book was so different from your typical YA contemporary.

Check back tomorrow for the second part and Sunday for the third part of this year’s 5-star predictions wrap-up!


2 thoughts on “2021 5-Star Predictions Wrap-Up (Part 1)

  1. Pingback: 2021 5-Star Predictions Wrap-Up (Part 2) | Abyssal Librarian
  2. Pingback: 2021 5-Star Predictions Wrap-Up (Part 3) | Abyssal Librarian

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