2021 5-Star Predictions Wrap-Up (Part 3)

Check out Part 1 and Part 2!

52 Book Club (Part 2)

3) Concrete Rose by Angie Thomas


Prediction: Angie Thomas’s writing is just amazing, and I’ve loved all of her books and especially her characters so far. Even though prequels don’t usually interest me that much, I thought this one would be worthwhile since Maverick was already such a great character. I didn’t remember that much of The Hate U Give by the time I read this, but I also didn’t think it would really matter since it is set so many years before. It’s also from a perspective that is not seen very often, since most books about teenage parents seem to focus on the girl’s experience. This was another of my most anticipated books of the year mostly on the strength of the author name alone.

What I Actually Rated It: 5 stars!

Why It Was/Was Not 5 Stars: To be honest, I would have been shocked if this hadn’t been 5 stars! I was immediately drawn straight back in to the characters and I really enjoyed getting so much backstory for Mav. I especially enjoyed how realistic his relationship was with his girlfriend and watching him learn how to interact with his newborn son. I also loved the exploration of what it means to be a man and the way Black men are viewed. This book was so good!

Flourish & Blotts: Magic in the Books

1) The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James


Prediction:  The previous book I read by this author very quickly became a favourite of that year, and I was really looking forward to trying more. I love this author’s writing style and how atmospheric her books are. This book contained many of the same elements that I loved in The Broken Girls (ie. dual timelines, paranormal elements), so I expected to love it for many of the same reasons. I like ghost stories, but they freak me out so easily that I don’t end up reading them so often.

What I Actually Rated It: 5 stars!

Why It Was/Was Not 5 Stars?: As expected, this book drew me in immediately and I loved the way the author drew so many parallels between the characters in the two timelines. I loved the way she built the atmosphere of the motel, and generally found that this book had the perfect amount of creepiness for me. I also loved the running theme about women’s safety and how differently women’s disappearances are treated depending on who she was. I especially loved the past timeline, although both were very strong, and I really enjoyed all the twists.

2) The Infinity Courts by Akemi Dawn Bowman

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Prediction: This author’s books have consistently been on my favourites lists every year that I’ve read one, and I was really intrigued to see her taking on a new genre. Her writing tends to be so impactful and her characters are always so compelling. I was a little worried about this one because it’s such a departure from her usual genre, but I thought the premise sounded so interesting and I was curious to see how she tackled a story that was so different from anything she had written before.

What I Actually Rated It: Nothing yet, and again, I’m very upset that I didn’t get to it because it should have been one of my highest priority books of the year! I kept putting it off because I wanted to read it at the “right” time when I could focus on it properly, and that time just never came. Eventually, I decided to just wait until next year when the sequel comes out and read them together.

Would I Still Predict 5 Stars?: Absolutely, yes! This author has very quickly become one of my favourites and even though this book is completely different from everything else she has written so far, I’m sure I’m going to love it as much.

3) Invisible Girl by Lisa Jewell


Prediction: This author has very quickly become one of my favourite thriller authors, and I was immediately drawn in by her writing and her characters when I first tried her books in 2020. As soon as I saw this one was being released, it jumped straight to the top oy m list to pick up this year. I was especially intrigued by the very timely topic of incels and allegations of misconduct, and it sounded like a very interesting and complex thriller. Given how much I’ve enjoyed the way this author built characters in her previous books that I’d tried, I expected a nuanced and interesting take on this topic.

What I Actually Rated It: 5 stars!

Why It Was/Was Not 5 Stars: As expected, I loved the writing and I thought the entire premise was very interesting. I thought the focus on the incel community was fascinating and actually wished the author had delved a little deeper into that, although I can see why she wouldn’t necessarily want to draw more attention to some of the more disturbing elements. I especially loved the way the author kept me guessing about who was responsible for the sexual assaults in the neighbourhood, and I was very surprised to see that my theories were mostly wrong!

Booklist Queen 2021

1) Grown by Tiffany D. Jackson


Prediction: This is yet another author who has very quickly become a favourite in the past few years, especially because of her unique storylines and memorable characters. I have loved everything this author has written so far, and I think she chooses some very interesting and hard-hitting topics. I was especially intrigued by this one because of the parallels to R. Kelly and Aaliyah. This author is such a talented writer, and I always look forward to seeing what she will come out with next.

What I Actually Rated It: 5 stars!

Why It Was/Was Not 5 Stars: Even though I’m not usually that interested in books that focus on celebrities or the pursuit of fame, this book drew me right in from the start because of the incredible characters. I also loved the contrast between Enchanted being called “mature for her age” when her behaviour didn’t seem to match that, which really highlighted just how young she actually was. I loved a lot of the commentary this book had to offer about relationships, power dynamics, and abuse. I thought this book was so powerful and it touched on so many important topics.

2) The Project by Courtney Summers


Prediction: Sadie was easily one of the best YA books I’ve read in a long time, so I was expecting to love this one just as much since it had some similar elements. Both books focus on a girl searching for the truth about what happened to her sister, and given how powerful Sadie was, I expected more of the same here. I was also especially intrigued by this one because it focused on cults, which is a huge buzzword for me when it comes to mystery/thrillers. I think it’s a fascinating topic and something that could really be a great backdrop for a very character-driven story.

What I Actually Rated It: 4.5 stars, but rounded down to a 4. I struggled a lot with the decision of which way to round the rating, and every so often, I still consider switching it.

Why It Was/Was Not 5 Stars: Even though 4.5 is still a very high rating, I couldn’t help being disappointed that this wasn’t an easy 5 stars like Sadie! It’s not even so easy to pinpoint what didn’t work for me since I liked the storyline overall and found some parts so impactful, but I also found it harder to connect with the characters and sometimes even tough to distinguish between the two timelines, especially since they took place so close together in time. I did find myself much more engaged as the book went on, which is largely why I debating upping the rating to a 5, but overall I didn’t quite love this one as much as I expected to!

3) People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry


Prediction: Beach Read became a surprise favourite of 2020, and I was looking forward to trying more romances by this author. I had been pleasantly surprised by how quickly I’d connected with the characters and the author’s writing in that book, so I expected more of the same from her next release as well. Based on the synopsis, this seemed like a kind of rom-com with the potential for some more serious topics, which is exactly the kind of romance that I tend to enjoy. This book seemed similar enough to Beach Read that I was sure I would like, yet different enough that I knew it wouldn’t’ feel like a carbon copy either.

What I Actually Rated It: 5 stars!

Why It Was/Was Not 5 Stars: I absolutely loved both of the main characters and thought they had such great chemistry, even just as friends. I also thoroughly enjoyed the way the author developed their relationship so well over the span of several years. I loved how the author alternated between the current vacation and several trips in the past, and was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed the descriptions of the different places they visited since I don’t usually care too much about travel books. I was once again very pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it, even though I’d gone into it hoping to love it.


One thought on “2021 5-Star Predictions Wrap-Up (Part 3)

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

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