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It’s that time of year. The year-end lists are going to start popping up all over the place and this blog is no exception. I’m kicking things off with 2021 Underrated Gems. These are books I loved this year, but that didn’t seem to get a whole lot of attention. It’s hard to know why that is sometimes, but it happens. For some reason these books just didn’t gain the traction they needed, so I’m hoping to give them a little boost since all six are books I’d highly recommend!
- Things We Lost to the Water by Eric Nguyen – This is an impressive debut with both great storytelling and gorgeous writing. It follows a woman and her two young sons who flee Vietnam near the end of the war. They end up in Texas, waiting and waiting and waiting for her husband to join them. It follows the three for nearly thirty as they adapt, change, and grow. This one made my cry! (my review)
- Unsettled Ground by Claire Fuller – Have you ever felt haunted by a book? I read this one back in May and I still think about it all the time. The premise is strange: Two adults in their fifties have lived with their mother their entire lives. She did almost everything for them, so when she dies the two don’t know how to function in the world. It was bizarre, touching, and completely unexpected. This is the book I’d MOST like to see more people reading. (my review)
- When I Ran Away by Ilona Bannister – This is the story of a woman suffering from severe postpartum depression. She literally runs away and during that time the story alternates between the past and all the events leading up to that day and her extreme distress on the day itself. It was a touching story beautifully shining a light on how hard being a new mom can be. (my review)
- All Together Now by Matthew Norman – Norman has become a go-to author for me. I loved this book every bit as much as his last book, Last Couple Standing. In this we meet four life long friends who have come together for what they think is a fun beach weekend, but turns into much more as the host reveals he’s dying. Sounds heavy, but it was delivered with Norman’s signature humor, finding the lighter side of the most difficult situations. (my review)
- Songbirds by Christy Lefteri – Beautifully written, this is the story of Nisha, a Sri Lankan maid/nanny who has disappeared on the island of Cyprus. We only meet Nisha through the memories of her employer, Petra, and her lover, Yannis, both searching for her. This migrant story touched me on so many levels. That, and the mystery surrounding Nisha’s disappearance had me flying through this book. (my review)
- Fault Lines by Emily Itami – Let me start by saying that Emily Itami is definitely a writer to watch. I loved both the writing and storytelling in this debut. Hers is a wonderfully layered story about a bored Tokyo housewife with two children, a crumbling marriage, and a lover on the side. Mizuki is a woman with much to be confused about, and even more that she sees clearly. Always engaging, this book was also suspenseful, funny, wise and heart-warming. (my review)
Do you have a favorite underrated gem from 2021?
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