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Kobo's picks for the best books of 2021

By Kobo • December 01, 2021Recommended Reading

The best eBooks and audiobooks of 2021, as chosen by Kobo’s bookselling team.

Find even more of the best books of 2021 HERE

In 2021 authors we enjoyed books from authors like Omar El Akkad and Taylor Jenkins Reid who just a few years ago burst onto the scene with their incredible debut novels. And we loved audiobook adventures with Malcolm Gladwell and Seth Rogen. Plus several series that grabbed us recently were continued, like Talia Hibbert’s The Brown Sisters and Jennifer L. Armentrout’s Blood and Ash… and so much more!

The Crown of Gilded Bones by Jennifer L. Armentrout

In the third book of this blockbuster series, our heroine Poppy faces an impossible choice between forsaking her birthright or ascending the throne to become the Queen of Flesh and Fire. There’s no easy way out and betrayal lurks around every corner.

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The Wreckage of My Presence by Casey Wilson

Multi-talented actor, writer, comedian, podcaster Casey Wilson narrates this collection of hilarious and thought-provoking essays.

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Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Taylor Jenkins Reid’s debut novel about a fiction rock band, Daisy Jones & the Six, was one of the splashiest debuts of the last decade. In Malibu Rising she shows no sign of a sophomore slump, with its web of relationships and intrigue among members of a family whose mansion has just burned to the ground.

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Yearbook by Seth Rogen

While there are plenty of audiobooks by comedians that have more going on than their text-based counterparts (Amy Poehler’s Yes Please and Tina Fey’s Bossypants come to mind) Seth Rogen takes it to the next level with Yearbook. With more than 80 guest voices, including the author’s parents, comic actors Nick Kroll, Dan Aykroyd, and Jason Segel, and so many more, Rogen redefines the term “full cast” when it comes to audiobook narration.

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Velvet Was the Night by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Silvia Moreno-Garcia has published several novels across a variety of genres in the past couple of years. Set against 1970s Mexico City, Velvet Was the Night is her foray into noir detective fiction in which a lonely goon and an absent-minded secretary track down a woman who’s gone missing under mysterious circumstances.

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Somebody's Daughter by Ashley C. Ford

Ashley Ford grew up knowing her father was incarcerated, but she didn’t know what he’d done to be there—until one day her grandmother told her, forever shattering her world. Ford’s writing is brilliant, and her audiobook performance brings you even deeper inside this unforgettable story.

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The Other Black Girl by Zakiya Dalila Harris

When Nella, the only Black girl at a publishing house discovers that the new hire is also Black, it seems like great news and an end to a certain kind of loneliness. But then the threatening notes start appearing on Nella’s desk…

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The Bomber Mafia by Malcolm Gladwell

In the summer of 2020 on his podcast Revisionist History, Malcolm Gladwell spent several episodes on General Curtis LeMay and the firebombing of Tokyo in WWII. After 3 hours on the subject, it turned out he’d only just gotten started, so he set out to write a whole book on the subject—only these days the author of The Tipping Point and Outliers has developed such a love of audio as a medium that the book he wrote was an audiobook, complete with tapes of LeMay and his colleagues expressing their views about how best to bring Japan to its knees and end the war.

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Remote Control by Nnedi Okorafor

Nnedi Okorafor is a master of the science fiction novella, and in Remote Control she tells a story with a mythological feel about Sankofa, a young girl who kills with the barest effort as she walks from town to town in search of an object that fell from the sky.

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Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé

At the elite Niveus Private Academy, Devon and Chiamaka face an anonymous villain obsessed with ruining their futures. This is a thrilling take on the dark academia genre by debut author Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé.

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Red X by David Demchuk

This horror novel set in Toronto’s gay village neighbourhood mirrors headlines from recent history, but spins off in supernatural directions. If Stephen King were a young LGBTQ+ novelist, this is the kind of book he might write.

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Act Your Age, Eve Brown by Talia Hibbert

The third book in Talia Hibbert’s delightful Brown Sisters rom-com series, featuring the least reliable and hottest mess of the sisters, has us wishing for an even larger Brown family.

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One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston

This rom-com was Tiana’s staff pick earlier this year: “I loved this book because it was just so full of joy. It’s the type of book that it’s better to know very little about before you start it, but once you start it you’ll understand why it’s so great. It’s got romance, it’s got humour, and it’s a refreshing and unique story.”

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Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro

Narrated by Klara, an “Artificial Friend,” Ishiguro’s latest novel made us think about what we really need, and what we give to others when we love.

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What Strange Paradise by Omar El Akkad

Omar El Akkad’s American War felt like a science fiction novel set just a couple of decades in the future. His new book What Strange Paradise feels timeless like a story happening in the ever-present now—but we haven’t been listening. The novel won Canada’s prestigious Giller Prize.

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We've got even more picks for the best of 2021 HERE

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