YA Review Roundup: 2021

We reviewed 32 YA books on the Taller Books blog in 2021! Here’s the roundup – click through to read the full reviews, and use the comments to tell us about your favourite reads from last year.

When The World Was Ours – Liz Kessler
3/5
Inspired by a true story, When the World Was Ours follows three friends from Vienna through the Second World War.
Full review.

Shadow and Bone – Leigh Bardugo
4/5
Shadow and Bone is the first of Leigh Bardugo’s Grishaverse novels, and having read Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom in 2020, I was eager to go back and see how the story began.
Full review.

Siege and Storm – Leigh Bardugo
4/5
The second book in the Shadow and Bone series is full of action, adventure, politics, and magic.
Full review.

Ruin and Rising – Leigh Bardugo
4/5
The third book in the Shadow and Bone trilogy, and an edge-of-your-seat dramatic ending for the series.
Full review.

Fangirl – Rainbow Rowell
4/5
Fangirl surprised me with its addictive fan fiction, realistic relationships, and focus on mental health. Bravo, Rainbow Rowell!
Full review.

Tales From The Hinterland – Melissa Albert
4/5
The book of dark, twisty new fairytales collected by Althea Proserpine in The Hazel Wood. In this not-quite-sequel to The Hazel Wood and The Night Country, we meet the stories on their home territory for the first time.
Full review.

The White Darkness – Geraldine McCaughrean
5/5
A wonderful, magical story told by a down-to-earth narrator with a useful secret …
Full review.

A Vow So Bold And Deadly – Brigid Kemmerer
4/5
The final book in the Cursebreakers series. I liked the first book, I loved the second book. Did the third measure up?
Full review.

The Cost Of Knowing – Brittney Morris
3/5
An original take on brotherhood, Black Lives Matter, black history and heritage, and the cost of surviving traumatic experiences.
Full review.

A Snowfall of Silver – Laura Wood
5/5
The gorgeous sequel to A Sky Painted Gold – I loved every word.
Full review.

I Know When You’re Going To Die – Michael J Bowler
4/5
A gripping YA thriller from Wishing Shelf Award finalist Michael J Bowler. What would you do if you could see when your best friend will die?
Full review.

Concrete Rose – Angie Thomas
4/5
The stereotype-busting prequel to The Hate U Give brings an engaging glimpse into the backstory of one of my favourite characters.
Full review.

Vulture (Isles of Storm and Sorrow #3) – Bex Hogan
4/5
The breathtaking finale of the Isles of Storm and Sorrow series – prepare for an intense and heartbreaking read …
Full review.

How the King of Elfhame Came to Hate Stories – Holly Black and Rovina Cai
4/5
A gorgeous book of stories in the Folk of the Air series, beautifully illustrated by Rovina Cai. There’s something magical about an illustrated book, and this one casts an intriguing spell.
Full review.

An Abundance of Katherines – John Green
5/5
I love John Green’s writing, and An Abundance of Katherines has everything – a geeky narrator, an engaging cast, and a quirky plot. Oh – and mathematical models, equations and graphs!
Full review.

Eve Of Man – Giovanna and Tom Fletcher
3/5
A YA dystopia with an interesting premise – what if you were the last girl on Earth?  
Full review.

Wonderland – Juno Dawson
4/5
A missing friend, a mysterious invitation – what happens when Alice finds herself at London’s most exclusive party?
Full review.

Good Girl, Bad Blood – Holly Jackson
4/5
Schoolgirl detective Pip Fitz-Amobi is back, with new podcast episodes and a new investigation.
Full review.

Loki: Where Mischief Lies – Mackenzi Lee
4/5
Who was Loki before he became the character we know (and love!) from the Marvel Avengers films? What were his formative experiences? Mackenzi Lee gets to play with the family dynamics of a younger Loki, Thor, Frigga, and Odin in Where Mischief Lies, and it is evident that she is having a lot of fun in the process!
Full review.

Seafire – Natalie C Parker
5/5
How has it taken me so long to find this book? Pirates, rebels, sea battles and survival with an awesome all-female crew – I absolutely loved it. And just look at that gorgeous cover!
Full review.

Steel Tide – Natalie C Parker
5/5
Book Two of the Seafire trilogy: more pirates, more sea battles, and even higher stakes for the awesome all-female crew!
Full review.

Burn – Patrick Ness
5/5
Burn brings together dragons, prophecies, and assassins in 1950s America, and I loved it!
Full review.

The Upper World – Femi Fadugba
3/5
Time travel, maths, physics, football, and trying not to be expelled from school …
Full review.

Bearmouth – Liz Hyder
4/5
Identity, friendship, danger and rebellion in the dark.
Full review.

As Good As Dead – Holly Jackson
5/5
The final book in Holly Jackson’s Good Girl’s Guide to Murder trilogy is definitely the best. Stalkers, serial killers, local suspects – and the brilliant Pip Fitz-Amobi investigating one final case before she heads to university. I couldn’t put it down!
Full review.

Dumplin’ – Julie Murphy
5/5
The story of plus-sized Willowdean, her former beauty-queen mother, and the Miss Teen Blue Bonnet beauty pageant. There’s friendship, romance, body positivity, doubt, failure, triumph, adventures in high heels, and a whole lot of feel-good Dolly Parton!
Full review.

Jade Fire Gold – June C. L. Tan
4/5
An exciting adventure story set in a fantasy world inspired by Chinese history, myths, and legends.
Full review.

Uglies – Scott Westerfield
4/5
An engaging YA dystopian adventure that takes a sideways look at what it means to grow up.
Full review.

Pretties – Scott Westerfield
4/5
The second book in Scott Westerfield’s Uglies series continues the YA dystopian adventure that takes a sideways look at what it means to grow up.
Full review.

Archivist Wasp – Nicole Kornher-Stace
5/5
A gripping friendship-based adventure story – I loved every page.
Full review.

Believe Me – Tahereh Mafi
4/5
The final book in Tahereh Mafi’s Shatter Me series is sexy, romantic, dystopian, and utterly addictive – and just look at that cover!
Full review.

The Supreme Lie – Geraldine McCaughrean
5/5
A serious, quirky, what-would-you-do story about a girl, an impossible situation, and a catastrophic flood. Unique, gripping, wonderful.
Full review.


What did you read last year? What would you recommend to other readers of YA? Use the comments to tell us about your five-star 2021 books!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.