Every December, hundreds of librarians from across the country vote for their favorite books of the year. This year’s picks include a thriller about what happens to the survivors after the credits roll in a horror flick, a historical novel about an abandoned mother who works to save her family during the Dust Bowl, and a fantastical love story between a ghost who needs to cross over to the other side and the ferryman responsible for transporting the souls of the dead.
Top Pick: The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah
Elsa Martinelli has two children, an unhappy marriage, and a farm that she stubbornly helps tend. But when the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl hit, the family’s relations are stretched to the brink. Abandoned by her husband, faced with dying livestock and failing crops, Elsa must choose whether to stay with the land she loves or flee in search of a better life for her and her children.
The Final Girl Support Group by Grady Hendrix
In horror movies, the final girl is the one who’s left standing when the credits roll. The one who fought back, defeated the killer, and avenged her friends. The one who emerges bloodied but victorious, a victim and a hero. But after the sirens fade and the audience moves on, what happens to her? Lynnette Tarkington is a real-life final girl who survived a massacre twenty-two years ago, and it has defined every day of her life since. And she’s not alone. For more than a decade she’s been meeting with five other actual final girls and their therapist in a support group for those who survived the unthinkable, putting their lives back together, piece by piece. That is until one of the women misses a meeting and Lynnette’s worst fears are realized — someone knows about the group and is determined to take their lives apart again.
The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles
In June, 1954, eighteen-year-old Emmett Watson is driven home to Nebraska by the warden of the juvenile work farm where he has just served fifteen months for involuntary manslaughter. His mother long gone, his father recently deceased, and the family farm foreclosed upon by the bank, Emmett’s intention is to pick up his eight-year-old brother, Billy, and head to California where they can start their lives anew. But when the warden drives away, Emmett discovers that two friends from the work farm have hidden themselves in the trunk of the warden’s car. Together, they have hatched an altogether different plan for Emmett’s future, one that will take them all on a fateful journey in the opposite direction-to the City of New York.
The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner
Hidden in the depths of eighteenth-century London, a secret apothecary shop caters to an unusual kind of clientèle. Women across the city whisper of a mysterious figure named Nella who sells well-disguised poisons to use against the oppressive men in their lives. But the apothecary’s fate is jeopardized when her newest patron, a precocious twelve-year-old, makes a fatal mistake, sparking a string of consequences that echo through the centuries. Meanwhile in present-day London, aspiring historian Caroline Parcewell spends her tenth wedding anniversary alone, running from her own demons. When she stumbles upon a clue to the unsolved apothecary murders that haunted London two hundred years ago, her life collides with the apothecary’s in a stunning twist of fate, and not everyone will survive.
Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Everyone wants to be around the famous Rivas: Nina, talented surfer and supermodel; brothers Jay and Hud, one a championship surfer, the other a renowned photographer; and their baby sister, Kit. The siblings are a source of fascination in Malibu and the world over– especially as the offspring of legendary singer Mick Riva. It’s the day of Nina’s annual end-of-summer party, and she’s the only person not looking forward to it after being abandoned by her pro tennis player husband. Hud needs to confess something to the brother from whom he’s been inseparable since birth. Jay is counting the minutes until the girl he can’t stop thinking about promised she’ll be there. And Kit has a couple secrets of her own.
People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry
What happens when best friends with nothing in common come together, fall apart, and fall in love? When Poppy met Alex, there was no spark, no chemistry, and no reason to think they’d ever talk again. But after sharing a ride home for the summer, the two form a surprising friendship. After all, who better to confide in than someone you could never, ever date? Over the years, Alex and Poppy’s lives take them in different directions, but every summer the two find their way back to each other for a magical weeklong vacation. Until one trip goes awry, and in the fallout, they lose touch.
Now, two years later, Poppy’s in a rut. In fact, the last time she remembers feeling truly happy was on that final, ill-fated Summer Trip. The answer to all her problems is obvious: She needs one last vacation to win back her best friend. As a hilariously disastrous week unfolds and tensions rise, Poppy and Alex are forced to confront what drove them apart–and decide what they’re willing to risk for the chance to be together.
The Personal Librarian by Marie Benedict & Victory Christopher Murray
The remarkable, little-known story of Belle da Costa Greene, J. P. Morgan’s personal librarian-who became one of the most powerful women in New York despite the dangerous secret she kept in order to make her dreams come true. In her twenties, Belle da Costa Greene is hired by J. Pierpont Morgan to curate a collection of rare manuscripts, books, and artwork for his newly built Morgan Library. Belle becomes a fixture on the New York society scene and one of the most powerful people in the art and book world, known for her impeccable taste and shrewd negotiating for critical works as she helps build a world-class collection. But Belle has a secret, one she must protect at all costs.
Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir
Ryland Grace has been asleep for a very, very long time. He’s just been awakened to find himself millions of miles from home, with nothing but two corpses for company. He can’t remember his own name, let alone the nature of his assignment or how to complete it. Alone on this tiny ship that’s been cobbled together by every government and space agency on the planet and hurled into the depths of space, it’s up to him to conquer an extinction-level threat to our species. And thanks to an unexpected ally, he just might have a chance.
The Rose Code by Kate Quinn
1940. As England prepares to fight the Nazis, three very different women answer the call to mysterious country estate Bletchley Park, where the best minds in Britain train to break German military codes. Vivacious debutante Osla is the girl who has everything, but she burns to prove herself as more than a society girl. Imperious self-made Mab, works the legendary codebreaking machines as she conceals old wounds. Both Osla and Mab are quick to see the potential in local village spinster Beth, one of the Park’s few female cryptanalysts. But war, loss, and the impossible pressure of secrecy will tear the three apart.
1947. As the royal wedding of Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip whips post-war Britain into a fever, three friends-turned-enemies are reunited by a mysterious encrypted letter, the key to which lies buried in the long-ago betrayal that destroyed their friendship and left one of them confined to an asylum.
Under the Whispering Door by TJ Klune
When a reaper comes to collect Wallace from his own funeral, Wallace begins to suspect he might be dead. And when Hugo, the owner of a peculiar tea shop, promises to help him cross over, Wallace decides he’s definitely dead.
But Wallace isn’t ready to abandon the life he barely lived. With Hugo’s help he finally starts to learn about all the things he missed in life. When the Manager, a curious and powerful being, arrives at the tea shop and gives Wallace one week to cross over, Wallace sets about living a lifetime in seven days.
See the full list here: https://libraryreads.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/LibraryReads-Voter-Favorites-2021.pdf
Descriptions provided by the publishers.