Goodreads Choice Awards 2021: the most popular books this year

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The results are in and the winners of the Goodreads Choice Awards 2021 have been announced!  There were many books on this year’s list, but these are the ones that stood out to users.

Pick your Favorite Winner

With so many books being published every year, it can be hard to keep up with what’s worth reading and what isn’t. Luckily, the Goodreads Choice Awards have been awarding favorite books across a variety of genres since 2011. If you’re a fan of fiction, true crime, or even children’s books, the Goodreads Choice Awards list of winners is a great place to start. There’s something for everyone on the list and fans can vote for their favorite books in order to see what might win next year.

In this post, you’ll find a list of all the winners from this year’s awards along with some information about why they’re so great.

Happy Reading!


If you’re looking for new books coming out this year,  take a look at

2021 Upcoming Releases

Goodreads Choice Awards Fiction Winner 2021

Beautiful World, Where Are You book cover

Beautiful World, Where Are You

 by Sally Rooney

Alice, Felix, Eileen, and Simon are still young, but life is catching up with them. While they worry about their friendships, the world they live in, will they find a way to believe in a beautiful world?

Amazon | Goodreads

Most Voted Nominees

Dial A For Aunties

Jesse Q. Sutanto

Cloud Cuckoo Land

Anthony Doerr

Once There Were Wolves

Charlotte McConaghy

The Paper Palace

Miranda Cowley Heller

The Wish

Nicholas Sparks

Best Mystery & Thriller Winner

The Last Thing He Told Me book cover

The Last Thing He Told Me

by Laura Dave

Before Owen Michaels disappears, he manages to smuggle a note to his beloved wife of one year: Protect her. Despite her confusion and fear, Hannah Hall knows exactly to whom the note refers: Owen’s sixteen-year-old daughter, Bailey. Bailey, who lost her mother tragically as a child. Bailey, who wants absolutely nothing to do with her new stepmother…

Amazon | Goodreads

Most Voted Nominees

The Maidens

Alex Michaelides

Billy Summers

Stephen King

The Push

Ashley Audrain

Arsenic and Adobo

Mia P. Manansala

Harlem Shuffle

Colson Whitehead

Goodreads Awards 2021: Best Historical Fiction

Malibu Rising book cover

Malibu Rising

by Taylor Jenkins Reid

It’s August 1983, and the Riva clan’s famed end-of-summer party in Malibu is swiftly heading off the rails. With the explosive nature of family secrets, terrible heartache, and AMAZING characters, Malibu Rising is Taylor Jenkins Reid’s unmissable homage to the 1980s and her second win for the Historical Fiction category, after Daisy Jones & the Six in 2019.

Amazon | Goodreads | Read more…

Most Voted Nominees

The Four WInds

Kristin Hannah

The Lost Apothecary

Sarah Penner

The Rose Code

Kate Quinn

The Lincoln Highway

Amor Towles

The Paris Library

Janet Skeslien Charles

Goodreads Choice Awards Fantasy Winner 2021

court-of-silver-flames book cover

A Court Of Silver Flames

 by Sarah J. Maas

With this fourth book in the wildly popular A Court of Thorns and Roses Series(already optioned for Hulu’s adaptation), author Sarah J. Maas earns her sixth GCA prize. Ever since being forced into the Cauldron and becoming High Fae against her will, Nesta Archeron struggles to find a place for herself within the strange, deadly world she inhabits. Worse, she can’t seem to move past the horrors of the war with Hybern and all she lost in it.

Amazon | Goodreads

Most Voted Nominees

Under the Whispering Door

TJ Klune

The Crown of Gilded Bones

Jennifer L. Armentrout

She Who Became The Sun

Shelley Parker-Chan


Jennifer Saint

The Last Graduate

Naomi Novik

Save for Later


Best Romance Winner 2021

People We Meet on Vacation

People We Meet on Vacation

 by Emily Henry

Poppy and Alex have nothing in common, they live far apart, but every summer, for a decade, they have taken one glorious week of vacation together. Until they ruined everything… and this summer, it’s the last chance  to fix their relationship and fall in love.

Amazon | Goodreads 

Most Voted Nominees

The Love Hypothesis

Ali Azelwood

One Last Stop

Casey McQuiston

The Spanish Love Deception

Elena Armas

Actor Your Age, Eve Brown

Talia Hibbert

The Ex Hex

Erin Sterling

Goodreads Choice Awards Science Fiction Winner 2021

Project Hail Mary

Project Hail Mary

 by Andy Weir

Ryland Grace is the final survivor on a desperate, last-chance mission, and if he fails, humanity and the planet will die. Except he doesn’t realize that right now. He can’t recall his own name, let alone the nature of his task or how to complete it.

Amazon | Goodreads

Most Voted Nominees

Klara and the Sun

Kazuo Ishiguro

Light of the Jedi

Charles Soule

The Echo Wife

Sarah Gailey 

The Lincoln Highway

Amor Towles

Winter’s Orbit

 Everina Maxwell

Goodreads Choice Awards: Horror Winner 2021

The Final Girl Support Group book cover

The Final Girl Support Group

 by Grady Hendrix

Lynnette Tarkington is a final girl who survived a massacre. She’s been meeting with five other final girls and their therapist in a support group for more than a decade until one of the women misses a meeting, and their worst fears come true.

Amazon | Goodreads 

Most Voted Nominees


Stephen King

The Last House on Needless Street

Catriona Ward

A Dowry of Blood

S T Gibson

My Heart Is a Chainsaw

Stephen Graham Jones

The Book of Accidents

Chuck Wendig

Goodreads Choice Awards Humor Winner 2021

Broken book cover


 by Jenny Lawson

Impossibly funny and beautifully empathetic, Jenny Lawson’s writing works like medicine. It makes you feel better. With Broken, Lawson brings her delightful style of deliberate lateral thinking to a new batch of topics: marriage, lizards, dentists, experimental transcranial magnetic stimulation…

Amazon | Goodreads

Most Voted Nominees

How Y’all Doing?: Misadventures and Mischief from a Life Well Lived

Leslie Jordan

Where the Deer and the Antelope Play

Nick Offerman


Seth Rogen

Please Don’t Sit on My Bed in Your Outside Clothes

Phoebe Robinson

You’ll Never Believe What Happened to Lacey

Amber Ruffin & Lacey Lamar

Best Nonfiction Winner 2021

The-Anthropocene-Reviewed book cover

The Anthropocene Reviewed

 by John Green

John Green’s uniquely structured collection of articles, adapted from his renowned podcast series, blends history, science, and personal to create a new sort of nonfiction approach—brainy and captivating. The Anthropocene is the geological era in which human activity has had the most significant impact on the planet’s environment. After The Fault in Our Stars in 2012, this is Green’s second GCA win.

Amazon | Goodreads

Most Voted Nominees

The Comfort Book

Matt Haig


by Jane Goodall & Douglas Carlton Abrams

The Cultish

Amanda Montell

What Happened to you?

Bruce D. Perry & Oprah Winfrey


Ijeoma Oluo

Save for Later


Best Memoir & Autobiography Winner

Crying in H Mart

Crying In H Mart

 by Michelle Zauner

Michelle Zauner reveals herself to be far more than a great singer, songwriter, and guitarist in this captivating story of family, food, grief, and endurance. With wit and compassion, she recounts her experiences as one of the few Asian American students at her school in Oregon, her mother’s high expectations, her painful adolescence…

Amazon | Goodreads

Most Voted Nominees

Taste: My Life Through Food

Stanley Tucci

Somebody’s Daughter

Ashley C. Ford

Between Two Kingdoms

Suleika Jaouad


Priyanka Chopra Jonas

Notes on Grief

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Goodreads Awards 2021: Best History & Biography

Empire of Pain

The Wish

 by Nicholas Sparks

This year’s winner of the Goodreads Choice Award for History/Biography, Empire of Pain is an exhaustively researched profile of the Sackler family, the aristocratic American clan that made its fortune making and marketing the painkiller OxyContin. Patrick Radden Keefe is a master of the kind of narrative reporting style that brings novelistic intensity to rigorous nonfiction reporting. 

Amazon | Goodreads

Most Voted Nominees

The Woman They Could Not Silence

Kate Moore

The Code Breaker

 Walter Isaacson

Four Hundred Souls

Ibram X. Kendi & Keisha N. Blain

Vanderbilt: The Rise and Fall of an American Dynasty

Anderson Cooper

Come Fly the World

Julia Cooke 

Best Graphic Novels & Comics

Lore Olympus

Lore Olympus

 by Rachel Smythe

The Greek gods are a famously rowdy pantheon, vulnerable to the same faults and foibles that plague us mortals. Rachel Smythe’s groundbreaking series Lore Olympus chronicles the forbidden romance between Hades and Persephone, but with a compelling contemporary approach and richly detailed artwork. The Volume One compilation collects episodes 1 through 25 of the original online comic series. 

Amazon | Goodreads

Most Voted Nominees


Brian Herbert

Avatar: The Last Airbender

 Faith Erin Hicks

The Girl from the Sea

Molly Knox Ostertag


V. E. Schwab

The Sad Ghost Club

 Lize Meddings

Goodreads Choice Awards Poetry Winner 2021

The Hill We Climb book cover

The Hill We Climb

 by Amanda Gorman

Amanda Gorman, the first person to be named National Youth Poet Laureate, earned worldwide acclaim when she delivered her poem “The Hill We Climb” at President Biden’s inauguration. It’s not easy to upstage a president, but she managed it. The Hill We Climb: An Inaugural Poem for the Country features the full text of Gorman’s composition, along with a foreword from Oprah Winfrey.

Amazon | Goodreads

Most Voted Nominees

Black Girl, Call Home

Jasmine Mans

Shine your Icy Crown

Amanda Lovelace

You Better Be Lightning

Andrea Gibson

I Hope This Finds You Well

Kate Baer

Where Hope Comes From

Nikita Gill

Best Debut Novel Winner

The Spanish Love Deception book cover

The Spanish Love Deception

 by Elena Armas

With this debut novel, Spanish author Elena Armas brings several new twists to a classic rom-com setup, which has already won a devoted following in the Goodreads community. Catalina Martin is taking her new American boyfriend to her sister’s wedding in a small Spanish town. Aaron Blackford is tall, handsome but, most of all, a fake boyfriend.

Amazon | GoodreadsRead more

Most Voted Nominees

The Lost Apothecary

Sarah Penner

Firekeeper’s Daughter

 Angeline Boulley

The Push

Ashley Audrain

The Gilded Ones

Namina Forna

She Who Became the Sun

Nikita Gill

Goodreads Awards 2021:
Best Young Adult Fiction

Firekeeper's Daughter book cover

Firekeeper’s Daughter

 by Angeline Boulley

Winner of this year’s award for Young Adult Fiction, Firekeeper’s Daughter introduces a compelling new heroine to the YA scene. As a biracial and unenrolled tribal member, 18-year-old Daunis Fontaine feels like an outsider both on and off the local Ojibwe reservation. But she soon finds a higher purpose when she witnesses a terrible murder—and decides to go undercover with her own investigation.

Amazon | Goodreads

Most Voted Nominees

The Hawthorne Legacy

Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Ace of Spades

Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé

Aristotle and Dante Dive into the Waters of the World

Benjamin Alire Sáenz

Concrete Rose

Angie Thomas

As Good as Dead

Holly Jackson

Goodreads Choice Awards Young Adult Fantasy Winner

Rule of Wolves

Rule Of Wolves

 by Leigh Bardugo

Perennial contender Leigh Bardugo earns her second GCA win with Rule of Wolves, the concluding book in her King of Scars duology, set in the innovative and sprawling Grishaverse. Bardugo’s nuanced stories and elaborate world-building continue to break new ground in YA fantasy, and she’s expanding the empire, too: Netflix’s Shadow and Bone series is likely the first of many TV and film adaptations.

Amazon | Goodreads

Most Voted Nominees

The Last Hours: Chain of Iron

Cassandra Clare


Alexandra Bracken

Any Way the Wind Blows

Rainbow Rowell

How the King of Elfhame Learned to Hate Stories

Holly Black

Iron Widow

Xiran Jay Zhao

Best Middle Grade & Children's Winner 2021

Daughter of the Deep

Daughter of the Deep

 by Rick Riordan

Superstar author Rick Riordan continues his historical GCA winning streak with Daughter of the Deep, the story of budding underwater explorer Ana Dakkar and a school field trip gone seriously awry. Bonus trivia: This is Riordan’s 11th consecutive victory in this category. 

Amazon | Goodreads

Most Voted Nominees

Bridge of Souls

Victoria Schwab

Eyes That Kiss in the Corners

Johanna Ho

Amari and the Night Brothers

B.B. Alston


Lisa Fipps

Beasts and Beauty: Dangerous Tales

Soman Chainani

Now that all the most popular books are revealed, what are your thoughts on the winners? Even if I loved Malibu Rising, I’d probably pick another title in the Historical Fiction category, but I’m happy with both the best fiction and mystery & thriller winners. The best debut surprised me, and I’m looking forward to reading it; also, I agree with a couple of other nominees. 

At this point, I would be pleased if you have found some books that sound great to you. Still, please remember that, also in reading life, diversity makes this world beautiful, and even if many of these titles aren’t your typical books, this might also be your good chance to try something out of your comfort read!

Happy Reading!

Elisabeth sign.

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