Looking for the best new books? Fill up your reading list with the best books of spring 2021 so you have plenty of great books to read this spring.
Last week, I went skiing and the slopes were basically one big sheet of ice. That’s the Utah way of saying that spring has officially arrived.
While I’ll miss my time on the slopes, I’m ready to embrace the joys that come with spring: longer days, spring blooms, and plenty of rainy days to curl up and read.
To get you excited for the season, I’ve written up my guide to the best books of Spring 2021. With plenty of thrillers, family dramas, tearjerkers, and thought-provoking insights, there’s a little bit of something for everyone.
Best New Thrillers
Growing up, Lex and Jax were inseparable, spending summers at their grandmother’s estate in Vermont, known for its underground springs rumored to grant wishes … but also take things in return. When Lex dies in the pool, Jax returns home and begins to learn more about the house’s supernatural history, including the story of a woman in 1929 desperate to have a baby. The Drowning Kind is a perfectly spooky read making you wonder: Is something in the water or is it just Lex’s manic imaginings?
Instamom Emmy Jackson is known for telling it as it is to her millions of Instagram followers. She knows exactly how to monetize her life as a “good-enough” mom. When Emmy’s online narrative pulls further from the truth, it begins to strain her marriage. Meanwhile, an obsessed follower begins stalking the family, with a major grudge against Emmy. This accurate portrayal of influencer life (with plenty of thrills thrown in for fun) will make you think about how putting our lives online affects us.
Coming home to help his parents move, Kieran Elliott is haunted by a reckless teenage decision that ended up costing the lives of three people during a storm. Now, a body is discovered on the beach of his hometown, and old memories are brought back to light. The Survivors is a slow atmospheric build that examines how guilt and loss shape our lives.
All children have imaginary friends, but Georgina begins to wonder when her seven-year-old son tells her he met a new friend, New Granny, at the park. Is Georgina just overreacting with the death of her mother still so painful? What if his imaginary friend isn’t imaginary? A very quick read, Ryan does an excellent job throwing in plenty of red herrings, keeping you on your toes the whole time. If you like unreliable narrators, this spring release will be right up your alley.
Among the best books of spring 2021 is the English edition of a recent Swedish bestseller. In 1959, a Swedish mining town mysteriously vanished. Police only found the body of a woman stoned to death in the town square and a crying baby. Now, filmmaker Alice Lindstedt sets out to make a documentary and hopefully solve the mystery of what happened to the village, and her grandmother’s family. Although not an edge-of-your-seat thriller, The Lost Village will encompass you with its moody atmosphere, making it a delightfully spooky read for spring.
Historical Fiction Novels To Read
In the Texas panhandle in 1934, severe drought plagues the land. With crops failing, dust storms whip up, leaving the farmers fighting for survival. In the perilous times of the Great Depression, Elsa Martinelli must decide whether to stay and fight for her land or head west to California which offers her family a better life. With her characteristically gorgeous storytelling, you’ll find yourself caught up in the disastrous calamity of the Dust Bowl and emotionally caught up in Elsa’s impossible decision. Kristin Hannah’s fans will not be disappointed with her newest release, and I’m calling this one of the best books of spring 2021.
In 1791, Nella uses her London apothecary shop to sell poisons for women to use against abusive men. The only rules are that the poisons cannot be used against another woman and that you must leave a record in the apothecary’s register. When she befriends a 12-year-old girl, the consequences will last generations.
In a small town in Massachusetts in the 1960s, Dahlia and Louie Moscatell have finally found a rhythm as long-term foster parents. Then a social worker begs them to take on one more foster child – a six-year-old indigenous girl who will change their family dynamics forever. Patry Francis hits the emotions hard in this powerful story of love and family and the struggles of the foster care system. You’ll cry with their heartaches and rejoice in their victories, and I can emphatically declare this one of the best books of spring 2021.
Janet Skeslien Charles
Life is good for Odile Souchet, a young woman with a handsome beau working at the American Library in Paris. When the Germans invade Paris, Odile and her fellow librarians join the Resistance to fight the Nazis with what they have – books. Based on a true story, The Paris Library is the perfect new release for any historical fiction book lover’s spring reading list.
During World War II, three women become unlikely friends while working as code breakers at Bletchley Park: Osla is desperate to prove she’s more than just a society girl; Mab is determined to rise above the poverty of her birth; and both encourage Beth, a shy local spinster, to step up and use her brilliant mind. Years after the war, the three women must come together one more time to help uncover a spy who was working in their midst.
Best Books of Spring 2021 for Book Club
In his first novel since winning the Nobel Prize in Literature, Kazuo Ishiguro ponders the meaning of love through an unusual narrator. Klara is a robot, an Artificial Friend waiting to be bought and taken home to be a companion to a lonely child. Ishiguro’s brilliant writing brings Klara to life, with her keen observations about the world around her, forcing you to piece together complex situations as perceived through the lens of innocence.
Talia is desperate to get out of a Colombian correctional facility for teenagers to meet her father in America who is waiting with a plane ticket to the United States. Infinite Country tells the story of Talia’s family. Her parents, Mauro and Elena, who come to the US on a work visa, and then must decide whether it’s worth the risk to overstay their visa. A daughter of Colombian immigrants, Patricia Engel brings to life the hard decisions faced by mixed-status families.
In Piedmont, North Carolina, a county initiative to bring Black kids from the west side of town into a predominantly white school on the east side sparks fierce debate. To help with the integration, the school puts on a play which Gee and Nicole both join. Both of their mothers are determined that their daughters get the best in life, consequently leading to choices that will last decades.
Sela is in desperate need of a kidney transplant. She’s possibly found the perfect match; but how do you turn someone else’s life upside down by revealing that you are her previously unknown half-sister, the product of her father’s affair? As Sela begins to connect with Caroline, she must decide which she wants more – a sister or a kidney. With realism and nuance, Strawser’s family drama of complicated relationships was a surprise entry on my best books of spring 2021.
In the 1970s, Sitara Zamani lives a privileged life in Kabul as the daughter of one of the President’s right-hand men. When the communist coup results in the murder of her entire family, Sitara escapes and is adopted by an American diplomat. Now a renowned surgeon, her world is rocked when the man who rescued her appears in her operating room, sending her on a search for answers.
The Best Nonfiction of Spring 2021
Edited by Ibram X. Kendi and Keisha N. Blain
Among the best books of spring 2021 is this one-volume “community” history of African-Americans edited by Ibram X. Kendi (author of How to Be an Antiracist) and Keisha N. Blain. From the year before the Mayflower to the present-day, over ninety of today’s Black authors explore history through various methods to give this book a unique feel.
The untold story of a group of Jewish women in Poland who became Resistance Fighters during World War II. In the Jewish ghettos, the Jewish women transformed their youth groups into the ultimate freedom fighters – bribing the Gestapo, flirting with soldiers, and bombing train depots. Already optioned by Steven Spielberg for a major motion picture, The Light of Days is a tale of bravery never before told.
Among the best books of spring 2021 is the New York Times nonfiction bestseller from billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates. In his newest book, Gates sets out a detailed practical guide to how the world can achieve zero greenhouse gas emissions in time to prevent a climate disaster. Leaning on experts in physics, engineering, political science, and finance, Gates shares an analysis of the challenge we face and the potential solutions that, although difficult, are doable.
Grant reminds us that just like we refresh our wardrobe from time to time, we need to routinely reexamine our beliefs and ways of thinking. Often our beliefs become habits, and Grant argues that being too attached to one identity and thought process can kill our creativity. Instead, we need to start spending as much time rethinking as we do thinking.
In the years leading up to the second world war, a group of military strategists, nicknamed “The Bomber Mafia,” wondered if precision bombing of strategic targets could make war less lethal. Gladwell ponders how technology and the best intentions collide in the heat of war while examining the bombing of Tokyo. Weaving together stories of a Dutch genius, pyromaniacal chemists, and two competing generals, Gladwell makes you consider the incalculable costs of war.
What do you think are the best books of Spring 2021?