Best of 2021: Most Popular Books

We’ve seen what a selection of authors picked as their favorite books of the year, and we’ve gotten lists from our staff, but what did you all really like in 2021? Here’s a list of the most borrowed books of the past year to give us a look!


100. The Madness of Crowds by  Louise Penny

Chief Inspector Armand Gamache returns to Three Pines in #1 New York Times bestseller Louise Penny’s latest spellbinding novel.

99. Little Fires Everywhere by  Celeste Ng

From the bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You, a riveting novel that traces the intertwined fates of the picture-perfect Richardson family and the enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives.

98. Klara and the Sun by  Kazuo Ishiguro

Once in a great while, a book comes along that changes our view of the world. This magnificent novel from the Nobel laureate and author of Never Let Me Go is “an intriguing take on how artificial intelligence might play a role in our futures… a poignant meditation on love and loneliness” (Associated Press).

97. Good Company by  Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney

With Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney’s signature tenderness, humor, and insight, Good Company tells a bighearted story of the lifelong relationships that both wound and heal us.

96. Local Woman Missing by  Mary Kubica

In this smart and chilling thriller, master of suspense Mary Kubica takes domestic secrets to a whole new level, showing that some people will stop at nothing to keep the truth buried.

95. Dark Sky by  C.J. Box

Wyoming game warden Joe Pickett must accompany a Silicon Valley CEO on a hunting trip–but soon learns that he himself may be the hunted–in the thrilling new novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author C. J. Box.

94. Falling by  T.J. Newman

“T. J. Newman has written the perfect thriller! A must-read.” – Gillian Flynn
“Stunning and relentless. This is Jaws at 35,000 feet.” – Don Winslow

93. The Survivors by  Jane Harper

When a body is discovered on the beach, long-held secrets threaten to emerge. A sunken wreck, a missing girl, and questions that have never washed away…

92. Then She Was Gone by  Lisa Jewell

From the New York Times bestselling author of Invisible Girl and The Truth About Melody Browne comes a “riveting” (PopSugar) and “acutely observed family drama” (People) that delves into the lingering aftermath of a young girl’s disappearance.

91. Winter in Paradise by  Elin Hilderbrand

A husband’s secret life, a wife’s new beginning: escape to the Caribbean with #1 New York Times bestselling author Elin Hilderbrand.

90. The Family Upstairs by  Lisa Jewell

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Then She Was Gone comes another page-turning look inside one family’s past as buried secrets threaten to come to light.

89. When the Stars Go Dark by  Paula McLain

Weaving together actual cases of missing persons, trauma theory, and a hint of the metaphysical, this propulsive and deeply affecting novel tells a story of fate, necessary redemption, and what it takes, when the worst happens, to reclaim our lives—and our faith in one another.

88. Beautiful World, Where Are You by  Sally Rooney

Alice, a novelist, meets Felix, who works in a warehouse, and asks him if he’d like to travel to Rome with her. In Dublin, her best friend, Eileen, is getting over a break-up, and slips back into flirting with Simon, a man she has known since childhood.

87. Five Total Strangers by  Natalie D. Richards

A “page-turning thriller that will keep readers guessing until the very end” (School Library Journal) about a road trip in a snowstorm that turns into bone-chilling disaster, from New York Times bestselling mystery author and “master of tension” (BCCB) Natalie D. Richards.

86. This Tender Land by  William Kent Krueger

The unforgettable story of four orphans who travel the Mississippi River on a life-changing odyssey during the Great Depression.

85. Love Lettering by  Kate Clayborn

In this warm and witty romance from acclaimed author Kate Clayborn, one little word puts a woman’s business—and her heart—in jeopardy…

84. Hush-Hush by  Stuart Woods

Stone Barrington faces down a rival with cutting-edge tactics in this heart-racing thriller from the #1 New York Times bestselling author.

83. Invisible Girl by  Lisa Jewell

The #1 New York Times bestselling author of Then She Was Gone returns with an intricate thriller about a young woman’s disappearance and a group of strangers whose lives intersect in its wake.

82. Blind Tiger by  Sandra Brown

With a “knack for romantic tension and page-turning suspense, this one is a winner (Booklist, STARRED REVIEW).” The year 1920 comes in with a roar in this rousing and suspenseful New York Times bestselling novel by Sandra Brown. Prohibition is the new law of the land, but murder, mayhem, lust, and greed are already institutions in the Moonshine Capitol of Texas.

81. The Awakening by  Nora Roberts

#1 New York Times bestselling author Nora Roberts begins a new trilogy of adventure, romance, and magick in The Awakening.

80. A Slow Fire Burning by  Paula Hawkins

With the same propulsion that captivated millions of readers worldwide in The Girl on the Train and Into the Water, Paula Hawkins unfurls a gripping, twisting story of deceit, murder, and revenge.

79. Project Hail Mary by  Andy Weir

From the author of The Martian, a lone astronaut must save the earth from disaster in this “propulsive” (Entertainment Weekly), cinematic thriller full of suspense, humor, and fascinating science—in development as a major motion picture starring Ryan Gosling.

78. Walk the Wire by  David Baldacci

Amos Decker—​the FBI consultant with a perfect memory—returns to solve a gruesome murder in a booming North Dakota oil town in the newest thriller in David Baldacci’s #1 New York Times bestselling Memory Man series.

77. Maybe You Should Talk to Someone: A Therapist, HER Therapist, and Our Lives Revealed by  Lori Gottlieb

From a New York Times best-selling author, psychotherapist, and national advice columnist, a hilarious, thought-provoking, and surprising new book that takes us behind the scenes of a therapist’s world—where her patients are looking for answers (and so is she).

76. Fortune and Glory by  Janet Evanovich

From “the most popular mystery writer alive” (New York Times), the twenty-seventh thrilling entry in the #1 New York Times bestselling series isn’t just the biggest case of Stephanie Plum’s career. It’s the adventure of a lifetime.

75. Pretty Little Wife by  Darby Kane

Debut author Darby Kane thrills with this twisty domestic suspense novel that asks one central question: shouldn’t a dead husband stay dead?

74. Better Off Dead by  Lee Child Andrew Child

Jack Reacher is back in a brand-new page-turning thriller from acclaimed #1 bestselling authors Lee Child and Andrew Child.

73. The Book of Lost Friends by  Lisa Wingate

From the bestselling author of Before We Were Yours comes a dramatic historical novel of three young women searching for family amid the destruction of the post–Civil War South, and of a modern-day teacher who learns of their story and its vital connection to her students’ lives.

72. Neighbors by  Danielle Steel

In Danielle Steel’s gripping new novel, a reclusive woman opens up her home to her neighbors in the wake of a devastating earthquake, setting off events that reveal secrets, break relationships apart, and bring strangers together to forge powerful new bonds.

71. Hamnet by  Maggie O’Farrell

In 1580’s England, during the Black Plague a young Latin tutor falls in love with an extraordinary, eccentric young woman in this “exceptional historical novel” (The New Yorker) and best-selling winner of the Women’s Prize for Fiction.

70. Leave the World Behind by  Rumaan Alam

A magnetic novel about two families, strangers to each other, who are forced together on a long weekend gone terribly wrong.

69. 21st Birthday by  James Patterson Maxine Paetro

In this thrilling novel from a #1 New York Times bestselling author, Detective Lindsay Boxer takes a vow to protect a young woman from a serial killer long enough to see her twenty-first birthday.

68. The Personal Librarian by  Marie Benedict Victoria Christopher Murray

A remarkable novel about J. P. Morgan’s personal librarian, Belle da Costa Greene, the Black American woman who was forced to hide her true identity and pass as white in order to leave a lasting legacy that enriched our nation, from New York Times bestselling authors Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray.

67. Great Circle by  Maggie Shipstead

The unforgettable story of a daredevil female aviator determined to chart her own course in life, at any cost—Great Circle “soars and dips with dizzying flair… an expansive story that covers more than a century and seems to encapsulate the whole wide world” (Boston Globe).

66. Bridgerton Collection, Volume 1 by  Julia Quinn

An enchanting collection containing the first three novels in New York Times bestselling author Julia Quinn’s beloved Bridgerton series set in Regency England—The Duke and I, The Viscount Who Loved Me, and An Offer from a Gentleman—now a series created by Shondaland for Netflix.

65. Where the Crawdads Sing by  Delia Owens

Where the Crawdads Sing is at once an exquisite ode to the natural world, a heartbreaking coming-of-age story, and a surprising tale of possible murder. Owens reminds us that we are forever shaped by the children we once were, and that we are all subject to the beautiful and violent secrets that nature keeps.

64. The Silent Patient by  Alex Michaelides

The Silent Patient is a shocking psychological thriller of a woman’s act of violence against her husband—and of the therapist obsessed with uncovering her motive.

63. The Sixth Wedding by  Elin Hilderbrand

A postscript to the #1 New York Times bestseller 28 Summers – Jake McCloud returns to Nantucket for Labor Day weekend 2023, this time without Mallory.

62. Beach Read by   Emily Henry

A romance writer who no longer believes in love and a literary writer stuck in a rut engage in a summer-long challenge that may just upend everything they believe about happily ever afters.

61. Legacy by  Nora Roberts

#1 New York Times bestselling author Nora Roberts presents Legacy, a new novel of a mother and a daughter, of ambition and romance, and of a traumatic past reawakened by a terrifying threat…

60. The Quiet Girl by  S.F. Kosa

A captivating tour de force untangling trauma, memory, and the justice we serve when everyone else has turned a blind eye.

59. The Wrong Family by  Tarryn Fisher

From the wickedly dark mind of bestselling author Tarryn Fisher, The Wrong Family is a taut new thriller that’s riddled with twists in all the right places.

58. Ocean Prey by  John Sandford

Fan-favorite heroes Lucas Davenport and Virgil Flowers join forces on a deadly maritime case in the remarkable new novel from #1 New York Times-bestselling author John Sandford.

57. The Evening and the Morning by  Ken Follett

Thirty years ago, Ken Follett published his most popular novel, The Pillars of the Earth. Now, Follett’s masterful new prequel The Evening and the Morning takes us on an epic journey into a historical past rich with ambition and rivalry, death and birth, love and hate, that will end where The Pillars of the Earth begins.

56. The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz by  Erik Larson

The author of The Devil in the White City and Dead Wake delivers an intimate chronicle of Winston Churchill and London during the Blitz—an inspiring portrait of courage and leadership in a time of unprecedented crisis.

55. The Last Flight by  Julie Clark

For fans of Lisa Jewell and Liv Constantine, The Last Flight is the story of two women—both alone, both scared—and one agonizing decision that will change the trajectory of both of their lives.

54. The Sentinel by  Lee Child Andrew Child

Jack Reacher is back! The “utterly addictive” (New York Times) series continues as acclaimed author Lee Child teams up with his brother, Andrew Child, fellow thriller writer extraordinaire.

53. We Begin at the End by  Chris Whitaker

“A vibrant, engrossing, unputdownable thriller that packs a serious emotional punch. One of those rare books that surprise you along the way and then linger in your mind long after you have finished it.” – Kristin Hannah

52. Such a Fun Age by  Kiley Reid

A striking and surprising debut novel from an exhilarating new voice, Such a Fun Age is a page-turning and big-hearted story about race and privilege, set around a young black babysitter, her well-intentioned employer, and a surprising connection that threatens to undo them both.

51. The Good Sister by  Sally Hepworth

Sally Hepworth, the author of The Mother-In-Law delivers a knock-out of a novel about the lies that bind two sisters in The Good Sister.

50. The Lost Apothecary by  Sarah Penner

A forgotten history. A secret network of women. A legacy of poison and revenge. Welcome to The Lost Apothecary

49. The Sanatorium by  Sarah Pearse

Half-hidden by forest and overshadowed by threatening peaks, Le Sommet has always been a sinister place. Long plagued by troubling rumors, the former abandoned sanatorium has since been renovated into a five-star minimalist hotel.

48. Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century by  Jessica Bruder

The inspiration for Chloé Zhao’s celebrated film starring Frances McDormand, winner of the Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actress.

47. The Paris Library by  Janet Skeslien Charles

Based on the true story of the heroic librarians at the American Library in Paris during World War II—The Paris Library is a moving and unforgettable “ode to the importance of libraries, books, and the human connections we find within both” (Kristin Harmel).

46. Firefly Lane by  Kristin Hannah

From the New York Times bestselling author of On Mystic Lake comes a powerful novel of love, loss, and the magic of friendship…

45. The Book of Two Ways by  Jodi Picoult

From the author of Small Great Things and A Spark of Light comes a “powerful” (Washington Post) novel about the choices that alter the course of our lives.

44. The Return by  Nicholas Sparks

In the romantic tradition of Dear John, an injured Navy doctor meets two extremely important women whose secrets will change the course of his life in this #1 New York Times bestseller.

43. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by  Taylor Jenkins Reid

From the New York Times bestselling author of Daisy Jones & the Six—an entrancing and “wildly addictive journey of a reclusive Hollywood starlet” (PopSugar) as she reflects on her relentless rise to the top and the risks she took, the loves she lost, and the long-held secrets the public could never imagine.

42. The President’s Daughter by  Bill Clinton James Patterson

All Presidents have nightmares. This one is about to come true.

41. Deadly Cross by  James Patterson

The murder of a glamorous DC socialite becomes Alex Cross’s deadliest case since Along Came a Spider.

40. The Cellist by  Daniel Silva

From Daniel Silva, the internationally acclaimed #1 New York Times bestselling author, comes a timely and explosive new thriller featuring art restorer and legendary spy Gabriel Allon.

39. The Bestseller by  Olivia Goldsmith

From the author of The First Wives Club, this “dishy” (Glamour) novel set in New York’s book publishing industry is a fun behind-the-scenes romp with “lots of romance and revenge” (Washington Post).

38. The Book of Lost Names by  Kristin Harmel

Inspired by an astonishing true story from World War II, a young woman with a talent for forgery helps hundreds of Jewish children flee the Nazis in this “sweeping and magnificent” (Fiona Davis, bestselling author of The Lions of Fifth Avenue) historical novel from the #1 international bestselling author of The Winemaker’s Wife.

37. Long Bright River by  Liz Moore

Two sisters travel the same streets, though their lives couldn’t be more different. Then one of them goes missing.

36. The Maidens by  Alex Michaelides

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Silent Patient comes a spellbinding tale of psychological suspense, weaving together Greek mythology, murder, and obsession, that further cements “Michaelides as a major player in the field” (Publishers Weekly).

35. In Five Years by  Rebecca Serle

Perfect for fans of Me Before You and One Day—a striking, powerful, and moving love story following an ambitious lawyer who experiences an astonishing vision that could change her life forever.

34. The Paper Palace by  Miranda Cowley Heller

A story of summer, secrets, love, and lies: in the course of a singular day on Cape Cod, one woman must make a life-changing decision that has been brewing for decades.

33. The Rose Code by  Kate Quinn

The New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of The Huntress and The Alice Network returns with another heart-stopping World War II story of three female code breakers at Bletchley Park and the spy they must root out after the war is over.

32. Troubles in Paradise by  Elin Hilderbrand

Travel to the bright Caribbean for love, romance, and passion in this sizzling summer read from a nationally bestselling author and “Queen of the Summer Novel” (People).

31. Before She Disappeared by  Lisa Gardner

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Lisa Gardner, a propulsive thriller featuring an ordinary woman who will stop at nothing to find the missing people that the rest of the world has forgotten.

30. The Law of Innocence by  Michael Connelly

Lincoln Lawyer Mickey Haller is back on the job in this heart-stopping thriller from a renowned #1 New York Times bestselling author.

29. One by One by  Ruth Ware

“Not only do Ware’s novels wink at [Agatha] Christie in a saucy way, but Ware herself is turning out to be as ingenious and indefatigable as the Queen of Crime.” – Washington Post

28. The Plot by  Jean Hanff Korelitz

Hailed as “breathtakingly suspenseful,” Jean Hanff Korelitz’s The Plot is a propulsive read about a story too good not to steal, and the writer who steals it.

27. The Wife Upstairs by  Rachel Hawkins

A delicious twist on a Gothic classic, The Wife Upstairs pairs Southern charm with atmospheric domestic suspense, perfect for fans of B.A. Paris and Megan Miranda.