The Best Books of 2021

A consolidated list

Angela Lashbrook
6 min readDec 21, 2021


Ariadne, Asher Brown Durand. 1831–1835. Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.


In no particular order — well, except for the first — behold:

If you were to ask me what my absolute favorite book of 2021 was — the one that’s going on my list of all-time most beloved reads — I wouldn’t hesitate: I’d say Vera Kurian’s debut novel, the bizarre, funny, rapid fire NEVER SAW ME COMING. In this hilarious take on college life, a Washington, D.C. university invites young psychopaths to participate in a secret research program in exchange for free tuition. Get a group of young psychopaths together and obviously things are going to get messy: the novel’s protagonist, the surprisingly sympathetic Chloe, is obsessed with murdering another student at the college, who wronged her when she was young. But Chloe’s mission is derailed when students in the psychopath program start dropping like flies — and Chloe’s not the one doing the murdering. But who is? And why? Chloe teams up with several other students in the program to find out who’s got it in for the university psychopaths, but everyone has their own agenda, and nobody’s better at hiding their agenda than a psychopath.
Aggregated critical reviews, Bookshop.

I lent Kathy Wang’s sharp, clever sophomore novel to several friends, knowing my disparate circle of readers would all love it. I wasn’t wrong. Ostensibly a Silicon Valley spy thriller, Wang’s novel addresses the failures of ambition, the near impossibility of being a mother in a position of power, and the agonizing loneliness that accompanies being an outsider — all while displaying Wang’s mastery of complex characters and careful plotting. A true must-read for tech journalists and industry people, spy thriller lovers, and most anyone else. Aggregated critical reviews, Bookshop.



Angela Lashbrook

I’m a columnist for OneZero, where I write about the intersection of health & tech. Also seen at Elemental, The Atlantic, VICE, and Vox. Brooklyn, NY.