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Ranking the Books I Finished in 2021

For my final post ranking everything I experienced this year, I wanted to share all of the books I finished. It kind of hurts me that I only finished eight books.

Even worse, there are more books being ranked than literary reviews written (yeah, I’ve been slacking heavy in the blogging department, but we don’t have to talk about it; holiday season mixed with stresses of moving and unnecessary threats from someone I once called my roommate really caught up to me).

Nevertheless, ranked from best to worst, these are the eight books I finished in 2021.

This is Major by Shayla Lawson

Published: June 30, 2020
Genre: Social Sciences, Autobiography
SJ Rating: 98%
Synopsis: Through essays and anecdotes and many pop culture references, Shayla Lawson takes you on a deep dive through the reality and beauty of being a Black woman.
Thoughts: Everyone, no matter who you are, needs to read this. It’s a fun and educational look into the lives and culture of Black people, especially women. I totally plan on reading this again.

What to Say Next by Julie Buxbaum

Published: July 11, 2017
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
SJ Rating: 95%
Synopsis: David Drucker and Kit Lowell are from opposite ends of the high school popularity spectrum. After a horrible incident leads Kit to sitting at David’s lunch table, both of their lives are changed; is the change for better or for worse?
Thoughts: My hopeless romantic heart fell in love with this love story. Period, the end.

Unfinished by Priyanka Chopra Jonas

Published: February 9, 2021
Genre: Memoir
SJ Rating: 96%
Synopsis: Step into the life, mind, and heart of Priyanka Chopra Jonas as she recounts pivotal moments that brought her to where she is today, the beginning of her life.
Thoughts: This was such a beautiful start to my memoir-reading journey. I learned so much while having a good time and deciding I’m going to be best friends with someone I will probably never meet.

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

Published: September 28, 2011
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
SJ Rating: 95%
Synopsis: Just when you think you’ve gotten over the heartbreak from your first love, they come crashing back in your life and turn everything upside down. Such is the case with Lola Nolan and Cricket Bell. Except, Lola is with Max now, and with the surprising appearance of the refined Cricket, Lola’s fight with her feelings begin a journey of reconciliation.
Thoughts: I flew through this book with good reason. These are the most unique characters Stephanie has created, and I would say their story is the most wholesome.

Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

Published: August 14, 2014
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
SJ Rating: 93%
Synopsis: Do you ever have a crush so intense you can’t possibly imagine that person having the same intense feelings for you? Well, such is the case when it comes to Isla Martin, except she does have the opportunity to be with her artist beau Joshua Wasserstein. Is it better than she imagined or does it completely demolish her senior year of high school?
Thoughts: A perfect (though cliché) ending to a romantic trilogy. Isla was the most relatable (and soul crushing). I would read this again just because I felt heard.

Permanent Record by Mary H.K. Choi

Published: September 3, 2019
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
SJ Rating: 59%
Synopsis: After life throws a series of unfortunate events at Pablo Rind (I’m talking student loan debt as a college dropout, credit card debt, past due rent all before twenty), a chance encounter with Leanna Smart, famous celebrity since childhood, changes his dwindling college dropout life. Only, is it for better or worse? And is their love actually worth it?
Thoughts: Though this is far from a favorite book of mine, I can easily see the name of the title and remember the plot. The same can’t really be said for the final two books on this list.

Internment by Samira Ahmed

Published: March 7, 2019
Genre: Dystopian Fiction
SJ Rating: 79%
Synopsis: After a terrorist attack, Muslim Americans become the enemies of America and are sent to an internment camp to live under the horrible cruelty of the blotchy Director. In the camp, seventeen-year-old Layla Amin starts a revolution with the help of some loyal friends. Internment provides new perspective on the inequality most races, ethnicities, and religions experience. This book has the power to confuse you, make you tear up, and stir the need to fight within you.
Thoughts: Besides indirectly calling out today’s society and beautifully portraying what America is becoming, there wasn’t much to remember about this book. I literally returned it the day I finished reading it.

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

Published: May 13, 2014
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Psychological Thriller
SJ Rating: 35%
Synopsis: Told through the eyes of Cady, a teenager on the cusp of eighteen, this book tells the story of the esteemed Sinclair family and their downfall. This is the journey of Cady’s path to remembrance while she fights the horrific feeling of intense migraines.
Thoughts: I literally don’t understand how this book gained popularity at one point this year; my brain could not process nor handle anything I was reading.

I know it doesn’t make sense that some books with a lower SJ rating are ranked higher than others. However, the SJ rating is previous Jamilah’s initial reaction. This current ranking is late December 2021 Jamilah’s reaction/thought process.

Fingers crossed I finish more books next year, especially since I just went ham at Barnes and Noble’s fifty percent off all hardcover books sale.

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