15 Best Audiobooks of 2021 — Best Of Year Audiobooks 2021

Khadija Horton

Yes, reading all the latest bestsellers and buzzy releases is fun and delightful, but sometimes it’s just not bendable. Before you know it, you’ve got a stack of new unread books on your nightstand, and you’ve barely made progress on the novel you’ve been “passively reading” for weeks. The secret to keeping up and saving some space on your preciously decorated bookshelves? Audiobooks.

Audiobooks are a super helpful alternative to physical books—they don’t take up nearly as much space, and listening can be less intensive than actively reading. Ideal for listening during your commute or while cooking dinner, incorporating audiobooks into your everyday routine is sometimes easier than carving out time to sit down and read. And with an e-reader or tablet, it’s easy to create a virtual library within one handy device rather than trying to keep track of tons of physical books. Buh-bye, nightstand clutter!

If you’re not sure where to get started on your audiobook journey, fear not: we’ve got you covered. Even though the internet is flooded with all sorts of audiobooks, we cut through the noise (pun intended) to find the absolute best audiobooks of 2021. From riveting romances to moving memoirs, there’s a compelling story to get lost in for every type of reader . And who knows? You just might come across your new favorite, life-changing book.

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for fans of ‘big little lies’

Apples Never Fall by Liane Moriarty

Get your fix of marital and sibling drama with the newest novel from the author behind Big Little Lies and Nine Perfect Strangers (aka the unofficial Nicole Kidman genre). The story follows four adult siblings who search for their missing mother—even when the main suspect is their father.

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for a juicy celebrity memoir

You Got Anything Stronger? by Gabrielle Union

Following the success of her debut We’re Going to Need More Wine, Union is back with a collection of essays that’ll take you on a rollercoaster of emotions. The icon opens up about the ups and downs of her surrogacy journey de ella—be sure to have some tissues nearby.

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for food-loving vegans

Feeding the Soul (Because It’s My Business) by Tabitha Brown

One of quarantine’s breakout TikTok stars, Tabitha Brown, first captured our hearts with her food posts that were just as mouth-watering as they were hilarious—and often packed with some inspiring life wisdom. Hear her story from her in her own words from her.

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for the aspiring activist

Unbound by Tarana Burke

The founder of the #MeToo movement shares her powerful personal journey and offers gems of wisdom along the way. You’ll feel moved and empowered as Burke explores how being a survivor of sexual assault has changed the course of her life.

5

for the bravo addicts

The Housewives by Brian Moylan

If you have every season of The Real Housewives memorized by heart, it’s time to learn the story behind how reality TV’s most epic franchise came to be. All we can say is: prepare the popcorn.

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for the financial newbie

Get Good with Money by Tiffany Aliche

Will 2022 be the year you get your financial life together? We can only hope, right? Get on track with money tips from Tiffany Aliche, aka the Budgetnista herself. In the book, she provides a 10-step plan for finding financial harmony—*vigorously takes notes*!

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for anyone who can’t stop watching ‘normal people’

Beautiful World, Where Are You by Sally Rooney

The best-selling author of normal people and Conversations with Friends is back with her newest novel, and it’s a delicious read that you won’t be able to put down (or press pause on). Two women fall for two guys, lots of sex happens, and lovestruck hijinks ensue.

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for the ultimate beach listen

People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry

Say hello to the perfect novel for digging into when you’re lounging poolside on vacay. The story follows two best friends working to repair their relationship—while on vacation, of all places. And as an added bonus, that book cover is SW gram-worthy.

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for a good ole fashioned love story

Seven Days in June by Tia Williams

Looking to get lost in a love story for the ages? Your search ends here, with a story about second chances with former flames. Cue the violins.

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for a gripping true story

Aftershocks by Nadia Owusu

Family secrets, uncertain futures, identity struggles: It’s all here in this heart-tugging memoir. Owusu narrates the audiobook, which makes it that much more emotional and resonant.

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for a moving mother-daughter tale

Crying in H Mart: A Memoir by Michelle Zauner

Because why settle for just one tear-jerking memoir when you can have several? The author explores her relationship with her mother, who died after a terminal cancer diagnosis. Plan on listening to this one you need a good cry sesh.

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for an intergenerational story

Of Women and Salt by Gabriela Garcia

This novel takes you from 19th-century cigar factories to present-day detention centers. It’s a heavy, powerful read that centers female characters—trust us, this one will stay with you for a long time.

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for elements of fantasy

Caul Baby by Morgan Jerkins

What doesn’t this best-selling novel have? With a touch of magical realism and contemporary issues of Black identity—from history, to pregnancy, to motherhood, and more—this story will both challenge and change you.

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for american history buffs

Vanderbilt: The Rise and Fall of an American Dynasty

The CNN anchor dives into his own family history, and it’s remove the journey. If you can’t get enough of American dynastic drama, this is the read (or listen) for you.

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for the ‘grey’s anatomy’ obsessed

How to Save a Life by Lynette Rice

calling all Grey’s Anatomy devotees, this one’s a must-listen. Find out how the show became a cultural touchstone, all while taking a walk down memory lane—can you believe we’re heading toward season 18?!

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