My Favorite Books of 2020

Thursday, December 31, 2020

I didn't read enough books this year to share as long a list of favorites as I'm about to share here, but you know what? It's 2020, I'm gonna do what I want. I re-read all of the Harry Potter books, delved into BrenĂ© Brown for the first time, did a Ted Bundy audiobook, & read three YA series, among other readers. 

Oh, one another thing: Apparently I only read one, sole, singular book this year written by a man. Shortly after I finished it, that man's ex-girlfriend accused him to stalking her & planting a tracking device in her vehicle. COOL COOL COOL.

Maybe I'll stick to books by ladies & NB folks? Annnyway, here are my favorites of the bunch... & read all the way to the bottom for links to some of my favorite bloggers' favorite books of the year, too! 

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

OK, let me be honest: I didn't want to read this one. It seemed, for some reason, like it was going to be mopey & morose, & I was disappointed when my book club chose it. (I also can barely remember it now, as January 2020 seems like a decade ago.)

You know what? I was very wrong. This book is every bit as good as you've heard it is. The writing is incredibly beautiful, specific, detailed, poignant, & even without a ton of human interaction, it manages to be deep & meaningful & full. 

The Truly Devious series by Maureen Johnson

This three-book series had me on the edge of my seat the entire time, like I could not waiiiiit to figured out not just whodunnit but what, exactly, they'd done. Lots of twists & turns & trying to figure out how things related to one another, if at all.

The story takes place at an elite but eccentric boarding school with a storied history: A century ago, its founder's wife & daughter were kidnapped & have long been presumed dead following a botched ransom. When crime aficionado Stevie Bell shows up at the school, she's intent on solving the crime once & for all. 

They Wish They Were Us by Jessica Goodman

When I asked on Instagram for thriller recommendations, this book came highly recommended by multiple people. Turns out I know a few folks who actually know the author! This is her debut novel, a fast-paced YA thriller that delves into the secret lives of rich kids.

Told from the perspective of high school senior Jill, the book tells the story of a group of six friends, tapped to join a secret society at their elite Long Island school. When one of them goes to jail for murdering another, the group carries forward... until their past misdeeds start coming to the surface.

The Witches Are Coming by Lindy West

Ahhh, Lindy West. What a delight. Shrill was one of my faves of 2016, so I was thrilled when she published a second. The Witches Are Coming is a cultural critique of, well, life & culture in this dumpster fire of an era, written with the "Yes, THAT!" insight for which West is so beloved, paired with her trademark wit, of course. 

One reviewer says, "Ever since Trump was elected I have felt like I cannot breathe...this book is an oxygen mask" – & that sums up this book for me.

One to Watch by Kate Stayman-London

If you know me, you know that one of my guiltiest pleasures is The Bachelor & all things related to Bachelor Nation, so I was thrilled to learn of this book, which plays heavily into Bachelor tropes while also turning them on their heads.

Bea is a fairly famous plus-sized fashion blogger who finds herself thrust into a brighter spotlight when she's cast as the leading lady on a dating show called Main Squeeze. The problem is that for all of Bea's self-confidence, the show messes with her head, leaving her uncharacteristically insecure while searching for love on national TV...

The Only Black Girls in Town by Brandy Colbert

I will read anything that Brandy Colbert writes, & this middle-grade novel was no exception. I also read her book The Revolution of Birdie Randolph this year, & while I really liked it, I think this one has the slight edge for me. 

Twelve-year-old Alberta & her dads are the only Black family in their California beach town until Edie & her mom buy the B&B across the street. This story follows the two girls through middle school drama, family concerns, & even a little bit of a mystery. It's cute, it's personable, & it's just really fulfilling.

The Body Is Not an Apology by Sonya Renee Taylor

Rarely have I highlighted as many passages in a book as I did in this one, a nonfiction work by Taylor, a social justice activist & self-love liberator who has risen to further prominence since the Black Lives Matter protests. 

She writes: "Radical self-love is not a destination you are trying to get to; it is who you already are, and it is already working tirelessly to guide your life. The question is how can you listen to it more distinctly, more often? Even over the blaring of constant body shame?" Read my highlights & then grab the book!

The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes by Suzanne Collins

The author of The Hunger Games is back with this long-awaited but surprisingly little-hyped prequel to the popular YA series. Apparently plenty of people absolutely loathed this book – one of my favorite reviewers gave it one star & a scathing screed of a review – but I, for one, really loved it.

This installment takes places 64 years pre-Katniss & tells the story of future president Coriolanus Snow, at this point just a struggling high school student & mentor to a Hunger Games competitor from... District 12. I thought this story was fascinating look at the boy who would the series' primary villain. I want more!

On the Come Up by Angie Thomas

For the life of me, I cannot understand why it took me so long to get around to reading this book. Thomas's debut novel, The Hate U Give, remains one of my favorite books of all time, & I think I slow-played this book for just the right moment when I knew I wanted something great.

Sixteen-year-old Bri is the daughter of an underground rapper who was killed before he hit the big. An aspiring rapper herself, Bri is doing her best to make waves on the local rap scene – but often making the wrong kind of waves. I found her to be a really realistic character, a teenager making teenage mistakes but trying her hardest.

Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid

I really enjoyed/was horrified by this book, Reid's debut novel. It tells the stories of Amira, a twentysomething babysitter figuring out her career path, & her employer, Alix, a thirtysomething mom/mogul. 

When Amira, who is Black, is stopped at a grocery store & accused of kidnapping Alix's daughter, who is white, the incident sets into motion a chain of events that puts tension on their relationship, reveals Alix's (glaring) racial biases, & ultimately sets Amira on her course forward. It is well-written & infuriating & funny & charming & realistic & terrible &... all of the things. 

Looking for more book recommendations? A few of my blogger friends have written year-end round-ups, too. Check 'em out:

Want even more book recommendations? See my lists from 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, and 2015. You can also follow me on Goodreads and my book-themed Instagram to see what I'm reading in 2021. More books to come, as always! 

3 comments:

melissa said...

Such A Fun Age and Crawdads were soooo good!! It is so hard to choose the best of the year. They were definitely on my runner up list.
Thanks for linking to me, too!!! Now I have a few more check out.

Melissa said...

Such A Fun Age and Crawdads were soooo good!! It is so hard to choose the best of the year. They were definitely on my runner up list.
Thanks for linking to me, too!!! Now I have a few more check out.

Tea said...

I haven't read a much as I wanted last year, but want to change that. Have added They Wish They Were Us and Such A Fun Age to my list

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