I found it really difficult narrowing down my top reads of 2020. It was a very strange year that felt like it was about 5 years long and it feels like some of the books from the start of the year were actually read in 2019. So to make it more streamlined I’m going to list a few of my favourites from a few different genres. Popping Young Adult and New Adult in together as some aren’t strictly Young Adult but would fall under the New Adult umbrella.
The City We Became by N.K. Jemisin is a book I’ve been unable to get out of my head since I read it. N.K. Jemisin is one of those authors that makes me feel like I’ll never ever be able to write a book because she is so talented it makes me feel like I shouldn’t bother, but she also kind of inspires me to want to try. It doesn’t make sense but there you go. I can’t wait for more from this world. So strange and weird but beautifully written, wonderfully paced and with excellent character development, it was impossible to put down
The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune. Lovely, utterly lovely. I could have happily read about the characters in this book for another 400 pages. Laughs and happy tears and just a lovely book. One of the criteria I have for adding a book to my favourites list is whether or not I’d want to reread it. I’ll be rereading this one in the next few weeks.
Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert. I discovered Talia Hibbert in 2020 and devoured almost her entire backlist. Perfect contemporary comfort reading. Get a Life, Chloe Brown was definitely my favourite of all her books though. There was a lot about Chloe I related to and I loved that she got a HEA. Her chronic illness was dealt with super well. Red was a wonderful male lead and his past relationship trauma was such an important topic, and something we often don’t see in romance. Even big tough men can be victims of abuse in a relationship! One of my favourite things about Talia Hibberts books is how she deals with consent. I honestly didn’t realise how important it was to me until I read it in her books and now I seek out books that have it. I also read Take a Hint, Dani Brown which is the second book in The Brown Sisters trilogy, and I ADORED it as well. I’ve reread Chloe already this year so until I reread Dani, Chloe wins this race. Act Your Age, Eve Brown is out on the 21st March though, so it could all change!
Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender. Such an important book for young transgender readers but also important for everyone else as well. I learned a lot reading this and it’s highlighted to me that I need to learn more. Felix was such a brave kid. He is very much a teenager with all the usual teenage angst, but add to that struggling with his identity and having to deal with prejudices from people around him, even the people who are supposed to be his allies, and it’s amazing he got out of bed every morning, but he did, and he figured stuff out and he was pretty amazing.
Adult Science Fiction:
The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers. This is my only reread on the list and it’s mostly because I didn’t read very much Adult Sci-Fi in 2020 but also because I absolutely adore this book, and I honestly think that it will always be at the top of the my Sci-Fi list, no matter what I read. I’ll read anything Becky Chambers writes at this point. Really looking forward to reading The Galaxy, and the Ground Within which is the 4th book in the Wayfarers series and is being released on 21st February 2021.
YA/NA Science Fiction:
The Space Between Worlds by Micaiah Johnson. My mind is still reeling that this was a debut! I loved everything about it. I adored all the characters, the world building and the writing. I am utter trash for multiverse. I always forget how much I love them until I’m reading one. I’m a big string theory fan so craving a multiverse in whatever way it comes makes sense I guess. Miciaiah Johnson is definitely an author to watch. I can’t wait for her next book.
Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia. To say I fell in love with Silvia Moreno-Garcia in 2020 is an understatement. I love how she writes and I love that of the three books of hers that I have read they all had a completely different vibe to them but all three had badass heroines who I absolutely adored. Mexican Gothic was creepy and so atmospheric that I could picture everything vividly. In my review for this I spoke about how it followed me into my dreams and for me that is always the sign of a really well written book. So far I’ve also read Gods of Jade and Shadow, which also made it on to my favourites shelf, and Untamed Shore, which was one of those books I kept thinking about months after reading. Moreno-Garcia is a new auto-buy author for me.
Fingersmith by Sarah Waters. This was a bookclub read and a book that has been on my tbr for years. It’s a chonk and I didn’t know what to expect so I’d been delaying. I loved this book. It gave me very Charles Dickens vibes. Fingersmith was beautifully written and even though it’s a big book I found it to move at a very fast pace. I loved the dual narrations and it was wonderfully intriguing. Hope to read more Sarah Waters in 2021.
I am, I am, I am by Maggie O’Farrell. One of my all time favourite books is After You’d Gone and it cemented O’Farrell as one of my auto-buy authors. I’ve not loved everything but I always enjoy her prose. Well, I am, I am, I am was so beautifully written and add to that the personal nature of it and you have another O’Farrell favourite. Deeply moving but also hopeful and inspiring.
The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab. Addie deserves an honorable mention as it was a highly anticipated read and it did not disappoint. The prose in this book are stunning and I think it might well be Schwab’s best work to date, and that is saying something as I adore her writing. This narrowly missed out to The City We Became in my top reads but it was a really tough decision. Say what you like about 2020 but it sure produced some epic books.