I’m doing my 2020 yearly wrap-up a bit differently this year! In addition to my yearly stats, (which will be in an upcoming blog post) I wanted to do a post talking about my favorites of the year in a bunch of different categories, so that I don’t leave out any great books in my yearly wrap-up. I actually tried to look for a book tag to do but couldn’t find one that really worked for me, so I just made up categories based on things I wanted to talk about. Let’s do it!
Top Ten Favorite Books of 2020:
10. The Seas by Samantha Hunt – beautifully written fabulist fiction with lots of ocean/mermaid imagery
9. The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead – impactful and devastating, with a twist that absolutely gutted me
8. Piranesi by Susanna Clarke – a strange and wonderfully creative short fantastical novel
7. Melmoth by Sarah Perry – a surprising and gorgeously written favorite with shades of historical fiction and mythology
6. Passage by Connie Willis – I sobbed through the last 300 or so pages of this book, so there was no way it wouldn’t make this list
5. Kindred by Octavia Butler – another classic from the queen of science fiction that I’m so glad to have finally read
4. Possession by A.S. Byatt – impressive and complex, containing letters and poetry from fictional 19th-century writers
3. Radiance by Catherynne M. Valente – the last book I read this year that also became a new favorite from an already favorite author
2. In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado – devastating and gorgeously written memoir told in so many different ways
- Bunny by Mona Awad (AKA my new favorite book of all time!)
Favorite short story collections of 2020:
Both What Shines From It by Sara Rauch and The Other World, It Whispers by Stephanie Victoire were absolutely gorgeously written, and I’d happily read more collections from both authors.
Favorite contemporary romance reads of 2020:
This was really difficult, so I chose 5. To be fair, I did read a lot of contemporary romance in 2020, so there were a lot to choose from; there are still several excellent ones I had to leave off this list so that I could narrow it down a bit.
Boyfriend Material by Alexis Hall, If I Never Met You by Mhairi McFarlane, Girl Gone Viral by Alisha Rai, Beach Read by Emily Henry, and The Worst Best Man by Mia Sosa
Favorite UF/PNR of 2020:
Emerald Blaze by Ilona Andrews (the second book in a stellar fantasy romance series) and Wolf Gone Wild by Juliette Cross (PNR featuring a romance between a werewolf and a witch set in New Orleans).
Favorite historical romance of 2020:
Tessa Dare was such a great find for me in 2020. Her funny yet emotionally impactful historical romance was really the perfect thing to start reading this spring. My favorites of hers this year were The Governess Game, which featured a really fun couple, and When a Scot Ties the Knot, which was hilarious and had a fantastic premise.
Favorite debut novels:
I read some really great debuts in 2020, but at the top of the list were definitely Luster by Raven Leilani, Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams, and Catherine House by Elisabeth Thomas.
Sort of a weird year for me in terms of YA–I think I read less YA this year than I ever have, and I didn’t necessarily find any new all-time favorites. I did, however, read two YA novellas that I thought were great (Landscape with Invisible Hand, which was impactful and hilarious and really isn’t being talked about enough, and Come Tumbling Down, the most recent entry in the Wayward Children series) and a YA novel from an author that I’m really excited to read more from (The Wicker King by K. Ancrum).
Trevor Noah’s book (and its audio narration!) were FANTASTIC, and I cannot stop raving about In the Dream House, which was one of my favorites of the year.
Most disappointing reads of 2020:
These were books that, for whatever reason, I really thought I’d love and that had 5-star potential based on their authors/synopses, but that I ended up really not enjoying nearly as much as I thought I would.
Most surprising reads of 2020:
These 2 books were surprising to me for very different reasons–An American Marriage because I don’t normally gravitate towards literary fiction focused on marriages but ended up loving it, and Chosen Ones because it had some really crazy plot twists.
New-to-me authors I discovered in 2020 and can’t wait to read more from:
Mhairi McFarlane, Lucy Parker, Tessa Dare: These are all romance authors that have a bunch of other books out that I’ve got my eye on to pick up in 2021. I’ll definitely be picking up at least 1 book from each of these authors this year–probably more!
Favorite covers of books I read in 2020:
Most-read authors of 2020:
- Tessa Dare (tie!) – 5 books
- Alyssa Cole – (tie!) 5 books
And then I read 2 books each from 10 other authors! I was actually really surprised by this stat. I think I just assumed that I only read one book per author, for the most part, but there were SO MANY 2-book authors. Several of these were due to re-reads, which makes more sense when I think about it.
Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff:
Sarah J. Maas:
What were some of your favorite reads of 2020? Let me know in the comments!