Popular Books Worth the Hype

Which books did you read this year that you saw all over blogs, your friends were pushing or it was praised to the high heavens by the critics? Did you agree that the books deserved the praises being heaped on them? Every year since 2015 – in the last month of the year, #AMonthofFaves, we share the popular books that we’ve read and 100% agree that everyone else is right about how amazing they are.

✭ Believe the Hype ✭

♥ KIM ♥

With The Fire On High, Elizabeth Acevedo

44,000+ | 4.25 stars

I usually don’t read a lot of contemporary novels so when I find one that I love, I have to shout it to the rooftops. This is my favorite Acevedo book and some of my favorite characters from her. The story is simple but told in such a lovely way.

Ever since she got pregnant freshman year, Emoni Santiago’s life has been about making the tough decisions—doing what has to be done for her daughter and her Abuela. Even though she dreams of working as a chef after she graduates, Emoni knows that it’s not worth her time to pursue the impossible. Yet despite the rules she thinks she has to play by, once Emoni starts cooking, her only choice is to let her talent break free.

The House In The Cerulean Sea, TJ Klune

Oh my word. What can I say about this book that would truly capture how magical it is? You’ve probably seen this one all over Bookstagram and the Blogosphere and for good reason. It will suck you in and steal your heart. Do yourself a favor and listen to the audio version.

Linus Baker leads a quiet, solitary life. At forty, he lives in a tiny house with a devious cat and his old records. As a Case Worker at the Department in Charge Of Magical Youth, he spends his days overseeing the well-being of children in government-sanctioned orphanages. When Linus is unexpectedly summoned by Extremely Upper Management he’s given a curious and highly classified assignment: travel to Marsyas Island Orphanage, where six dangerous children reside: a gnome, a sprite, a wyvern, an unidentifiable green blob, a were-Pomeranian, and the Antichrist. Linus must set aside his fears and determine whether or not they’re likely to bring about the end of days.


The Vanishing Half, Brit Bennett

144,000+ | 4.29 stars

There’s been a ton of buzz about The Vanishing Half and it’s one of NY Time’s 10 Best Books of 2020 – and it completely deserves all the hype! It has all the elements of a good book – captivating plot, characters that will pull you into their lives and just enough drama – but done with a subtle, deft touch by the author. It follows the Vignes twin sisters who grow up together in a small, southern black community. Ten years after running away at age sixteen, one sister lives with her black daughter in the same southern town she once tried to escape. The other secretly passes for white, and her white husband knows nothing of her past. Bennett gets you into the sisters heads and how they choices have shaped them, altered their outlook on life, as well as how they raise their children. There’s so much more to this book – it’s a deep, complex story that you will not regret picking up. You will become invested in the story of the twin sisters – I promise.

the vanishing half

The Vanishing Half is the 2nd book by Bennett, Her first, The Mothers, is also really good and highly recommended.

Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo

84,000+ | 4.42 stars | 2019 Booker Award Winner

Girl Woman Other Stories

When this book won the Book Award in 2019 along with The Testaments, Magaret Atwood, there were many people who said it should have won outright – so I knew i had to read it. It took me a while, but I finally got around to it and yes – completely worth the hype! Girl, Woman, Other is a collection of interlinked stories of 12 black women living in Britain, and most of them are 1st or 2nd generation immigrants with roots in Africa or the Caribbean. This book is about representation – and not just the obvious ones – gender, race, class – but there’s so MUCH more – identity, lifestyle choices (seemingly boring, dramatic), personalities, different childhood. It’s subtle and it’s in your face – go forth and read if you haven’t!

Tell us…. which hyped up books made the top of your list this year and which fell flat?


// Comments //

  1. Bryan

    Dec 19

    I loved The Poet X, especially on audio and probably need to check out this one too by Acevedo.

    • @Bryan I liked this one even more than The Poet X

// Trackbacks & Pingbacks //

  1. […] THREE+ Spoiler alert – the book on most of the lists on The Top 50 from the Best Books of 2020 List of Lists is The Vanishing Half, Brit Bennett – which we also had as one of our Popular Books Worth the Hype. […]

  2. […] the end of the year, we like to look back at our favorites reads – Popular Books Worth the Hype, The Best Books [Kim] Read This Year, Favorite Audiobooks [Tanya] Listened To and now, our Favorite […]

  3. […] FIVE+ Sarah shared her list of the Most Underrated Gems of 2020 and we shared Popular Books Worth the Hype. […]