The Best Books I Read This Year [2020 Edition]

Wow! 2020 turned out to be a fantastic reading year for me. Over the past 5 years I’ve managed to read around 40 books a year. This year, however, I read 74!!. Narrowing it down to the best of the best was really hard but here are my favorites…

To Be Taught If Fortunate, Becky Chambers

I read this book in January and it turned out to be my first five star read of the year. It’s a novella about a group of astronauts who are tasked with exploring distant galaxies and sending their findings back to Earth. They are gone for years and put themselves in comatose states between destinations. At one point they awaken to find that they have lost communication with Earth. Not knowing why, they must decide whether to press on in their research with the knowledge that the information they are gathering is invaluable to future generations or save themselves and turn around. This is a book that will really make you think. Becky Chambers has a way with making you considering your own priorities and morals in everything she writes. I loved it.

The Bear and the Nightingale, Katherine Arden

This is one of those books that has stayed with me all year long. It completely surprised me by introducing not just one strong female character, but three. The book is beautifully written. I felt like I was in this dreamy state the entire time I was reading it. It really came alive in my head. I’ve got book 2 sitting on my TBR shelf ready to read for this January and I can’t wait to dive into this world again. 

The Sun Down Motel, Simone St. James

I started with The Sun Down Motel and then basically went on a binge fest reading her other books. I’m also adding The Broken Girls as a favorite too. She is now one of my favorite authors for atmospheric thrillers. I loved that I was spooked while reading this book but not scared enough to read at night. Honestly, it was perfectly creepy with just a little bit of frightening. The haunted hotel setting is absolutely perfect. 

Polaris Rising, Jessie Mihalik

I can’t even remember where I first saw this book but I read it on a whim and loved it. It’s a fast paced, action-packed sci-fi with some seriously steamy scenes. I ended up buying the entire series and have plans to read the rest of it in 2021. This kind of book is completely up my alley. I love space battles and bad ass characters. 

Stamped, Jason Reynolds & Ibram X. Kendi

This is basically the middle grade/high school version of Kendi’s novel Stamped. I had both on hold at my library and this is the one that came in first. I flew through this one and learned so much. Reynolds does an amazing job taking the reader through the history of racism in a way that younger audiences can absorb. Honestly, I feel this should be required reading in schools. 

Network Effect, Martha Wells

I know I’m a broken record but seriously…..Murderbot!!! I loved book 5 which, unlike the first four books, is a full length novel. Wells brings back some previous characters and adds even more gush-worthy moments to her snarky and sassy Murderbot story. Did I mention I’m a sucker for space battles and kick ass characters? I’m ecstatic to see there’s a sixth book on the way. 

Like a Love Story, Abdi Nazemian

This story is set in 1989 and centers around the gay community in the midst of the AIDS epidemic. Reza, Judy, and Art find themselves in the middle of this world trying to work out who they are as people and how they can make a difference in the world and to each other. This book made me sob like a baby. It’s heartbreaking and beautiful and hard to read at times. But I didn’t know a lot about the AIDs epidemic and it’s definitely an inside look at the pain, the ostracization, the fight for visibility and fair treatment. An amazing book.

With The Fire on High, Elizabeth Acevedo

YA contemporary book about teen mother, Emoni Santiago, who struggles to make herself and her own dreams of becoming a chef a priority. When she’s offered the chance of a lifetime to study abroad, she almost doesn’t take it. But what she doesn’t know is that this chance will change her life forever. I just loved these characters and this sweet story. It’s probably my favorite Acevedo book so far.

Other favorites from this year include…

  • The House in the Cerulean Sea, TJ Klune
  • Home Before Dark, Riley Sager
  • Gideon the Ninth, Tamsyn Muir
  • The Last Time I Lied, Riley Sager
  • The Boy on the Bridge, M.R. Carey
  • The Guest List, Lucy Foley
  • No Exit, Taylor Adams
  • The Year of the Witching, Alexis Henderson

Would you read any of the books on this list?



// Comments //

  1. I read and greatly enjoyed Stamped and Fire on High.

    Here’s my list of 2020 favorite reads:

    I read a ridiculous 709 books in 2020. (I’m hesitant to announce this…It looks like I did nothing in 2020 but read…which is basically true!)

    • @Deb Nance Wow! Wow! Wow! Congrats. That is a fabulous reading year.

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