Hello fellow bookworms 🏆 It’s time to talk about my favorite books of 2020 again! This year was … not great and time flew by, so it’s a bit scary how it’s already the end of the year again. This year lasted both seconds and decades. At least one good thing has come out of all of this though: I read a lot of great books this year, though I got a bit pickier with my 5-star books. In total, I have 17 favorite books to talk about today and I’m so excited to share my love for them! Like the last years, all covers link to the respective Reviews!
Me thinking about my favorite books of the year
- 🏆 Favorite Books of 2017: Find out what I loved the year before here!
- 🏆 Favorite Books of 2018: Find out what I loved the previous year here!
- 🏆 Favorite Books of 2019: Find out what I loved last year here!
🏆 BEST SERIES 🏆
“So often,” Jackaby said, “people think that when we arrive at a crossroads, we can choose only one path, but—as I have often and articulately postulated—people are stupid. We’re not walking the path. We are the path. We are all of the roads and all of the intersections. Of course you can choose both.”
➽ HELLO, I LOVE THIS SERIES!!! It’s strange to think about how I didn’t even intend to pick up Jackaby because I didn’t think that it was my kind of thing. I’m honestly so glad I check out the book from the library and gave it the chance for my #outofcomfortzonechallenge because I accidentally fell in love with it 💗 I had so much fun reading Jackaby and before I knew it, I was obsessed with the book and the characters and buying all the books as a treat for finishing my Bachelor Thesis 😄This is a TOP NOTCH series and a clever blend of Fantasy, Mystery and Historical Fiction that really worked for me! All of the characters are absolutely incredible and complex, from the narrator Abigail to the eccentric, mysterious detective she works with and his supernatural support team (Douglas the Duck, Jenny the Ghost, Charlie and many more that we get to know during the books) I loved all of them so much!! 🥰 This is hands down the best series that I have read all year and my absolute favorite read of 2020 ❤
🏆 MOST EMOTIONAL 🏆
“Maybe I should have been better about seeing her. Seeing [her] sadness. But you don’t realize what it feels like, this hole, this missing, until it happens to you.”
➽ I knew that How to Make Friends with the Dark would break my heart as it was a raw, honest portrayal of what it means to lose someone you love 😭 Told through the eyes of a girl now facing the world alone, it’s about finding hope when it seems impossible. Tiger’s journey is a messy one, as she’s barely able to cope with everything going on and ends up overwhelmed and out of control. The book raises the question of how you can even begin to live with such a devastating new normal when you haven’t had the chance to grieve properly. Besides Tiger, there were so many more amazing secondary characters that all felt so real and really made me get attached to the story. The book explores the journey of losing someone you love and grieving for everything you have lost. It also explored the devastation of not being able to say goodbye and have a loved one die after you’ve had a huge fight. It’s a haunting, emotional book that’s an absolute must-read! 😭
🏆 MOST RELATABLE 🏆
“I am an adult now (sort of, kind of, not really).”
➽ This book really came for me personally. It unearthed some of my deepest thoughts and worries and I was like how??? did you see into my mind??? Some things were so accurate it was scary. The book was a comfort and made me feel so understood. Coupled with a swoony romance, friendships and a fast-paced, easy to read writing style It Sounded Better in my Head slowly crept into my heart and surprised me by becoming an instant favorite and absolute must-read for everyone who loves an awkward, relatable main character being confronted with stepping out of their comfort zone. In a way, this book really reminded me of Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde, one of my all-time favorite books about anxiety 🥰 There were just so many relatable moments that made me feel so connected to Natalie and I was rooting so much for her journey 💕
🏆 BEST PLOTLINE 🏆
“It doesn’t matter if you’re a human versus a human or a human versus an EO or an EO versus an EO. You do what you can. You fight, and you win, until you don’t.”
➽ Finally reading Vengeful was honestly such an amazing experience! I have been putting off reading it for a long while as I was scared it wouldn’t hold up to my excitement for the first book, but gladly I was wrong! Buddy-reading this with Caitlin @ caitlinalthea was a fantastic idea because we both ended up loving Vengeful and could chat about everything that was currently going on – that made reading the book so much more fun! 🥰 It was honestly a fantastic sequel to Vicious. The plotlines and worldbuilding are even more complex than in the first book and let you slowly piece together what’s happening with everyone involved. I’m very glad that we’re getting the third book – though sadly we’ll have to wait a long time – because this series honestly has SO much to offer! Oh, and I’m still obsessed with Victor, even though he’s not a good person 😈
🏆 MOST WHOLESOME 🏆
➽ I didn’t think that I would be crying over cute animal comics, yet here we are 😭 I fell head over heels in love with this graphic novel (it’s the first one on my favorite’s list!!) and quickly got deeply emotionally attached to the journey of all the animals 🥰 The story centers around the Cat’s Café, set in an animal town, and follows the resident’s everyday adventures! The sense of community and friendship was warming my heart, as everyone is trying to help each other out. I also loved the wholesome and positive messages about mental health and self-care! The general story tone was amazing, it was part funny and witty, part positive and encouraging, and also part sad but honest. I loved how the story talked about what living with anxiety and depression felt like and how it can be difficult to accept help even though your friends are there to support you. There was so much focus on believing in yourself and taking care of your mind and body, even though it sometimes can be hard. All the messages felt so genuine and came across as encouraging and honest.
🏆 MOST UNDERRATED 🏆
“I had no idea how you could stand right next to someone and yet have no clue how to get back to them. Though I guess that now it’s more that I’m standing behind someone.”
➽ Told in alternating timelines, this is a heartbreaking story of a friendship breakup 💔 I honestly think that we need more of these books as the author emphasizes how devastating losing a friend can be. Though romantic breakups are undoubtedly hard as well, we need to shine a better light on the impact a friendship breakup can have. This one hit really hard, as almost everyone can relate to how much it hurts to lose a friendship that means the world to you. That’s why this story had me so emotional, as it was something that I had been through as well, and as it was told with such nuance. This is so a complex, fantastic book that handles the topic with such care and never makes you feel like there is a right side in the conflict!! I personally related to one of the girls a bit more, but as it’s told in dual POV, you can the full picture of both friends an even deeper insight into the miscommunication and slowly building tension.
🏆 BEST WORLDBUILDING 🏆
“She liked that Enrique could say that he was scared and still be brave. It made her want to be brave too.”
➽ This was a 5-star prediction for me and I turned out to be right! 😎 The Gilded Wolves is a fantastic Historical Fantasy story brimming with a complex, well-developed magic system, 1886’s Paris, fantastic, nuanced character dynamics and a great heist/treasure hunt plotline. Roshani Chokshi once again proves that she writes some of the best, most engaging characters and can always be counted on to create slightly angsty romances full of tension and chemistry! Her Fantasy books are among the best ones out there and I definitely wish she got some more love as she’s such an inspiration for me as a writer. She’s created some of my new favorite characters in The Gilded Wolves, including Zofia, Enrique, and Hypnos (though I of course also love Laila, Tristan, and Séverin!) and even managed to pull off a love triangle which I liked, something that’s almost impossible. If you need a reason to start her books, this is it 💗 I also was fortunate enough to read The Silvered Serpents which turned out to be a much darker sequel than I expected. However, the author is a master at weaving together the grief, hurt, and all the ugly feelings of the book together with the new setting and melancholic atmosphere. There are a lot of difficult topics discussed and even though it hurt me to see the characters in distress, I still appreciated the occasional banter and suspenseful treasure hunting!
🏆 MOST ADDICTIVE 🏆
“So, like, nobody can pull the rug out from under you if you decide there’s no rug, to begin with?”
➽ Once again Marie had the best recommendations, as I picked up You Say It First when I saw how much she liked it. Good news: I loved it as well and basically flew through it in a couple of days! It was a fantastic contemporary book about a lot of important topics including long-distance relationships, grieving, dealing with divorce and feeling of uncertainty and so much more! All of the characters are incredibly well-written, flawed, messy, and all too human, which really appealed to me and made me invested in their journey of growing. Especially the main romance was well-written and even though complicated you could see how both characters inspired each other to grow. Meg and Colby could always be honest with each other. If you’re looking for a realistic long-distance relationship with all its ups and downs and lots of personal growth, this is the perfect book 🥰
🏆 BEST SQUAD DYNAMICS 🏆
“We don’t learn hand-to-hand,” he said, making some chopping motions. “Cobb says it’s useless, but what if a Krell tries to—you know—jump me in an alley or something?” “Nobody has ever seen a Krell alive, you idiot,” Hurl said. “Yeah, but what if that’s because—like—they always jump people in alleys, right? You ever think about that?”
➽ Skyward was another big surprise for me as In had no idea I would adore it so much! It’s such a fantastic sci-fi adventure full of flying, space battles, and a fierce heroine who struggles with her own bravery. Spensa was a great protagonist with a distinct character voice. Though flawed, she’s got such an interesting background story and I was rooting for her to succeed the entire time. The Dynamics in Spensa’s flight squad & with her friend Rig, as well as the ship M-Bot were great. The characters really make this book stand out to me, as I was invested in their group dynamics! In general, the storylines are so interesting, be it about mysterious aliens, AIs, or trying to become a skilled pilot. I was so immersed in reading this book and I cannot wait to read more! 💗
🏆 BEST ROMANCE 🏆
“If I concentrate really hard…” His finger hovered above Yadriel. “Could I touch you?” Heat flooded Yadriel’s face. His chest fluttered dangerously. “I don’t think so, Jules.” A shaky laugh quaked his words. Dimples cut deep into Julian’s cheeks. He tipped his head to the side. “Why not?” “Not enough brainpower.”
➽ There was a lot of excitement for Cemetery Boys and I’m so happy to report that I absolutely loved it!! It was a fantastic contemporary fantasy book with lots of spooky and witchy vibes, perfect for October (when I read it), but also the rest of the year 👻 I loved all the characters so much and was especially rooting for Yadriel and Julian,! Their relationship is very much a slow burn, but the buildup was so well done and there were so many heartwarming and also heartbreaking moments between the two boys. They had great chemistry from the start and you could see how much they cared for each other by the end. Julian and Yadriel are definitely one of my favorite pairings of 2020 💕 In general, this book had a lot of banter and was so comforting for me to read, even though it also touched upon tough topics like Yadriel not being fully accepted as a trans brujo in his community!
🏆 BEST CHARACTER VOICE 🏆
“(Possibly I was overthinking this. I do that; it’s the anxiety that comes with being a part-organic murderbot. The upside was paranoid attention to detail. The downside was also paranoid attention to detail.)”
➽ Originally I only read All Systems Red on a whim but then ended up loving this story about a not so scary, introverted Murderbot who just wanted to be left alone to consume TV Shows in piece! However, a couple months later I binge read books 2-4 in the Murderbot Diaries series as well (and got totally obsessed), reading them all multiple times on audiobook (btw I highly recommend listening to the audiobook as it was such a great experience for me 💕) as they quickly became such comfort books for me. They are all quick reads as it’s a bunch of novellas (currently still on the waitlist for the first full-length novel Network Effect) but they’re all connected to each other. I had no idea that a socially anxious Murderbot would be so relatable, but it means so much to me and has quickly become one of my all-time favorite characters 🥺💗 (Also: there are so many relatable moods for me as a fellow introvert)
Have you read any books on my list? What are your Favorite Reads of 2020? 🏆