This last year was a lot of things but out of all of it, my favorite silver lining might be how much I was able to read. I finally finished some books that have been collecting dust on my “to be read” pile, rediscovered my deep affection for the local library and found a few new authors I’ll be going back to again and again. Last January, I set out with a goal of 50 books and thanks to a little thing called quarantine, ended up finishing 119! Out of a mix of Book of the Month picks and random Goodreads finds, I’ve narrowed down my top 20 from the year — because there was no way I’d be able to pick any less. 😘
So without further ado, here’s my list of top book picks from 2020! If you’ve read any of these or have other favorites from the year I’d love to hear (yes, I’m already hitting my 2021 list)! Enjoy!
The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ — Top 3 of the Year
Fantasy isn’t my typical genre, so I was hesitant to make this my Book of the Month pick back in October, but I am SO glad I did. In 1714, Addie LaRue made a deal with the devil to live forever with one unfortunate catch: no one she meets will remember who she is. Thus begins Addie’s dazzling adventure and lonely purgatory, as she spans centuries and continents, blessed with immortality and cursed with being forgotten. That is until nearly 300 years later when someone remembers her name. This book built a tad slowly for me but ended up as one of my favorites of the year. I can’t recommend enough.
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ – Top 3 of the Year
A comedic take on a crime that, well, never actually happens. There’s no shortage of characters you latch onto as the story twists and turns and keeps connecting in the best possible ways. Backman’s writing is so delightful and quirky, while still addressing some serious issues. This is my first book by Backman so I can’t say how this one ranks compared to his others, but I’m officially a fan and will be checking out his other work!
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ – Top 3 of the Year
This book was the first Colleen Hoover book I’ve ever read, sparking a new found fandom for any book from her. I’ve read a few more from her just this year and this one still holds strong as my favorite. I’ve heard others say this, but it’s so fun to go into Colleen Hoover’s book without knowing too much beforehand, so all I’ll give you is this: Regretting You is a mother-daughter tale of grief and first-loves that will break your heart and put it back together.
The Wife Upstairs
I was able to read this one early thanks to the book subscription I swear by and it ended up being my favorite thriller I read last year. I will say, I much prefer a “whodunnit” type over crazy scary, spine-tingling thrillers, so know that my threshold for thrill may not be the same as yours. 😘The Wife Upstairs is a modern retelling of Jane Eyre, which I haven’t read yet but will be after loving this one!
The Brilliant Life of Eudora Honeysett
I actually finished this on New Year’s Day of 2021, but I read most of it in 2020 and I ADORED it, so I’m counting it here. It’s a heartwarming tale of an unlikely trio (an 85 year old, a neighbor & the 10 year old girl next door) and how it recharges a new found appreciation for life. If you were a fan of Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine this is for you! (And if you weren’t a fan… maybe still read it because this one was better.)
Love and Other Words
This book is Christina Lauren’s best by a landslide. It’s a story line that is somewhat familiar – a girl has it all together until her first love comes back into her life right before she’s set to get married. But it has so, so much depth. It quickly became one of my all-time favorites.
A modern retelling of Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina with a Gossip Girl spin. What better combination, am I right? I loved it so much that I picked up Anna Karenina for the first time. I’m currently 300 pages in with 500 to go (Tolstoy is no joke 😅) but I’m determined to finish it this year.
Witty & charming. A perfect cast of characters. This was one of my first quarantine reads and it came at such a perfect time. The book follows two writers, January and Augustus, that have nothing in common professionally but stubbornly bet one another to a challenge that forces them to see what they have in common, personally. It’s a tad predictable but perfectly so.
A Fire Sparkling
If you were a fan of the Nightingale this one’s for you. A fast and ultimately uplifting novel about WWII and let’s just say, the twist in this one was absolutely not expected at all and kept me turning the pages! I haven’t seen a whole lot of buzz about this but is one I continue to recommend for historical fiction fans.
The Star-Crossed Lovers of Tuscany
The ideal book for anyone itching to get back out and travel as this one takes you to Venice, Tuscany and the Amalfi Coast. Two cousins and their deranged aunt go off to break a family curse by traveling all across Italy and what finds them is a heartwarming ending, with no shortage of loud Italian personalities. Another BOTM that did not disappoint!
It Ends With Us
Another Colleen Hoover book you’ll read in one sitting. Trigger warning on this, it does cover domestic abuse. With such a heavy topic, I do think she did a powerful job of tackling a painful, difficult issue in this book in a way that makes you understand the complexity of abusive relationships.
Know My Name
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ – favorite memoir I read this year
This book made me cry more than any other I’ve ever read, but I think it should be required reading for every human. This tells the true story of Chanel Miller, the “Emily Doe” of the People v. Turner sexual assault case that took place in 2016. This is the story from her, in her own words and is beyond powerful.
Harley in the Sky
The Greatest Showman meets This is Us in this powerful coming of age story. Harley has dreamed of becoming a trapeze artist her whole life. When her parents force her to go to college instead, she runs off with a rival traveling circus group, leaving a trail of hurt and betrayal in her wake. She’s soon thrust into a new world filled with new lessons and must decide how far she’ll go to chase her dream. A super easy, fast-paced read — perfect for when you need an escape!
Ten days of bliss is worth having to assume the role of loving newlyweds, right? This book made me laugh out loud so many times. When food poisoning takes out the real bride and groom, Oliver (MOH) & Ethan (Best Man) put aside their mutual disdain for each other for the sake of an all-inclusive Hawaiian vacation. The only catch: they have to pretend to be in head-over-heels, newlywed love. Consider this your imaginary spring break.
This book seemed to be everywhere this year from top lists books to all over social media. I am in the camp of this hyped book was truly worth every bit of hype. Glennon Doyle shares such raw advice through her own storytelling that pushed ideals that I’ve thought of in ways that are equally comforting and jarring. A great “good riddance 2020” read as we kick off the new year with hope!
One to Watch
I was actually surprised with how much I loved this one. Basically a Bachelorette season in book form but with one delightful spin: the leading lady is a plus-sized influencer who only agrees to do the show so that she can bring awareness to the harmful beauty anti-fat beauty standards and elevate her career. What happens next? All I can tell you is… it’s the most dramatic season yet. 😘
I’ve Got Your Number
This one came out back in 2013 so it’s not new by any means, but I just adored this book by Sophia Kinsella. I’ve read a few of her others but this one is my favorite so far. Somehow Sophia writes the quirkiest characters, with the most ridiculous plots but in a way that somehow works? Read this if you’re in the mood for an unpredictable, feel-good rom com.
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine
A very popular read and rightfully so! When Eleanor meets Raymond and Sammy in an unexpected event, they become a trio that turn out to be just what they all needed. If you haven’t read this one, get to it – it is set to become a movie produced by none other than Reese Witherspoon!
What Kind of Woman
I’m not huge into poetry, but there are a few poets that hit deep for me and Kate Baer is one of those. I picked up this quick read at the end of this crazy year and instantly knew it’d be one that I continue to refer back to over and over again.
A Woman is No Man
This one had a bit of a slow build and was VERY hard to read at times, but it’s stuck with me – a sign of a truly powerful book. Through two different timelines we hear the story of a Palestinian family living in America, one storyline set in the early 1900s and one set two decades later. Family secrets, the desire to do as you want and a commitment to those you love take center stage in this one.