It’s only July? I know most of us wish that 2020 would just end already, but alas that is not the case. We have about 6 months left in the year and as much as I would love to have my life to return to some form of normality, I am using this unusual gift of time to read new 2020 titles and also books that have been on TBR shelf for awhile.
Out of the 134 books that I read so far this year, I managed to narrow it down to the following books that I really thought that were truly remarkable and made this lockdown less tolerable. So if you are looking for books to help you complete (or start) your reading challenge, you can’t go wrong with these best reads!
I’ll first start with the books published this year and then list other titles published in previous years:
Published in 2020
The Guest List by Lucy Foley
Just as good as The Hunting Party! This is the mystery that you need to read for the summer. A remote island…an exclusive event…hidden secrets with tragic consequences. What more can you want in story? You need add this to your TBR beach bag for the summer!
Lou in Lockdown by Jojo Moyes
Only Jojo Moyes can take our mind off of lockdown by writing a story about one of our favorite characters…in lockdown. Lou in Lockdown is just the heartwarming and moving story that we book lovers needed, particularly through these trying times. It not only returns the great and lovable Louisa Clark to her fans, it also shows how unity and compassion can be found, even in the most troubling of times.
The Burning by Laura Bates
It only takes a spark to get a rumor going. The Burning by is the young adult debut written by Everyday Sexism Project creator is an emotionally driven driven YA novel that truly highlights the effects of bullying and the importance of strong female empowerment, characteristics that both readers of young and old would appreciate.
The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta
This book was just so powerful and moving that I cannot stop raving about it. The Black Flamingo touches on so many themes that any reader will have a deep connection with the main character of this wonderful story. I have hard time believing that this book won’t be considered to be one of the best YA books of the year.
Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982 by Cho Nam-Joo
This book hit a nerve when published in South Korea and rightly so! This intriguing and original novella captures the anger and frustration that Korean women have endured under male oppression. It may have been written towards Korean women but any woman who reads will identify with the misogyny and double standards women deal with. This imaginative and revolutionary doesn’t tell a powerful story of one woman. It tells the necessary story of every woman.
The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner
Another heartwarming book that was just what I needed during lockdown. Reading this was like getting a visit from an old friend and since I couldn’t go out and actually get to see my friends physically see my friends, this book was the next best thing. Additionally, reading about a group of people joining together and combining their forces in time of crisis was a huge benefit to read!
Follow Me to Ground by Sue Rainsford
This one is interesting, with a hint of being a strange and metaphorical read. There is a lot of symbolism with the use of folklore and mythology but with strong themes of feminism, individualism and independence. If you are looking for a quick read, this isn’t the one for you but it is a book that uses myths and metaphorical language that will open your mind to the societal ideas of women and what the ideas women placed on themselves.
Toffee by Sarah Crossan
Sarah Crossan has a true gift of creating a poignant story that resonates with you after you finished reading it. It expands on the different meaning of the word home, a word that we sometimes take for granted. Crossan explores the themes of mental health and friendship so beautifully that this thought provoking novel in verse will leave you astounded about life itself.
Here is the Beehive by Sarah Crossan
2020 is not only the year of COVID-19 but the year of Sarah Crossan because this is the 3rd novel I have read by her this year that I absolutely loved! This one may be different than her previous books (her debut book in the adult fiction genre) but it still has the emotional and gut-wrenching narrative that we look for and always love in Crossan’s words.
A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson
One of the best innovative and compelling YA thrillers I have read in a long time. If you are a fan of mystery genre but wary of YA, this is book that definitely makes the exception. It’s one compelling and intriguing mystery but also an examination of how media covers a high profile murder. Pip’s articulate and passionate nature is very identifiable. To me, she is the next Nancy Drew!
Untamed by Glennon Doyle
This is such a powerful and revealing memoir that I don’t think I have the right words to do this remarkable book justice. The words that are written here are so empowering and soulful that you cannot help yourself and underline the moving sentences and words so they can stay with you always.
The Last Witness by Claire McFall
I was a little surprised by this one, particularly with the twist towards the end. It started off slow but I expected it needed to do that to lead to the momentum towards the end. I thought I had it all figured it out but then it completely thrown me a curve ball at the end. Adult readers may expect more from this but I believe that teen readers would enjoy this one, particularly enjoy the ride the story takes them on. It is a good starter for thrillers for other YA readers.
Somebody Give This Heart Pen by Sophia Thakur
From acclaimed performance poet Sophia Thakur comes a stirring collection of coming-of-age poems exploring issues of identity, difference, perseverance, relationships, fear, loss, and joy. From youth to school to family life to falling in love and falling back out again–the poems draw on the author’s experience as a young mixed-race woman trying to make sense of a lonely and complicated world. With a strong narrative voice and emotional empathy, this is poetry that will resonate with all young people, whatever their background and whatever their dreams. (Credit: Candlewick Press)
Beautiful Broken Things by Sara Barnard
Sara Barnard is restoring my faith in the YA genre. She is proof that you can write a compelling, heartbreaking but beautifully written without playing to typical tropes of YA literature. I was so engrossed in this book that I had a hard time putting it down. It touched all the necessary points of making a great story: realistic characters, a compelling plot, well-written and a relevant and important topic. I wished that a book like this existed during my teenage years, that way I have a better understanding of my friendships (most of them were girls) and my mental health. Barnard took an important issue and told the hard truths about it, no sugar coating like some authors do.
She is Fierce by Ana Sampson
Such an empowering and inspiring collection of poetry! I read some old favorites and discovered some new ones. I needed to read this. The words from this diverse collection of poets really uplifted me!
One by Sarah Crossan
I was left breathless after finishing this amazing book. This is a book more than just about conjoined twins and the lives lead (which through Crossan’s extensive research, we’re given an insight that will dismantle stereotypes) but a love story between two souls that are entwined. The connection between Grace and Tippi is just as powerful (even more so, in my opinion)between a romantic couple. I loved every minute of it!