Happy New Year, everyone! Phew, we made it. In this post, we are sharing our obligatory favorite reads of 2020. We personally love reading about other people’s favorite reads, so why not also share ours? Along with all of the personal and societal turmoil, uprisings, and upheavals that 2020 brought our way, we can say that our reading lives experienced a boost this year. We started our little Bookstagram account, we staked a claim on the interwebs by establishing this blog, and we both read a wonderful assortment of new-to-us books and authors.
Here is a wrap-up of our favorite reads of 2020. It’s hard to narrow it down, but we each have selected 5-6 of our stand-out books from the year. We hope you find some books to add to your TBR for 2021! (This post contains affiliate links.)
Liz & Sami’s Favorite Reads of 2020
Know My Name by Chanel Miller
This powerful memoir by Chanel Miller is on both of our Best Of lists. Miller’s story is so many of our stories, and it deserves to be heard. Miller’s ability to weave in memories from her childhood, reflect on her family’s experience, and find a larger meaning within her harrowing trial is a true testament to her masterful writing. CW: sexual assault, victim blaming/shaming, discussion of assault on the page, misogyny.
One to Watch by Kate Stayman-London
Sami: One to Watch is hands down the most entertaining read of the year for me. I felt like I was binge-watching a tv show and couldn’t stop!
There There by Tommy Orange
Liz: There There is just WOW. There are so many layers, nuances, and themes to be found in this book. I still think about parts of this story. I will probably be thinking of this book for quite some time. One of the best books I’ve read in a while- not just in 2020.
The Most Fun We Ever Had by Claire Lombardo
Sami: This family drama makes the list of top reads this year primarily because it is just so well written. I am a huge fan of multigenerational family stories. For me, the strength of this book lies in the characters. They are authentic, complex, imperfect, frustrating, heartbreaking, and lovable all at once. You can read my full review here.
Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell
Liz: Hamnet is the best book I read in December, and one of my favorite reads of 2020. An emotional historical fiction about Shakespeare’s family? There’s literally nothing that fits more perfectly into my wheelhouse. You can read my full review here!
Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano
Sami: This was my first five-star read of 2020, and I still think about it sometimes. It is a very powerful and emotional story that I highly recommend.
Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward
Liz: Jesmyn Ward is one of my favorite writers. Her prose is incredible in this book, and the end still gives me chills. I have gone back and re-read that ending about three times.
Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
This was a top favorite on both our lists for so many reasons! A romance between the First Son of the US and the Prince of Wales that leaves us feeling warm and hopeful inside? Just what we needed this year.
Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane
Sami: I still can’t quite pinpoint what it was about this book that makes me love it so much. Bordering between contemporary and literary fiction, it’s such a powerful story that I recommended it to literally everyone who asked this year.
Empire of Wild by Cherie Dimaline
Liz: This book is so riveting and entertaining! I loved it, and it pulled me out of a reading slump. I can see it becoming a limited series or a movie, and I am curious to see if it will be developed into something (hopefully well done and in a respectful way).
It Had to Be You by Georgia Clark
Sami: This was the best ARC I read this year and a five-star book in general. It Had to Be You is out May 2021 from Simon & Schuster!