My Favorite Reads in 2020

by | Feb 18, 2021 | Best Books of the Year, RA Blog

On par for everything 2020, my reading journey was far from what I envisioned it would be. I started off 2020 strong– I was reading more than I usually would during the school year/winter months all while working a new second job at the library and doing normal life things like going out to dinner with friends, running errands on the weekends, going to concerts (sigh, I miss life pre COVID) . Then just like everything else in the world- my reading stopped dramatically in March. I had big reading goals since I would have all this extra time at home and my seemingly busy schedule came to a sudden halt.   

Unfortunately, the opposite happened. I couldn’t focus on reading AT ALL. I found myself stopping mid book and giving up which is something I rarely ever do. I just could not focus. Some of my teacher coworkers and I formed a book club to try and get back on track with reading and that worked for a little, but I found myself still struggling to really get into a book. I wasn’t getting lost in my books the way I normally would when I read. I guess this is a longwinded way for me to say that the following books are the ones that reminded me of my love for reading during a time when I struggled to focus and found myself ditching books mid read. These books kept my attention, made me laugh, made me cry, made me really think and reflect on myself and the world around me. I hope you can find something you enjoy too! 

10 Things I Hate About Pinky by Sandhya Menon– I will never stop singing the praises of all things Sandhya Menon. I love every book in the Dimpleverse and this book is no exception. When you need a feel-good book that makes you laugh out loud- this is a great choice.  

A Heart in a Body in the World by Deb Caletti– This story was heartbreaking, but powerful. It’s a story of survival. One of my favorite elements of this story is that you are with the main character step by step through her grieving and healing process. It is a heavy read, but worth it. 

Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X Kendi– This book showed me that there are a lot of things that I really thought I knew- but in reality I didn’t at all. It’s not a history book, but filled with connections of the past and present. I personally think this should be required reading in all schools. 

The Black Friend: on being a better white person by Frederick Joseph– Another book that made me stop and reflect personally. I love the approachability of this content and that the author writes in a way that made me feel like he was talking directly to me.  The author includes pauses and side notes that made me actively reflect while reading instead of waiting until the end of the story. 

Darius the Great is Not Okay by Adib Khorram– I LOVED this book. It is all about family dynamics, figuring out who you are, and friendships (or sometimes the lack therof). I loved learning more about Persian culture through Darius’s perspective. Darius, at times, feels like he doesn’t belong which I think is something we can all relate to. This story provides insight to mental health in a realistic way. I highly recommend this book to teens and adults! 

Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson– I am a sucker for a good mystery and this one delivered.I honestly haven’t read many mysteries that are YA based, mostly adult mysteries. But this story was a treat.  It is the first of it’s series and I immediately had to check out the 2nd book to find out what happened next.  It’s a series that is definitely binge-worthy. 

For Everyone by Jason Reynolds– I have yet to find something of Jason Reynolds that hasn’t completely captivated my attention.  I don’t typically read a lot of poetry- but I devoured this book in one sitting. It has become my go-to gift for recent grads- replacing the ever popular “Oh! The places you’ll go” 

One to Watch by Kate Stayman-London – I admit I have definitely gotten sucked into the Bachelor/Bachelorette a time or two even when it makes me cringe. This book shows it all. I love that the main character is a plus sized model and it is filled with diverse characters. I love that it addresses body image and how women are portrayed in the media. It’s an entertaining read for sure. 

Beartown by Frederik Backman– Frederik Backman is one of the most talented writers I have ever read. His ability to develop characters is truly a gift. This story captured me almost immediately. This is so much more than a hockey book. 

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides- I thought I had this psychological thriller figured out- but I didn’t AT ALL. This book is full of twists that kept me intrigued with each turn of the page. 

Well Met by Jen Deluca– A love story that takes place at the renaissance fair? What more could you possibly want!? When I lived in Pennsylvania,  I went to the renaissance fair every year. Ahh the memories! This book was a cute, fun, funny- everything you expect and want out of a romcom. 

Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid- I read this right around the time I started watching Little Fires Everywhere on Hulu. I found myself making comparisons between the characters on the show and in this book. I think Reid does a good job of tackling the “white saviors”.  Was this my best read of 2020? No, but I still think it is worth the read. 

Good Talk: A Memoir in Conversations by Mira Jacob- I don’t often read graphic novels, but I couldn’t put this one down. It is heartfelt and witty and tackles the complexity of race issues in America. 

The Guest List by Lucy Foley – This mystery takes place off the coast of Ireland on an island. It is classic whodunnit mystery that has you turning the pages to figure it out. Again- I thought I had it figured out- but I was wrong!  

The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren – This is one of the first books that got me out of my reading funk during the quarantine back in April. It is fun and had me laughing out loud. I’m always a fan of the enemies turned lovers trope!