Last year was one of the best years I have ever had when it comes to reading. Not only did I read 125 books (23 more than 2019!), but I also encountered a lot of amazing, beautiful stories that I will take with me for a very long time.
I was going through my 2020 Goodreads reading list to pick my favorites, and let me tell you… I struggled. My initial plan was to pick my top 10 favorites, but there were so many great options there that I didn’t know what to do. I took my time selecting the best of the best, but then it got to a point where I couldn’t take any more books from the list… so I decided to make a list with my 12 favorite books instead!
In this list you will find a few books that came out in 2021, but there are a lot of books here that came out before. So without further ado, here is the crème de la crème of my 2020 reads!
- Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey
I will never forget Elizabeth is Missing – no pun intended! This book is about an elder woman who suffers from dementia, and the entire story is told from her perspective. As you can probably tell by the description I just gave you, it’s a very sad book. But it’s also one of the most memorable books I read last year. It gave me a glimpse of what it is like to have a disease like that in a very realistic way. The book is beautifully written and very well made, I can’t recommend it enough! You can find my full review here.
- Scythe (series) by Neal Shusterman
I put the cover of Scythe above, but what I’m about to say is valid for the entire series, because I didn’t read just the first book last year. This series is absolutely amazing! If you like dystopian books like I do, you need to check out this series because it surprised me. This story takes place in a time when humans achieved immortality, so now there are assigned scythes to kill people in order to control the population. So the story follows two apprentices and their scythe master who is teaching them how to do their jobs. What is so amazing about this story to me is the world building and plot. The story is complex, incredibly well made and entertaining… it’s worth your time, I promise. You can find my full review of the first book here.
- The Cruel Prince (Folk of the Air series) by Holly Black
Just like Scythe, I’m referring to the entire Folk of the Air series, not only the first book. I’m a big fan of dark, slow burn romances so it’s natural this would be right up my alley. Another fantastic thing about this book is the fantasy world! You have magical rules, a magical atmosphere and really complex, deep characters. It’s a terrific fae series that everyone should try. You can find my full review on the first book here.
- The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides
I was physically shaking when I finished this book. Yes, I agree, it sounds like an extreme reaction to have while reading a book, but this mystery thriller was absolutely insane. I won’t tell you a lot about this book because you’ll have a better experience if you go into it without knowing too much. Just trust me on this one. Just read it… you’ll thank me later. If you want to check out my full review (after reading it!), you can find it here. I still can’t believe how strongly that bomb hit me…
- A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson
I confess I had zero expectations when I first picked up this book. I didn’t expect it to be bad, but I thought it would be just a normal YA book with a typical story. Well, I was wrong and I’m not afraid of admitting it! This book is amazing. There are so many great elements present, like the fearless and intelligent main character, a good murder mystery and the interesting plot that grabs you and won’t let go. It’s truly an amazing book that took me by surprise. If you like murder mysteries, this is a great one to pick up! You can find my full review on this book here.
- Stepsister by Jennifer Donnelly
It’s no secret I’m a huge fan of retellings. I picked this up thinking it would be just another Cinderella retelling, but it was so much more! Stepsister became one of my favorite retellings of all time. The story is amazing and I fell in love with Isabell and how strong she was. This is a coming of age story that tells us we are not defined by what people think of us – a very powerful message, in my opinion. It was a very inspiring book to read, and I can’t recommend it enough. You can find my full review here.
- Imaginary Friend by Stephen Chbosky
It took me four months to finish this book. I know that does not sound like a compliment to the book, but that’s my fault. I could have read it faster, but I admit I felt intimidated because the portuguese version – my version – has almost 900 pages! I know for sure I would have finished this book sooner if I wasn’t an idiot, because the story is incredible! I wouldn’t describe it as an in-your-face kind of horror though, it’s more of a creepy, slow, disturbing story. It’s very haunting and the author does a great job creating an eerie atmosphere. The characters are amazing, the story is really good and I was creeped out the entire time! Yes, it took me a long time to finish it, but I can honestly say it was worth it! You can find my full review here if you want any more details!
- Michigan vs. the Boys by Carrie S. Allen
Oh boy… this book. I’m guilty of choosing books by their covers sometimes and I know I put myself in these situations, so why am I surprised when the books don’t turn out as I imagine them to? Don’t be fooled by the cover, this is not a cutesy YA book. I don’t want to go into too much detail about this book, but it definitely brought out a lot of feelings from me. I can’t believe I felt so angry and protective over a single character! It’s really a great, heartbreaking book that is not what you expect! You can find my full review here.
- My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell
Kate Elizabeth Russell messed up with my head with this book. I think I never felt so conflicted and grossed out by a book like I felt with this one. This is one of those books you will never forget – and probably will remember several times after reading it. It’s a book with a huge blurred line. In case you don’t know, this book portraits the romantic relationship between a high school student and her Literature teacher. You will be asking yourself constantly if what is going on is wrong or not, and you will keep rethinking your feelings. Some of my most asked questions while I read this book were: Is the teacher doing it on purpose? Does he know that he is doing it? Are his feelings true? It was such a conflicting book for me, but that’s why it was so great. This book will make you question things on a different level. I still have a hard time remembering the story is fictional, because I know this could easily be about a real person. I’m not going to lie, it’s a difficult book to go through, but I promise you it’s worth it. If you’re interested to know more about it, you can find my full review here.
- Leo (Preston Brothers series) by Jay McLean
I’ve read a lot of romance books before, but only a few were as good as Leo. I was in the mood for a smutty romance, and since I read all the Preston Brothers books except for this one, I knew it was time to pick it up. And let me tell you, this book is incredible. You would think by the cover that it would be a hollow, smutty romance but it actually has a very complex, dense story behind it. The plot draws you in and before you know it, you finish the book. What’s even more surprising is how this book is different from the others from the series. The first two books don’t have the depth this one has. Nonetheless, I still highly recommend the entire series if you never picked it up… but this book is the best, for sure! You can find my full review on Leo here.
- Heart Bones by Colleen Hoover
I read a few of Colleen’s books in 2020, but this one was my favorite. This book in particular reminded me a lot of Sarah Dessen’s books because it’s set in the summertime and it’s more focused on romance. Of course you still have the mystery and twists that are part of her writing style, so if you like her books for that reason, I promise you won’t be disappointed. It’s a great mix of romance, good plot and mystery… I highly recommend it! Here is my full review if you’re interested.
- Fable by Adrienne Young
Fable was stunning. There are a lot of pirate books out there, but this one is exceptional. The atmosphere, the writing, the way the characters talk and act, the storyline… It’s just beautiful and immersive. You can tell the author took her time with this book because it is very well made. If realistic pirate books existed, this would be their king. I’m also very excited for the sequel that is coming in a few months! Until then, you can find my full review of this book here.
See, what did I tell you? Aren’t these amazing? It was a great reading year for me because I got to know amazing stories and I truly had a lot of fun with my books! I’m excited for the future and I hope I’ll find new, beautiful stories to share with you in 2021.
What about you? What were the best books you read last year? Did you read any of these books I included in the list? Let me know in the comments – remember, sharing is caring! 🙂