If there was a small silver lining in 2020 to spend all this time indoors, then it had to be the ridiculous amount of books. I caught up along with royals, visited alternative versions of the past, went to the art camp in Brooklyn and even explored one very whimsical haunted house (below).
I loved it a lot, but the ten below, in no particular order, really stood out to me as my favorite new books of 2020. For anyone who wants to start 2021 with a good read, check out one of these books. You will not be disappointed.
Everyone should make time to read this disturbing, thoughtful story. This heartbreaker focuses on a young woman who has a dark secret: since her young teens, she has been in a relationship with her English teacher in high school.
What appears to be a clear case of abuse is more complicated in Vanessa’s own mind, where she sees it as a false love story. When years later more victims emerge under the #MeToo movement, she has the challenging task of having to re-contextualize her life, asking herself how much of a victim she really could have been.
This book avoids easy answers and cleverly examines how we process trauma. It’s a deeply compassionate look at a horrible thing, and I could not stop thinking about it all year. *
What would you do if you suddenly moved forward five years in the future, could see your life (including a mystery man who is definitely not your current fiancé!), And then just a few moments later return to the present day? This is what happens to Dannie, who is then determined to ignore her inexplicable experience – but of course it quickly becomes impossible when the mystery of her dreams (future?) Appears in her real life.
I love books that are secretly about female friendship, not romance, and this sweet, heartbreaking charmer definitely fits the bill. You send chapter by chapter to your best friend, and revelation by revelation. If I devoured this loaded romance, I could easily have portrayed it on the big screen starring Anna Kendrick or Alison Brie.
Honestly, cool and challenging, this novel follows twin black women who run away from their small town as teenagers. Years later, one sister with her daughter returned home and fled from a bad ex. It seems like the other one has disappeared into a new life when she realizes she can succeed for white.
The novel jumps around in time and perspectives, with some exciting plot twists. The story explores race, yes, but it is also a beautiful story about the bonds that bind and the choices that make up a life. *
4. Open book by Jessica Simpson
It was for me the most delicious surprise of the year! You do not have to be a super fan of Simpson to enjoy her thoughtful, clear-eyed memory, which is instantly devouring and memorable. It will definitely be a nice read for anyone who remembers her approximately Newlyweds for the court over Nick Lachey, a virgin bride, and the ultra-weird TV experience, but the book shines brightest as Simpson’s moving track of emotions is reminiscent of a very public sex symbol and the spiritual number it has on her does fragile self-esteem when the public decides that it’s just not for her anymore.
It’s a fascinating look behind the curtain, all the more disarmed by her candid voice on everything from her business activities to her struggle with alcoholism. Bonus: you will absolutely never watch John Mayer terrible boyfriend, again in the same way.
When her teenage sister goes missing and is murdered in a Caribbean resort, 7-year-old Claire naturally sits with a million questions. As an adult, she is harassed, but a chance encounter with a stranger from the island as an adult sends her on a journey to find answers about a mysterious woman she may not have known as well as she thought. .
Strange and complicated, the shifting perspectives will definitely keep you interested and guessed until the end. *
I’m already a fan of Cole’s thanks to her excellent romance novels, but this thriller took my love to a new level. If no one is watching is the kind of book you break through in one sitting, desperate to know what happens next and unable to stop until you do.
Sydney Green is a longtime Brooklyn resident who has seen gentrification done to be her beloved, close-knit community. But when older residents start disappearing, she suspects that something is still sinister going on. Big Go out vibes means you should read this one with a light on! *
This YA crowdpleaser takes place in just one day – exactly election day. When two teenagers, who are both voting for the first time, run into each other at their polling station, intrigue flies, if not completely sparks. Over the course of a number of hours, with a mini-trip, family problems and more, the duo get to know each other and realize that these opposites actually have a lot in common.
Although it does not overwhelm you with it, I appreciate the underlying message of this book about how important it is to vote, the horrors of voter oppression, and how the personality is political, and so on. You will have Marva and Duke to both share their feelings AND get more people to vote. Netflix, this is the best option – a new kind of teenage dream, full of optimism, action and hope. *
This intimate story is about the families we were born into and the families we choose for ourselves – and how and when they can fall apart. Benson and Mike are a growing couple. When a family disaster strikes, Mike has to go to Osaka, Japan to visit his dying father, and in the process undergoes major life changes. The two must find out what being together means and whether it is possible to grow together.
It takes place in Houston and Japan, and it’s a quiet, sensual exploration of how we decide who we like. *
9. One to look at by Kate Stayman-London
If you need a delightful romantic comedy, this debut novel is the perfect super-sweet treat. It follows a plus-size fashion blogger, Bea, who becomes the next star of The Bachelorette (or, in the language of the book, Main pressure). But you do not have to look The Bachelorr to enjoy this clever romance.
The book deals with profound body image issues, and it’s an explosion to try and guess who of the many charming suitors from the show Bea will end up with. It’s like entertaining a season of reality TV, but this time complete with a clever and special happiness.
Fans of the Brontës, listen: the creepy novel, which took place in Mexico in the fifties, follows Noemí, a young socialite, who is sent by her father to investigate what happens when her newly married, naive cousin gives them a panicking plea for help by sending a bizarre letter. She’s going to an old whimsical estate!
As the tension builds with the something-is-seriousof the family she examines, the story becomes quite bloody, but this feminist twist on a few twists in the genre makes it new again. You will feel a sudden chill in the air as you drive through this winding excitement, full of spirits, disturbing memories and murder.
* indicates that seat has been repeated or adjusted from a previous summary in 2020