Hi friends! It’s finally the new year, so I wanted to share some of my favorite books that I read during 2020! I read a lot of great books and somehow I rated over 40 books as 5-stars, so it was tough narrowing down this list, and I have some honorable mentions at the end as well.
Let me know if you had similar feelings about any of these books!
note: these are in no particular order!
The Scapegracers by Hannah Abigail Clarke
If you follow me on twitter, it’s probably no surprise that this book ended up on this list, because I loved it so much. It’s a YA fantasy / contemporary about an outcast lesbian witch named Sideways Pike, who is hired by a group of ‘popular’ girls to perform magic at their Halloween party, and things sort of get wild after that. I have a full review up for this book, which you can check out here for more of my thoughts!
Late to the Party by Kelly Quindlen
I haven’t talked about this book in a little while, but every time I think about my favorite books of the year, it immediately comes to mind. This is a YA contemporary about a girl named Codi who is feeling very trapped in life, and specifically trapped by this perception of her that others have which she feels isn’t true to who she is. This definitely isn’t a book for everyone because there’s a some questionable actions, but I thought it was a very relatable book about being a teenager and I deeply connected with Codi a lot more than I was expecting. It’s also the wlw & mlm solidarity novel I didn’t know I needed, but loved so much. I really want to reread this in 2021 and write a proper review for it!
One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston
Another one on this list that probably isn’t surprising to most people who know me, because I yelled about it so much on twitter and I’m so glad I was able to read an ARC of this. This is a NA romcom about a girl named August who moves to New York City for a fresh start in a new city with a new college. She’s a cynic who thinks moving to New York will prove her right: that there’s no such thing as magic or cinematic love stories, but then she meets Jane on the subway and that changes everything. I have a full review up here for this book as well, so check that out for my thoughts!
You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson
I was hoping this would be a cute contemporary when I first picked it up, but I ended up loving it so much more than I was expecting. It’s a sapphic YA contemporary about a girl named Liz who enters her school’s competition to become prom queen in order to get the scholarship that comes with the title. Meeting the new girl in town makes this competition a little more bearable, but then Liz finds out that Mack is also running for prom queen. The romance was so adorable, and I loved all the characters so much!
The Weight of the Stars by K. Ancrum
THIS BOOK! I desperately want to do a reread of this and annotate a physical copy because it absolutely destroyed me, and I loved that. This book follows two teenage girls, one who dreams of space travel but knows her hopes are out of reach, and one who was left behind as a baby by her mother on a one-way trip to the edge of the solar system. This unlikely duo, along with a bunch of other misfits, come together in unexpected and powerful ways. The writing is stunning, there’s a slowburn hate to love romance, it’s sapphic – it’s so good.
Burn Our Bodies Down by Rory Power
I loved Rory Power’s debut novel, Wilder Girls, but this book easily cemented her as one of my favorite authors of all-time. It’s about a girl named Margot who grew up with just her mom, and she doesn’t know much about her family. She’s desperate for answers, and finds the name of a town on the back of a postcard, where she finds her grandmother and tries to discover the truth. This book is full of family secrets, strained relationships, and truly weird happenings. A lot of this book is a suspenseful quiet type of horror, and the ending is so much weirder than I was expecting, but I loved it all so much. I have a full review up here if you’re interesting in hearing more of my thoughts!
The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab
This book was really popular, and ended up on so many people’s favorites list, but I think it’s deserved. I truly had no intention of picking this book up until I was convinced by Andie. It’s about a girl, Addie LaRue, who makes a Faustian bargain in order to live forever but this comes with an unexpected price: to be forgotten by everyone she meets. This book is so beautifully written, and I loved so much about it from the alternating timeline, the characters, the atmosphere, it was just stunning. I ended up loving this so much more than I was expecting, and I was absolutely destroyed emotionally by the ending.
Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas
This is such an amazing debut about a trans Latinx boy named Yadriel who is trying to prove himself to be a real brujo to his family. He performs the ritual himself with the help of his cousin, Maritza, and sets out trying to find the spirit of his cousin but ends up accidentally summoning the ghost of Julian Diaz, the school’s resident bad-boy. This book made me laugh, made me cry, made me smile – it was an overall great time.
Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse
This is the first book in a new and unique fantasy series inspired by the civilizations of pre-Columbian Americas, and it was an incredible ride. It follows three different main characters whose stories tie together by the end, and it’s full of celestial prophecy, political intrigue, and forbidden magic. I loved so much about this novel, but I think my favorite aspect is just how casually queer this book is. Two of the main characters are queer, one being bisexual, and several trans/nonbinary side characters, some of which use neopronouns too. This was such a refreshing and unique adult fantasy, and I’m very excited for the sequel! I do have a mini-review up here if you’re interested in hearing more of my thoughts!
The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang
I’m sure everyone has heard of this book at this point, but it’s well worth the hype. Just keep in mind it’s an adult war fantasy and there are a ton of trigger warnings. If you don’t know about this book, it follows Rin, a war orphan from a southern province who aced an Empire-wide test and got into the most elite military school in the country. While training at this school, Rin discovers she has an aptitude for shamanism, a rare power. All of this while the beginnings of a new war is brewing across the sea. I have a full spoiler-free review of this book here if you want to know more!
Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender
I think this is a contemporary book that isn’t for everyone, because a lot of questionable actions happen, but some aspects hit really deeply for me – particularly the conversations about gender. This is about a trans boy named Felix who is targeted via a transphobic photo gallery with pictures from before he transitioned that had his dead name as well. The main plot in this book follows Felix as he tries to figure out who did this because he wants revenge, but it also follows him falling in love for the first time and questioning his identity as a trans boy, and so much more. This is another book that made me laugh, cry, smile, etc., and it has a special place in my heart so I had to include it.
- These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong: Romeo & Juliet retelling set in 1929 Shanghai with excellent enemies to lovers, do I need to say more?
- The Electric Heir by Victoria Lee: This is the sequel to The Fever King, and this duology is honestly so slept on and I need y’all to wake up because it’s SO GOOD! It’s set in a world with this plague (sounds familiar, right?) except people who survive often wake up with powers. The MC is a technopath for example, and it’s really cool!
- Darius the Great Deserves Better by Adib Khorram: I love both of the books in this duology, but I definitely enjoyed the second one more. There’s a lot of really important discussions about depression and mental health in these books, and I love them so much.
- Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust: This is a sapphic snow white ‘retelling’ (moreso loosely based on snow white) that I loved so much when I read it. I loved the characters, but the writing and the atmosphere was my favorite aspect.
- The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon: This is a sapphic adult high fantasy novel, which is very long, but very worth the read. I have a full review here if you want to know more!
That’s it for this post! As always, thanks for reading! Until next time,