This hot mess of a year is already halfway over, and I can’t say I’m feeling nostalgic for the first half of it. The good thing about the year so far is that I’ve read so many amazing books. I’ve painstakingly and painfully (it was very hard) narrowed down the 49 books I read in the first half of 2020 to my top ten! Without further ado –
*These titles are organized by alphabetization, not favorite to least favorite. Now, that would be too hard!
Almond is a translated work, originally published in Korea as a Young Adult novel. In this fast-paced story, we get to know Yunjae – a boy born with a “brain condition… that makes it hard for him to feel emotions like fear or anger. ” I was very invested in Yunjae’s life and highly recommend this fantastic translated work.
Magic, pure magic. Cantoras is historical fiction, which is a genre that I specifically do not like, but my god – this was in a league of its own. I loved this story of friendship, love, survival, and political unrest among a tight-knit group of queer women in mid-to-late 1900s Uruguay. An absolute must read.
Can you say HOT? And the love interests don’t even touch until like the last third of the book. I mean, wow! Get a Life, Chloe Brown was so good – funny, endearing, sexy, and featuring a differently-abled main character. You’ll love this no matter your stance on rom coms!
I love being so moved by a book that I cry; it sets the book apart and holds on to a piece of my heart. In Five Years absolutely qualifies as one of these rare kinds of books. I loved this quick, very surprising story of fierce friendship and letting go of the plans you have for your life in favor of the plans life has for you.
Oh man, Juliet Takes a Breath is such. good. YA! So thought-provoking – particularly for those of us who subscribe to a white-washed brand of feminism – and just a joy. Juliet takes a leap of faith when she moves to Portland for the summer to intern for the feminist author she idolizes. While there, she realizes that her idol’s feminism is not quite her own. A great, joyful exploration of feminism, race, and identity, and a must-read!
It’s clear from Red at the Bone that quality reigns supreme over quantity. This teeny book packs a major punch and with the lightest touch explores parenthood, sexuality, heartbreak, kinship, and loss. This beautiful, poetic novel is a warm, somber hug from a loved one.
This belly laugh of a book is just what the doctor ordered. Hysterical and ridiculous, The Roxy Letters is so entertaining and just plain FUN. Roxy’s life in Austin, TX revolves around her woeful job at Whole Foods, a painful lack of money, and reminding herself that she is a goddess. Told through letters to her ex-boyfriend, this is not one to miss if you need a laugh.
Feeling the need to lean into this whole global pandemic thing? Station Eleven is just the novel for you! I enjoyed the futuristic, apocalyptic themes in this story, but what I found especially fantastic was the character development and exploration. Following these people as they navigate a new world is so fascinating and compelling. This is an oldie (2016, lol) but a goodie, for sure.
Such a Fun Age is such a good piece of contemporary fiction. A rich white mother employs a young Black woman to babysit her child, and their relationship is nothing if not strained; especially when Emira is accused of kidnapping her charge at a supermarket and it’s caught on film. This is a really great exploration of power, racism, and when meaning well isn’t nearly enough.
What happens when twin sisters’ lives diverge so starkly that they find themselves worlds away from each other? Desiree marries a dark-skinned Black man in direct defiance of her mother and community, who prefer light skin. Stella chooses to pass for white, marries a rich white man, and sheds her race for good. Compelling, heart-rending, and spanning decades, The Vanishing Half is not one to miss.
Have you read any of my favorites? Tell me about your top ten here or at my Instagram, @bookmarkedbya!