Wrapping up 2020 | Recapping My Year in Books!

What a year 2020 has been. I could not have predicted how crazy things would be, given the Pandemic, but despite things being very scary, stressful, and uncertain, reading has given me a grateful escape from my current worries. This year, though it’s been difficult and trying, has been a really great year of reading.

I’ve structured this post after Marshmallow Harmonies’s post, because she seems to have summed up her year perfectly, so definitely take a look her post here!

Anyway, let’s get to the stats:

Reading Stats:

Number of Books You Read: 100, which happened to be my goal, so I made it!!!

Pages Read: 31,812

Average Length of Book: 318

Average Rating: 3.3 Stars

Best Books of 2020

| Trouble Never Sleeps by Stephanie Tromly | This book was a bittersweet read for me, because it’s the last book in the “Trouble” series and I didn’t want it to end! It’s a fantastic finale to the series and I absolutely loved every minute of it. If you haven’t read this series, you simply must. It’s basically screwball comedy wrapped up in a high school mystery. I love it to death and will continue to re-read this series for the rest of my life.

| If We Were Villains by M. L. Rio | Wow, this book. It’s so, so good! I had it on my TBR list for so long, I’m thrilled I finally got to read it this year. If you like dark academia, this one is for you! It’s about a close-knit group of college theatre students, one of whom is finally being released from prison for murder. It’s told in flashbacks and you don’t know who died until very far in. I love it. It was also more diverse than I realized on the outset and I love that. It has a bit of an ambiguous ending, which I’m not super thrilled about (I like my endings clear-cut), but the rest of the book is so good that I’m giving it a pass. Read it!!!

| Vicious by V. E. Schwab | I finally got to read my first V. E. Schwab novel!!! I am so glad I started with this book. It was so good that I immediately went out and bought another one. I’m really looking forward to reading it this coming year. I also plan on reading more from Schwab, as she is my new favorite author. Another work of dark academia, too, so now I’m realizing I have a new favorite sub-genre as well! I love magic, and this book is full of it. It’s about two friends who discover that people can develop superpowers and the consequences of this discovery. I highly recommend!

| How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi | This year was certainly a tough year in more ways than one. Here in America, racism is becoming more obvious and rampant under our current presidency. This book is such a powerful piece on racism and how to practice anti racism in your life, because let’s face it, we all are learning, every day. You can’t just declare yourself not racist and leave it at that. I learned a lot from Kendi, and next year I plan on reading more of his work. This is definitely a must-read.

| The Left-Handed Booksellers of London by Garth Nix | Oh Garth Nix, how I love your writing! Like with Neil Gaiman, Nix is one of my favorite fantasy writers. He just really knows how to build a magical world. I loved this story which weaves magic and books together into an awesome, action-packed adventure! I also love that he writes many stand-alones in addition to writing series. This book is a stand-alone and it is so epic! I love all the characters, and the romance, though minimal, is very awesome. He even adds an element of gender fluidity! It’s pretty great if you love fantasy stories, especially in urban settings.

| Flamer by Mike Curato | I’m going to be up front and say that this book is definitely a must-read. I was taken on an emotional journey that I was not prepared for, and I cried. I did. This book is very powerful, a coming-of-age about a young boy who is only just starting to realize his sexual identity, who struggles with his image (suffering bullying about his weight and his race). It’s definitely one of those books that comes from a place of experience. The author is very open about how this book portrays elements of his own childhood. The artwork is fantastic, on top of everything else. I would say this is a must-read as well. It’s brilliant.

Honorable Mentions:

I would love to say more about all the amazing books I’ve read this year, but that would make a very long list, indeed, and so I just leave you with this: check out these amazing books! They are awesome and deserve to be read!

| These Violent Delights |The Silence of Bones | A Pho Love Story | The Graveyard Book | They Called Us Enemy | Braiding Sweetgrass | The Devil and the Dark Water |

Worst Books

I cannot describe how terrible (and unnecessarily long) the After series is. Anna Todd…is not a good writer, and these books are a classic example of toxic masculinity being presented as expected/acceptable. I read them to see what the hype was about, and I continued to read them because I wanted to see where it was going and if any improvement could be had. I’m here to tell you that no, no improvement occurs. Stay far away from these books.

I super did not like All Hail the House Gods or The Natural Way of Things. The former is a very weird, completely ridiculous “horror” story involving houses that eat people and to society that enables it to keep from being attacked by them and the former is about a group of girls who get kidnapped and forced to labor in the middle of nowhere and for basically no reason that is ever made apparent. I hated both and I regret the time spent reading them.

Bonfire and Brooklyn were both just boring. I would not recommend them.

Disappointing Books

While I enjoyed getting a further glimpse of the world of The Hunger Games, I didn’t really enjoy The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes. It was surprisingly disappointing, and way too long. No Offense was boring! I was hoping for more from Meg Cabot, and a book that has a librarian as a main character.

Red Hood was let down only because I absolutely loved Damsel by Arnold, so the bar was set much higher. I had to read Scythe for a class and it was…interesting. I did like parts of it, but overall I just did not enjoy it, despite it coming with such high recommendation from a friend. This is How You Lose the Time War could have been so much better, if only it weren’t so…disjointed. The world-building could also have been much better. And, lastly, I was very much disappointed by Everything I Thought I Knew because I absolutely loved the first 70% of the book and was very much let down by the ending. Not cool.

Most Surprising Books

I could not believe how much I enjoyed Kim Ji Young, Born 1982. Picked it up because of the Korean author/setting, stayed for the fierce study of gender inequality. I can’t recommend it enough. Ditto for The Code for Love and Heartbreak, the contemporary Emma retelling I didn’t know I needed! It was just so well adapted and so, so cute. Also super cute and unexpectedly good, Recommended for You, which takes place in a bookstore! It’s main characters are Jewish, which was nice to see! The romance is everything in this book, I love it!

I had to read Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe for a class and I totally didn’t expect to like it as much as I did. Saenz is a fantastic writer and I loved Ari. It’s probably the best LGBT+ book I’ve ever read (yes, I like it way more than Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda). Definitely go read it.

Book I Should Have Read Sooner

I picked up this book because of a class, but boy, I regret not having read any of Lu’s work until now! This book was really good! I can’t wait to read more of the series.

I have seen Lu’s books talked about frequently on book blogs and elsewhere. I just can’t believe it took a class to make me read one. I am definitely going to be checking out more books by her!

Best New Series

Legend/Legend #1 by Marie Lu is the dystopian action story I didn’t know I needed. It’s a trilogy, so I have two more to go, but I’m very much looking forward to seeing where Lu takes me with this series.

Ninth House/Alex Stern #1 by Leigh Bardugo was a bit of an unexpected read for me. I wasn’t planning on picking it up, but my gal pal book club picked it, so I ended up reading it…and liking it. What I’m not looking forward to is waiting until each successive book comes out, because there’s so much to remember! I hope it stays as good as it did.

Vicious/Villains #1 by V. E. Schwab is only a duology, but I absolutely cannot wait to pick up the next book. I hope the series ends well and I’ll be satisfied, since I only have two books to savor with this one.

Empress of Salt and Fortune/Singing Hills Cycle #1 by Nghi Vo was definitely a surprise for me. It’s a novella, but it’s really packed with an intricate story and rich world-building. It also features a non-binary character, which is really awesome. I can’t wait to read the next one.

Favorite Book Covers

Favorite Romances

  • Shoshanna and Jake from Recommended for You – They’re just so nerdy and cute! Seeing them gush about books is just so…squee!
  • Emma and George from The Code for Love and Heartbreak – So well developed and very well adapted contemporary versions of themselves from the originals.
  • Zoe and Digby from Trouble Never Sleeps – They’re not a new couple for me, but this book is when their relationship finally solidifies into an actual thing. I loved every second of it!
  • Linh and Bao from A Pho Love Story – who doesn’t love a good rivals to lovers story? Even though Bao and Linh aren’t really rivals. But their growth from love to friendship is so, so good!
  • Oliver and James from If We Were Villains – I just…didn’t expect this relationship, nor did I expect to love it so much but…they’re the top ship for me this year. Amazing.

Books to Reread in 2021

|The Count of Monte Cristo | The House of the Scorpion | Red Rising | Sabriel |

A couple of these are because I want to read sequels and I need a refresher. Otherwise, I just want to revisit them because…they’re some of my favorite books of all time. It’s my goal to go easier on myself this coming year, and part of that is reading things I love, so I’m really looking forward to picking these books up again.

Top Priority Books in 2021

Many of these are ARCs, but a few are books I’ve purchased in 2020 and have still not read. I have a goal to focus on books I own, to #startonyourshelfathon it up again, only even more! So, I’m definitely going to read these books this coming year, just you wait and see!

Well, that was quite a long post! I hope you enjoyed my break-down of my year in books. Let me know in the comments any thoughts you had about my favorites/least favorites of 2020, or what books you’re looking forward to in 2021!

5 thoughts on “Wrapping up 2020 | Recapping My Year in Books!

    1. I kept hearing how great it was, and maybe that made me set the bar too high, but yeah, the mechanics of it were only briefly touched on. When I read about time travel, I would generally like more clear explanations of what’s going on. I like that in general if I’m going to read science fiction/fantasy. I don’t know if it’s down to the fact that it’s written by two authors or not, but it just wasn’t as good as I hoped it would be.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Same!! I don’t need a completely detailed instruction on what’s happening, but I do like having some sort of explanation so I can generally picture it. I just find it fleshes the story out a little more

        Liked by 1 person

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