SLIDER

Finding New Favorites in 2020


About halfway through the year, I often do a little assessment of my reading. How am I doing on my Goodreads Challenge? Am I making progress on the various bookish goals I've set? Is there anything I need to prioritize in the next six months? In the process, I take a look at everything I've read to see what has stood out. I love to think about what will be on my favorites list at the end of the year. Today I'm highlighting my top ten from the first half of 2020! On my list, clicking the book title will take you to my original review. Each title and author is followed by my rating. And, as a bonus, I've added a heart () to the books that I have no doubt will make the final list in December, too.

My Top Ten of 2020 (So Far!)

1. THE HAPPY EVER AFTER PLAYLIST BY ABBY JIMENEZ 
This highly anticipated companion to The Friend Zone didn't disappoint me! In fact, I loved it so much that I've already read it twice this year. I loved the heroine's hard-fought healing after the devastating loss she experienced, the amazing relationship she has with her best friend, and the adorable romance with one of my new favorite book boyfriends. It was fun, immediately had me hooked, and gave me just the right amount of emotional catharsis. 

2. IF I NEVER MET YOU BY MHAIRI MCFARLANE 
McFarlane has been an author obsession since I read my first book from her back in 2014, and she hasn't disappointed me yet. In some ways, I think each new book is even better than the one before... but you can never make me choose a favorite! This release is the perfect example of everything I love about McFarlane's books: a ton of personal growth for the heroine, a swoony romance, and so much emotion. Bonus: this one has fake dating!

3. YOU DESERVE EACH OTHER BY SARAH HOGLE 
If a summary mentions hate-to-love in it and has an interesting premise – like an engaged couple who can't stand each other – I have to read it. It worked in my favor with this book! I might have some reservations recommending it broadly based on the heroine + how most of the couple's issues stem from miscommunication, and yet... I loved it! The quirky characters, sarcastic writing, and twist on my favorite trope just stole my heart.

4. A GOOD GIRL'S GUIDE TO MURDER BY HOLLY JACKSON
If you love Veronica Mars or Nancy Drew, this book is for you. As soon as I started reading, I was hooked! The way the book had the heroine's project logs, suspect lists, evidence, and interview transcripts interspersed throughout made me feel like I was part of her investigation. I didn't know how much I needed a crime-solving teenager in my reading life! This mystery is wrapped up by the end of the book, but I'm so happy this will be a series. 

5. I MISS YOU WHEN I BLINK BY MARY LAURA PHILPOTT 
This is probably my most unexpected favorite of 2020 – and the only non-fiction book to make my list. I can't remember the last time I read a book of essays, but I'm so thankful I was drawn to this cover. I think that I read this book at the exact right time in my life. There was something about the way the author explored memory, time, and identity that struck home with me. I have a feeling this is a book I'll return to again and again.

6. HAPPY & YOU KNOW IT BY LAURA HANKIN
When I chose this for my Book of the Month pick, it felt like taking a risk. I've been burned by books about rich, entitled moms before! But this was the perfect blend of realistic, honest thoughts on motherhood through a satirical lens. I was so invested in all the drama, the way privilege played a role in what happened, and thought the ending was so satisfying. If you like Big Little Lies, this should be on your radar, too.

7. THE GIVER OF STARS BY JOJO MOYES
Based on my history with Moyes' book, I was a little skeptical about her latest release. But I couldn't resist the siren call of horseback-riding librarians in Depression-era Kentucky, so I gave it a try. And what a great decision it turned out to be! The time period, setting, and the female friendships worked so perfectly. I loved that it had a vivid setting, well-developed characters and a plot with lots of drama – a winning combination.

8. THE HEIR AFFAIR BY HEATHER COCKS & JESSICA MORGAN
From the moment I finished The Royal We in 2015, I was hoping for a sequel. 2020 hasn't been the year I'd wish for, but my dreams did come true with the release of this book. I loved all the ways it explored trying to be a person when you're also a position – the weight of history on your shoulders and trying to please the public with all of your choices. It was the perfect blend of thought-provoking scenarios and dramatic, dishy fun. I can't wait to re-read!

9. BEACH READ BY EMILY HENRY 
This book snuck up on me! Rave reviews on Instagram put it on my radar, and I'm so glad I listened to the hype. It had so many elements I love: great backstories for the characters, quippy banter, a fabulous female friendship, a fun premise, and a surprising amount of emotion. You may be expecting a light and breezy beach read, but it's a little more like wading into the ocean and being blown away by all the life underneath the surface. 

10. HOUSE OF EARTH AND BLOOD BY SARAH J. MAAS 
More than anything else on this list, my reaction to this book was It's Complicated. I went on such a journey while reading that I had to write a long review showing how feelings changed while I was reading. Thankfully, I loved it by the end, but it did take me a while to get there. I'm so glad it ended on a high, despite the slow and confusing start, and can't wait to see what happens next. And I have a feeling re-reading will cement it more as a favorite.

BONUS: HEADLINERS by Lucy Parker 
The perfect first book of the year and new decade! Parker consistently writes amazing romances with well-developed characters and just enough drama, and her latest release was no exception. The only reason it's feature here instead of in my stack? I don't own a physical copy yet! And yes, I'll be remedying that oversight immediately.

A few more "honorable mention" books that I've loved this year: The Real Jane Austen by Paula Byrne, Atomic Habits by James Clear, Tweet Cute by Emma Lord and Blue-Eyed Devil by Lisa Kleypas

*I received The Happy Ever After PlaylistIf I Never Met You and The Heir Affair for review consideration. This did not affect my opinions or reviews.

What's the best book you've read so far this year?

1 comment

  1. Ahhh, I loved The Happily ever after playlist and You desrve each other. Perfect summer reads.

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