So far, I’ve read 74 books this year…that’s an insane amount of books and I know it’s due to coronavirus. Being locked in my house definitely helped my reading life! 😊
Here are my #HalfwayTop10 selections:
Saving Ruby King by Catherine Adel West – By far, my favorite book of the year!! An incredible debut that checked all the boxes for me!
The Two Lives of Lydia Bird by Josie Silver – I’m almost guaranteed to love a book about grief and this one did not disappoint. The cover makes you think this book is going to be light and fluffy, but it dives deep in a realistic way and ends on a hopeful note.
Writers & Lovers by Lily King – Patience is required to get through the first quarter of the book, but then you fall into the story and the book is hard to put down. I loved how King portrayed the mundanity and reflective nature of day-to-day life.
The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett – This book would have stood out to me regardless of when I picked it up, but to have read it when it paralleled real life so much really made it stick its thorns into my side. I won’t soon forget the Vignes twins and their plights to find where they belong in this color-jaded society.
My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell – It’s weird to pick a book about sexual assault on a minor as a top pick of the year, but what makes this book so important is the way it depicts the long lasting effects trauma can have on a person. It also highlights the grooming techniques of a perpetrator and how their slow, insiduous methods eventually break down boundaries and gives them the access they desire. I felt it was an important read as a mother to a pre-teen daughter. (Please be aware that this is not an easy book to read and that trigger warnings abound!)
Anna K by Jenny Lee – I read this one at the beginning of the coronavirus shelter-in-place guidelines so that may have influenced my opinion, but I found this book to be such a delicious look into the lives of elite teenagers in New York City. Whether or not the depictions were acurate, this was the juicy, lighthearted book I needed!
The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James – Need a fast-paced thriller that gives you the perfect blend of pacing, mystery, and creepiness? I tore through this book in less than 24 hours and loved it! St. James writes paranormal stories so well and she is now an autobuy author for me!
We Are Not From Here by Jenny Torres Sanchez – Another book that tackles the issues facing Central Americans and what drives them to risk everything for a chance to come to the USA, I listened to this book on audio and had literal tears streaming down my face. Technically categorized as YA, don’t let that detour you from reading this one. Told from the perspective of three teenagers, it highlights the immigrant’s journey well. Also, being an #ownvoices author lends to the authenticity in a way that Cummins’ missed in American Dirt.
The Last Train to Key West by Chanel Cleeton – I really love Cleeton’s books and I was so happy to read her latest. While the writing style is familiar, this book felt like a bit of a departure from her previous two books. With a new cast of characters, Cleeton dips her hand into mystery and I really enjoyed it! There are three protaganists – all with different backgrounds and motivations – that build up and eventually entertwine to a satisfying ending. This is a perfect book to throw in your bag to read either beach or pool side!
The Girl With the Louding Voice by Abi Darê – I love a good coming-of-age novel and this is a great one! Again, there are a lot of trigger warnings with this book, but Adunni is a character you can’t help but root for. She overcomes many obstacles and her strength of mind never waivers. Darê proves herself as an author to watch from this masterpiece of a debut!
And because I can never just stop with 10, here are some honorable mentions:
Me by Elton John – First off, I’m a huge fan of Elton John…always have been and probably always will be. I’m enamored by him so I had to read his one and only memoir. It was juicy and gossipy and I loved his vulnerability. I know he’ll always be a fussy Britian, but that’s part of his charm to me!
Lovely War by Julie Berry – This is YA, but doesn’t read anything like it (so if that’s a turn off for you, don’t let it be a detterant! If anything it reads more like a historical romance set during The Great War (WWI). The most fascinating thing about Lovely War is its unique premise – the narrators of the story are a rich cast of Greek mythological characters. It has themes of romance, friendship, strength, and survival…weaving it all together in the most beautiful way.
Untamed by Glennon Doyle – I have a great appreciation for the way Doyle writes about pain, growth, and healing. After reading her books/blogs/posts, I often feel like I’ve left a therapy session; her insights are relevant to everyone and I personally relate to her thoughts so much. She is a warrior for peace, love, and acceptance and I’m so grateful for her voice in the world.
The Holdout by Graham Moore – Have you ever served on a jury? I’ve been called for jury duty several times, but I’ve never actually made it onto the actual jury of a trial. I’ve always been intrigued by the process, but I can also admit that I would find it terrifying to actually serve – especially a serious trial with real repercussions to people’s lives. Not does The Holdout follow the typical courtroom drama format, but it really dives into the jury itself, giving its readers a new perspective to whole process. It’s a fast-paced book and perfect for a quick summer read!
Rodham by Curtis Sittenfeld – This is the book I’m most reluctant to add to this list for a couple of reasons, but ultimately decided its worth suggesting. It’s speculative fiction at its finest – though there are some scenes that you just can’t unsee (if you know, you know! 😳). Other than some of those awkward moments, Sittenfeld proves that she’s a phenomenal writer, and I had to continue to remind myself that this is a fictional book, not a memoir! This would be a great book club selection as there would be a lot discussion topics that could be really interesting and many that could get out of hand and add a level of fun too!
It was pretty hard to narrow down 74 books to just 15 suggestions, but I think this is a pretty representative list for 2020 so far! I can’t wait to see how this list differs at the end of the year – I already know one of these has been knocked off by my current read!
I’d love to hear what have been some of your favorite book(s) so far this year…drop me a comment below!