Goodreads Choice Awards 2020: Semifinal Round

Last week, I provided commentary on the opening round of the Goodreads Choice Awards. For each category, I gave you what book I voted for, which nominated books I have read, and my predicted winner. I will skip a few categories – I either haven’t read any books in that category or it’s not a genre I really pay attention to.

A weird thing happens in the Semifinal Round: there are five additional nominations…this accounts for the write-in votes! And write-ins are no longer taken!

These lists are certainly exhaustive at this point of the game, so I’m hoping the next round, the lists are a little shorter!

Best Fiction

The original list of nominations (the books I’ve read are in bold):

  • The Midnight Library by Matt Haig
  • The Girl With the Louding Voice by Abi Daré
  • Writers & Lovers by Lily King
  • American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins
  • Big Summer by Jennifer Weiner
  • Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi
  • My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell
  • Luster by Raven Leilani
  • Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid
  • Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano
  • Anxious People by Fredrik Backman
  • A Burning by Megha Majumdar
  • Homeland Elegies by Ayad Akhtar
  • If I Had Your Face by Frances Cha
  • The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel

The additional new nominations (the books I’ve read are in bold):

  • Real Life by Brandon Taylor
  • Oona Out of Order by Margarita Montimore
  • The Death of Vivek Oji by Akwaeke Emezi
  • Migrations by Charlotte McConaghy
  • In An Instant by Suzanne Redfearn

Last week I voted for Writers & Lovers. With the new additions, I had a tough choice: was I going to stick with my original vote or switch it to The Death of Vivek Oji – one of my favorite books of the year?

My vote during the Semifinal Round: The Death of Vivek Oji by Akwaeke Emezi

My Predicted Winner: American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins (I’m sticking with this one!)

Mystery & Thriller

The original list of nominations (the books I’ve read are in bold):

  • Long Bright River by Liz Moore
  • Home Before Dark by Riley Sager
  • Winter Counts by David Heska Wanbli Weiden
  • You Are Not Alone by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen
  • The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James
  • One By One by Ruth Ware
  • The Boy From the Woods by Harlan Coben
  • The Searcher by Tana French
  • Unspeakable Things by Jess Lourey
  • Blacktop Wastelands by S.A. Cosbey
  • When No One Is Watching by Alyssa Cole
  • The Devil and the Dark Water by Stuart Turton
  • And Now She’s Gone by Rachel Howzell Hall
  • The Wives by Tarryn Fisher
  • The Guest List by Lucy Foley

The additional new nominations (the books I’ve read are in bold):

  • The Night Swim by Megan Goldin
  • Confessions on the 7:45 by Lisa Unger
  • All the Devils Are Here (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, #16) by Louise Penny
  • First Girl Gone (Charlotte Winters, #1) by L.T. Vargas & Tim McBain
  • Troubled Blood (Cormoran Strike, #5) by Robert Galbraith

I’m sticking with my vote from last week, The Sun Down Motel, to win this category. I’m love Simone St. James and I hope she wins the honors!

My vote during the Semifinal Round: The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James

My Predicted Winner: Home Before Dark by Riley Sager (though I’ve got my eye on Long Bright River and The Sun Down Motel for this category as well!)

Historical Fiction

The original list of nominations (the books I’ve read are in bold):

  • Magic Lessons (Practical Magic, #0.1) by Alice Hoffman
  • The Book of Longings by Sue Monk Kidd
  • Deacon King Kong by James McBride
  • The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett
  • A Long Petal of the Sea by Isabel Allende
  • Where the Lost Wander by Amy Harmon
  • The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner
  • The Henna Artist by Alka Joshi
  • Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell
  • The Pull of the Stars by Emma Donoghue
  • The Night Watchman by Louise Erdrich
  • The Evening and the Morning by Ken Follett
  • The Book of Lost Names by Kristin Harmel
  • The Mirror and the Light by Hilary Mantel
  • The Book of Lost Friends by Lisa Wingate

Since the last round, I’ve read two more books in this category: Where the Lost Wander and Betty. Both of these books were five star reads for me. If you remember from the first round, I picked Deacon King Kong – a book I adored so much and is a very strong contender for Book of the Year for me.

I am literally torn here…I’m having a hard time making a choice (though I won’t be voting for Betty because it doesn’t feel like historical fiction to me).

The additional new nominations (the books I’ve read are in bold):

  • Betty by Tiffany McDaniel
  • Utopia Avenue by David Mitchell
  • Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart
  • Code Name Hélène by Ariel Lawhon
  • The Paper Daughters of Chinatown by Heather B. Moore

My vote during the Semifinal Round: Where the Lost Wander by Amy Harmon (this was an extremely hard decision for me…and who knows if I’ll stick with it as the rounds continue.)

My Predicted Winner: The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett (sticking with this one for now!)

Romance

The original list of nominations (the books I’ve read are in bold):

  • In Five Years by Rebecca Serle
  • Beach Read by Emily Henry
  • The Switch by Beth O’Leary
  • The Two Lives of Lydia Bird by Lydia Bird
  • One To Watch by Kate Stayman-London
  • Party of Two (The Wedding Date, #5) by Jasmine Guillory
  • Take a Hint, Dani Brown (The Brown Sisters, #2) by Talia Hibbert
  • In a Holidaze by Christina Lauren
  • Something to Talk About by Meryl Wilsner
  • The Happy Ever After Playlist by Abby Jimenez
  • A Rogue of One’s Own (A League of Extraordinary Women, #2) by Evie Dunmore
  • Regretting You by Colleen Hoover
  • You Had Me at Hola by Alexis Daria
  • From Blood and Ash (Blood and Ash, #1) by Jennifer L. Armentrout
  • Boyfriend Material by Alexis Hall

The additional new nominations (the books I’ve read are in bold):

  • You Deserve Each Other by Sarah Hogle
  • Emerald Blaze (Hidden Legacy, #5) by Ilona Andrews
  • Sweet Temptation by Cora Reilly
  • Spoiler Alert (Spoiler Alert, #1) by Olivia Dade
  • Hands Down by Mariana Zapata

I didn’t recognize any of the new books added, so I’m sticking with my original vote, The Two Lives of Lydia Bird!

My vote during the Semifinal Round: The Two Lives of Lydia Bird by Josie Silver

My Predicted Winner: I totally think Colleen Hoover has a huge following, but with the addition of Emerald Blaze to the list, I’m switching my vote. I know nothing about the Hidden Legacy series, but there are a lot of books in the line up and they all have a decent rating. I’m taking a chance here, so we’ll see what happens in the next round!

Horror

The original list of nominations (the books I’ve read are in bold):

  • The Bright Lands by John Fram
  • The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix
  • Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
  • Devolution: A Firsthand Account of the Rainier Sasquatch Massacre by Max Brooks
  • Survivor Song by Paul Tremblay
  • Malorie (Bird Box, #2) by Josh Malerman
  • The Hollow Places by T. Kingfisher
  • The Year of the Witching by Alexis Henderson
  • The Hollow Ones by Guillermo del Toro
  • The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones
  • Plain Bad Heroines by Emily M. Danforth
  • Lakewood by Megan Giddings
  • If It Bleeds by Stephen King
  • Tender is the Flesh by Agustina Bazterrica
  • The Loop by Jeremy Robert Johnson

The additional new nominations (the books I’ve read are in bold):

  • World Departed (Cascadia, #1) by Sarah Lyons Fleming
  • The Ghost Tree by Christina Henry
  • Houndings of Hell (a CoC spin-off Novella) by Hunter Holmes
  • Secret Santa (A Horror for the Holidays) by Andrew Shaffer
  • Ring Shout by P. Djèlí Clark

Mexican Gothic still gets my vote in this category!

My vote during the Semifinal Round: Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

My Predicted Winner: If It Bleeds by Stephen King (I’m also sticking with this one because Stephen King is so popular and does horror so well.)

Nonfiction

The original list of nominations (the books I’ve read are in bold):

  • Hood Feminism: Notes From the Women That a Movement Forgot by Mikki Kendall
  • Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor by Layla F. Saad
  • Rage by Bob Woodward
  • Why We Can’t Sleep: Women’s New Midlife Crisis by Ada Calhoun
  • Big Friendship: How We Keep Each Other Close by Aminatou Sow & Ann Friedman
  • Don’t Overthink It by Anne Bogel
  • Here For It: Or, How To Save Your Soul in America by R. Eric Thomas
  • You’re Not Listening: What You’re Missing and Why It Matters by Kate Murphy
  • Buy Yourself the F*cking Lilies: And Other Rituals To Fix Your Life From Someone Who’s Been There by Tara Schuster
  • Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Jason Reynolds
  • Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning by Cathy Park Hong
  • Tightrope: Americans Reaching For Hope by Nicholas D. Kristof & Sheryl WuDunn
  • Hidden Valley Road: Inside the Mind of an American Family by Robert Kolker
  • We Keep the Dead Close: A Murder at Harvard and a Half Century of Silence by Becky Cooper
  • Get Out of Your Head: Stopping the Spiral of Toxic Thoughts by Jennie Allen

The additional new nominations (the books I’ve read are in bold):

  • Trust: America’s Best Chance by Pete Buttigieg
  • Blackout: How Black America Can Make Its Second Escape From the Democrat Plantation by Candace Owens
  • Reading While Black: African American Biblical Interpretation as an Exercise in Hope by EsauMcCaulley
  • Clanlands: Whiskey, Warfare, and a Scottish Adventure Like No Other by Sam Heughan & Graham McTavish
  • Beyond the Gender Binary by Alok Vaid-Menon

For this category, I wrote in A Knock at Midnight by Brittany K. Barnett. So far, it’s been the most powerful book I’ve read and I think everyone should read it. I was so inspired by Barnett and her social justice plight and I can’t wait to hear what she does next.

I’m totally bummed that my write-in, A Knock at Midnight, didn’t make it onto the nominations. I’ve only read two of the nominations so this makes it a little harder to vote on.

My vote during the Semifinal Round: Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Jason Reynolds

My Predicted Winner: Hidden Valley Road: Inside the Mind of an American Family by Robert Kolker (I know Oprah chose this as a book club selection, so I’m guessing her influence will make this one more widely known.)

Memoir & Autobiography

The original list of nominations (the books I’ve read are in bold):

  • Hollywood Park by Mikel Jollett
  • The Beauty in Breaking by Michele Harper
  • Open Book by Jessica Simpson
  • Untamed by Glennon Doyle
  • Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man by Mary L. Trump
  • Notes on Silencing by Lacy Crawford
  • Everything Beautiful in Its Time: Seasons of Love and Loss by Jenna Bush Hager
  • When Time Stopped: A Memoir of My Father’s War and What Remains by Ariana Neumann
  • Conditional Citizens: On Belonging in America by Laila Lalami
  • Nobody Will Tell You This But Me: A True (As Told To Me) Story by Bess Kalb
  • Uncanny Valley by Anna Wiener
  • The Adventurer’s Son by Roman Dial
  • A Promised Land by Barak Obama
  • The Meaning of Mariah Carey by Mariah Carey
  • All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson

The additional new nominations (the books I’ve read are in bold):

  • Memorial Drive: A Daughter’s Memoir by Natasha Trethewey
  • Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey
  • The Rural Diaries: Love, Livestock, and Big Life Lessons Down on Mischief Farm by Hilarie Burton Morgan
  • The Answer Is…: Reflections on My Life by Alex Trebek
  • I Have Something To Tell You by Chasten Glezman Buttigieg

I’m still voting for Untamed. Everyone seems to love her…as do I!

My vote during the Semifinal Round: Untamed by Glennon Doyle

My Predicted Winner: Untamed by Glennon Doyle

History & Biography

The original list of nominations (the books I’ve read are in bold):

  • The Address Book: What Street Addresses Reveal About Identity, Race, Wealth, and Power by Dierdre Mask
  • Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson
  • Wandering in Strange Lands: A Daughter in the Great Migration Reclaims Her Roots by Morgan Jerkins
  • Begin Again: James Baldwin’s America and Its Urgent Lessons for Our Own by Eddie S. Glaude, Jr.
  • Fight of the Century: Writers Reflect on 100 Years of Landmark ACLU Cases by Michael Chabon & Ayelet Waldman
  • You Never Forget Your First: A Biography of George Washington by Alexis Coe
  • 999: The Extraordinary Young Women of the First Official Jewish Transport to Auschwitz by Heather Dune Macadam
  • The House of Kennedy by James Patterson
  • A Black Women’s History of the United States by Diana Ramey Berry & Kali Nicole Gross
  • Overground Railroad: The Green Book and Roots of Black Travel in America by Candacy Taylor
  • The Lincoln Conspiracy: The Secret Plot to Kill America’s 16th President – And Why It Failed by Brad Meltzer & Josh Mensch
  • Countdown 1945: The Extraordinary Story of the 116 Days That Changed the World by Chris Wallace
  • Agent Sonya: Moscow’s Most Daring Wartime Spy by Ben Macintyre
  • The Splendid and the Vile by Erik Larson
  • His Truth Is Marching On: John Lewis and the Power of Hope by Jon Meacham

The additional new nominations (the books I’ve read are in bold):

  • Dead Famous: An Unexpected History of Celebrity from Bronze Age to Silver Screen by Greg Jenner
  • The Deviant’s War: The Homosexual vs. the United States of America by Eric Cervini
  • How the South Won the Civil War: Oligarchy, Democracy, and the Continuing Fight For the Soul of America by Heather Cox Richardson
  • Killing Crazy Horse: The Merciless Indian Wars in America (Bill O’Reilly’s Killing Series) by Bill O’Reilly
  • Humankind: A Hopeful History by Rutger Bregman

Because I believe Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson should be required reading for humanity, I’m still voting for this one in this category.

My vote during the Semifinal Round: Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson

My Predicted Winner: The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz by Erik Larson 

Debut Novel

The original list of nominations (the books I’ve read are in bold):

  • The Girl With the Louding Voice by Abi Daré
  • Real Life by Brandon Taylor
  • Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid
  • Valentine by Elizabeth Wetmore
  • Winter Counts by David Heska Wanbli Weiden
  • One To Watch by Kate Stayman-London
  • My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell
  • Luster by Raven Leilani
  • How Much of These Hills Is Gold by C. Pam Zhang
  • A Burning Megha Majumdar
  • The Year of the Witching by Alexis Henderson
  • The Bone Shard Daughter (The Drowning Empire, #1) by Andrea Stewart
  • The Henna Artist by Alka Joshi
  • Cemetary Boys by Aiden Thomas
  • The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner

The additional new nominations (the books I’ve read are in bold):

  • Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart
  • Raybearer (Raybearer, #1) by Jordan Ifueko
  • The First Sister (The First Sister Trilogy, #1) by Linden A. Lewis
  • You Deserve Each Other by Sarah Hogle
  • Axiom’s End (Noumena, #1) by Lindsay Ellis

Because my write-in didn’t make it, I’m really torn between Valentine, Real Life, and My Dark Vanessa.

My vote during the Semifinal Round: My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell

My Predicted Winner: My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell

While I didn’t officially vote in the remaining categories, I went ahead and recorded my predicted winners…just for fun! I’m totally guessing on these predictions because I am not invested enough in the categories to be qualified to even kind of have an idea of who will win. 

  • Fantasy: Crescent City by Sarah J. Maas (while I think The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue is gaining popularity, I don’t think it’ll beat out Crescent City…at least not yet.)
  • Science Fiction: Network Effect (The Murderbot Diaries, #5) by Martha Wells (sticking with Network Effect – mostly because I know nothing about this category!)
  • Humor: Shit, Actually: The Definitive, 100% Objective Guide to Modern Cinema by Lindy West (I’m switching to this one because I LOVE Lindy West!)
  • Science & Technology: That Wild Country: An Epic Journey through the Past, Present and Future of America’s Public Lands by Mark Kenyon (purely based on its cover!)
  • Food & Cookbooks: Eat a Peach by David Chang (based on trusted recommendation sources loving this one!)
  • Graphic Novels & Comics: Heartstopper (Heartstopper, #3) by Alice Oseman (totally guessing…I have no idea!)
  • Poetry: Home Body by Rupi Kaur (because of her popularity)
  • Young Adult Fiction: Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo
  • Young Adult Fantasy & Science Fiction: The Queen of Nothing (The Folk of the Air, #3) by Holly Black (because there’s a crazy amount of ratings on this one!)
  • Middle Grade & Children’s: The Tower of Nero (The Trials of Apollo, #5) by Rick Riordan (because Riordan is crazy popular in middle grade, it seems)
  • Picture Books: The Cool Bean (The Bad Seed, #3) by Jory John

And there you have it! Phew!

I would LOVE to hear your favorite books of the year…please drop me a comment below!

One thought on “Goodreads Choice Awards 2020: Semifinal Round

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