Top 10 Books I Read in 2020

Ah, 2020…where do I even start? It’s safe to say that this was a crazy year for everyone, no matter where you are in the world. The one thing that I would normally say provided me comfort during tough times is books. But I can’t really say that this year. I love to read (omg…

Ah, 2020…where do I even start? It’s safe to say that this was a crazy year for everyone, no matter where you are in the world. The one thing that I would normally say provided me comfort during tough times is books. But I can’t really say that this year. 

I love to read (omg who would’ve guessed), but I went through quite a few reading slumps in the past six months alone. I’d like to say that I normally average reading 50-60 books a year. This year I read 40. I want to emphasize that I am proud of how many books I managed to get through, and that whether you read one book, or 12, or 100, that is still an accomplishment. 

That being said, it is a little discouraging personally that I didn’t hit my usual benchmark. Regardless, there’s always next year and there’s always a chance to improve :)) So, without further ado, let’s get into my favorite books of the year!

10 – VICIOUS by V.E. Schwab
my rating: 4/5 stars

Number 10 is not too shabby a spot! I read Vicious about a month ago and was very hesitant going into it. I’m generally not a fan of V.E. Schwab’s books, for reasons I won’t get into right now, but I had pretty low expectations for this. Obviously I really liked it! If you want to read about complex, morally grey characters, then this is definitely the book for you. We follow main characters Victor and Eli who are best friends turned enemies. In general the concept of this story was interesting. People with supernatural abilities? Yes please. To be honest I was a little let down by the execution of the plot. For a story that had the potential to be a lot more complex, it felt like Schwab just barely touched the surface of what could’ve happened. Luckily for this book, I prefer character-driven stories anyways. This book CAME THROUGH in that department. Not only were Victor and Eli interesting to read about, I was also super intrigued by the side characters. All in all, it was pretty solid but could’ve been better. 

9 – LITTLE FIRES EVERYWHERE by Celeste Ng
my rating: 4/5 stars

2020 was a big year for Little Fires Everywhere. It gained a lot more widespread recognition, including from people outside of the book community. This was largely in part due to the fact that Hulu released the first season of the show based on this book. Of course, I had to get in on the hype and see if it really lived up to the high praises it received (spoiler alert: it did). I’ll give a basic plot, though I’m sure the majority know what this is about! Little Fires Everywhere is a suburban drama that takes place during the 90’s (?) if I’m remembering correctly. This book discusses important themes such as racism, adoption, and, similar to Vicious, is very character-driven. If I’m being honest, I did have higher hopes for Little Fires Everywhere. And by higher hopes, I mean that I would have thought it would be in my top 5 books of the year. Don’t get me wrong, it was still good and you should pick it up if you haven’t! But some parts fell a little flat and the ENDING. omg. People have mixed thoughts on the end and unfortunately I fell on the side that wasn’t a fan. On top of that, a lot of the characters are unlikeable, which I guess is the point, but still. That being said, this was a story that needed to be written and I’m glad Celeste Ng did it. 

8 – SAVE THE DATE by Morgan Matson
my rating: 4/5 stars

Coming in at number 8, Save the Date may seem like a light-hearted contemporary, but in reality it’s so much more. As far as plot goes, Save the Date follows main character Charlie Grant. She comes from a huge family (she has four older siblings) and this book is about the whole family coming together for the first time in years to celebrate her sister’s wedding. Right off the bat, this story has a great cast of characters. It’s fun to follow along as this dysfunctional family navigates all the nooks and crannies that go into planning a wedding. This book has it all, from funny moments, to romance, to more emotional scenes as well. A big reason I loved this so much was that Charlie was a senior in high school when this book takes place. I had just graduated from high school when reading this, and with everything being so uncertain with Covid and not having a graduation, I was feeling very nervous about moving forward. This book touched on all the changes that come with not only graduating high school but moving on to a new stage in your life. There were some talks Charlie had that may or may not have made me tear up a little. Anyways. All I can say is that this was a great book that I definitely plan to re-visit in the future.

7 – THE NIGHT CIRCUS by Erin Morgenstern
my rating: 4/5 stars

I mentioned this book in my last post, but oh my god. This might be the most beautiful book I’ve ever read. The Night Circus is about a magical circus that pops up in towns without any notice at random times. People love it, of course, because it’s magical and amazing. It’s only open at night and guests are always enthralled by the acts put on by performers. Behind the scenes, however, there’s some drama occurring. I won’t go into much detail because it’s better to go into this book knowing as little and then becoming completely mesmerized by the world. All I’ll say is that Erin Morgenstern sure knows how to write.

6 – MY DARK VANESSA by Kate Elizabeth Russell
my rating: 4.5/5 stars 

My Dark Vanessa is a deeply horrifying novel that follows the main character, Vanessa, as she recounts the relationship she had with her teacher as a teenager. I don’t want to say I enjoyed reading this book, because it’s definitely not the kind of book you read for enjoyment. However, I’m happy I did read this for its emotional impact and it is a good recount of how power abusive relationships work and the trauma that stays with the victims. If you are in the right headspace for it, I would recommend. 

5 – ON THE COME UP by Angie Thomas
my rating: 4.5/5

Let it be known that I will read anything Angie Thomas writes. She is definitely one of my auto-buy authors and someone who can write a beautiful story. On the Come Up follows Bri, who at the age of 16, has dreams of becoming a rapper just like her dad was. One thing I love about Angie Thomas is she is so great at writing about families and the different dynamic between siblings/parents/etc. I did prefer The Hate U Give over this one, but On the Come Up is also a great book that you should read if you get the chance.

4 – GIRL MADE OF STARS by Ashley Herring Blake
my rating: 5/5 stars

This was one of the more serious books I read in 2020. Girl Made of Stars is told through the perspective of Mara, a proud feminist. However, her world is quickly turned upside down when Mara’s twin brother, Owen, whom she is very close with, is accused of rape. This book handled the topic of sexual assault and rape in a very delicate manner and also highlighted the harm that can come with victim blaming. This is a book I think everyone should read, regardless of who they are. I have a more in depth review of this on my Instagram (@ aarushireads) which you can check out if you are interested in reading this. 

3 – UNACCUSTOMED EARTH by Jhumpa Lahiri
my rating: 5/5 stars

Jhumpa Lahiri is just in general a wonderful writer who writes beautiful stories. I fell in love with her books for the first time last year, when I read The Namesake. It was the first time I found myself represented in a novel. Unaccustomed Earth is a collection of short stories about Indian-American families and a moment of their life. Every story in here was different, with some being about more serious topics and others being the more mundane everyday routine of these families. Despite the lack of drama, I really enjoyed this quiet book and seeing myself represented by the characters and culture. 

2 – SUPERNOVA by Marissa Meyer
my rating: 5/5 stars

Supernova is the final book in the renegades trilogy. I read all three books this year and loved them all, but Supernova was definitely my favorite. The series as a whole is set in a fantasy world in which there is a group of superheroes who call themselves “Renegades” and they all have some sort of superhero skill. Their purpose is to help the general public and keep their world safe from the villains. Main character Nova is one of these “villains” and she decides, in an effort to infiltrate the Renegades, to go undercover as one of them. This trilogy has some slow parts and it can definitely be frustrating at times, but the payoff at the end is so worth it. These books have the cutest romance and will keep you on the edge of your seat.

*DRUM ROLL PLEASE*

1 – NEVERNIGHT by Jay Kristoff
my rating: 5/5 stars

Ahh my gosh, I love this book with all my heart so it should be no surprise this came in at number one!! Seriously. This is me thinking about Nevernight:

Where do I even begin?! Um. Plot. Okay. This book follows Mia Corvere, certified badass, and she is out to get revenge on the people who executed her whole family. Mia joins a school of assassins in order to become one and finally get vengeance. I’m obviously not very good at giving an explanation of this, but all I can say is if you love blood-thirsty, badass, strong female rep in books, then this is the one for you. Mia is in my top 5 of favorite female characters of all time, mainly because she finds a way to be strong and empowering while not putting other girls down in the process. Nevernight is set at this school for assassins and we meet so many, uhm, ~interesting~ characters. Some I loved, others…not so much. I’ve found people either love or hate this book, so I think it’s important to go into this story knowing it is ADULT fantasy. This is not YA !! So yes, there are some steamy scenes and also quite violent, gruesome parts. Nevernight is unlike anything I’ve ever read before. Seriously. Also, I could write a whole appreciation post for Mister Kindly, aka, a talking cat. Another reason you should read this if you haven’t yet! I also read Godsgrave this year, the sequel, and it would also be included on this list but I didn’t want to double up on series. I can’t wait to read Darkdawn, the final book in this trilogy, in 2021. Can’t wait for it to tear me apart. Basically this emoji:

Author: Aarushi @ aarushireads

Hi friends! My name is Aarushi (she/her) and welcome to my blog 💖 I’m a 19 year old reader and decided to start this so I’d have a place where I could write down all my bookish rambles and thoughts! My thoughts aren’t always the most cohesive, but I truly love talking about (& of course reading) books. I love interacting with other readers so be sure to leave your comments so we can chat! Thanks for being here <33 All my socials are aarushireads :)

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