Our Favorite Books From 2020
2020 has been one of the longest years EVER and because of quarantine, we've had a lot of time to read. Here are our top books of 2020!
We don’t know about you, but 2020 has been rough and there is one thing that almost everyone had, time. So much time! At first it was overwhelming, but once we realized that the 2 week lockdown wasn’t really going to be 2 weeks, we started reading like crazy. We used quarantine as an opportunity to catch up on all of our favorite book series as well as our favorite authors' new releases. That was what inspired us to start this blog in the first place. So in honor of 2020, here are our favorite books of the year!
A Curse so Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer
Price Rhen is the heir of Emberfall, but there is one problem. He is cursed. Cursed to repeat the same autumn over and over again and at the end of every season, he turns into a horrible monster. With his people restless and his kingdom on the brink of war, Rhen is desperate to break his curse and save his kingdom, which can only be done through love. Harper lives in Washington D.C. She is a strong stubborn girl who cares deeply about her family. When she finds herself in Emberfall, Prince Rhen realizes that she may be the one made to break his curse.
We read this book early into quarantine and we absolutely loved it! Like we mentioned in our post Fairytale Retellings That Rival The Originals, we actually prefer this version of Beauty and the Beast to the original. We would highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys fantasy and adventure stories with the slightest hint of romance.
Among Beasts and Briers by Ashley Poston
Cerys lives in the kingdom of Aloriya, just outside of the terrible woods that took the prince, his guard, and her mother all those years ago. The only thing that keeps everyone inside the kingdom protected from the magic of the woods is the King’s crown. The King however, falls ill and dies, leaving the kingdom to the young princess. During her coronation, the kingdom is attacked and Creys is the only one who escapes. When Creys realizes that the fate of Aloriya is in her hands, she must face the woods in order to save not only her father and her friend, but also her home.
We only recently finished reading this book, and let’s just say it was incredible. The characters were perfectly flawed and handled their situation realistically which made their overall character development complex. We would recommend this book to any one who enjoyed books like Enchantment of the Ravens and Entwined.
Instant Karma by Marissa Meyer
Prudence is an overachiever, she is quick to judge everyone who lives in her small coastal town. One night goes out with some friends and wakes up with the ability to give anyone instant karma. Prudence slightly abuses her power using it on those she deems worthy, but there is only one person whom her powers don’t work on. Quint Erickson is Prudence’s sub par lab partner and whom she would consider her enemy but over time, Prudence begins to uncover the shocking truth behind Quint and her abilities.
Marissa Meyer is one of our favorite YA authors, so when we heard that she was releasing a contemporary romance book, it was immediately added to our TBR list. This book satisfied all of our expectations! The writing was absolutely incredible, and the characters were so lifelike. We found ourselves being both intrigued, and annoyed at times, by their strong personalities. Set on a beachside town, it is a perfect and adorable summer story and delivered everything we could have hoped for!
All this Time by Mikki Daughtry and Rachael Lippincott
Kyle knows only one thing, him and Kimberly are meant to be. They have been together all of high school and plan to go off to college together. That is until Kimberly breaks up with him out of the blue the night of their graduation. In an attempt to escape from everything, Kyle rushes to his car with Kimberly close on his heels. The two end up in a tragic accident leaving Kimberly dead and Kyle broken and no one can understand what he’s going through. As Kyle tries to get what's left of his life in order, he meets Marley. Marley helps Kyle make the most of his life, but he begins to wonder if he’s moved on to quickly.
This book hit us right in the feels. If you have read or seen Five Feet Apart, then you know what we’re talking about. This book is just perfectly written. The character development is subtle but noticeable, the events that take place aren’t too dramatic, but the end! The end gets us every time, you will definitely need your tissue box nearby.
The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
Jeannette Walls grew up in an unconventional way. Her parents have a certain zest for life that others lack. Jeannette loves her family, especially her father. As the family moves around the desert always on the run, Jeannette slowly begins the severity of her family's situation. They live in motels and their car, any money they have is gambled away by her alcoholic father, and her mother is constantly focusing on her own wants over her children's needs. Jeannette needs to find a way out and the only way for her to survive is through hard work and her one passion, writing.
Being the only memoir on our list, The Glass Castle is difficult to read because it is all true. Its raw emotion and innocent outlook on the world add to its allure. Jeannette Walls did a fantastic job keeping the book in the proper perspective. We were very moved by this book and felt it deserved a spot on our list.
The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen
Right as a country on the brink of war seems too divided to ever mend, the former Prince Jaron, who was thought to be killed by pirates, reveals he is still alive. He ascends to power... at least, this is what Conner, a nobleman of the court, plans to achieve. When one day Sage is taken, along with 3 other boys, from an orphanage, they are given the opportunity of a lifetime. They can train to take the role of Prince Jaron. The punishment for refusing, death. Sage wants nothing to do with being a king, but he doesn't like the alternative either. Unfortunately, neither do his competitors. As the twisted competition continues, Sage is wrapped in a web of lies and treachery, but he has secrets of his own.
The unique writing style, combined with sarcastic and entertaining characters made this book one of the best we read this year. We ended up reading the entire series, and it was worth every minute! Throughout his adventures, we found ourselves rooting for Sage and his antics. As the stakes rose, we couldn’t wait to see how he pulled off another insane trick. This book kept us on the edge of our seat and we can’t wait for the newest addition to the series! Check out our full review HERE.
To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo
For every year a siren is alive, they must take the heart of a human. Princess Lira has taken the hearts of 17 princes. After her greed causes her to anger the Sea Queen, she is turned into a human as punishment. In order to return home as a siren, she must bring her mother the heart of Prince Elian, known as the siren killer. Prince Elian has always felt more at home upon his ship, than anywhere else. He has spent his life chasing one goal, to rid the earth of sirens forever, saving countless lives. After saving the life of a girl who claims to know the final piece to his goal, how much will he risk for it? When love begins to seep through the cracks of betrayal, but how much destruction are they willing to inflict on their own worlds for each other?
We both genuinely enjoyed this book and thought it had an interesting twist to the classic fairy tale that made it more original. The characters were well written and perfectly flawed and the plot kept us engaged the entire time. We would recommend this book to anyone looking for a quick, but enchanting read! Check out our full review HERE.
Caraval by Stephanie Garber
Scarlett has written to Legend, the Caraval master, asking him to bring the Caraval to her island. Caraval is an extravagant game filled with magical performers that help the participants as they compete to win the prize, which changes every year. The one year that Scarlett requests that Legend not write back, but he does and with his reply come tickets to attend. Scarlett is hesitant about going to Caraval, but Tella, her sister, convinces her to go. When Scarlett discovers that her sister has been kidnapped for the sake of the game, she must put everything she has into finding her sister and win the game.
Over 2020, we read the entire Caraval series and loved every single one of them! The plot was intriguing and the characters mysterious all adding up to one beautifully deceptive story. If you want to learn more about this book, check out our full review HERE!
Turtles All the Way Down by John Green
Aza Holmes is a 16 year old girl with extreme OCD and anxiety. When a friend, with whom she hasn't spoken to in years, discovers that their billionaire father is missing, they offer a cash prize to anyone with information. When Aza’s best friend Daisy convinces her to aid in a seemingly fruitless search, they end up wrapped into much more than they bargained for.
John Green portrayed Aza’s struggles in a way that could easily be understood and related to. By writing the story from her perspective, there is a truly unique viewpoint and it allows the reader to really see the everyday effects and struggles that mental health can cause. Additionally, we had all of the quirky characters and unforgettable plots that we always expect to find in one of John Green’s books. Overall, this book was beautifully executed and had some incredible quotes. Check out our post of Quotes That Prove John Green Is A Literary Genius, to see some of our favorites from this book!
Salt to The Sea by Ruta Sepetys
Salt to the Sea follows multiple different characters in WWII Russia. Some are refugees, soldiers, or spies but they all have something in common. They are making their way to the Wilhelm Gustloff. The boat has a limited capacity, and all of Russia is trying to get onto it. Desperate for a trip to safety, everyone will stop at nothing to get aboard the ship, not knowing that it will soon be the site of the deadliest maritime disaster in history.
Let us start by saying that this book is an emotional roller coaster. It is heart wrenching to read as people sacrifice everything to get aboard a ship doomed to be sunk. This story shows the humanity on both sides of the conflict that is so easily forgotten. As the Wilhelm Gustloff sinks, there are no Soviets and refugees, just people. The characters are so lifelike, and you will find yourselves laughing and crying along with them. Ruta Septys crafts a beautiful representation of how ordinary people's lives are forever changed and connected by one event. Check out this book, and others like it on our list of Eye-Opening WWII Historical Fiction Books.
Windfall by Jennifer E. Smith
Alice and Teddy have always been friends. Even when Alice’s parents died and Teddy’s father left him and his mom with a load of debt, they helped each other through it all. Although, Alice begins to wonder if there could be more than just friendship between them. On Teddy’s 18th birthday, she gets him a lottery ticket and the craziest thing happens, he wins $140 million. However, what originally seemed like an insane gift, begins to look more like a curse. As his money begins to tear apart their lives and their friendship, will they ever be able to go back to how life was before?
Windfall is a perfect story about friendship, and staying true to who you are, even as the world around you changes. It was adorable to watch Alice and Teddy go from friends to more than friends, and frustrating to watch their relationship struggle. This book was the perfect romance and reminder that the only thing stronger than the struggles and crazy challenges that life throws at you, is your ability to overcome them and those who help you through it all.