I don’t need to tell you how wild this year was, but I do want to highlight some of the books that took me places when I couldn’t leave the house and gave me hope when I needed it. From new releases to a forgotten #TBR’s that got bumped up the list, here are my favorite books of 2020.
Thrillers that made me double check the locks on the front door
A family’s summer vacation takes an unexpected twist when the owners’ sudden return changes everything.
If you’re looking to escape the realities of the strange times we’re living in, you might want to look for another book.
There’s nothing scarier for Black people than a story that feels like it could actually happen to us.
And to anyone who says otherwise, open up a history book. Wild things have happened to us in the name of white comfort (think slavery, forced sterilization, and, Tuskegee Study).
Self help that actually helped
An insanely good debut about race, and class. Pretty much every character drove me nuts, but the story flowed smoothly, making it enjoyable.
Note: I listened to the Audible for this, so the “real” reading experience could be different.
Elusive no more, Mariah Carey sets the record straight on the good, bad, and ugly parts of what makes her, her. While there’s still much to be said, I appreciate her willingness to “go there” with very uncomfortable parts of her past.
From what I hear, the audiobook is the best way to experience her story (not at all shocking), so I definitely plan on giving it a listen.
Some memoirs feel like a gift from the author, and for me, this is one of them.
Johnson’s exploration of their experience as a Black, queer individual educated, moved, angered (not at them, and gave me hope. Although I don’t identify as queer, parts of this book helped me feel seen, and their words inspired me to make a significant step towards living in my truth.
Note: Since the release of this book, I learned they/them, are their preferred pronouns.
A rollercoaster of a read
A blow to the head by a masked abductor is the last thing Jason Dessen remembers before his world is turned upside down.
This book was intense, thrilling, emotional, just, SO MANY THINGS. I couldn’t stop thinking about it for almost a week after finishing the last page. Read it before it hits the screen (allegedly).
Audiobook that left me speechless
I cannot articulate how much the audio narration (done by the author) moved me.
From the moment I pressed play, I fell in love with Emoni Santiago, the talented cook and young mother in this 2019 YA release. The life Acevedo breathed into this story had me rooting for Emoni HARD, especially when she was ready to give up on herself.
A book that left me thinking “WTF just happened?”
A cult-like girl-squad, exploding bunnies, and an MFA program with a secretive “Workshop?”
Sign me up! This book might be the weirdest book I’ve ever read. I mean, I don’t even know where to start when I try to talk about it, but I can’t stop thinking about this book!
Favorite YA Read
Set in 1955, Ethan Harper, a biracial kid raised by his white father, strikes up an unlikely friendship with the quirky Juniper Jones in a small racially divided town in Alabama.
Warning: This YA read may induce the urge to shed a few tears. Read with caution. And with a box of tissues nearby.
Azere defies her family’s wishes of dating a Nigerian man when her one night stand with Rafael Castellano takes an unexpected turn into a lifelong commitment.
Emotions run very high in this story of love, grief, a duty to family, and tradition.
Books I wish I bumped up my TBR (there’s always next year)
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