Skip to main content

Angie's Best Books of 2020

 It is the last day of the year. Of this year specifically. "Well done," is all have to say if you're reading this. Well done, you.

It's been quiet for awhile now around these parts. For obvious reasons. But I've been reading continuously and ever so gratefully. I have felt such a profound sense of gratitude this year for all of the creators in this world who have been tirelessly and so lovingly creating art for all of us. We have needed it so much. I have needed it so much. And this year of all years, the creation of art has felt like such a fierce act of love. So thank you. And so here I leave my best books of the year. My list stands at fourteen titles. And that feels just right.

photo by @aamith

(in the order in which I read them)

A Heart So Fierce and Broken by Brigid Kemmerer

If I Never Met You by Mhairi McFarlane

Slippery Creatures by K.J. Charles

Christmas at the Island Hotel by Jenny Colgan

Boyfriend Material by Alexis Hall

The Great Godden by Meg Rosoff

The Sugared Game by K.J. Charles

Fence: Striking Distance by Sarah Rees Brennan

Return of the Thief by Megan Whalen Turner

Just Like You by Nick Hornby

A Rogue of One's Own by Evie Dunmore

The Duke Who Didn't by Courtney Milan

The Unselected Journals of Emma M. Lion, Vol. 3 by Beth Brower

Missing Christmas by Kate Clayborn

A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik

FYI, that's 7 contemporaries, 5 historicals, and 3 fantasies. Of those, 5 are romances, 3 are retellings, 2 are mysteries, and 2 are novellas. All quite grand. 

Best New Discovery of 2020

Mhairi McFarlane

It happened in March. It was swift and irrevocable. Her writing is endlessly charming and frequently lighthearted (she is so, so witty), but there is also so much depth and weight to it. She writes of how we fight to shape ourselves. And her stories make me want to let fly my own punch of joy, heartbreak, rage, hilarity, and strength. 

I'm not carrying it anymore. I spoke the words aloud, used my words, and broke the curse.

Biggest Character Crush of 2020

Eugenides the Thief

He returned. In full glory. And it was so supremely good. It was the highest of triumphs and I am so chuffed I was here for it. I was so extremely fond of how Megan Whalen Turner preserved the relationship between the four monarchs, these adults who laughed and fought together after having survived their youth. They had my heart. But when Eugenides unleashed the power of the god. Oh, my. He can steal anything. So, so. so. 

Best Books I Read in 2020 that were Published in a Different Year

Don't You Forget About Me by Mhairi McFarlane

Crash by Ruby McNally

Happy New Year!


  1. I have only read Return of the Thief from your list, but I have If I Never Met You and A Rogue of One’s Own on my bookshelf. Eugenides! I fell in love all over again with new and old characters. I was absolutely useless for days after I finished that book.

    I love what you said about art and creators. A lot of my reading this year turned to web comics, specifically on Webtoons. The amazing art and episodic format worked so well for my poor, struggling brain. Plus, I found a new medium that I absolutely love. Now I have to divide my reading time between Webtoons and books, but I’m up to the challenge. ;)

    I hope you have a wonderful 2021!

    1. Gen. I mean. He's just incomparable. What a triumph.

      I'm tickled you've gotten into Webtoons. I keep meaning to start with Lore Olympus and I just haven't gotten around to it yet. Ridiculous, because I know I'll love it. They do sound like the perfect format for these times we are living in.

      Happy 2021!

    2. I haven't gotten to Lore Olympus yet either. I'm sure I'll love it too, but waiting for the right time, I guess. Punderland is another Hades/Persephone retelling that is pretty cute. It's not very far yet, and doesn't update that often but I love the art. Midnight Poppy Land is my favorite so far, but there are a lot of good ones out there.

    3. Ooh. Noted and noted.

  2. Happy New Year Angie!

    I *just* finished RETURN OF THE THIEF and am basking in the really-good-book afterglow, the perfect way to start a new year really. I've had it in my TBR pile for a while, but was putting it off until I had time to read it properly... it was a good decision!

    1. Happy New Year, Li! Oh, that's such a good place to be. The basking. You've definitely kicked 2021 off with a bang.

  3. I've read NONE of these, but that just means more to look forward too. I am excited to get back into the Thief series hopefully at some point in 2021.

    Happy New Year!

    1. Happy New Year, April! I can't believe you're having another baby soon! You're a warrior. I hope the Thief series finds its way back around to you this year. The last one is truly epic.

  4. Just found your site through your goodreads review of Outlaws of Sherwood and it seems out taste's are very similar, beyond our love of Robin Hood! I also have Deadly Education and Slippery Creatures/Sugar Game on my favs of 2020 list! Looking forward to your future reviews!

    1. How lovely to hear, Leah! That is an old and very dear favorite of mine. And let me know if/when you get to the Novik and Charles titles. I'm intrigued to hear what you think of them!

  5. Just found your site through your goodreads review of Outlaws of Sherwood and it seems out taste's are very similar, beyond our love of Robin Hood! I also have Deadly Education and Slippery Creatures/Sugar Game on my favs of 2020 list! Looking forward to your future reviews!


Post a Comment

You Might Also Like

Interview with Diana Peterfreund + Rampant Giveaway!

Ever since I fell in love with Diana Peterfreund 's Secret Society Girl series last year, I've been hoping I'd get the chance to interview her here. Tomorrow marks the release of her new novel, Rampant , and let me tell you that you have not read a book like this before. You can read my review here , but all you really need to know is that it's a story about killer unicorns and the young women who hunt them. You want to read it now, don't you? Oh, yeah, and it's YA and the first in a series! To celebrate the release, Diana graciously answered a few of my most burning questions. As she is always a delight, I know you'll enjoy them as much as I did. First things first: When did the idea for Rampant first hit you and what (if anything) did you know right off the bat? In early 2005, just after selling Secret Society Girl , I had this dream of being chased by a very dangerous unicorn. I woke up and went to go look it up to see if I could figure out the meani

Linger by Maggie Stiefvater, Review + Giveaway!

It seems a long time ago now that I first read Shiver -- the first book in the Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy. But looking back I started it on the plane ride to BEA and finished it there in the conference center, fingers gripping the cover tightly, while sitting on the floor in one of the many autograph lines. And now it's May again and BEA is right around the corner and I emerge from my recent and nasty reading slump stupor to find a copy of Linger sitting in my mailbox like a glove thrown down in the dirt. "I will be the one to pull you out," it whispers to me slyly. "Just open me up and take a sip. I promise--one sip is all it will take." And I look at it with fear and longing written all over my face. "You promise?" I ask  intently. "Because it's been a long walk in the cold and I'm not sure I can take another disappointment." "Just open me up," it says, confidence written all over its cover. And so I do. And everythin

Blog Tour Review | Breath Like Water by Anna Jarzab

Today, I'm happy to be taking part in the blog tour for Anna Jarzab's Breath Like Water courtesy of Inkyard Press . You are likely familiar with my love for sports and sports-themed novels (may the Giants play again soon). So I was intrigued by both the lovely cover and the concept of an elite swimmer who peaks quite young but is still determined to claw her way to the Olympics.   ABOUT THE BOOK This beautifully lyrical contemporary novel features an elite teen swimmer with Olympic dreams, plagued by injury and startled by unexpected romance, who struggles to balance training with family and having a life. For fans of Sarah Dessen, Julie Murphy and Miranda Kenneally. Susannah Ramos has always loved the water. A swimmer whose early talent made her a world champion, Susannah was poised for greatness in a sport that demands so much of its young. But an inexplicable slowdown has put her Olympic dream in jeopardy, and Susannah is fighting to keep her career afloat when two importan