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My top 10 books of 2020

Updated: Mar 12, 2021

 My top ten books of the year - book covers

All the books I have read this year I have thoroughly enjoyed.

From my 31 books read I thought it would be nice to give you my top 10. If there is a review for them on the blog I will include a link, as well as a brief round up of why I loved it so much! I found it very difficult to choose just 10 as so many of the books read this year were fabulous 5 star reads but here goes.....

In at.......

The Flatshare - Beth O'Leary

Tiffy and Leon share a flat Tiffy and Leon share a bed Tiffy and Leon have never met…

I loved this book, it was a refreshing take on a romantic comedy with lots of back story and side characters that really fleshed out the story.

Two characters Leon and Tiffy are flatmates, they have an unusual setup in that they live in a one bedroom flat together bur not at the same time. Leon works nights so sleeps in the day and Tiffy the opposite. Somehow it works! They have never met but converse through notes left around the flat and as the narrative unfolds you get to know both characters and they begin to know each other. It is told from both characters point of views which I really enjoyed.

If you want a cosy feel good romcom with great characters then this is one for you. You can find my full review here.

Following closely at...

Nine Perfect Strangers - Liane Moriarty

Could ten days at a health resort really change you forever?

These nine perfect strangers are about to find out...

I loved this story, there were so many unexpected twists and turns throughout. The story is told from the different points of views of the guests at the spa which I think always makes for interesting reading as you see different reactions to scenarios. However one main protagonist stands out, Frances is a romance writer who is trying to find herself again. Can she manage it at this spa cut off from the world? A definite 5 star read for me. Find my full review here.

Sliding in at Number ....

Left Neglected - Lisa Genova

Sarah Nickerson is like any other career-driven supermom in Welmont, the affluent Boston suburb where she leads a hectic but charmed life with her husband Bob, faithful nanny, and three children - Lucy, Charlie, and nine-month-old Linus.

In the blink of an eye Sarah's world comes crashing down around her after a traumatic brain injury completely erases the left side of her world. Left to cope in the aftermath, once fiercely independent she now has to put her faith and life Into the hands of those around her.

This was a fantastic book about the importance of living your life in the here and now and appreciating what you have. Also I had never heard of the condition known as Left Neglected, it was very interesting learning about that, the brain is a fascinating thing! Find my full review here.

Rolling into number...

How to save a life - Eva Carter

In this heartfelt love story, three friends find out what it really means to save some one.

This was a fabulous book, an ARC I was lucky enough to be allowed to read for an honest review. It focused on the lives of three high school children who were forever linked by one fateful incident. Their lives Intertwined and their decisions impacting on one another for years to come.

I highly recommend this emotional story, it really pulled at my heartstrings. Find my full review here.

Skidding into number ....

Silent Patient - Alex Michaelides

The Silent Patient is a shocking psychological thriller of a woman’s act of violence against her husband—and of the therapist obsessed with uncovering her motive.

This thriller had all the great elements, twists and turns, devious characters and an unexpected ending.

A hugely clever premise, Alicia Berenson is accused of killing her husband, she has been committed to a mental facility and has refused to speak since the incident when she was found with her husbands body. One therapist is determined to get her to speak to him and find out what happened. Why did she do it? He is obsessed with the mysterious nature of the crime and will not give up in his quest to find the answers from that fated night. I was completely gripped and did not spot the twist at the end, I love it when I am not able to predict an ending! The writer really drew me into the lives of the characters and the reasons behind their actions. A must read.

Half way through to number....

Orphan Monster Spy - Matt Killeen

Orphan..... Monster...... Spy..... One young girl becomes all of these characters while trying to infiltrate the Nazi led Germany as a Jewish girl undercover during World War 2.

Although written in the perspective of a 15 year old girl I felt this story had less of a YA vibe than some others I have read. There were some instances where it focused more on interactions with other girls at school and behaviours that reminded the reader she was a young girl. However on the whole I felt the subject matter and content seemed older and more intense than other YA fiction. The detail of the Nazi life and beliefs of some characters was amazing and I became so hooked towards the last quarter of the book I could barely put it down. While the subject matter was a little uncomfortable in parts it still gripped me.

I found a lot of the writing almost lyrical in its description and detail. The protagonist was clever, articulate, athletic, impressive and Captain Floyd was an intriguing character who left you wanting more. I hope the sequel gives us a bit more insight into his character.

I would definitely recommend this! It was a great book for discussion at our book club.

Slipping into number.....

A good girls guide to murder - Holly Jackson

The case is closed. Five years ago, schoolgirl Andie Bell was murdered by Sal Singh. The police know he did it. Everyone in town knows he did it. But having grown up in the same town that was consumed by the murder, Pippa isn’t so sure. When she chooses the case as the topic for her final year project, she starts to uncover secrets that someone in town desperately wants to stay hidden. If the real killer is still out there, how far will they go to keep Pip from the truth?

I had been recommended this book by a fellow teacher on Twitter and I was so glad I impulse bought it as I was hooked from the very beginning. Any book that starts by telling the reader that hippopotmonstrosesquipedaliophobia is the fear of long words is a winner with me!

The story was very clever, the characters were likeable and the relationships were intriguing. I honestly thought I had predicted the ending quite early on but I was totally wrong! It was a great twist and I can’t wait to the read the rest in the series. The second one is waiting for me in my TBR!

Hitting the top 3 with......

Noughts and crosses by Malorie Blackman

Noughts and Crosses - Malorie Blackman

Two young people are forced to take a stand in this thought-provoking look at racism and prejudice in an alternate society.

I genuinely don't know how to express how much I loved this book. A dystopian world which focuses on race, politics, discrimination, love, power and strength.

The struggles faced by the Noughts in a world where they are seen as unequal and 'less than' the crosses highlights so many injustices happening throughout the world today. Although it is a more extreme example and almost seems to be a mix of modern day and historic times of integration/post slavery together. It provokes the discussion of respect, equality, discrimination and strength of character.

Two young people who despite all these differences love each other but know they cannot have a future together. Who want to stand up against the injustice but don't know how to do it in a way that matters. Actions of children that lead to devastating consequences.

I was devastated when it came to an end for more reasons than one. This was a real tear jerker and eye opener. To have an insight into the world of racial discrimination (whether it was fiction or not was of no concern) really brought to my attention the problems people face in our world today and made me want to learn more. I thank you Malorie and look forward to reading the rest of this series.

Jumping into the penultimate spot....

Birthday by Meredith Russo - book cover

Birthday - Meredith Russo

Meet Eric and Morgan.

Born on the same day, at the same time, in the same place. they’ve always shared this one day together, but as they grow up, they begin to grow apart.

An LGBTQ and YA novel by the best selling author of If I was your girl.

This was the first book I read this year and it still sticks with me now. It was a hugely emotional read told over one day of the year, for six years. It tells the story of Morgan and Eric who are best friends and have been since the day they were born. But Morgan has a secret that is eating him up inside, can he share it with his friend? The one person who understands him above all others? Or will it be too big a secret to share? It is about growth, identity, confidence and strength of character. How change can rip people apart but also bring them closer together. This one took me through the ringer and I cried a lot of tears throughout but I loved it! I highly recommend this one to be added to your TBR for 2021!

And finally screeching to the top....

Where the Crawdads Sing - Delia Owens

For years rumours of the “Marsh girl” haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet fishing village. Kya Clark is barefoot and wild; unfit for polite society. So in late 1969, when the popular Chase Andrews is found dead, locals immediately suspect her.

This story was honestly beautiful, I cannot gush enough about it! It is a coming of age story with a delightful air of mystery surrounding Kya and the marsh she calls her home. It switches between her childhood and present day in order to explain the characters and what happened on that fateful night when Chase Andrews dies. We see the reasons Kya stays isolated away from the prying eyes of those in the nearby village and how this isolation in itself can effect her behaviour. Although happy with her life in the wilderness she cannot shake the need to be accepted into society. How as humans we have the need to belong to a group to feel safe. The description of the marsh was fantastic, I felt like I could see it all and imagine exactly what her life had been like.

This is my summation of the best books I have read in 2020 and I hope you are encouraged to give them a read if you haven’t already!

I enjoyed reading them all immensely, I feel bad that I couldn't add all the books to my top 10 as I have read some corkers this year. If you want to have a look at some of the others I have read this year then check out my Goodreads profile!

Happy new year to you all, let's raise our glass to an exciting 2021 full of lots of fabulous books, new characters to meet and old characters to reignite our passion!

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