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  • Writer's pictureHannah Zunic

Best Books of 2020

Now I know last week’s post was highly negative; it was a hate letter after all. But seeing as the hellscape of 2020 is nearly over, I wanted to end the year on a positive note. And what better way than to rank the best books I read in 2020.

Child throwing punch bowl on floor in excitment.
Sounds like a good way to end the year to me.

Now, not all the books on this list were released this year. The majority of these books actually didn’t release this year but I read them this year so that’s good enough for me.

Before I continue though, I need to say one more thing. There are many, many books that got published this year, and the vast majority of them are books I have yet to read. This ranking is just my opinion and I am not slighting any author or book by not including them in this ranking; I’m only doing a top five after all.

But enough talking, it's time to get to the list!

Woman dancing in front of a dumpster fire.

5. Beginning this list off is The Lost Girls of Paris by Pam Jenoff. Published in January of 2019, this book follows three different women: Grace, Eleanor, and Marie. Grace finds an abandoned suitcase in the terminal of Grand Central one day and discovers various photographs of women who turn out to have been in a secret ring of secret agents who were deployed out of London during World War II.

As it turns out Eleanor was the leader of this ring of female spies and Marie is one of the young women who are deployed into Occupied Europe. Grace begins trying to piece the puzzle of these women together. Who are or were they? Why are their photos in this suitcase? What do they all have in common?

I know I talk a lot about the horror genre, but it is not the only genre I read. Sometimes I read other types of books. Historical fiction is actually high up on my list of favorite genres but I don’t talk about it much on the blog. While there are a few historical inaccuracies, this book is quite enjoyable. The main focus is on the women run spy ring and specifically Marie’s mission during the war. I can’t help but stan these ladies.

Book cover for The Lost Girls of Paris by Pam Jenoff.

4. All the way back in January I reviewed a lovely little novella by the name of “Hammers on Bone” by Cassandra Khaw. Private investigator John Persons is hired by one of his oddest clients yet: a ten-year-old boy. The job? To kill this boy’s stepdad.

This is one of the first books I reviewed on this blog, and it deserves more recognition! “Hammers on Bone” was originally published all the way back in 2016, but I just came across it at the beginning of this year. It’s a twisy-turny, wild ride from start to finish, and I still want Khaw to create a never-ending series out of these characters and world.

Book cover for Hammers on Bone by Cassandra Khaw.

3. At number three is The 7 ½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton. Published in May of 2019, our narrator has one week to solve the death of the titular character. There are a few issues though. One: he wakes up in a new body each day. Two: the same day keeps repeating itself. Three: not everyone is who they seem.

I just wrote a review of this mystery not that long ago. This one is a beautiful, twisty-turny tale full of lies and deceit. Truly, this one made me question everything and kept me on my toes. If you’re a fan of mysteries, this one is not to be missed. Also, let me just say how excited I am for the Netflix adaptation of this to be produced and released.

Book cover of The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton.

2. Bringing us in at number two is The Year of the Witching by Alexis Henderson. Published in July of this year, The Year of the Witching follows Immanuelle, an outcast in her small, Puritanical town, as she comes to realize how dark her town truly is.

I’ve written a full review of this book this past October which you can find here. In short, this book is a standout for 2020. It has both supernatural and physical horror elements. It has witches. It has manipulative human beings. It as it all! Ten-out-of-ten, can’t wait for the sequel.

Book cover for The Year of the Witching by Alexis Henderson.

1. Finally, at number one, I bring you Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender. Felix Ever After was published in May 2020. This is the story of Felix Love who is trying to find romantic love while figuring himself out and finding a healthy dose of self love while he’s at it.

This is another book I’ve written a full review on earlier this year; you can find that post here. This book is an important addition to LGBTQIA+ literature. It’s also one of the best feel-good, moving texts of this year. I laughed and cried my way through this one and I cannot gush about it enough.

Book cover of Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender.

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