2020 is almost over! It’s been a strange year in many ways, but perhaps as a form of escapism I’ve read more books this year than I have in the past two years combined. I’m grateful to all of the fantastic authors, editors, publicists, translators, illustrators, and others responsible for creating so many brilliant portals into other worlds for me to escape into – I don’t know what I’d do without them.
As Jackie said in her round-up post last weekend, curating an end-of-year recommendations list is a tough job – every book is special in its own way. This ‘highlights’ list contains books that especially resonated with me and that I’ve found myself thinking about long after I’ve finished reading them. Click on the book title to go to my review or the author’s name to go to the publisher’s website.
YOUNG ADULT FICTION
Challenger Deep – Neal Shusterman – a contemporary with excellent mental health representation
Sorcery of Thorns – Margaret Rogerson – fantasy with a strong female protagonist, bisexual representation, and a very interesting cat
Queen of Volts – Amanda Foody – the final book in the ‘Shadow Game’ trilogy packed with LGBT representation and a fascinating magic system
Harrow the Ninth – Tamsyn Muir – the second book in the ‘Locked Tomb’ trilogy, filled with more lesbian necromancers in space, utter chaos, and complete hilarity. No sense to be found here
The First Sister – Linden A Lewis – Linden’s debut novel, a space opera with own-voices non-binary representation and a central sapphic relationship
The Empire of Gold – SA Chakraborty – the final book in the Daevabad trilogy, a fascinating Islamic/Middle Eastern inspired epic fantasy
The Midnight Library – Matt Haig – contemporary fantasy by the well known self help book author
The Ten Thousand Doors of January – Alix E Harrow – Alix’s debut novel, a historical portal fantasy with gorgeous prose and a mixed-race protagonist
There Will Come A Darkness – Katy Rose Pool – Katy’s debut novel, traditional epic fantasy with LGBT representation and fascinating Roman empire inspired worldbuilding
The Bone Shard Daughter – Andrea Stewart – Andrea’s debut novel, East Asian-inspired epic fantasy with a central sapphic relationship and one of the best animal companions of all time
Ninth House – Leigh Bardugo – dark fantasy, ghosts and secret societies in the heart of Yale
Circe – Madeline Miller – a retelling of the Greek myths surrounding the goddess Circe, beautifully written and compelling
Anxious People – Fredrik Backman – a closed-room mystery by the renowned Swedish contemporary author of Beartown and A Man Called Ove
A Girl Made of Air – Nydia Hetherington – Nydia’s debut novel, a spellbinding tale of a circus entwined with Manx legends
The Sin Eater – Megan Campisi – sin eaters atone for the sins of others by taking them on themselves, and are thus shunned from society and banned from communicating – so what happens when a sin eater is the only witness to a crime?
The Betrayals – Bridget Collins – blurring the border between historical fiction and fantasy, Collins’ sophomore novel is as gorgeously written as it is packaged
Mexican Gothic – Silvia Moreno Garcia – a classic gothic mansion story set in rural 1950s Mexico
The Year of the Witching – Alexis Henderson – Alexis’s debut novel, the delightfully creepy tale of a Judeo-Christian cult
The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue – VE Schwab – the beautifully written story of a girl who makes a deal with the devil to live forever – but in turn is cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets
The Once and Future Witches – Alix E Harrow – an alternate history in which the US suffragette movement turns to witchcraft, packed with gorgeous prose and evocative imagery
I hope you’ve discovered lots of brilliant books in 2020 and that there’s something here that interests you! Here’s to a great 2021.