My Favorite Reads of 2020

 Hey y'all!

I won't be bold and claim that 2020 was my year. Although I got engaged (and recently married), my year kinda sucked too. But with quarantine, I have fallen even more in love with reading!

I was originally just using my phone with the Kindle app, but it gave me anxiety when I saw notifications pop up while I was reading. I usually ended up scrolling on Instagram when I had set aside time to read.

At the beginning of quarantine, I knew I wanted to get a Kindle. But it was also hard to justify that much money on something that's only for reading. My sweet momma of mine sent me a surprise gift and told me to get one for myself when it was on sale.

Since I got it, it has barely left my sight! I purchased the Kindle Paperwhite in Plum (closest they had to pink, hehe). I do have Amazon Prime but not Kindle Unlimited. If you have a library card, I really recommend checking out Libby! Most libraries now have e-books you can check out and download to your Kindle. 

I'll admit that when renting from the library, it can take a few weeks (or even months..) so you'll have to be patient if you don't want to drop $$$ on new books.

Find Layla by Meg Elison

I chose this book as one of my free books from Amazon first reads. You can sign up to get a new free Kindle book each month if you have Amazon Prime. They usually have a handful of options with different genres to pick from. Definitely recommend signing up for it if you have Prime!

So back to the book review. I will say the provided description didn't do it a ton of justice, but I loved the cover so much that I selected it to read in August. I really loved it! 

Layla lives with her brother and unstable mother in a neglected apartment. She enters a school competition on biomes and films the mushrooms and mold growing in her home. The video goes viral, and people are worried about their health and safety. CPS gets involved, but not before Layla can run away - prompting #FindLayla. 

TLDR: A neglected girl shares her home biome for a science project but is overwhelmed by the response and runs away. 

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

The book that inspired the big hit HBO show, Big Little Lies! Can I just say that I am not into that show at all? I read the book first (which was way better, obvi) and LOVED it, so I expected big things from the show. But it was almost painful to watch through the first season. I tried getting into the second one but gave up after a few episodes. I do love Reese, though!

A single mom, Jane, and her son, Ziggy, move to a new town where he starts school. He's accused of choking a girl in his class on the first day, even though he swears it wasn't him. There's also a murder at a school party, an abusive relationship, and lots of schoolyard drama. It had me wanting to know whodunit, and I couldn't put it down!

TLDR: Three women's storylines collide between an abusive relationship, bullying, and suspicious murder.

Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

I've never read a Jodi Picoult novel that I didn't like. This one had me in my feels (yep, I definitely cried). I read this book at the very beginning of the year before the racial tension in America came to a boiling point. Even though it's written by a white woman, I felt like I gained some perspective about what Black women may face in their day-to-day lives. (I have since read more books from actual Black women and obviously found it much more intuitive - this just felt like a good basis that I wasn't intentionally seeking out).

A Black labor and delivery nurse, Ruth, is told by a White family that she cannot touch their baby because of her race. The baby ends up passing away while she is in the room with it. The parents are furious and take her to court. Ruth receives a white lawyer, Kennedy, and is advised that using race in the courtroom would negatively reflect on the case. This book is from different POV's, and it's very insightful to the internal struggle that the many different characters face.

TLDR: A Black nurse is taken to court after a white baby dies but is told not to mention her race in the courtroom as it may distance herself from the jurors.

What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty

I obviously really liked Liane Moriarty's books this year, huh? This book came out in 2009, but I saw one of my favorite influencers, Jaci Marie, had it listed on her to-read list on her Instastory. The plot sounded so interesting to me, and it turned out to be a really enjoyable read!

A 39-year-old mom hits her head at the gym and loses the last 10 years of her memories. She wakes up thinking that she's still pregnant with her first child (even though she actually has 3 kids...) and has to piece back her memory of failed relationships, raising her children, and her new lifestyle choices. It was unlike anything I've ever read, so I think that's why I enjoyed it so much!

TLDR: A 39-year-old mom hits her head at the gym and loses the last 10 years of her memories. 

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins

I'm sure you've read the OG Hunger Games Trilogy, and if not, you should. They're great young adult novels that I thoroughly enjoyed even as an adult. This book was released this year and is a prequel to the Hunger Games books. 

This book focuses on President Snow's upbringing and his involvement in the early versions of the Hunger Games. He's 18 years old and has been chosen to be a mentor in the 10th Annual Games. His family is no longer proud and wealthy, but they try to keep up the facade. This could be his only shot at glory, but he gets stuck with a girl tribute. 

Some people said the book was boring, but I thought it was great. I will say that I think it's a little more graphic vs the original books, but that doesn't personally bother me. 

TLDR: A prequel to the Hunger Games Trilogy that focuses on 18-year-old Snow as a mentor for the 10th Annual Games.

Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid

One of the last books that I was able to finish in 2020 (I read this one within 24 hours, oops). It's got a lot of crazy twists and turns so I'm going to try to keep this review on the short side so I don't accidentally spoil anything.

A young Black babysitter picks up a White child from her home when the mom calls for an emergency pickup late at night. The babysitter takes the child to a nearby grocery store and is questioned by a security officer. The book focuses on racism, privilege, and good intentions turning into questionable actions. I definitely recommend picking it up!

TLDR: A Black babysitter, a White woman employer, and a connection that could wreck their strange bond.

Honorable Mentions:

I've set my GoodReads goal for 2021 to be 52 books, so fingers crossed I can meet (and maybe even beat) that goal! If you want to keep up with what I'm currently reading or see more recommendations, friend me on GR so we can chat!


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