The bookish best of is something I do every year over on tumblr. The first and last time I did this here on the blog was apparently in 2017 so I thought it’s a good time to revive this after all this time.
It’s already 2021, where did the time go? And while I’d rather forget a lot of things that happened in 2020, I have some wonderful things to tell and I’ve also read some great books. For my highest rated books, check out this post. You’ll see, that there will be other books on this list. Anyways, I don’t want to talk much longer. I’ll probably pick more books than just one for some categories because deciding is hard and I have read some seriously good books.
Anyways, grab a tea, get comfortable and let’s have a look at my bookish year.
I have read 111 books in 2020. My goal was 75 but thanks to me sitting at home even more than usual and having free time over the summer, I read a lot. This makes over 38.000 pages. My shortest book was a comic with 43 pages, my longest was House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. Maas with 803 pages. Goodreads says my average rating was 4,0 so that means I had a pretty awesome year I think!
But now let’s check out the actual best books I’ve read this year!
Best debut author
There were some wonderful debuts this year where I can’t wait to see where the authors are going. I know five authors are a lot, but I loved all of their books and their writing styles, so I have to name them all.
First, there’s Chloe Gong, author of These Violent Delights, a 1920s novel set in Shanghai.
Then we have Anna Kirchner and her book Little Black Bird, an urban fantasy set in Poland. Read my full review here.
Another author I can’t wait to read more from is Adiba Jaigirdar. Her debut was The Henna Wars and you can read my full review here.
I cannot not mention Jamie Pacton, who has written a book about modern knights: The Life and (Medieval) Times of Kit Sweetly. Read my full review here.
And the last author I need to put on this list is Anabelle Stehl, a German author who writes books set in Germany and who has an absolutely wonderful writing style. Her debut is called BreakAway.
Best female character
I’m gonna pick two characters here, Fang Runin (Rin) from The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang and Kit Sweetly from The Life and (Medieval) Times of Kit Sweetly by Jamie Pacton.
Rin is impulsive, ruthless and fights for what she wants. She’s morally grey and I loved her development during the Poppy War.
Kit also fights for what she wants, even though she does it with less violence and magic than Rin. She doesn’t take shit from the men who tell her she can’t do things. Both of them are so well written.
Best male character
ALIZAYD AL QAHTANI, I love him. The sweetest boy. The softest boy. While I wasn’t his biggest fan during the first book, he grew so much on me in The Kingdom of Copper and by now he is one of my favourite characters. He’s so nice and sweet and smart, while simultaneously being a dumbass and a good fighter as well. I love him with all my heart and I’d like to thank Shannon Chakraborty for writing him into existence.
I just love Alice Oseman’s books a lot and I especially love the friendships she writes. And I definitely loved the whole group in Loveless, all their ups and downs, their quirks and their dynamics and their character development. There is such a big focus on friendships in this book, it made my heart warm and full.
How, how, how am I supposed to decide??? Definitely Thorn and Ophelia from the Mirror Visitor! Their romance is just so beautifully written, a slow burn, it’s never explicitely stated but I’d put them both on the a-spectrum and they’re just.. ugh… I love them so much!
And of course, Nick & Charlie from Heartstopper, This Winter & Nick & Charlie. They are the sweetest couple and my heart is so soft for them.
This year I came obsessed with two series and I have to mention both of them here. The first one is the All for the Game series by Nora Sakavic. I’m probably late to the party here but wow, this series is so good. Super fucked up and kind of ridiculous, but so, so good and addictive. I raced through the story within a few days and even though I read them in June(?), I’m still 100% obsessed. It has a fictional sport, mobsters, gays and found family.
The other series is the Mirror Visitor by Christelle Dabos. It’s such a beautiful fantasy series with a unique world and writing style and I just fell in love with the world, the characters and basically everything about these books. While the romance is a part of the plot, it’s not annoyingly in the foreground, we have enemies to lovers, paired with the slowest slowburn. I AM SOFT.
I have to pick more than one book here because I really can’t decide. I definitely have to name You Should See Me In A Crown by Leah Johnson here. It’s about a black girl desperately wanting to become prom queen because of the scholarship she can win, but also to show everyone what she is capable of.
Another book I absolutely loved is Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo, a verse novel that tells the story of two half-sisters that only get to know of each other’s existence when their dad dies in a plane crash and their lives suddenly change.
The third book I want to mention here is Blood Moon by Lucy Cuthew. While I didn’t like every part of the book (the friendship between the MC and her best friend were meh), I think it carries a strong message regarding periods and the (un-)acceptance of something completely natural. This is a verse novel as well.
The first character that came to my mind is the one I’m chosing for this: Kitay from The Poppy War. He’s so sweet and nice while simultaneously I’d never want to be on his bad side because he could kill me easily (even though he probably wouldn’t do that. Anyways, I love him and I can’t wait to continue the series to see more of him.
The Poppy War is the first book in a trilogy inspired by Chinese history.
There were a couple great villains to chose from and I was very tempted to pick one I don’t even love to hate anymore, I just hate them. But instead I picked Einn from Eclipse the Skies by Maura Milan. I’m sorry to say that but he is a little bitch and despite everything I still somehow liked him. Not necessarily him but the way he was written.
Eclipse the Skies is the second book in the Ignite the Stars duology. Read my full review here.
Best 2020 Release
It’s so hard to pick a favourite release! It’s a tie between These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong and The Silvered Serpents by Roshani Chokshi. I loved both of them so much.
These Violent Delights is set in 1920s Shanghai and is a Romeo and Juliet retelling. The protagonists are Juliette Cai, heir to the Scarlet Gang, and Roma Montagov, heir to the White Flowers. They are forced to work together when a mysterious sickness wreaks havoc in the city. Read my full review here.
The Silvered Serpents is the second book in the Gilded Wolves series that evolves around a group of young people with unique abilities, making them a formidable group for quests and heists. If it just weren’t for feelings and emotions. In this one, they plan to do one last job, but of course nothing goes as they planned. Read my full review here.
What would you have chosen for these categories? Have you read any of these books? What did you think?
Until next time,