BEST BOOKS of 2020

I’m a little late to posting this, but better late than never right? Is anyone else trying to read more this year? I’m not trying to read more volume wise (I made no goals this year), but I am trying to end every night with reading. I fell into a bad habit last year of opting for Netflix instead of reading and then I’d feel guilty and try to “make up” for that the next night. So I’m taking the pressure off and just trying to read every day, even if it’s only one page.

Last year (so weird to say that when it was only 10 days ago, but you know!), I read 66 books. Some were better than others, but I felt like I read (and listened to) a TON of fantastic books. In this post, I want to highlight what I thought was the best of the best and share my 5 Star reads.

BEST BOOKS of 2020BEST BOOKS of 2020


Betty by Tiffany McDaniel

I am still not over this book. I think about it often and when I recommend it, most people haven’t heard of it which is a shame because it is beautifully written. This is an unbelievable fictional story, though it’s based on the true family secrets of Tiffany McDaniel’s mother’s childhood. It’s a coming of age novel about a young girl with a Cherokee father and a white mother. There are eight siblings and their childhood is filled with equal doses of magic (mostly at the hands of the stories Betty’s father tells) and hardship. It’s a heartbreaking story, but one that is more than worthwhile reading. Absolutely brilliant. I went into this book completely cold. Had no idea what it was about and was immediately pulled into the dynamic story.

(Warning here: there are multiple scenes of rape, suicide, infant/child death, and incest. Also there’s another scene where a cat is killed.)


The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

I felt a little iffy about the book in the beginning and then found myself completely sucked in. It’s about Black, but light skinned, twins who runaway from their family home in Louisiana. The two twins end up leaving completely different lives: one marries the darkest man she can find in DC and the other passes as white. I thought it was genius.


Untamed by Glennon Doyle

I had heard pretty incredible things about Glennon Doyle’s latest book and it did not disappoint. WOW. I don’t even have enough words to describe how much it resonated with me… It’s a memoir, with each chapter holding its own anecdote that ties into a life-lesson. I couldn’t stop reading it and I couldn’t stop talking about it. It covers a broad spectrum of topics: advocacy, parenting, body-confidence, addiction, love, friendships, family. I had so many aha moments while reading– I feel like I had some genuine life-altering realizations.


So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo

This is an action-oriented book with touches of a memoir about how to handle, enter, and engage in conversations about race. I REALLY liked how Oluo laid everything out and described why certain things were problematic or what works and doesn’t work when talking about race and racism. Even on points and terms I felt like I had an okay grasp of, she’d make it even clearer. From privilege to intersectionality, I understood a lot of things in a deeper, more productive way.


Head Over Heels by Hannah Orenstein

A Room Called Earth by Madeleine Ryan

Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

A Most Beautiful Thing by Arshay Cooper

You Deserve the Truth by Erica Williams Simon

The Knockout Queen by Rufi Thorpe

All Adults Here by Emma Straub

Daring Greatly by Brene Brown

Modern Love edited by Daniel Jones

Catch & Kill by Ronan Farrow

Talking as Fast as I Can by Lauren Graham

Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid

PS Here’s my Best Books of 2019 list too. 


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Love this compilation post! I get so many of my book recs from you, so I’m bookmarking this page! Happy New Year 🙂

Jules Buono - book blogger

While I agree with many of your picks I want to especially note how much I also loved the knockout queen! It didn’t get the hype it deserved and I’m so glad I picked it up. Hope others will get inspired.


I love the idea of reading some every day, even if it’s just a page. Adding a bunch of these to my TBR pile!


The vanishing half was amazing! I also recommend adding Long Bright River & Anonymous Girl to your tbr list (if you haven’t read them already). I’ve been trying to read every night before bed as well instead of looking at my phone. Or reading Saturday or Sunday mornings before getting out of bed. There’s something so peaceful about that 🙂

Christine S.

Is anyone else struggling to read right now? I typically read 50+ books a year, but now I just can’t seem to get into the headspace for it and have not picked up a book once this year.


I absolutely am. I’ve been loving audiobooks while being active (like walking the dogs) and that’s why I’m doing the “read something” at the end of the night. Sometimes I really only do read one page and other times I felt unmotivated to read but get sucked into the story


I loved The Vanishing Half too! It’s one of the books my book club selected for this year and I’m really excited to discuss it with women with various points of view. My favorite book of 2020 was Royal Holiday by Jasmine Guillory; it was the perfect escape read!


I listened to every single book Jasmine Guillory has written, in 2020! Such a wonderful world she has built! Love her characters and the romance in each one!


I was lucky enough to interview the author of Betty recently! It was such a good book. I sobbed in bed for 30 minutes after finishing. My 9 year old daughter had to come in and hug me! 😂 You can listen back to the interview if you’d like!


Is You Deserve the Truth by Erica Williams Simon? (I think you have Wilson Simon as her last name)

Taylor Breuer

Do you have any key audiobook recommendations? I’m always nervous to pick because I don’t know how I’ll like the narration and would love your thoughts on that!


At your suggestion, I just finished listening to “Head over Heels”! Such a fun, fresh read! I loved all of the insider knowledge on the world of gymnastics.