Our Top Books of 2020

We had such a tough decision because we’ve read some great books in 2020. We differed a bit, so we both created lists for the top 10 books of 2020. However, we do overlap. 

What were your favorite books of the year? Let us know in the comments!

Christy’s Top 10

1. Chain of Gold by Cassandra Clare

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Clare wrote the perfect start to her new shadowhunter series. I loved seeing Will, Tessa and Jem as adults. Plus, the next generation is just as exciting. Set in Edwardian London, James, Lucie, Matthew, Cordelia and their friends deal with demon attacks increase around the city. This book had everything: adventure, romance and mystery. Chain of Iron will hopefully be just as amazing in 2021. I need more Matthew Fairchild!

2. A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson

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Pippa Fitz-Amobi knows something wasn’t right about the disappearance of Andie Bell five years ago. Determined to find out what really happened, Pippa goes deeper into her town’s dark past. After all, it seemed too easy for the police to close the case without a proper investigation. How many people could be in on this secret and what would they do to make sure it never comes to life? This story was nonstop! Jackson created a perfect mystery with multiple big revelations. I love a good murder mystery that keeps me on my toes and A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder lived up to expectations.

3. Chasing Lucky by Jenn Bennett

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Bennett’s YA romances are always great. Chasing Lucky follows Josie as she moves back to her hometown of Beauty, Rhode Island. When family secrets come to light at an ill-fated party, Josie sets out on a revenge plot that goes awry— with her old friend Lucky taking the fall. Desperate to figure out why Lucky covered for her, Josie devises elaborate plots to repay him. As the two grow closer, they realize that their friendship (and chemistry) may not be just platonic. Bennett will make you swoon during this summer at a New England beach town. While it’s not quite as fantastic as Alex, Approximately, Chasing Lucky is a close second!

4. Love & Olives by Jenna Evans Welch

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Speaking of YA romance, Welch’s latest book was anticipated for fans of Love & Gelato. Liv travels to Santorini, Greece to see her dad. His assistant Theo happens to be a major plus of being in Greece. Theo won me over right away with his sense of humor and adventure. I loved the mystery aspect of the book. As a history lovers it would be so cool being able to do a project for National Geographic and explore Greece to understand one of the world’s most discussed myths. I can’t wait for Welch to continue her books with European travel.

5. The Lost Book of the White by Cassandra Clare

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After the events of The Red Scrolls of Magic, I couldn’t wait to see what Magnus Bane and Alec Lightwood did next. With another trip to a demon dimension and the addition of new shadowhunters, Magnus and Alec finally learn Shinyun’s endgame. But time is running out and they have to do whatever it takes before demons take over China. This was a great sequel and the ending made room for book 3, The Black Volume of the Dead

6. The Voting Booth by Brandy Colbert

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What’s an election year without political activism? When Duke and Marva’s paths cross at their voting location, their plans for the day turn upside down. After Marva casts her vote, she overhears a volunteer telling a male her age that he is not on their list of eligible voters— and that male is none other than Duke. Determined to ensure every voice is heard, Marva sets out to help Duke vote. Marva was an A+ protagonist. She loved getting involved and would do anything to change the future of her country. Plus, the sweet romance added to the overall plot. I always love to see young woman care about politics and agree with Marva, voting matters!

7. One of Us is Next (One of Us Is Lying #2) by Karen McManus

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It’s been over a year since what happened at Bayview High School. Students have tried and failed to re-create Simon’s gossip app, but none have had quite the same wow-factor as About That. That is, until students get texts from Unknown announcing a new game, Truth or Dare.  Phoebe learns the hard way that you always take the dare. Maeve thinks she has nothing to hide, but Unknown knew that what would hurt her most was going after her best friend. Before Knox can be tapped, tragedy strikes again at Bayview High. Add another murder at Bayview and McManus’s story was anything but boring. Her January 2020 mystery did not disappoint me. I was nervous to read this since One of Us is Lying was so good, but McManus wrote another shock ending.

8. Recommended For You by Laura Silverman

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I love bookstores and when I saw the romance would be centered around the store, I couldn’t resist. Shoshana and Jake had amazing chemistry and banter from the beginning. They were always engaged in a battle of wits. Shoshana is also a relatable MC. All she wants to do is help everyone. Even when she makes mistakes, her heart is always in the right place. The setting, fun plot and engaging characters made this YA contemporary one of the best of 2020. It’s also a great diverse holiday story. Shoshana and Jake are Jewish and its sent during winter break, where they celebrate Hanukkah.

9. Blood & Honey by Shelby Mahurin 

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Serpent & Dove was my favorite book of 2019. While Blood and Honey wasn’t quite as good, it still cracked the top 10. Parts could be a bit slow and some of the fighting between Reid and Lou was unnecessary. However, the last 50 pages more than made up for it. Of course Blood & Honey ended on a major plot twist that sets up book three nicely. Without spoiling anything, get yourself some tissues before you finish it. I need more Reid and Lou ASAP. 

10. Majesty by Katherine McGee

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After American Royals left off on a major cliffhanger, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on book 2. Majesty completely caught me off guard because so much had changed for the characters. Word of advice: keep an open mind. Some of the new pairings were surprising in the best way possible. I also enjoyed political challenges that Beatrice faced. Um, hello, a woman can rule just as well as a man!! She took charge and proved that nobody could challenge her legitimacy. Read this series if you want to imagine an alternate United States with a monarchy. 

Claire’s Top 10

1. Chain of Gold by Cassandra Clare

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The Infernal Devices series by Clare is my favorite of the Shadowhunter universe so I was super excited to read Chain of Gold! It definitely did not disappoint. We reunited with my number one bae, Will Herondale, but also met his children, Lucie and James, and the rest of the Merry Thieves! In true Cassandra Clare fashion, this book was stacked with action and adorable romance. The setting of Edwardian London was enticing and I loved seeing my favorite city, London, in a different time period. Matthew Fairchild is officially my new favorite bean and if anything happens to him in Chain of Iron, I fill fight someone. Consider me emotionally invested in this series! 

2. Westcott High #2 by Sarah Mello

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Okay, I am obsessed with this series. Like, obsessed! Ever since discovering it on Instagram, my fictional ships have never been the same. Sonny and her friends are back for round two and are trying to figure out who is trying to frame them for arson. I devoured this book (and the first one) and cannot wait for book 3, due to be released next year. The writing was stellar and the mystery aspect had me hooked— that ending was incredible!! Sonny and Jacob were also my number one ship of the year, so I need them to be endgame. You’ll continue hearing me fangirl about them well into 2021. 

3. Blood & Honey by Shelby Mahurin 

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Blood & Honey was easily in my top 2 anticipated releases of 2020— and it did not disappoint (mostly). While this book definitely dragged in some places, it was great to catch up with Lou, Reid, and the gang as they are on the run from Les Dames Blanches. Lou and Reid continued to have amazing chemistry (thought they admittedly did have issues that were frustrating) and the cast of characters kept things interesting. The ending set up book 3 nicely and left us on a major cliff hanger. We cannot wait to see where Gods & Monsters takes this story! 

4. Hand on the Wall (Truly, Devious #3) by Maureen Johnson 

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Truly, Devious is one of my favorite YA mystery series due to Johnson’s incredible ability to write compelling characters and a strong plot line. In book 3, Stevie is on the verge of solving the infamous Ellingham murders, but before she can do so, she needs to piece together the odd events transpiring in the present day. The resolution of the murder mystery plot was excellent and I was left extremely satisfied. At the time, I believed this to be a fitting ending to Stevie’s story. But as it turns out, this is not the end! Stevie and the gang are back for a stand-alone mystery in The Box in the Woods, to be released in 2021. 

5. One of Us Is Next (One of Us Is Lying #2) by Karen McManus

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One of Us is Next is the second novel in the One of Us is Lying series. I thought the first installment would be hard to beat, but One of Us Is Next definitely came close. After Simon’s death, students at Bayview High tried and failed to recreate his salacious app. But why do you need an app when you can play a game? When Unknown begins a dangerous game of Truth or Dare, Phoebe, Knox, and Maeve may risk it all to survive. I loved the mystery in this book and genuinely didn’t piece together who Unknown was until the very end. The cliff hanger had my jaw hanging open, too. I need to know if McManus intends on writing a book 3, because she cannot leave us hanging like that. Though the romance in book 1 is still my favorite, I loved the direction of the relationships in this book and appreciated the differences in character development. All in all, a very satisfying YA thriller! 

6. Throw Like a Girl by Sarah Henning 

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Throw Like a Girl was my favorite YA romcom of 2020. This was the first romcom that stood out to me and would set the standard for others to come. I love nothing more than a sports-themed romcom, so I knew this would be up my alley. When softball star Liv Rodinsky is kicked off her team for punching an opponent, she is banished to public school, where she has to prove to the new softball coach that she is a team player. Her solution? Join the football team as the sub for the QB while he recovers from injury. Sounds like an easy way to prove she can play nice with others, right? Wrong. I absolutely loved the romance in this book. It was a little rushed, but Liv and Grey had the kind of chemistry and banter that left me swooning. I also loved the deeper themes of family, which pulled at my heart strings. I will officially read anything Henning writes! 

7. Loveboat, Taipei by Abigail Hing Wen 

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To be honesty, I did not know what to expect when I first picked up Loveboat, Taipei. I mean, the book basically screamed unsupervised teens, which can either be a really good or really, really bad setup in YA books. I ended up being pleasantly surprised! Eighteen year-old Ever Wong is livid when her parents send her to Taiwan to study Mandarin for the summer, when all she wants to do is dance. But little did her parents know that the program, also known as the Loveboat, is basically an opportunity to club, hook up, and adventure across Taiwan. I enjoyed this book as much as I did because I could relate to Ever. Like me, she is socially shy and has issues letting loose. I enjoyed seeing her come into her own and sticking up to her super strict parents. The romance with her childhood rival, Rick, was also adorable. There is supposedly going to be a companion book in the series, but TBD on details! 

8. Majesty by Katharine McGee 

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Majesty ended in a way completely unlike what I imagined for this series, but I loved it! Be warned: everyone you thought would be endgame wasn’t, and that was OKAY! McGee did an amazing job wrapping up Sam, Beatrice, and Nina’s stories. We picked up right where we left off, with Princess Beatrice preparing to ascend to the throne…and dealing with her engagement to Teddy. Sam is nursing her wounds after losing the man she loves to her sister, and Nina is fleeing the spotlight after her breakup with Prince Jefferson. Many of the events in Majesty were unexpected, including some of the relationships and the introduction of new characters, but I loved how each of our leading ladies ended their respective stories Moreover, who doesn’t love to think of an alternate history where America has a monarchy?! So fun! 

9. Yes No Maybe So by Becky Albertalli and Aisha Saeed 

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Yes No Maybe So had it all for me: romance, humor, and politics— three of my favorite things. Jamie Goldberg is excited to volunteer for his state senator…as long as it’s behind the scenes. Maya Rehman is struggling right now with both family and friend drama. Her mother thinks this can easily be fixed by canvassing for a local politician. It’s not exactly an easy job, but Jamie and Maya are paired to go to door to door for their candidate. And maybe, they’ll fall in love along the way. Albertalli and Saeed pitch this as a book about activism and cross-cultural romance. As a millennial deeply interested in politics, I was drawn to the plot about teen activists fighting to turn their Georgia district blue. Maya and Jamie were superbly well-written and developed, and I loved seeing them grow together and learn from each other’s backgrounds/histories. If you’re looking for a YA contemporary with heartfelt undertones, check this one out! 

10. Chasing Lucky by Jenn Bennett

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I’ve been a Jane Bennett fan since her Alex, Approximately days, so I was thrilled when she came out with another YA contemporary. This time we meet Josie Saint-Martin, who is forced to move back to her small town in Rhode Island with her mom to run the family bookstore. When she runs into her former best friend, Lucky, Josie intends to ignore him, but a prank gone awry ends with Lucky taking the fall for Josie. If only Josie could figure out why! I absolutely loved this feel-good contemporary. Josie is one of my favorite Bennett protagonists for her quick wit and tenacity. Lucky was also a mega dream boat. Overall, this book stuck out to me for how it made me feel— ooey and gooey inside from the cute romance and small town vibes! 

Published by I'm All Booked Up YA

We write recommendations and reviews for YA books.

21 thoughts on “Our Top Books of 2020

  1. Merry Christmas!!

    I haven’t read these books before but love the themes around all of these books. A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder sounds like my type of mystery read! It is always nice to see lovers with a common interest and doing something they enjoy. Thanks for sharing all of these faves!!

    Nancy ✨ mdrnminimalists.com

    Liked by 1 person

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