Monday, 11 January 2021

My Top 5 Books Of 2020

Now we are officially in a new year, it's time for me to look back on all the books I read in 2020 and pick my top 5 of the year. I set myself a goal of reading 100 books last year, just like the year before and whilst I did reach it, it took me right up until the end of December which is why I didn't end up sharing this as early as I'd have liked. I read such a variety last year from thrillers to romance, LGBT books to Young Adult, crime fiction to autobiographies, there was a LOT so it's definitely been a challenge to choose just 5 that came out on top. I've just about managed it though, these are the 5 books that stand out to me every time I think back to 2020 and ones I've felt really passionate about for a number of reasons.
collage - book covers, Normal People, The Longest Holiday, The Silent Patient, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, In Case You Missed It

1. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

I massively struggled to pick between the The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo and Normal People for the top spot this year but every time I see this book on my bookshelf, I want to re-read it. I actually won my copy of this in a giveaway at the start of the year and it sat on my shelf for months. I really did judge a book by its cover despite all of the amazing reviews I kept seeing on Instagram. I'm SO glad I eventually read it though because it's just BRILLIANT. 

As you might guess by the title, this tells the story of Hollywood star Evelyn Hugo. Evelyn recruits magazine reporter Monique to help her write her biography and in doing so she reveals the truth about the glamorous yet scandalous life she's had, even revealing one of her deepest secrets. As Evelyn's story catches up with the present, Monique realises their lives may be connected in a tragic way she could never have predicted.

This completely took me by surprise and whilst there were shocking moments throughout, it never felt like there were too many twists. It genuinely felt like this could be a real celebrity in Hollywood right now living this life. Evelyn felt so believable and real and I only liked her more and more as the book went on. It's hard to properly explain why I loved this book so much but I know it's one I'll recommend to people again and again. It's utterly captivating. I will 100% be re-reading this one day and it would make the most incredible film.
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid held up in front of bookshelf

2. Normal People by Sally Rooney 

Normal People pretty much took over my life in the first lockdown. That feels so long ago now. I first read this after I'd just seen the trailer for the TV adaptation and the only thing that stopped this getting top place in this list is because I loved the show more than the book. I thoroughly enjoyed the book but the TV show, god I still think about it. And I'd be more inclined to watch the show again than to read the book so it felt fair to put this in second place.

Normal People follows Connell and Marianne in high school. He's popular, she's not. But there's an attraction there. Unable to control their feelings for one another, they get together but keep it a secret from everyone around them. Throughout the book we follow them through the highs and lows. The breakups, the makeups and everything in between. The book spans over a number of years but no matter what, their love for one another always remains, even if being together isn't as straightforward as it should be.

Sally Rooney's writing style is very different to that of any other authors that I know of so it did take some getting used to at first but I felt the chemistry between Connell and Marianne from the moment they met. It's electric and I don't know how she's managed to do that with words. It's not even like a great deal happens throughout but I fell in love with the story and the characters and by the end I just wanted to start it all over again. These characters will stick with me for a long time.
Normal People by Sally Rooney on bookshelf

3. The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

Surprisingly the only thriller that's made it to my top 5 books of the year. I read a LOT of thrillers in 2020 and I found myself getting really picky towards the end of the year. The Silent Patient is one I would recommend to anyone and I was on at George for months telling him he should read it!

In The Silent Patient, we meet Alicia who until 6 years ago, lived a seemingly perfect life. For reasons unknown to us, she one day shoots her husband in the head five times. Since then she hasn't said a single word. Criminal psychotherapist Theo is determined to be the one who can make her talk.

This to me just had everything you want in a psychological thriller. It was tense, had an intricate plot that never felt confusing, fascinating characters and the ending is amazing. It's a really quick read too so I got through this in a matter of hours. I wish I could re-read it not knowing what was going to happen!
The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides held up in front of bookshelf

4. The Longest Holiday by Paige Toon

There had to be a book by Paige Toon on this list didn't there? My favourite author and the queen of romance. I read a few Paige Toon books in 2020 meaning I've read everything she's published so far and The Longest Holiday stands out as one of her best.

The Longest Holiday is about Laura, a character from one of Paige's older books, who has just got married. Not long afterwards, she finds out her husband Matthew has been keeping a big secret. Unable to forgive him, she is whisked off to Florida by her friends and there she meets Leo. She's not looking for a man but she can't help herself, there's an instant connection. It's not long before she's head over heels and has to decide if she takes a chance and stays with Leo or heads home to Matthew who would do anything to get her back.

If you've read any books by Paige before then you'll probably know how the story goes, all her books seem to have a similar theme, but that's why I love them so much. I know what I'm getting and sometimes you just need a cheesy romance. I loved so many of the characters in this and I thought every interaction between Laura and Leo was perfect.
The Longest Holiday by Paige Toon book cover

5. In Case You Missed It by Lindsey Kelk

This was the first book I've read by Lindsey Kelk but it won't be the last. It reminded me a lot of books by Paige Toon so within a few chapters, I knew I was going to like it. 

Ros is having a bit of a crisis. She's just moved back home after 4 years away and is in need of a job, a new flat and everything that she had in her old life. But things have moved on. She's nostalgic for the way things used to be so when her new phone begins to ping with messages from all of her old contacts, including her ex, she can't help but want to find out what she's been missing.

This just sums up what a romantic comedy is. It was so funny at times but had those heartwarming moments you want too and Ros was just a fantastic character. Every time I put it down, I wanted to pick it straight up again and that to me is a sign of a good book.
In Case You Missed It by Lindsey Kelk on bookshelf
So after much deliberation, these are my top 5 books of 2020! I honestly could have included so many more but these 5 just stand out to me as some of the best I've read over the past 12 months. I can easily see me re-reading all of them at some point and I'm sure I'll be recommending them for a long time yet.

What was your favourite book of 2020? Did you read any of these too?

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Kelly~Diane said...

These sound like some great books. I absolutely love Lindsey Kelk books but am yet to read this one.

beautyqueenuk said...

I really want to read the The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, read a sample on my Kindle and I know I’d love it x

jennyinneverland said...

I really want to read The Silent Patient. And I’ve heard endless good things about Seven Husbands so I need to get my hands on that too! xx

Alice Anne said...

Seven Husbands was one of mine too! Such a good book. I have The Silent Patient so I should really get on that soon xx

Heather Nixon said...

I haven't read any of these! I need to write my favourite books of 2020 still x

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