I have been so excited to write this post since August when I completed my 2020 Goodreads Reading Challenge! I still can’t believe I read 20+ books, and I absolutely loved it! I think my inner seven year old self was in disbelief the whole time. She would have definitely been hiding in a corner, shielding herself like it’s something poisonous or something.
After I finished with the first 20 books, I thought I had a clear-cut top five lineup but as more time went on, I was still analyzing everything that went on with two separate books and just couldn’t get them out of my head, so I took this as a sign that they should have the top spot together. This also meant I needed another book for the last bit of the countdown and thankfully, I kind of knew which one I wanted to put into the group and so, now I have SIX books in this post instead of the normal five but I’m okay with that and I have a feeling you are perfectly fine about this too!
1. Jane Doe by Victoria Helen Stone & The German Midwife by Mandy Robotham
This book was almost knocked off the top spot because I was really tempted to give it to another book, but Jane still has a strong hold over me, and it’s been 11 months since I finished it and I am still recommending it to random people on Twitter! Everytime I see anyone asking for books, it is the first thing to pop in my head and I certainly don’t regret it.
I think the main reason why this is my favorite book of the year is because it’s not something that I would normally read in the first place. I have never been interested in suspense thrillers, but in 2018, I watched the film What Lies Beneath for the first time and I just fell in love with it and I just wanted more of that genre and somehow it managed to spill over into what kind of books I read and from the moment I saw it on Prime Reading, I started dancing in my seat because it has been on my TBR list for little over a year and I just got this vibe that I would enjoy it, and I thoroughly happy with myself for taking the chance on it and it’s just an amazing book!
The only thing that really sucked was later in the year, I had a chance to read the sequel to it called, “Problem Child” and even though everything that I loved about Jane was still there, I just didn’t connect with it as much as the first so this really messed with me for a while, but it happens though! If Victoria is writing a third book in the series, I definitely want to read it and see if it is the same or has a completely different vibe going on, so we’ll just have to see what happens in the new year or maybe early 2022.
The German Midwife was the last book I read to finish out my reading challenge and it was the best thing I could have done, but also made me want anything–and I’m not kidding!–about World War II and the Holocaust. I have a bad weakness to women’s stories; I’m not picky whether it is fiction or nonfiction as we’ve seen with all of the books I read this year! I still think about this story, I was very upset about these women who were pregnant while being in the concertation camps, and knowing how little food they were given on a daily basis, and then if you are a history nut like I am, you could say it was like mediaeval times and childbirth was just as deadly in the late 1930’s into the 40’s.
While Jane was about seeking revenge and basically seeing how her mind worked in every scene, Anke was full of compassion and love, and she knew what was happening to these Jewish babies after she helped their mother give birth to them but still helped every pregnant woman in her care anyways. These are two different women and I just fell in love with both of them.
3. P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han
One thing that I didn’t expect to happen in general was I actually finished a book series this year!
I thought it would happen to another series I’ve read but I lost interest in it just before I started the challenge and I still find it sort of odd that it was this series because I celebrated 10 years of being a high school graduate in 2020 and while I was reading these books, I felt like I was being transported back to my high school days and dealing with my crushes. I wasn’t as lucky as Lara Jean but I definitely wouldn’t have it any other way.
I loved this book for many reasons, the one that comes to mind is Lara Jean’s friendship with Stormy. She learned and grew a lot by hanging out with Stormy. I have my nana and we have a great relationship, but I wouldn’t compare her to Stormy because she’s not as rowdy and loves her cocktails like Stormy, but she loves to chat about her past and we can get into trouble sometimes. I feel after Lara Jean’s sister Margot went overseas, having someone like Stormy became her lifeline and she was allowed to flourish into this beautiful young woman. I think back at it now, this book was more about her as an individual–away from her family and the boys, she grew a lot and I certainly did too, because I started to realize that I have changed a lot since I’d been in school and I didn’t even know about it until several weeks ago!
3. Five Feet Apart by Rachael Lippinscott
This was the most anticipated stories on my list at the beginning of the year, and for good reason too, because it was so lovely! On that list, I had three books that I knew would talk about disability in some form and I figured it would be smarter on my part to get through those first before heading into the others. I knew they would make me cry so I just wanted to save myself part of the misery that comes with reading these types of books!
What I still find kind of eerie in a way is that I read and watched the film version two months before COVID came around, so I remember learning the importance of each of the main characters standing six feet apart from each other at all times, but it didn’t necessarily hit me how much I would hear this statement until the guidelines were plastered everywhere! I will say, I understand why Stella was so on it with her medicine and wanting to create an app to help other people with Cystic Fibrosis. And I also understood the bitterness Will carried as well, so their stories kind of carried over into what 2020 became and as strange as that sounds, this was a really good book!
4. City Of Bones by Cassandra Clare
By the time I had found this book listed on Kindle Unlimited, I had almost given up hope for it.
I mentioned in the review that I was a big fan of the film that came out in 2013, but at that time I never wanted to really read the book because I figured I would do what I did trying to read the Harry Potter books, and compare every little scene but once I saw it online, I just couldn’t take it anymore and read the whole thing in like two weeks I think .I have seen how thick these books are on YouTube, so I was a little imitated by the sheer size of it but I was so proud that I read it after I have been waiting like four years to actually get my toes on it. I was very happy that I didn’t compare the two a lot but in my defense though, it’s been a long time since I’ve watched the film so I knew it wouldn’t be too bad.
One of my favorite things about it was how detailed the author made every scene, and I guess I never paid attention to the amount of material an author goes to making every scene stand out, and I’m glad I was able to read not just one fantasy novel this year but two others that I still think brought out everything for the readers, and it was deeply appreciated too!
5. After You by JoJo Moyes
I find it kind of odd that I have both the first and last books of the challenge included in this list. There are some similarities between Lou and Anke, such as how they treat everyone around them. They both want the best out of their situations and second guess everything and neither one has the power to do things differently that could maybe better their outcomes.
When I read the first book, I was only doing it so I wouldn’t be wondering what happens in the book, so I just made it easier on myself and it was the best decision I made because I was introduced to this lovely person: Louisa. She had no experience at caring for someone with a serve physical disability and had to figure out how to cope with his wish to die. When I got this book, I was thinking we were going to see her in Paris and having the time of her year, but we didn’t. We were introduced to Lou as she was losing all of her confidence and hope for the future. However, an opportunity popped up out of the blue and directed her back to who she was after meeting and falling in love with Will.
Honestly every book I read this year was amazing in their own way. I know I probably sound like figuring out the best books was easy but it really wasn’t. It’s hard to pick out each one because they were all different and I had a personal journey with all of them. For the most part, all but maybe one or two books actually received five or four stars on Goodreads because I thought they really deserved that type of rating.
I ended out the year reading 25 books, which was more than I ever expected to and it makes so damn proud because not only did I complete my original goal but I finished a whole series too! I think this is utterly amazing and I know I have a lot of family members and school teachers who have told me that they’re proud of my accomplishments, but I have felt like my heart could burst with excitement over this feat. I still remember my childhood days of hating to read both out loud and in general. I never found it to be fun until I was practically forced into it my freshman year of high school!
By the end of January when I come back to blogging after having a couple weeks off, I will be telling more about my next books and of course, announcing what I decided on how many I choose to read in 2021. Hope you to see again for that post.
Were you able to read any books this year? Did you give yourself a goal? If so, how many did you want to complete? After reading this post, do you want to set a reading goal for the new year too?