Review Catch Up: 2020 Favourites So Far

Hello everybody! So, recently I’ve been utterly failing at writing reviews for all the AMAZING books I’ve read, and that’s been partly because once I was behind I felt buried under how many I had to write in order to put just one post up under my old system, and then I remembered that there was absolutely no rule to say I had to do it like that. So at least for now, I’m moving to a new system, where reviews will still be grouped, but not by the month when I read them and maybe instead by how I felt about them, or their genre or really just anything.

With that little disclaimer out of the way, I decided I wanted to kick off these posts quite out of order (I promise I do hope to talk about pretty much everything I haven’t yet!!) By talking about my favourite reads of 2020 so far, some of which which I am SO grateful I recieved for review, and all of . Onto the post!

Crater Lake by Jennifer Killick (recieved from the publisher in exchange for my honest review)

I absolutely adore Jennifer’s writing in general- I think she strikes the perfect balance between humour and warming your heart- and Crater Lake is up there with my absolute favourites of her five books so far. It’s the story of a group of children, and specifically a boy named Lance, who go on their year 6 residential only to discover that Crater Lake is no ordinary activity centre, and they are all in extreme danger. I read this after a book I didn’t really like, and it was the perfect thing to get me excited about reading again because it’s just everything I love about stories: it provides an interesting, funny, clever distraction from real life whilst simultaneously incorporating issues that people really do face, and I particularly appreciated the fact that long term health conditions were handled so amazingly in here. The main cast are all utter darlings (except for Trent, who I did not enjoy!); I had particular soft spots for lovely Lance and Chets, and Adrienne was just a total queen. I was also pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed the horror aspect given I’m usually a complete wuss, and the concept is so fantastic and I love the way Jennifer executed it so much. 5/5

The House of One Hundred Clocks by AM Howell (recieved from the publisher in exchange for my honest review)

I adored A.M Howell’s debut, so I’m pleased to report for anyone who felt the same but hasn’t yet read this that her second is even better! It’s about a girl named Helena, whose clock-winder father accepts a very unusual job: they must move to a house in Cambridge, and the hundred clocks in the house there must never stop, or they will be stripped of all their worldly possessions. I was so intrigued by the concept and I loved piecing together what was really happening as the book went on; it was totally absorbing and I was always so excited to pick it up and read more! Helena is a wonderful heroine and I felt so much empathy for her, and Boy was also amazing. The rest of the cast were just as interesting and fleshed out too, and the mystery was so, so good; I loved that it again wasnt really a whodunit, but still felt so satisfying. The writing was gorgeous again too, and if you love Emma Carroll and Helen Peters then you absolutely MUST give AM Howell a try. 5/5

First Day of My Life by Lisa Williamson (recieved from the publisher in exchange for my honest review)

Almost every time I read a new book by Lisa Williamson I declare it my new favourite, and this is no exception. To give you an idea of how much I liked it, I picked it up after about 2 weeks of barely reading anything on a Thuraday evening at 7pm, intending to read a chapter, and even after taking a break for several hours once it got to 9pm, it was finished for me going to sleep at midnight. It’s the story of best friends Frankie and Jojo, and what happens when Jojo goes missing the same day as a local baby and Frankie hears a baby crying when she eventually manages to get her on the phone. It is UTTERLY gripping. It took me ages to work out a certain twist- I was at least halfway through, and I was SO shocked- and even once I knew exactly what was going on I still couldn’t put the book down till I knew how it would all end. The friendship at the heart of this was definitely my favourite thing about it, however; the bond they shared is really special and also reminded me a lot of me and one of my friends, which is how I came to tell them the night I read this not to steal any babies! The romance was adorable too, but it definitely took a backseat to the friendship for me. I seriously can’t recommend this enough to anyone looking for an original, hugely interesting YA. 5/5

The Ghost Garden by Emma Carroll (recieved from the publisher in exchange for my honest review)

If you know me even slightly, I don’t think you’ll be surprised to hear that I loved this, because Emma Carroll is pretty much my favourite author of all time and I’m obsessed with everything she’s ever written! In her first novella for Barrington Stoke, she tells the story of a girl named Fran, who is a gardener of a grand house’s daughter, as she is forced to become a companion to the lady of the house’s grandson Leo, who has just broken his leg and is driving everyone mad with her conspiracy theories that war is going to break out. I thought this was a genius time period in which to set the story, because I don’t think I’ve ever seen it done before, plus it lended itself beautifully to the shorter length as it allowed a real snapshot of what things would have been like at this time without simply repeating things. I also loved the two main characters and their unlikely, and somewhat unusual, friendship, and the fabulism element was so interesting as I hadn’t been expecting it and it just took me by surprise! If you love historical fiction or fabulism or just a really good story in general, this is a must read! 5/5

The Map from Here to There by Emery Lord

Emery Lord is a really, REALLY special author for me, and there’s absolutely no one I’d rather read when I’m feeling ridiculously anxious (which is most of the time!), so I made sure to read this more DAYS after finally having something new from her. This one was particularly special in that its the sequel to the Start of Me and You, which was the very first Emery Lord book I ever read, and I will make no secret of the fact I was openly weeping after like 2 pages because reuniting with Paige her new boyfriend Max and their friends meant so much to me. It follows them as they make their way through senior year, and have to cope with the challenges that come with that (such as whether they can make it as a couple if they choose different colleges). Emery’s writing was as ridiculously gorgeous and readable as ever, and now I know her style better it was so interesting to see how that style adapts to Paige’s voice, while retaining the feel of it being an Emery Lord book. Also unsure, I still absolutely adore all of my darling characters in this! I love them all so, so much that I just have no coherent words to describe it, and I was very fond of new boy Hunter in this one as well. The ending was perfect too, and I’m kind of hoping for a book following the gang at college, I won’t lie. I’m so glad I read this as fast as I did, but also kind of wish I’d saved it, just so I could still have the treat of reading something this special for the first time again. 5/5

Thank you so much for reading! Have you read any of these, or are you planning to? I’d really love to hear in the comments! Amy x

Author: goldenbooksgirl

Disabled book blogger who also writes TV, film, music and other posts from time to time | UKYABA Champion Teen 2018 | Email: | she/her

3 thoughts on “Review Catch Up: 2020 Favourites So Far”

  1. I have been a bit snowed under combination of many sent books, feeling poorly in jan and then trying to keep up!! I thoroughly enjoyed house of 100 clocks (I need to write up my review!!) and LOVE Crater Lake!! I haven’t got round to Ghost Garden yet. I’m hoping to do a few sprints of writing up so I can then read.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. with things being what they were at uni at the end of last year/start of this year, I didn’t really have energy for reading/blogging once I got home, hence getting myself in this mess of having so so many reviews to write 🙈. Very excited to read your review of the House of the One Hundred Clocks, and so glad you enjoyed Crater Lake too 💜
      And cant wait to hear your thoughts on the Ghost Garden!!

      Liked by 1 person

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