Hello everybody! Today, I’m sharing my other favourites list of 2020, which combines the YA and adult books I most enjoyed. Again, I’m sure none of the authors will see this, but if they do, I’d like to say thank you to them all for their wonderful stories, which made a difficult year a little easier. Onto the post!
First Day of My Life– I was lucky enough to recieve a proof of this just before the release date was postponed until 2021, and if you’re a fan of YA contemporary this is definitely one to add to your TBR. It’s told from the perspective of three different friends, and it’s so cleverly plotted and well executed. I adored all of the main characters and the plot is so interesting and unique.
The Map from Here to There- I discovered Emery Lord’s books in 2017, fell utterly in love with her writing during a very difficult period in 2018 when I had spine surgery, and have been waiting on a new release from her ever since. This didn’t disappoint. It’s a sequel to her debut The Start of Me and You, and it was great to see Paige, Max and their friends navigate senior year and make decisions about their future. Her writing is just ridiculously stunning as well.
If I Never Met You– this is the first of four Mhairi McFarlane books on this list, because in 2020 I became a HUGE fan. This one, however, is my VERY favourite of them all because it involves my favourite trope of fake dating. It’s about Laurie and Jamie, who both work in the same office, and what happens after they get stuck in a lift together and cook up a plan to fake a relationship that benefits both of them in rather different ways. Just writing this is making me want to get it out of the cupboard to start rereading, and just thinking about the Hooded Claw joke is enough to induce a snort!! Jamie’s my new go to answer for my book boyfriend as well, I’m obsessed with him (I loved Laurie too though, she’s one of my fave Mhairi heroines next to Laurie and Delia!)
Don’t You Forget About Me- I did warn you there was a lot of Mhairi McFarlane on here, so this was the second one I read and I loved it a ridiculous amount as well! It’s about Georgia and Lucas, who were together as teenagers before an event split them apart, as they cross paths again when Georgia gets a job working in his pub… except he doesn’t seem to know who she is. The slow burn romance is PHENOMENAL and there is a GOLDEN RETRIEVER and it’s hilarious and it also has my fave friend group in a Mhairi McFarlane book to date. And the ending is just AMAZING.
You Had Me at Hello- oh look, another Mhairi McFarlane fangirl session is about to begin! This is the story of Ben and Rachel, who were incredibly close at uni, as they come back into each others’ lives ten years later. I loved the concept and the execution is really well done, because I was worried it’d evolve into a cheating situation and thankfully that was very much avoided!
Lady Midnight– the main reason I like this more than most Shadowhunters books is because it’s kind of a mystery, which is a lot of fun! It sets up the Dark Artifices trilogy well and does a great job of introducing the characters, who I cared a lot about by the end.
Good Girl, Bad Blood- I really loved A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder, but I think this sequel might be even better. It sees Pip take on a new case, this time broadcasting her investigation on her new podcast, and it’s even more dangerous than her last. I loved seeing how her relationship with Ravi has developed and how the first book has changed Pip as a person; I’d be fascinated to see this further explored as well. And based on the ending, I have my fingers tightly crossed for a third book that will do just that!
Boy Queen– this was so much fun! It’s about a boy called Robin, who after being rejected from drama school, goes through a bit of a hard time until he discovers the world of drag and starts trying to become a part of it. It’s hilarious, I adored every single member of Robin’s friend group including Robin himself, and it was really interesting learning more about drag queens! And the romance is super cute.
Read with Pride– this is the second book in the Paper and Hearts Society series, and it’s so great. It’s Olivia’s story this time, and sees her start an underground book club after her school library restricts access to LGBTQ+ titles. I found Olivia very relatable in a lot of the ways, I love both book clubs and their members a huge deal, and I adore the way that this series celebrates reading. I can’t wait for the next one, which focuses on my favourite supporting character in both books so far, Ed.
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo– there is so much hype around this book, but it really is well deserved. It’s about a journalist who receives the once in a lifetime, career making opportunity to write the biography of famed actress Evelyn Hugo, which is split into chunks corresponding to each of her seven marriages. It’s utterly gripping, and I honestly felt like Evelyn was a real person who’d actually lived by the end. And I loved the twist!
Date Me, Bryson Keller– Think Simon Vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda but with fake dating and you have this absolute gem. It’s about a boy named Kai, who isn’t out yet, as he dares Bryson Keller to date him for the week (as Bryson has bet that he will date the first person that asks him out each week!). Their relationship is adorable, Kai is an absolute sweetheart and I hated his parents for some of what they do in here, and I really loved both the main characters’ sisters. It’s such a warm, lovely book; a really great summer read.
Heartbreak Boys– I’m a huge Simon James Green fan, and this is my very favourite of all his books so far. It’s incredibly funny, Jack and Nate are both so utterly lovable (both as separate characters and as a couple) and I just had the best time reading about their road trip, on which they pretend to be a couple to spite their exes, who are now together.
Far from Perfect– I have to admit I wasn’t sure about the Valentines trilogy when I read Happy Girl Lucky, but Far From Perfect both reminded me why I love Holly Smale and showed me a totally different side to her writing. It’s Faith’s story, about when striving for perfection becomes too much for her and she can’t keep up the charade anymore. I absolutely loved her, and I loved how gripping the plot was, I honestly had no idea how things were going to turn out. I’m very excited for Mercy’s book after the twist revealed towards the end too, the Valentines are a pretty fascinating family. The Infernal Devices trilogy- the main reason I love this trilogy is because of Jem, to be totally honest! I also really like the London setting, and Tessa is my favourite protagonist in the Shadowhunters series by a MILE. And I really loved Charlotte as well!
It’s Not Me, It’s You– this is another Mhairi McFarlane book I fell in love with this year, and this one is about the aforementioned Delia, who gets a very nasty shock when she proposes to her partner and then subsequently discovers he’s cheating on her. She then moves to London to stay with her friend (who’s FABULOUS) and gets a new job, and I loved how much focus there was on other parts of her life and not just her romance with her new love interest (who I was low key in love myself tbh). I adored Delia, she’s such a great character, and it was such a brilliant read overall. Mhairi McFarlane is a romcom genius.
Love Songs for Sceptics– I thought I’d like this book when I heard the synopsis, so I saved it for a day when I needed cheering up and it more than did it’s job. It’s about a music journalist named Zoe, and it’s such a fantastic read. I can’t really tell you much about the plot because I loved that it actually didn’t go in the direction I’d expected at all, but it’s very, very funny and I loved the music aspect. Zoe is a great character, and I was pleasantly surprised by how much I loved her love interest by the end as well. Plus it features some of my fave romcom tropes!
A Snowfall of Silver– this is definitely my favourite YA of the year. It’s a stunning companion novel to a Sky Painted Gold, which follows Lou’s younger sister Freya as she joins a travelling theatre group. I loved the theatre aspect, I adored Freya and all the new people she meets (particularly her absolutely precious love interest), the writing is gorgeous and it was great catching up with the characters from A Sky Painted Gold and seeing what they were doing a couple of years later. It’s just perfection, and I’m already desperate to reread both ASPG and this.
Someday at Christmas– this is a ridiculously gorgeous romance about a woman named Shell who works as a makeup artist in an old department store facing imminent closure due to money problems. Shell is such a fantastic heroine, Callum is the perfect love interest and I loved seeing day-to-day life in the store and seeing Shell navigate problems with her family and friends and career as well as falling in love.
Reasons to Stay Alive– I don’t have words big enough to explain how much I loved this. It’s a really powerful and special book, and it made me feel a little bit less alone at a time when I really needed it.
One by One– I loved the Turn of the Key last year, and while I don’t think this quite lived up, I still thought it was a bloody brilliant thriller. It’s about a company on the brink of selling, who go and stay in a ski resort for a corporate holiday to try to work out if they want to take the deal as some shareholders are opposed, which is a tense dynamic even before they all start dying! It’s so creepy and chilling and it’s a proper page turner. I loved Erin (although not quite as much as Rowan), and I think having Liz’s perspective was interesting too, even though she’s not the warmest or fuzziest character I’ve ever read. One of my main bookish goals for 2021 is getting through Ruth Ware’s backlist, because so far I’ve loved everything I’ve read by her.
What have your favourite reads been in these age categories? Do you have any thoughts on the ones that made my list? I’d love to hear in the comments!