2020 Pickings: My Top Fiction Reads of the Year!


HAPPY 2021. I don’t want to go through all the 2020-was-a-hard-year fluff because everyone’s heard it at least a dozen times, so let’s dive right into this post. 2020 was an interesting reading year for me–my tastes and analytical skills have definitely evolved a lot since last January! I’ve started to consider more elements in books (specifically, theme), and my standards for a “good character arc” have skyrocketed since watching Haikyuu!! this summer. And yes, I let a sports anime about boys’ volleyball drastically change my perception of character development, and I have no regrets.

Of course, I’m still reading the same kinds of books as I always have–just fewer, these days 😦 Have I branched out in 2020? You could say so. Anyway, today I’m here to share some of my favorites with you! I hope you’ll check them out too!

Also, before we begin, know that none of these are in a specific order, because ordering them would take me forever and a half. Tap on the covers below to go to their Goodreads page πŸ™‚

The Sparks & The Flames by Kyle Prue

The cover shown is only for the first book, but I personally enjoyed the second one more, although both are awesome. The Feud Trilogy centers around three “superhuman” families who pretty much live to kill each other in a dystopian-fantasy city and their fight for preservation as the common people start to attack them. The story follows three surviving heirs, one from each family, and their struggle to unite in spite of the long and petty history bloodying their ancestry. Not only was the concept super fascinating, but the themes of power, vengeance, and unity are really strongly portrayed and well explored. This author really makes you feel for each of these characters. Also, I love the superpowers (super-speed, super-strength, and super-stealth) in this story and how it was family-centered. The third book of the trilogy actually came out this year but I still haven’t read it because Susie said it wasn’t as good as the other two and I’m afraid to be disappointed…

Moonscript by H.S.J. Williams

I reviewed this book back in May! Check it out! But yes, I loved Moonscript and if you love epic fantasy then you might like it too! I also recommend Fairest Son, a Snow White retelling by this same author.

The Silence of Bones by June Hur

A murder mystery set in Joseon Korea just around the time of the Catholic purge, featuring an intrepid young protagonist and a cast of intriguing side characters. It’s a book filled with beautiful, atmospheric writing that completely drew me in. The description, especially, really takes your breath away–not just because of how vivid the imagery is, but also because there is suspense in every corner of the novel. Also, it’s set in Joseon Korea! How many Western YA novels can you find that are like this?

The Lost Girl of Astor Street by Stephanie Morrill

This is the second of the two YA historical mysteries I devoured this year. I also read Between These Lines by this same author and I totally recommend it by the way (just go read it), but I like this one a tiny bit more. After the sudden disappearance of her best friend Lydia (and the disappointing efforts of the police), Piper Sail is determined to solve the case on her own. Though it sounds like a stereotypical best-friend-vanishes mystery, the main characters were vibrant and the story was well-laid-out, in my not-an-expert-at-mystery opinion. My favorite part–the most memorable part to me–is how richly Morrill depicts ’20s Chicago in her writing. It’s rare to feel so deeply grounded in a historical setting, and I think she did that part really well. Also check out Between These Lines by this same author, which I also read and loved this year!

Skyward by Brandon Sanderson

The descendants of human refugees from Earth have settled on a foreign planet under constant attack from an elusive alien race, and the only way to fight back is by flying pilots into battle to blow them up. Our main character, Spensa, is the daughter of a disgraced pilot, and thus she faces all kinds of challenges in order to become a great fighter like he once was–which she wants more than anything. This book is the kind you want to reread over and over again. It’s also a Brandon Sanderson, so you’re basically guaranteed epicness from the beginning! I’m going through The Way of Kings right now and it’s been pretty fabulous so far!

Strayborn by E.E. Rawls

I’d call this a middle-grade read, but it’s just as enjoyable for older audiences. The story is set in an alternate-dimension fantasy realm with cultures reminiscent of those in ours, mixed in with some unique twists on several of the most popular fantasy races. The magic system is element-based, BUT this book contains some of the most unusual powers I’ve ever seen. I loved the characters too, of course, especially the more antagonistic side characters (they’re all SUPER intriguing!), and I laughed out loud many times reading about their antics.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

I finally read this book over the summer and wow… Where are the words to describe it? I’m sure most of you have read it already, but if you haven’t 0_0 Please do it. It’s dark, it’s gritty, it’s emotional; and now that I’m writing this I want to read it again. Except I’m not sure I should, because it destroyed me the first time. At any rate, I think the unique point-of-view Zusak chose to write this book in is probably the biggest reason behind its powerful impact. It’s one of those “bigger than you” narratives that make all the difference for a book with such a setting.

Animal Farm by George Orwell

THIS IS SUCH AN UNDERRATED CLASSIC. Okay, yes, I know, it’s required school reading for a lot of Western (?) education systems and whatnot, but no one, like, ever talks about it. I think it’s really great, even if the parallel Orwell chose for his story were kind of strange. (At least it wasn’t like really strange, like some books, you know?) Yeah, but I kind of really enjoy satire, not just because I enjoy it but because it makes its message clear in a way that no other genre can. Orwell’s critique of communist Russia was very interesting to read. Also depressing because most of it is pretty accurate, to my knowledge. Someone in the comments is probably going to say that it wasn’t accurate and that I’m wrong and if that’s so, please enlighten me πŸ™‚

So there are a couple of my favorite reads of 2020! Have you read any of them–and what did you think? Do they sound interesting? Because I recommend all of them 10/10 (shoot me a message if you want full details on content, although most of the books up there are clean) and a lot of them are too under the radar!

Always be a happy camper,

~ Merie

P.S. I probably missed a book or two in this post, but whatever.

12 thoughts on “2020 Pickings: My Top Fiction Reads of the Year!

  1. Ah, Merie! How dare you make a post like this when my TBR is being crushed by the amount of books currently on it?
    All of these are going on my TBR. They just sound too amazing not to read. I have a few of these already on my TBR, but the rest are being added ASAP.
    I have actually read Skyward from this list, and it’s amazing! I’m actually currently reading the sequel.
    I’m sure I’ll love these books! You haven’t ever steered me wrong with your recommendations. In fact, one of my favorite authors is now Melanie Cellier!
    Anyway, great posts!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Aaahh Lost Girl of Astor Street is so good! I loved that one, especially the way it doesn’t shy away from the difficulties and sadness of real life.

    Animal Farm is definitely a book that should be talked about more, but my word did it make me sad when I read it the first time. Probably the point, but I cannot think about that poor horse without starting to tear up.

    I’m definitely going to have to check out The Silence of Bones!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. YES I so agree. I loved Between These Lines because of that too.

      Aw, yes, it was so sad! The saddest part is that it represents the different people who fell under the regime in the Soviet Union!

      Please do that; I loved it and I hope you do too!


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