I haven’t posted in a while and this post has been sitting in my drafts for even longer, but I really wanted to share it at some point. I usually pick a list of ten favourite books each year, or at least that’s what I have been doing for the past few years. However, as I managed to read 200+ books in 2020, I decided to indulge myself and picked out 16 books that I absolutely LOVED and wanted to talk about just once more.
Most of them were released in 2019/2020, and no one will be surprised when I add: most of them are YA. But without further ado, let’s get to my list!
I added trigger warnings as much as I could, if you feel like I missed some please let me know!
Tash Hearts Tolstoy by Kathryn Ormsbee
Ace rep 💜
I was really looking forward to this one because Anna Karenina is one of my favourite classics, and of course I wanted to check it out because of the ace rep. And it’s no surprise I completely fell in love with it. I really loved the fact that we follow a bunch of content creators. It has some really good tropes, and overall, I am full of love when it comes to this book.
Eliza and her Monsters by Francesca Zappia
rep: anxiety, panic attacks, questioning aro/ace
Trigger warnings: anxiety, bullying, suicide, suicidal thoughts
I had heard so many great things about this book, and I don’t know why I put off reading it for such a long time. It was excellent. Again, we are on fandom territory (which is partt of what made it so relatable.) It’s a beautiful book about internet friendships and fame, and I loved it with all my heart.
Summer Bird Blue by Akemi Dawn Bowman
rep: multiracial, questioning aro/ace
TW: car accident/death
I had read Starfish in 2019 and really loved it, so of course I was looking forward to reading this one. It deals with grief, and my heart ached with Rumi on many occasions, but it also resonated with her on her journey and the whole questioning of her sexuality. This book was both stunning and important, and I can only recommend it. I’m already looking forward to Akemi Dawn Bowman’s future releases!
Love from A to Z by S.K. Ali
rep: multiracial, muslim
TW: racism, islamophobia
This one gets the palm of the only non-queer book on that list! It was just too cute not to belong on here. It had already been on my shelves for a couple months when I finally picked it up. I had originally bought it because I really enjoyed S.K. Ali’s previous book Saints and Misfits, but I actually loved this one! It deals with islamophobia a lot, and has a badass feminist main character called Zayneb. The other main character, Adam, is secretly dealing with the fact that he was just diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and left college without telling his family. It’s a beautiful book about friendships, and the romance is THE CUTEST THING.
Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo
rep: lesbian, Dominican MC
Elizabeth Acevedo is an author I discovered I 2020, and Clap When You Land is so far my favourite of her books. We follow two sisters who just learn of each other’s existence when their father disappears in a plane crash. It’s a poignant book about grief and family, and I’m pretty sure I won’t forget it any time soon. I would also 100% recommend it if you haven’t read it yet.
Little Black Bird by Anna Kirchner
rep: questioning aro/ace
I have been following Anna on Instagram for quite some time now, and was really looking forward to her book release. It has polish folklore & mythology, as well as a great cast of queer characters, and it now also has my heart. It’s a great fantasy novel and I cannot wait for the sequel to be released!
This Is How You Lose The Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone
This book is the hill I will die on. It was so well written, I couldn’t put it down. The world building is honestly a little mysterious and complicated to follow at first, but those love letters really have my heart. I actually read this one on Scribd during the first lockdown not really knowing what to expect and seriously I wasn’t prepared for what came for me. Is it too much to say that this is now my favourite book ever? Because I think it is. (Yes, this list is in no particular order, and yes, I absolutely need my own copy of this one because I WILL be rereading it.)
Loveless by Alice Oseman
rep: aro/ace MC, pan, enby & lesbian side characters
Loveless was also one of my most anticipated releases of the year, and I’m pretty sure it is my favourite of Alice Oseman’s novels at this point (I can say it now that I have read them all!). It has been brought to my attention that yes, this is not the only ace experience, and that some of the rep can be harmful, but I also want to cherish it because I identified with Georgia SO MUCH (despite the fact that I do not identity as aromantic.)
Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas
rep: trans, gay
I 100% read this book because of the hype, but it was also 100% worth it so no regrets! It has a great fantasy world building with a bruj family and ghosts and also a very addictive romance. I am competely sold, and looking forward to Aiden Thomas’ next releases!
I’ll Be the One by Lyla Lee
rep: Korean-American, bisexual, fat rep
TW: homophobia, fatphobia
The kpop and kdrama fan in me knew I had to check out this one, especially once I heard that the main character was bisexual. This book follows a kpop contest set in the US and it has everything my kdrama loving heart could want. I loved the pace and the characters. Honestly this is such a good comfort book, and I can only recommend it 💜
You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson
rep: African-American, WLW
TW: racism, homophobia
Again, I picked up this book because of the hype, and again, I fell in love with it. We follow Liz, a no-nonsense teenage girl who enters a prom queen contest because she wants to get a scholarship and soon finds herself falling for the new girl… A cute romcom with amazing characters and friendships!
Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire
rep: asexual MC, trans, lesbian (MC of the sequel)
Another book that had been on my TBR for a while! I have now read the whole series (well, I’m almost done with the one that was released in the beginning of January) and I’m honestly not sure what my favourite thing about these books is: the world building which is seriously everything I have wished for in my life, and didn’t know that I needed until now, or the amazing cast of queer characters. I love them all so much.
Red, White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuinston
rep: gay, bisexual
Yes I am aware that this list has many hyped books, but what can I say, I am weak for chaotic bisexual characters, and enemies to lovers romance, and as you probably guessed at this point if you haven’t read it, this book has both (and on top of that a 2020 that was much nicer than the one we went through!) I devoured this book, and I am now trash for it.
The Black Flamingo by Dead Atta
rep: gay, drag queen
TW: racism, homophobia
This is a book that I discovered thanks to Scribd, and it blew my mind away. It’s a beautiful novel in verse, about coming of age and coming to terms with one’s sexuality. The main character also discovers drag in college, and I loved that aspect of the story! If you haven’t checked out this book yet, then I highly recommend it. It was beautiful and heartwarming and so, so important.
King and the Dragonflies by Kacen Callender
TW: death, racism, homphobia
I know I say this a lot, but this book was SO IMPORTANT! (Also yes, I read Felix Ever After, it was fantastic, but I liked this one even better.) We follow King who is mourning for his brother, and navigating his own sexuality and his relationship with his best friend who just came out to him. This book was stunning and I want to cry just thinking about it. It’s so beautiful. 💜
On Earth We Are Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong
rep: Vietnamese-American, gay
TW: racism, homophobia
I’m going to say it once again, and it’s the last time for today: this book was asbsolutely stunning. It’s written in the form of a letter from a son to his mother, in which he talks about his roots and his homosexuality as well as addictions. I picked it up because I heard about it on booktube, and this was one of the best decisions I ever made. This was such a beautiful book, and I’m also delighted to say that it’s just been translated to French which means I now get to talk about it at work and convince more people to buy it & read it!
Honorary mention: three middle grade books I fell in love with in December because I wanted to hype them one more time before moving on to the rest of my reading list: Rick by Alex Gino, Aru Shah and the Tree of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi and The Strangeworlds Travel Agency by LD Lapinski. These three seriously warmed up my heart and deserve all the love they can get!