Favorite Reads of 2020

(Last Updated On: February 26, 2021)

The community decided on the best books of 2020, but now it’s my turn! 2020 was kind of the Year of the Slump for me, but I was blessed by some really fantastic reads. You can read more stats about my year in reading in the 2020 Adventure Log.

My Favorite Reads of 2018 My Favorite Reads of 2019

Listen. I know that it’s nearly March at this point, but I won’t let my hiatus steal the joy I get from screaming about my new favorite books. Besides, if the pandemic has taught us anything it’s Time is Meaningless… so let’s get into my favorite reads of twenty-twenty!


Top Five 2020 Releases

So many amazing books graced my eyeballs in 2020, but these five books immediately come to mind when thinking about my favorites.

โ˜€๏ธ Raybearer (Raybearer #1) by Jordan Ifueko is hands-down my favorite read of 2020. This debut YA fantasy is a must-read for people who love rich world-building and found families. Just do yourself a solid and pick this up. | ๐Ÿ“– Read my full ARC review

๐Ÿ„ Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia single handedly re-ignited my love for Gothic fiction. CREEPY house, CREEPY people, & excellently plotted Gothic thriller set in 1950s Mexico that you wonโ€™t be able to put down! | ๐Ÿ“– Read my full ARC review

๐Ÿ”ช None Shall Sleep by Ellie Marney made me lose all sense of time while I devoured its pages. I loved this book so much & recommend this to fans of Criminal Minds and Silence of the Lambs. | ๐Ÿ“– Read my full review

๐Ÿฉธ Foul is Fair by Hannah Capin is the feminist  Macbeth retelling that I didnโ€™t know I needed until I read it. Itโ€™s powerful and evocative and a book I wonโ€™t soon forget. | ๐Ÿ“– Read my full ARC review

๐Ÿ•ต๏ธโ€โ™€๏ธ The Silence of Bones by June Hur is a haunting and heartbreaking YA historical mystery debut. I was expecting a historical whodunit but was delivered a melancholic and twisty story that tore at my heartstrings and made me cry more than once. | ๐Ÿ“– Read my full ARC review


My Monthly Favorites

I keep track of my favorite book each month on my personal book blogging / reading spreadsheet (grab your free copy for 2021), and of course I want to share all the books that wowed me in 2020!

After compiling this list I noticed that like 98% of these books were ARCs lol. 2020 was a really difficult year in reading for me and ARC deadlines were pretty much the only thing encouraging me to try to read despite wanting to just stare into space. There were so many books I tried but set aside in 2020.

JANUARY: Foul is Fair by Hannah Capin is the kind of cerebral read that my literature loving soul adored. | ๐Ÿ“– ARC Review

FEBRUARY: Ink in the Blood (Ink in the Blood #1) by Kim Smejkal drew me in with its gorgeous cover, but I stayed for the amazingly lush writing, three-dimensional characters, and the fantastic world created. | ๐Ÿ“– ARC Review

All the Stars and Teeth (All the Stars and Teeth #1) by Adalyn Grace is the pirate adventure fantasy I’ve been waiting for! Medium-burn romance, love triangle that’s more than you think, and a vengeful mermaid. | ๐Ÿ“– ARC Review

MARCH: The Electric Heir by Victoria Lee destroyed me but also gave me hope. It was a weird experience reading this at the beginning of the pandemic, but it was also hopeful. | ๐Ÿ“– ARC Review

APRIL: I Killed Zoe Spanos by Kit Frick is a fantastic YA thriller re-imagining of Rebecca! I adored the podcast elements and the twisty mystery that kept me guessing to the end. | ๐Ÿ“– ARC Review

The Shadows Between Us by Tricia Levenseller is the morally grey / villain romance I didn’t know I needed. | ๐Ÿ“– ARC Review

MAY: Mexican Gothic Silvia Moreno-Garcia and its mushrooms still haunt me. | ๐Ÿ“– ARC review

JUNE: Cinderella is Dead by Kalynn Bayron is the fiercely feminist and empowering story of rebellion I wish I could’ve read when I was growing up. | ๐Ÿ“– ARC Review

Cemetery Boys by Aidan Thomas is so soft and perfect with characters I will die to protect. Honestly some of the best character banter. | ๐Ÿ“– ARC review

JULY: The Silence of Bones by June Hur made me feel many things with this beautifully immersive and researched YA historical fiction debut (and there’s no romance subplot). | ๐Ÿ“– ARC review

AUGUST: Raybearer (Raybearer #1) by Jordan Ifueko has some of the best world-building I’ve ever read. Also, get the audiobook. | ๐Ÿ“– ARC review

Lobizona (Wolves of No World #1) by Romina Garber is a beautiful and important story about finding where and with whom you belong. I adore these characters and the world. | ๐Ÿ“– ARC review

Where Dreams Descend (Kingdom of Cards #1) by Janella Angeles was one of my top five anticipated releases for 2020, and it didn’t disappoint! Beautiful and captivating, I adored the setting and mystery of the characters, and am stoked to learn more about the world. | ๐Ÿ“– ARC review

SEPTEMBER: The Kingdom of Back by Marie Lu is a lush and beautiful piece of historical fantasy which flew under the radar thanks to Pandemic, and I really need you all to read it. | ๐Ÿ“– ARC Review

OCTOBER: None Shall Sleep by Ellie Marney I was so engrossed while reading this book that I lost hours and forgot to feed my cat dinner until almost midnight. | ๐Ÿ“– Review

NOVEMBER: Dark and Deepest Red by Anna-Marie McLemore swept me away with its lush prose and nestled its way into my heart. Honestly, I’m mad it sat on my owned TBR for so long.; thanks to Patreon for getting me to finally read it! | ๐Ÿ“– Review

DECEMBER: The Only Good Indians by Stephan Graham-Jones is a haunting story of cultural identity and revenge. A quiet book that doesn’t rely on jumpscares to haunt the reader but will creep you out all the same as past decisions come back to haunt the characters. | ๐Ÿ“– ALC Review


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Well there you have it, my favorite reads of 2020!

๐Ÿ—ญ What were some of your favorite reads of the year? Do you agree with my list? What did I miss out on in 2020? Let me know in the comments below!

Let’s go on another adventure together!


  1. Sumedha

    February 23, 2021 at 1:34 AM

    I’m currently reading Raybearer! Everyone’s been shouting about it but I generally need to be a little away from the hype up truly enjoy a book so I waited until now. And I’m really enjoying it so far.

    1. Kal

      February 24, 2021 at 10:23 AM

      GOOD READING RAYBEARER IS WHAT YOU DESERVE! I’m happy to see it sucked you in and you’re enjoying it – happy reading!

  2. Alienor

    February 23, 2021 at 4:58 AM

    Fantastic list, so many wonderful books!! The Electric Heir made such an impact on me, too – as you said, destroyed me and gave me hope, somehow. Cemetery Boys was so good too ๐Ÿ˜ญ

    1. Kal

      February 24, 2021 at 10:25 AM

      AHHH, so happy to see you enjoyed Cemetery Boys and The Electric Heir! I love when books hurt me and I thank them for it hahaha

  3. Tammy @ Books, Bones & Buffy

    February 23, 2021 at 6:15 AM

    It’s never too late for a “best of the year” post๐Ÿ˜ Happy to see The Only Good Indians, that was in my top five of 2020 and honestly if I had to pick one overall favorite, it would be that book. Awesome list!

    1. Kal

      February 24, 2021 at 10:26 AM

      Never too late indeed! The Only Good Indians was such a unique and haunting reading experience. I’m not sure I would have enjoyed it as much without the audiobook because the narrative style took a bit to get used to, but that won’t be the last SGJ book I read.

  4. Kate @ Your Tita Kate

    February 23, 2021 at 7:40 AM

    (mostly because a lot of your faves were my faves too!!)

    1. Kal

      February 24, 2021 at 10:27 AM

      TIME IS BUT A CONSTRUCT WHICH THE PANDEMIC HAS SHATTERED! huzzah to our fantastic reading tastes, Kate!

  5. Evelyn

    February 23, 2021 at 8:35 AM

    Great list! I loved Raybearer and Mexican Gothic as well! Really need to read Cemetery Boys and The Only Good Indians!


    1. Kal

      February 24, 2021 at 10:27 AM

      Oooh, I can’t wait to hear your thoughts on Cemetery Boys and The Only Good Indians!

  6. Jayati

    February 23, 2021 at 9:21 AM

    Never too late for a favourites list, I am always up to add more books to my TBR to suffocate under. I am sad to say the only book I’ve read from this list is ray bearer which I thoroughly enjoyed!
    I do need to get to the rest of these ASAP!

    1. Kal

      February 24, 2021 at 10:29 AM

      Muahahha, it is my goal in life to have my friends be crushed by every growing TBRs! I’m glad you also enjoyed Raybearer, and happy reading the rest!

  7. Cam @ Camillea Reads

    February 23, 2021 at 2:55 PM

    I DID NOT KNOW ZOE SPANOS IS A REIMAGINING OF REBECCA!!! So many of these books are on my TBR!

    1. Kal

      February 24, 2021 at 10:29 AM

      I think it’s probably more accurate to call it Rebecca-inspired, but YESSSSSS!!!!

  8. Ruby Jo

    February 24, 2021 at 9:46 AM

    !!! KALKAL!!! You had me at vengeful mermaid for All The Stars and Teeth. Now I must bump it up on my TBR. I decided to track my favorite books in a month this year, so this is all new to me. I love how if you look at the year in reading like this, it also kind of shows how your reading mood varies month by month, or season by season, and I find it super interesting. Also know that although I am terrified of horror stories, None Shall Sleep is making me curious. I assume I too won’t sleep after reading it, or during. Love your list, and now these books shall be on my TBR ๐Ÿ˜€

    1. Kal

      February 24, 2021 at 10:31 AM

      Vataea is an ICON and I hope she gets the love and healing she deserves in All the Tides of Fate! You bring up a really good point about tracking monthly favorites and how tastes/moods evolve through the year. HONESTLY THO None Shall Sleep is really good and it’s thriller not horror so.

  9. Noelle Donovan

    February 24, 2021 at 6:14 PM

    I just added too many books to my TBR! Great post, I especially liked: I Killed Zoe Spanos! I love a good classic “retelling” however loosely based off the original work it is.

    1. Kal

      March 12, 2021 at 3:15 PM

      Ahhh, I am so glad this post got Zoe on your radar and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

  10. Meeghan

    February 25, 2021 at 4:19 AM

    I’m reading Cemetery Boys at the moment, and am loving it!! So glad it was a monthly fave!! xx

    1. Kal

      March 12, 2021 at 3:16 PM

      It is such a beautiful and heartwarming read and I adored it to the moon and back! Glad to hear you are also enjoying it.

  11. Kristi Housman

    February 25, 2021 at 7:19 AM

    Some of those made my list for 2020, too. I had Raybearer, None Shall Sleep, and Cemetery Boys on my final list. Cinderella Is Dead and Lobizona were also high up for me. I should probably look at my list again because I can never remember which ones I had. But I know the first three were on it.

    1. Kal

      March 12, 2021 at 3:17 PM

      I love that we had so much crossover in our top lists, Kristi! We were really blessed with books last year and I’m fortunate that I read so much quality.

  12. I READ MORE THAN 100 BOOKS IN 2 MONTHS || FEBRUARY WRAP UP – bookdragonism

    March 1, 2021 at 1:34 AM

    […] โœจ Kal shared her favorite reads of 2020. Check them out on her post! […]

  13. Jenna @ Falling Letters

    March 3, 2021 at 9:29 AM

    I have heard so many good things about Raybearer that I added it to my TBR, though I usually avoid YA fantasy. I did read Mexican Gothic – it had been awhile since I read something like it and had a lot of fun with it. ๐Ÿ™‚ Here’s to many more great reads in 2021!

    1. Kal

      March 12, 2021 at 3:21 PM

      Raybearer totally blew me away when I read it, so I hope you enjoy it — especially since you don’t read much YA fantasy. May we be blessed with many amazing reads this year!

  14. Birdie @ Birdie's booktopia

    March 5, 2021 at 12:48 AM

    Yes to seeing All the stars and teeth on this list! I recently read the sequel and I bawled my eyes out! It’s so good omg!

    1. Kal

      March 12, 2021 at 3:23 PM

      OMG I am so happy to see you bawled your eyes out (what a weird thing to say LOL), but you know what I mean! I need to reread ATSAT soon so I can finally get to the sequel, I need it!!!

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