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The Most-Loved Books Of 2020 According To Goodreads Ratings

By Somdutta Mazumder

Updated - Jan. 15, 2021 10 min read

The tender rustle of crisp pages gilded with words, the solace in finding yourself lost in someone else's story, and that earthy whiff of a well-thumbed, well-loved read; these are moments a bookworm lives for. As a fellow member of the "I'd rather be reading" club, the closest I come to an adrenaline rush in the ordinary course of life, is when I bring home a selection of new books. The chance of discovering a fresh favourite tale somewhere between those pages, makes us readers immediately huddle over a newly bought paperback and scan through sentence after sentence, as time trickles by.

 

But the heap of promising releases keeps getting bigger routinely, and while 2020 might have been an unusual year otherwise, the surge of new exciting reads has been just as anticipated. With a myriad of new novels propping up regularly, picking from the pile this year has been challenging, and that's putting it mildly. Nevertheless, the flood of spare home-time brought along by the pandemic and subsequent hiatus in regular life, allowed us to browse through a number of latest book releases. And here's us listing the 15 finest publications from 2020, we're glad got added to our bookshelves! 

 

1. Dear Edward 

 

Author 

Ann Napolitano 

 

Goodreads Rating

4.17/5 

 

Why You Should Read This Book

Revolving around the story of a 12-year-old who emerges as the sole survivor of a tragic plane crash, Dear Edward is by all accounts, poignant, riveting and utterly heartbreaking. It's a melancholic novel that mulls over concepts like loss, grief and eventual hope in the face of bleak darkness. It's a book that despite moving you to tears every second page or so, will also uplift your spirits with a newfound sense of inspiration and courage. 

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Image Courtesy - What James Read

 

2. My Dark Vanessa 

 

Author 

Kate Elizabeth Russell

 

Goodreads Rating

4.07/5

 

Why You Should Read This Book

Don't take the title too lightly, it genuinely is a dark book. Dealing with the heavy themes of childhood sexual abuse and its psychological dynamics, My Dark Vanessa will consume you entirely, and make you squirm in your seat with unease. This book will give you a very discomfiting peek at how a naive teenager is manipulated, raped and abused by her pedophilic English teacher under the pretence of being special, loved and cherished. Think Lolita, but in the times of social media. The book's commendable proximity to real events like the MeToo movement, further increases the intensity of its impact on the reader. 

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Image Courtesy - NPR

 

 

3. The Night Watchman

 

Author 

Louise Erdrich

 

Goodreads Rating

4.20/5

 

Why You Should Read This Book

It's one of those books you can't help but like every single thing about, right from the story and its inspiration, to the writing style and characters. The Night Watchman is based on National Book Award winning-author Louise Erdrich's grandfather and his astounding story of working as a night watchman in a jewel factory. The book revolves around his fight against the dispossession of Native Americans, in particular, that of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians. The Night Watchman is a captivating page-turner with deep insights into the notions of identity and resilience, and is a must-read for all lovers of historical fiction. 

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Image Courtesy - NPR

 

4. Dear Emmie Blue

 

Author 

Lia Louis

 

Goodreads Rating

4.32/5

 

Why You Should Read This Book

If you've ever wished for something with every fibre in your being and had it not come true, only to realise in retrospect that it was for the best, Dear Emmie Blue is certainly a story that will touch your heart. It's a delightful tale about a girl named Emmie Blue who as a teenager, releases a balloon with her email address and a secret, and subsequently develops a strong relationship with the boy who finds it. It's a novel that will give you all the feels, and leave you smiling in the end with tears streaming down your face. 

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Image Courtesy - Twitter

 

5. The Hilarious World of Depression 

 

Author 

John Moe

 

Goodreads Rating

4.16/5

 

Why You Should Read This Book

Now more than ever, mental health is a topic that needs to be discussed far and wide and as openly as can be. John Moe's book, makes for a great first step. Based on the crowd-favourite podcast by the same name, The Hilarious World Of Depression is honest, authentic, and absolutely realistic. John Moe skillfully touches base on his own experiences with suicidal ideation, mental illness, trauma and crippling anxiety, with remarkable charm, humour and rawness. 

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Image Courtesy - Twitter

 

6. The Girl With the Louding Voice 

 

Author 

Abi Daré

 

Goodreads Rating

4.50/5

 

Why You Should Read This Book

Centred around the story of a Nigerian woman pushed into a life of servitude, and her relentless struggle to get educated, impart education, and find her own independent voice, this is a fearless book with an extraordinary capacity to entice emotions. The Girl With the Louding Voice is an immensely powerful read with a compelling story and theme, and will leave you feeling amazed and moved, long after you've turned the very last page. 

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Image Courtesy - Olivia Sose

 

Also Read: Read For Your-Shelf! These 6 Bookstores In Delhi NCR Are Delivering Books

 

7. Half Life 

 

Author 

Lillian Clark 

 

Goodreads Rating

4.06/5

 

Why You Should Read This Book

If you're a sci-fi enthusiast looking for a new read, Half Life is a tale you must experience. The story revolves around an overachiever who signs up for a new study and gets a clone, with the hopes of her hectic life getting a tad easier. What follows is a Black Mirror-esque existential crisis, and several unsettling realisations about life. The writing is absolutely fascinating, and the book does a fantastic job at holding your attention captive throughout. 

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Image Courtesy - Twitter

 

8. Disability Visibility: First-Person Stories From The Twenty-First Century 

 

Author 

Alice Wong 

 

Goodreads Rating

4.65/5

 

Why You Should Read This Book

This is an anthology comprising of first-hand accounts of modern disability and the various experiences it brings along. This book gives you a glimpse at stories narrated by a host of powerful voices, all heartfelt, passionate and incredibly well-informed. This is the perfect new read for someone looking to expand their mind and broaden their perspective on life. The authenticity of the writings and the vulnerability displayed by the writers, will engage you, entertain you and thoroughly enlighten you. 

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Image Courtesy - Twitter

 

9. Lot Six 

 

Author 

David Adjmi 

 

Goodreads Rating

4.63/5

 

Why You Should Read This Book

Following an emotionally-driven narrative of a gay man born into a religious Syrian Jewish family, Lot Six is an arresting book that allows you a glimpse at an individual's journey of growth and self-revelation. It's a remarkably well-written book, in which almost every sentence is dense with beautiful imagery and profound meaning. Smart, witty and exceptionally touchy, Lot Six should be read for its incredible ability to draw you into a world of its own and not let you leave. 

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Image Courtesy - Washington Post 

 

10. The Lincoln Conspiracy: The Secret Plot to Kill America's 16th President⁠—and Why It Failed 

 

Author 

Brad Meltzer & Josh Mensch

 

Goodreads Rating

4.36/5

 

Why You Should Read This Book

Based on completely true historical events, this is an excellent non-fiction book to include in your TBR list. The book takes you through the story of a small detective firm that investigated and discovered plans of a well established pro-Southern secret society to assassinate President-elect Abraham Lincoln. Especially for true crime buffs, this is a gripping book that sticks closely to an accurate historical account. 

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Image Courtesy - Twitter 

 

11. In An Instant 

 

Author 

Suzanne Redfearn

 

Goodreads Rating

4.38/5

 

Why You Should Read This Book

Now, this one is a tearjerker through and through, packed with insightful musings on grief, mortality and what it means to be a human being. Centred around a sixteen-year-old who is involved in a devastating car accident that tumbles her and her loved ones down the side of a mountain, In An Instant takes you along a heartbreaking journey of lives tarnished forever in an instant of tragedy. It's an emotional and thought-provoking novel, that makes you reflect on the fragility of life. 

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Image Courtesy - Tarheel Reader 

 

Also Read: 5 Sequel Books Just As Good But Half As Famous As The Original Ones

 

12. 28 Summers  

 

Author 

Elin Hilderbrand 

 

Goodreads Rating

4.39/5

 

Why You Should Read This Book

Inspired by the famous movie Same Time, Next Year, this is a book based on an undisclosed one-weekend-every-year love affair between two individuals, that lasts for over a decade. Beginning in 1993, and continuing to rage through the pair's respective life events, marriages and children, 28 Summers takes a look at what happens when one gives free rein to their heart's desires, for a brief time every year. It's an uplifting, heartwarming story, a book that might cause you to become an emotional mess by the time you're done. 

 

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Image Courtesy - Book Nerd Cook Nerd Blogspot 

 

13. VanWest The Past

 

Author 

Kenneth Thomas

 

Goodreads Rating

4.63/5

 

Why You Should Read This Book

I personally think 2020 is the perfect year to dive headfirst into dystopian novels, and this is one of the finest I've encountered in the genre in recent times. A thrilling, fast-paced book revolving around the classic trope of time-travel, The Past follows the captivating story of the protagonist, Captain VanWest, and his team of Enforcers. It's one of those books that both newcomers and longtime fans of the sci-fi genre will end up loving. 

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Image Courtesy - Amazon

 

14. The Sun Down Motel

 

Author 

Simone St. James 

 

Goodreads Rating

4.09/5

 

Why You Should Read This Book

The Sun Down Motel is a tremendously gripping, and super-creepy book that you won't be able to put down for even one moment. The suspenseful story rests on a rundown roadside motel with lurking dark secrets that ensnare a woman in present-day, just like they did her aunt in the early 1980s. This one is a highly well-written mystery novel with a brilliant story that sucks you right in and makes you flip through all the pages in one sitting.  

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Image Courtesy - Book Club Chat

 

15. The First Actress

 

Author 

C.W. Gortner

 

Goodreads Rating

4.18/5

 

Why You Should Read This Book

This is a fantastic retelling of the story of legendary French star Sarah Bernhardt, who is widely regarded to be the first modern actress in history. A woman remarkably ahead of her time, this novel takes you through her Sarah's tumultuous life, riddled with the highest of highs and plummeting lows. Another highly recommended book particularly for fans of historical fiction, the author does a brilliant job at narrating the transformation of this extraordinary woman who gave new meaning to the word freedom. 

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Image Courtesy - Goodreads 


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As traumatising as 2020 proved to be, at least the books were great. It's all about finding the silver lining, my friend!

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