• Jen Robbins

Top books of 2020

I really got back into reading regularly this year, partly through the help of my Kobo e-reader that I purchased on impulse in the middle of our no-spend summer. I'm not sure if it's my imagination but it seems that there are more regularly available copies of things you actually want to read through the library app (Libby). Here are the books that stood out to me this year:


Know My Name by Chanel Miller. This memoir was written by Brock Tuner's victim. It is heart-wrenching and so powerful to hear the story told in her own words. It's really so raw that I couldn't finish it in one sitting. I just couldn't. 10/10


My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell. By far the most memorable book I read this year and really the most difficult. Difficult in that the subject matter is a young girl who gets involved with her teacher. There is so much pain and trauma in this book, and I ached reading the entire time. If you enjoy these kind of dark reads that make you tear up, that make you cry, then this one is for you. It is horrible and beautifully, painfully written. 10/10


In Five Years by Rebecca Searle. I'm not sure if it was the plot device that kept me so entrenched in this novel or the writing. Was I just compelled to read it to get to the truth? I'm not sure, but I enjoyed the ride even though it wasn't exactly what I was expecting! 8/10


28 Summers by Elin Hildebrand. I don't typically enjoy romances, Hallmark movies or characters that don't have serious personality defects or flaws. Sure, the romance isn't exactly aboveboard but the characters are undeniably "good-hearted". Insert my eyeroll here. HOWEVER, I enjoyed this read and the vibe. It's so well-written you can smell the salt air and the chemistry developed between the characters warmed even my dark little grinchy heart. 9/10


I Know Who You Are by Alice Feeney. This was the book I walked around reading and shushing everyone around me. A very twisty thriller and I did not see any of the twists coming. Alice Feeney quickly shot to the top of my favourite author list with this one, I quickly got her 2020 release, His and Hers on a superloan based on loving her earlier books - I enjoyed it but her earlier books are better! 9/10


The Things We Keep by Sally Hepworth. I read Sally Hepworth's book Mother-In-Law and it was a great thriller told from multiple perspectives, so I put her other books on hold. I was expecting this book to also be a thriller and it surprised me. While it was another book told from different perspectives, it's a beautiful novel about a woman with early-onset dementia. It's very different from books like Still Alice - it is not so much about the illness but about relationships and.... the things we keep. 9/10


Playing Nice by JP Delaney. This is one of those go-to authors that always knocks it out of the park with suspense/thrillers. This one is a little different and looks at a scenario that many parents would fear. It was very engrossing and I couldn't put it down. 8/10.


The Dilemma by BA Paris. Another go-to author, but this was less of a traditional mystery/suspense. Another book that was difficult to read and hard to figure out which was it was going to go. Like a car crash, you can't look away from this character's painful dilemma. 8/10.


Embers by Richard Wagamese. This is a beautiful recitation of stories and poems, some are funny, many are sad and a few I had to listen to more than once as I found something different each time I listened. I prefer reading to audiobooks but this is a great one for long walks or drives when you need to push out stressful thoughts. Whether you read it or listen, it will enrich you each time you consume it. 10/10


Other books I enjoyed this year:

- Something in the Water, Catherine Stedman

- Never Have I Ever, Joshilyn Jackson

- Don't Look for Me, Wendy Walker

- Confessions on the 7:45, Lisa Unger

- Believe Me, JP Delaney

- The Good Daughter, Karin Slaughter

- Pretty Girls, Karin Slaughter (graphic violence warning)

- Behind Her Eyes, Sarah Pinborough (this one is wild guys)

- Best Friends Forever, Margot Hunt

- The Queen of Hearts

- North of Normal (memoir)

- Luster, Raven Leilani

- The Vanishing Half, Brit Bennett

- From the Ashes (memoir)

- Saint X, Alexis Schatikin

- Such a Fun Age, Riley Sagar

- Untamed, Glennon Doyle

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