Best Novels of 2020 So Far
Discover the best novels of 2020 so far. You’ll want to read these incredible books right away!
With July right around the corner, it’s time to take a look at the best novels of 2020 so far! This time of year always sneaks up on me. I can hardly believe I’m already halfway through another year of reading!
When I looked back over my reading thus far, the genre I picked up most is by far chick lit/contemporary romance. Clearly, with everything 2020 brought us I was looking for fun, sweet, easy reads.
It’s no surprise then that most of my best novels of 2020 fall into that category! The 2020 new releases were chock full of these amazing books and I picked out the ones that you’ll absolutely adore as well.
I tend to split my reading up between new releases and backlist books, so I’m also sharing the best books published previously that I read this year. There you’ll find historical fiction, young adult, and even a science fiction novel that I recommend to everyone I know!
Let’s take a look at the best novels of 2020 so far!
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Now that the year’s over, also check out my ultimate ranking of the best books of 2020!
Best Novels of 2020 (So Far)
The Happy Ever After Playlist by Abby Jimenez
In a rare scenario, I actually received a physical ARC of this book from the publisher! I recently read The Friend Zone and was thrilled to discover there was a sequel coming out in April 2020! In The Happy Ever After Playlist, Jimenez picks up the story with Sloane, who is still reeling from her loss two years later. When a dog literally jumps into her car, she begins healing and opening up her heart again while searching for his owner.
This story is full of depth yet nails the witty banter. I loved every second of it. It’s a must read for contemporary fiction fans and worth picking up even if you’re not normally into that genre! | Amazon | Bookshop.org
One To Watch by Kate Stayman-London
Bea is a plus sized fashion blogger who is chosen to be the next Main Squeeze (aka Bachelorette). The show attempts to diversify for ratings and Bea plans to use the publicity for new opportunities in the fashion world. However, she stars to believe she might actually fall in love with one of the gorgeous men vying for her attention.
I absolutely adored this book, but it probably helps that I’m already a fan of all the drama on the show. One to Watch included the same ridiculous twists and turns, but it was also addressing the serious flaws with the show. A great summer novel that deserves a place in your beach bag!! | Amazon | Bookshop.org
Happy And You Know It by Laura Hankin
NYC moms behaving badly! When a musician is hired to play for the kids of a rich moms group, she gets swept into their lavish lifestyle. Affairs, drugs, and secrets linger beneath the surface though. An unexpected addition to the best novels of 2020.
I ate this up! The women are all unique and facing at least somewhat realistic problems that plague mothers everywhere. They may have a lot more money to throw around, but as a new mom I identified with the same fears and insecurities. There’s an insane twist that took me completely by surprise too! | Amazon | Bookshop.org
What You Wish For by Katherine Center
I’m a recent Katherine Center convert, which makes me so excited to read the rest of her backlist! The only other book I’ve read was Things You Save in a Fire from last year, but I wanted to take a gamble on her 2020 new release. So far she’s 2/2! What You Wish For is a love story in so many different ways. At it’s heart, it’s a bunch of teachers trying to save a beautiful, creative school from a hard-ass new principal.
Throughout the pages, it also turns into a story about dealing with grief and fear and opening your heart to new ways to love. I honestly adored it and was so excited to pick it up and read every night. | Amazon | Bookshop.org
The Two Lives of Lydia Bird by Josie Silver
I’ll admit I wasn’t the biggest fan of Josie Silver’s last smash hit, One Day in December. I couldn’t resist the concept of her new release though. Lydia’s devastated when her soulmate and fiance is killed in a crash. The grief is all-encompassing, until she discovers her sleeping pills allow her to be with Freddy when she’s asleep.
She has to decide whether to work through her grief in her real life or continue visiting the alternate reality where Freddy still lives. Doing both takes too much of a physical and mental toll. This isn’t an easy rom-com type read, but I thought it dealt with grief really well. Thankfully I’ve never had to go through anything similar, but it’s still devastating to read. | Amazon | Bookshop.org
The Love Square by Laura Jane Williams
This was a completely out of the blue hit!! I requested it on a whim from NetGalley based on the cute sounding book summary. A woman finds herself involved with three very different men after a lifetime of misses. I liked that this turned the love triangle trope on its head, plus the main character is a chef! I’m a sucker for books about food.
It turned out to be just the type of rom com I was hoping to discover. The protagonist is likable and independent. Plus the rotating group of guys each have their own charm. | Amazon | Bookshop.org
The Authenticity Project by Clare Pooley
In one of the sweetest gestures I’ve experienced so far as a book blogger, my blogging friend Rachael (who runs the fabulous Booklist Queen blog) sent me this book as a surprise!! She raved about it and I said I was looking forward to reading it at some point based on her recommendation. Then one day it appeared at my door!
When Monica finds an ordinary notebook with a secret confession inside that encourages the next reader to live authentically, she scribbles her own confession and passes it own. As the notebook continues its journey, the writers eventually find each other and connect in ways they never imagined! | Amazon | Bookshop.org
Backlist Books I Loved in 2020
Well Met by Jen DeLuca
A renaissance faire, a bookstore, a slow burn romance! What more could you want?? This book easily jumped to the top of my list of contemporary romances. It’s one of my best novels of 2020 and also of all-time!
Emily reluctantly agrees to volunteer at a local renaissance faire and has no idea why one of the organizers, Simon, seems to hate her. The two constantly clash during prep for the event. However when the Faire starts, their new identities indulge in an unexpected flirtation. | Amazon | Bookshop.org
The Martian by Andy Weir
This is sci-fi that’s accessible for every type of reader! Mark Watney is an astronaut stranded on Mars, trying to survive until someone can save him. His story is full of sarcastic humor and intense drama, keeping you laughing but on the edge of your seat!
This book feels so realistic that it was almost hard to believe it’s science fiction. I recommend it to tons of different people and always hear rave reviews back! It’s an all-time favorite so I couldn’t resist a re-read this year! | Amazon | Bookshop.org
The Grace Year by Kim Liggitt
One of the most discussed YA books of last year, The Grace Year is a feminist dystopian novel. The girls in this community are forced to spend their sixteenth year in the woods where they can release their deadly “magic” and return as docile women.
No one speaks of The Grace Year, but the girls come back missing limbs, lost, or dead. When it’s Tierney’s turn, she attempts to revolt against this horrendous tradition.
I adored this YA fantasy wholeheartedly. It kept me guessing as to what was really happening with the girls’ “magic” and didn’t exactly have the neatly wrapped up ending that YA fantasy often features. | Amazon | Bookshop.org
The Giver of Stars by JoJo Moyes
Moyes breaks away from her usual stories to tackle historical fiction and does a terrific job. Set in rural Kentucky during the Great Depression, The Giver of Stars tells the story of the female packhorse librarians. These women took it upon themselves to deliver books to poor families in their community, facing danger at every turn.
This novel was a slow read for me, but I enjoyed every bit of it. The descriptions of the hills of Kentucky are breathtaking and the relationship between the women is moving. It’s a story of independence, friendship, love and dedication. | Amazon | Bookshop.org
Recursion by Blake Crouch
If you don’t usually read sci-fi but would like to give it a shot, this is a great intro option. The sci-fi element is the discovery of a machine can transport a person back into their memories. So, you’re only dealing with time travel rather than deep space, aliens, or something else real crazy.
This kept me on the edge of my seat and introduced interesting ethical questions about changing the past if given the opportunity. | Amazon | Bookshop.org
Save the Best Novels of 2020 For Later!
I just started Happy and You Know It last night and enjoy it so far! I also have Katherine Center’s book, What You Wish For on my list. I loved Things You Save in a Fire and How to Walk Away.
I’m sure you’ll love What You Wish For too! How to Walk Away is on my list to read soon 🙂
I’ve also been gravitating towards light, fluffy reads this year, but I agree, Recursion was a great read!
Loving this list! I really struggle to find fiction I enjoy but sounds like some promising titles out there. Happy & You Know It looks awesome and so does The Happy Ever After Playlist, but I’ll have to go read the first book. So happy to have found your blog and this list!
Such a fun idea to recap your best of 2020 so far. I bet mine would be heavy on YA and probably romance/chick lit as well (thanks, pandemic). Happy And You Know It was fun, and I’m really intrigued by One to Watch, so I think I’ll have to pick it up! I loved Well Met too – and like you mentioned with The Happy Ever After Playlist, it’s always so nice to read something backlist-ish and then realize there’s a sequel coming out that year! I’m excited for Well Played to arrive in September. And speaking of The Happy Ever After Playlist – I just got it on a kindle deal but haven’t read the first one. Do you think I should pick that up first??