Favorite Adult Books of 2020

Hi everyone! This is my last post of 2020 and that’s so wild! Blogging was such a refuge for me in 2020 and I fell even more in love with it, so I’m excited to keep sharing content with all of you in 2021.

In case you missed it, the last couple of days I posted my Favorite YA Books of 2020 and my Favorite Romance Books of 2020. Check them out if you want to see what other books I loved this year. Today, I want to talk about 10 adult books that I loved in 2020. These are all books that I read in 2020 even if they didn’t come out in 2020 and the only rule that I had was that I couldn’t have two books from the same series.

Without further ado, here are my top 10 adult books of 2020:

10. The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin

The world-building and magic system in this book are unique, captivating and devastating at the same time. The way the society in this book mirrors our society is smart and poignant. There are so many twists, some that I saw coming and some that I didn’t, but they all make sense to the story and make it more interesting. I loved Syenite and Alabaster and I’m heartbroken over everything they went through. What this book has to say and how it says it is so powerful and heartbreaking that it left me feeling hopeless and it took me a long time to recover but I think it was worth it.

9. Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-García

The writing in this book makes it feel like reading a myth or fairytale, it is so engaging. The Mayan mythology is captivating and lush, and since it’s a mythology that it’s not often used in fantasy books, this book is full of gods and mythical creatures that feel unique. This book is set in 1920’s Mexico and the mix of the mythological elements and the ‘modernity’ of the Jazz Age works well and gives this story an even more unique touch. Finally, the main characters, Casiopea and Hun-Kamé, who is the Mayan god of death, are both very engaging characters and their journeys and character development were fascinating.

8. To Be Taught, If Fortunate by Becky Chambers

This is a quick, fascinating, and thought-provoking read. It focuses a lot on the scientific and technical side of space travel but the truly interesting thing is that Becky Chambers doesn’t forget about the impact that the discoveries, the advancements, and the search for those things have on people and environments. Also, there are a lot of queer characters in this book, which I love.

7. Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

This book was so powerful. I was captivated the entire time while reading, I was amazed by the way the author takes all of these different elements (a pandemic, a cult, a theater group, some graphic novels) and different timelines and ties them all together in a way it makes sense and it’s interesting and meaningful. I found all the characters and storylines incredibly fascinating. This book made me really sad while reading it, but it also made me feel thankful and, in the end, it gave me hope. 

6. The Dragon Republic by R.F. Kuang

This book is brilliant. I’m not the biggest fan of Military fantasy, but this series does it so well that I’m really invested in the story. The way this book talks about war and power is grim but fascinating. I think the main reason I enjoy this series and this book so much is that it has given me some characters that I adore. I still love Kitay as much as I did in book 1, this book made me fall in love with Venka and I love the angsty, complicated relationship between Rin and Nezha. Also, this book discusses colorism, colonialism, and the role of religion within colonialism in such a thought-provoking way.

5. Jade City by Fonda Lee

This book may have one of the coolest premises ever, it’s like the Godfather with martial arts and magic. It’s such a unique book! Fonda Lee does an amazing job of describing the action scenes in this book and the way she incorporates martial arts is incredible. The clan war element of the story is so interesting, this is a very intense book and I was completely invested in everything that was happening. I think I cared so much because I LOVED the main characters, who are siblings that are incredibly loyal to each other and they won my loyalty too. This book broke my heart at one point, I was devastated but it was SO GOOD.

4. The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

This book is whimsical, nonsensical, and peculiar and the writing is absolutely beautiful. This book doesn’t have a defined plot; it’s full of metaphors and stories within stories, so it can be very confusing and, by the end, I felt like I only understood parts of it; and since it feels like you are reading a story, a myth, a fable, most of the characters feel like characters in that story and not like real people. But I didn’t dislike any of that. While I read this, I felt like I was lost in a strange and beautiful world. I loved and I was invested in all the stories within stories, I was intrigued by the mystery of this underground library, I was captivated by everything.

3. The Strange Case of The Alchemist’s Daughter by Theodora Goss

I love the characters in this book, monstrous women are my favorite thing in the world, and I love their relationship with each other and the found family aspect of the book. The premise of this is so unique, the daughters of famous scientists from classic gothic literature work together to solve a mystery that it’s linked to their lives. Also, I love the funny and unique structure in which this book is told, the fact that the characters interrupt the narrative to give their commentary on what’s happening. Basically, I love everything about this.

2. The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune

This is a hopeful and heartwarming book that explores the idea that prejudice keeps growing and wins when people stay silent in the face of it and live comfortably in their bubbles. The concept of this book is fascinating, well-executed and it mirrors a lot of real-life situations, this book is set in a world where magical beings exist and there’s a lot of prejudice against them. The main character in this book is so endearing and the children are cute, funny, lovable and so compelling. The sweet, loving relationship between the main character and the kids is my favorite part of the book. Also, there’s a very sweet m/m romance in this!

1. Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-García

This creepy, atmospheric, and disturbing book. The writing is beautiful and captivating while being simple and unpretentious, and the main character is three-dimensional and flawed, while being charming and bewitching. This story is so effective in being scary because even when it’s not clear if there are ghosts, magic, or other supernatural things going on, the real villains of the story are manipulative, abusive, disgusting men that you could find anywhere in the world and anytime in history. This book is creepy from very early on, Moreno-García made my skin crawl with the simplest scenes, sometimes nothing too scary was happening but with one perfectly crafted phrase, I was spooked. Also, this includes important commentary on sexism, colonialism, and eugenics that gives depth to the story.

What are your favorite Adult books that you read in 2020?

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12 thoughts on “Favorite Adult Books of 2020

  1. I’m so happy to see Station Eleven on this list as I was gifted it in my book club’s secret santa! I also loved The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern and it sounds like Starless Sea has a similar whimsical writing style – I can’t wait to read it! 📚❤️ X x x

    Liked by 1 person

  2. So many good books on here! I really need to read The House in the Cerulean Sea, The Strange Case of the Alchemist Daughter and Jade City!

    (www.evelynreads.com)

    Liked by 1 person

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