HOLY SMOKES! What a great year for books I’ve had! This is, hands’ down, the best reading year I have ever had. Ever. I know I say that every year, but there are eight, count ’em, EIGHT five-star books on this list. YOWZAH!
In all seriousness, I’m so excited to share this list with you all.
1. The Mirror & the Light
Utterly brilliant historical fiction. Captivating and compelling.
Oh my gosh. June is over. Summer vacation is halfway over. I don’t know whether to shout for joy or cry. Shout for joy because PLEASE can we go back to school in August. Cry because summer is over and I’m still waiting on pretty much all the books from my summer reading list to come either to the book store or library. I’m worried I won’t have time to read them all. 😥
Also, the middle of the year always sneaks up on me. During summer vacation it’s really hard to keep track of the date, so I’m always shocked and, well, freaked out to find it’s July. lol
So far this year I’ve read 45 books, but since a HUGE chunk of those were either gifts or read for work, it hasn’t been the most exciting year for me book-wise. Not even all the books in my Top 10 have four stars, yikes! Still, I’m well on my way to my 75 book goal, and frankly may have to adjust it to 100. YAY ME!
Best Book You’ve Read So Far in 2020
Okay, I’m going to share my two favorites, because they’re so different from each other. My top book is hands down The Mirror & the Light, which is easily the best historical fiction novel I’ve ever read. I love the Thomas Cromwell trilogy so much, and this book was literally perfect. I wouldn’t have changed ANYTHING about it (except maybe make it never end!). My second top book is a YA backlist title, A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi. It had been on my to-read list forEVER, and I finally picked it up on sale in February. GUYS. Why did I wait so long to read this book?!?! If you haven’t read it yet you’ve GOT TO.
It’s 2002, a year after 9/11. It’s an extremely turbulent time politically, but especially so for someone like Shirin, a sixteen-year-old Muslim girl who’s tired of being stereotyped.
Shirin is never surprised by how horrible people can be. She’s tired of the rude stares, the degrading comments—even the physical violence—she endures as a result of her race, her religion, and the hijab she wears every day. So she’s built up protective walls and refuses to let anyone close enough to hurt her. Instead, she drowns her frustrations in music and spends her afternoons break-dancing with her brother.
But then she meets Ocean James. He’s the first person in forever who really seems to want to get to know Shirin. It terrifies her—they seem to come from two irreconcilable worlds—and Shirin has had her guard up for so long that she’s not sure she’ll ever be able to let it down.
A Very Large Expanse of Sea was everything I was expecting it to be, and then so much more. It was like The Hate U Give meets Eleanor & Park. I felt all of the feels, but I also had to walk in the shoes of someone completely different than me. I swooned, and I also examined my own privilege. This book was everything, and everyone in America should read it.