2020 in books // my year in review ft. pie charts!!!

BEST BOOK YOU READ IN 2020

At the number one spot, obviously, is You Deserve Each Other by Sarah Hogle [read full review here]. This book is absolutely perfect – its wildly funny, has the most perfect lovers-enemies-lovers arc, it’s romantic and wonderfully written – and it was incredibly addicting to read. Naomi and Nicholas have a special in my heart and sometimes I watch book edits of them to feel something.

Some other favourites which I will talk more about throughout the post:

DISAPPOINTING READS

Oh my, so many disappointments this year:

 Most surprising book you read

Percy Jackson & The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan // I didn’t really know what to expect from this book but I really enjoyed it, even though its middle grade, which is a genre I don’t particularly gravitate towards. I did start the second book but I never got a chance to finish it 😦 I am absolutely obsessed with Annabeth though! [read my full review]

 Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read

You Deserve Each Other by Sarah Hogle // I mean, did we expect any other answer? I don’t think I talked about any other book but this for a while and a lot of my friends read it (maybe because of me? Or general hype?) and I’m very very happy they did! 

Best Sequel

City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare was the only sequel I read this year…so…no.

Best Series Ender of 2020

I read three series conclusion this year: Imagine Me, King of Crows, The Winner’s Kiss. I loved Imagine Me a lot. – it was absolutely one of the most exhilarating experiences I’ve had reading a book, and I enjoyed every minute. However, I wasn’t a fan of how sappy and rushed the ending felt. I also loved The King of Crows and it was such a rollercoaster of emotions – but again, the ending felt super rushed.

  Favourite new author you discovered in 2020?

I’m not sure i found a new author who I’d call a “favourite” but I definitely enjoyed two of  Nina Lacour’s books (We Are Okay, and Everything Leads to You) and I hope to read her latest novel Watch Over Me sometime this year! I read a lot of Emma Mills‘ books this year (I’ve read nearly all her books) and while none of them are five star reads, they’re always so entertaining and easy to read. 

Best book from a genre you don’t typically read.

I could go for Peter Pan, but I used that for another answer, so I’ll go with Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen. At this point, I hadn’t read many romance novels, and this is a classic, which I don’t read a lot of. This was a five star read but I’m insufferable and don’t feel as emotionally attached to the book as I used to, so I’ve lowered it to four stars (making my only five star read over the year You Deserve Each Other. Yikes). But I live for Lizzy and Darcy’s dynamic – it was so much fun to read.

  Most unputdownable book of the year

The Art Of Feeling by Laura Tims // This was honestly so much fun! I rarely ever enjoy YA Contemporaries this much but this was just squeal-worthy. I couldn’t put this down (apart from when I was sending voice notes to a friend screaming about it) and I felt sooo invested in the characters!

 Book You Read In 2020 That You Would Be MOST Likely To Re-Read Next Year

You Deserve Each Other by Sarah Hogle // I mean I’ve already re-read it last year but its such a comfort read I don’t doubt I’ll re-read when times get desperate. 

Favourite cover of a book you read in 2020

I CANNOT POSSIBLY CHOOSE but I love all these covers. As you can tell I love floral covers, as well as blue ones. The Starless Sea has such a unique cover, and This Adventure Ends’ cover is so? Gorgeous? The colours and design of it bring me so much happiness and i’m not sure why. 

  Most beautifully written book read in 2020

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern [read my full review] // I mean… did you expect any other answer? Erin Morgenstern’s writing is literally such a beautiful form of art, and I know everyone says this but I would genuinely read a grocery store list if she wrote it because she has a way of making everything magical. 

Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2020?

We Are Okay by Nina Lacour is a book that slowly creeps up on you and by the end you’re left a sobbing mess. In many ways, this novel was extremely cathartic for me. It’s incredibly short and nothing really happens but that’s kind of…the point. [read my full review here]

 Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2020 to finally read? 

The Poppy War by R.F Kuang [read full review here]// this is such an excellent piece of literature (i loved seeing the explorations of drugs and war, and how in-depth these themes were explored), and i am so glad i read it. Rin and Nezha’s dynamic is quite possibly my favourite thing in the world. i hope to finish this series this year since i’m reading more now!

 Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2020?

[copies and pastes the entirety of We Are Okay by Nina Lacour] There are so many passages I adore from this book, and this one specifically hits me right in the feels.

But because we were so innocent and we didn’t even know it. There’s no way of getting it back. The confidence. The easy laughter. The sensation of having left home only for a little while. Of having a home to return to. We were innocent enough to think that our lives were what we thought they were, that if we pieced all of the facts about ourselves together they’d form an image that made sense – that looked like us when we looked in the mirror, that looked like our living rooms and our kitchens and the people who raised us – instead of revealing all the things we don’t know.

And yes, I’m cheating but also:

I could say the night felt magical, but that would be embellishment. That would be romanticization. What it actually felt like was life. We weren’t thinking of what would happen next. No one talked about the way the summer was supposed to unfold or the places we’d find ourselves in the fall.

Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2020

 Book That Shocked You The Most

The King Of Crows by Libba Bray // This book was such a wild ride!! Every time I talk about this series, I feel the need to on a 1000 word essay about how absolutely fantastic it is, how many different aspects are included so seamlessly in the stories, how its so many genres all at once, how it has the best cast of characters I’ve ever read about. Truly, I do not talk about this series enough. And while I was completely satisfied with this conclusion, god did it have so many twists and turns!! I have videos saved on my phone of me crying/reacting to certain moments in this book because so much shit hits the fan in this finale, and I was not prepared. [read full review]

OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)

I know I can’t answer Naomi & Nicholas from You Deserve Each Other for every question…so I’ll go for a book that I won’t be able to answer with for any other question because it was so trashy…Serpent & Dove [read full review here]. Lou and Reid’s enemies to lovers, marriage of convenience, only-one-bed, angst heavy relationship is exactly the dynamic I love to see in YA fantasy, and they really DELIVERED. Romances where every interaction the couple have leave you breathless >> 

Favourite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year

Rin and Kitay (The Poppy War) have such a wonderful friendship and I really appreciated every moment they had together. Kitay is kinda like “Rin, that sounds like a bad idea.” and Rin’s just like “Do y’all hear sumn?” and i just…love them and their banter so much. 

Roshar and Kestrel (The Winner’s Crime) also had such a sweet dynamic, where Roshar is endlessly teasing to Kestrel, but there’s also such trust between them.

Best Book You Read In 2020 That You Read Based SOLELY On Recommendation

Foolish Hearts by Emma Mills // I don’t think I would’ve read this book if it weren’t for the multitudes of people who had left glowing reviews for it on Goodreads (Emma, Lily, May) and I’m so glad I did. This was such a wholesome feel-good book and I adored every moment. [read full review here]

Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2020?

Nezha from The Poppy War // I pretty much despise my answer to this because Nezha is such a terrible character but there’s literally NO ONE ELSE I can think of so…Obviously I don’t condone any of Nezha’s actions (esp in the first half of the novel) but like…everything else he does…delicious is all I’ll say. 

Best 2020 debut you read

I didn’t read a tonne of debuts this year but I did read The Poppy War and You Deserve Each Other – two of my favourites of the year and both I can’t believe are the author’s first novels. 

Book That Put A Smile On Your Face

Of course, I could say You Deserve Each Other…but I will REFRAIN. And instead give you two other answers!

Always Never Yours by Emily Henry [read full review] // This was such an ADORABLE book and I genuinely enjoyed myself reading this. The romance was so perfectly slow-burn and made me grin like an idiot. [read my full review here]

Red White & Royal Blue by Casey Mcquinston [read full review]// While this isn’t the fluffiest book (and its portrayal of politics was…not the best) Alex and Henry hold such a special place in my heart, especially their EMAILS to each other which I go back and re-read every few months to give myself hope that romantic love is real.

Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2020

We Are Okay by Nina LaCour // I have already discussed this book in detail but the way Nina LaCour describes loneliness in such an accurate and painful way…I will never shut up about this book. 

Beach Read by Emily Henry [read full review here] // Okay this wasn’t even aggressively sad, and If I read this when I was emotionally stable I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have cried. But I did. Because I was very emotionally unhinged at the point I read this. If you’ve read this then – when January reads the letters her dad wrote her. I was *WEEPING*.

Peter Pan by J.M Barrie // I’m not going to even try and explain why the ending of this book left me in literal ruins…but yeah it did. 

Hidden Gem Of The Year

Does this mean an underrated book? I don’t think is necessarily underrated but I definitely don’t talk about how much I enjoyed Starry Eyes by Jen Bennet [read full review]. I can’t describe the feelings I have whenever I so much as to think about this book, but they are very warm and good. This book was just so much. Fun. So much drama, so much slow-burn romance, so much banter. A little bit of family tea also. I very much loved this and totally want to read more Jen Bennet books when I’m in the mood for it. 

Most Unique Book You Read In 2020

The Girls by Emma Cline // I don’t think I’ve ever read a book with similar vibes to this (though I’m sure there are books out there) but this felt like a mixture of summer + a clusterfuck of weird, disturbing shit. I had no idea what this book was about when I picked it up but it’s about murders and cult and very lowkey at the same time?? I’m doing a terrible job at explaining, but nevertheless, I vibed so hard with this. 

Book That Made You The Most Mad

To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Hann [read full review]// This was a re-read but I found this book to be so ridiculous the second time round. Lara Jean was so immature and Peter is such a boring, annoying love interest. The romance is so lack lustre also. The only saving grace of this book was the baking and Kitty. The movie >>

Darius The Great Is Not Okay [read full review here]// The writing style of this book ANNOYED me to no ends – it so poorly and stupidly written…like it was trying to be deep but it wasn’t. There was definitely potential with the friendship in this but it felt rushed and poorly executed. 

Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2021 (non-debut)

2021 Debut You Are Most Anticipating

Counting Down With You by Tashie Bhuiyan // This is practically the only 2021 debut I have on my TBR but I AM extremely excited for this fake dating romance, and the author also said  “it was written as a love letter to young brown girls” so I mean, how could I not read it?

 Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2021

Shocking answer – none. I haven’t started any series where there are books coming out in 2021. Unless we’re talking about Ari and Dante Book 2, which I can only hope comes out this year. 

PIE CHARTS

Now for my favourite part of the post! This year I managed to successfully keep track of my reading via my google spreadsheet and so here are my reading statistics!

Okay so the first pie chart is all my ratings rounded up and the second one is their actual rating! (I excluded 5 star re-reads from this so it would be accurate) Around ¾ of my reads were over 3 stars which is good – I enjoyed most of what I read. I gave a lot of books 4 stars which makes me super happy however my 5 star section is SO small, and I definitely want to improve on that this year!  

I read a lot of YA this year and a lot of contemporary. The YA bit is kinda typical but usually fantasy comes out on top of contemporary (last year, I barely read any contemp). This was the year I also got into romance so I’m happy to see that be included in this graph! I definitely want to read more “magical”, “literary fiction”, and “mystery/thriller” books but I’m okay with historical and dystopia being low. I’d say I want to take my YA percentage to about 30% next year and the rest of my genres 70% since I don’t really enjoy a lot of YA compared to other genres. I know Classic isn’t a target audience but I did want to track that and I read about three…so I deffo wanna improve on that?

I’m kinda happy that I didn’t re-read a lot this year since I really need to tackle my TBR and re-reading doesn’t help. I hope in 2021 to still re-read just not loads since I want to focus on finding new favourites! Compared to last year, I hardly re-read books.

I read a lot on kindle this year which I don’t have any complaints about – I love reading on there! Last year, I read most books physically which has changed a lot, evidently. My audio book consumption has reduced a lot compared to 2019 since I spent A LOT of time at home and wasn’t on commute as much – I wish I could say that will change this year but I’m in a second national lockdown so,,,

I clearly read a lot from female authors which is pretty much expected since that happens every  year. For main character gender I put “e” for if it was an ensemble cast, or if there was a male and female protagonist.

I read SIXTEEN books in May? Like all full-length books. Granted I was at home, but I so want to be able to read that much again. As you can see I read NOTHING up until lockdown since school was so stressful. And my reading fell off completely after October. Petition to cancel schools forever so I can read ❤

Sorry for the lack of an intro to this post…I just could not be bothered 😀 I know this is a little late but for me, having this blog post up is an accomplishment in itself. I just know 2021 is going to be an amazing reading year for me so I’m very excited!! Thanks for sticking with me another year (even though I barely posted…) I can’t say I’ll be any more active but I do appreciate all my readers ❤ Let me know how 2020 was in the comments!!

ilsa

9 thoughts on “2020 in books // my year in review ft. pie charts!!!”

  1. I haven’t read any of these, but I love all your stats and pie charts! My main statistic (which is a big clue to my reading tendency) is how many different author countries did I read from and this year it was 34. I try not to only read British and American authors, as that is what tends to be put in front of us by publishers, so I seek out the gems from authors born elsewhere.

    My favourite book of 2020 was by the Irish author Doireann Ni Ghriofa, A Ghost in the Throat, and I also really enjoyed and was surprised by Stories of the Sahara by Sanmao who was Taiwanese.
    Both unputdownable.

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  2. Ooooh, I love a good pie chart. I wish I was more organised and could do a year review like that too.
    While I haven’t read (or heard of ) most of the books that you have listed here, I spent quite a while looking at the books that disappointed you. I thought I’d read Daughter of Smoke and Bone again this year to see if I still like it and I have The smell of other people’s houses at home. I wonder what I will think of it. You didn’t like it?

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  3. Omg Ilsa, so glad to see you posted!! Sending all the love xoxoxo

    And also ADORE your list. I literally just started You Deserve Each Other, not very far into it but so far it’s super funny and I’m very intrigued to see how the story pans out. I shall be SCREAMING at you very soon methinks

    I’m also SO EXCITED to read The Starless Sea and The Poppy War, definitely needs to happen in 2021. Also def bumping We Are Okay up my tbr because THOSE QUOTES ARE BEAUTIFUL!!! *insert heart eyes*

    Also love to see Beach Read and Red, White & Royal Blue ma’am, also two of my faves. I feel the same about reading BR at a specific time. Because I def understand the critiques and see why people dislike, I just read it at a time that it hit really hard. Oh and CONTINUING DOWN WITH YOU!! PEOPLE WE MEET!! ONE LAST STOP!! I CAN’T WAIT!!!

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  4. I’m so glad I’m not the only person who was disappointed by The Henna Wars. I thought it has an important and powerful message but it just wasn’t conveyed very well because a lot of it was the main character whining to herself and instead of actually taking action.

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  5. ahh ilsa!! i loved this post so much!! all the charts are so pretty!!! also i have a copy of you deserve each other, and when school decides to give me a break i will 100% start reading it!! i read we are okay a while ago, but i still remember how much i love it, and all its messages – so i completely agree with you there!! hahah serpent & dove where do i even start with that? it is SO trashy – but in the absolute BEST WAY possible!!

    the henna wars definitely didn’t live up to it’s expectations for me either – because it promised an enemies to lovers – but i didn’t get one 😭 at least the sibling relationships made up for it because those were so sweet ❤️ also ahh red white & royal blue, as well as the poppy war have been on my tbr forEVER!! so here’s hoping i manage to get to them in 2021!! i hope january is treating you well ❤️

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  6. i’m really late to this post lmao but i loved seeing your year in review and all your stats, ilsa!! 💖 i really need to read you deserve each other, it sounds so good! and ahh i’m so happy you enjoyed the lightning thief, it was one of my fav books growing up and i need to reread it soon 🥺 i’ve heard basically only the highest praise for the poppy war and need to pick it up this year as well omg. i agree that red white and royal blue was so cute ahh 😭😭 and yes, the baking and kitty were the only good parts about tatbilb asdadslkfk.

    counting down with you is one of my most anticipated 2021 releases as well, i hope we both love it!! and haha same about reading mostly contemporary 😅 i hope that you have a wonderful reading year in 2021, ilsa! 🥰

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