The Best Books of 2020 (Curated by the Book Blog Leadership Team)

The end of the year is a great time to reflect on what we read. The Book Blog Leadership Team has read many books this year. Which ones were our favorites?

Standalones: If you don’t want to commit to a full series of books, check out one (or more) of the standalones that we loved!

Cinderella Ate My Daughter by Peggy Orenstein

If you’re looking for an insightful book into the experiences of young girls and how “femininity” is pushed upon them, look no further. Cinderella Ate My Daughter is another incredible release from an author who is pretty familiar to Harker students: Her works have been featured in previous Re-Create Reading lists!

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab

With lyrical writing and a heartbreaking plot, The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue is perfect for artists and storytellers. If everyone you meet forgets you, how do you leave a mark on the world? After making a deal with the darkness, Addie becomes immortal, at a price: no one will ever remember her. Until, someone finally does.

On the Come Up by Angie Thomas

Bri wants to become a rapper; it’s been her dream ever since her father passed away. Now that her mother has lost her job, becoming a rapper is not just a dream: It is a necessity. Following The Hate U Give, Angie Thomas’ new novel deals with race, class, and privilege.

Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo

If you’re a fan of poetry, this is the book for you. Following two girls who discover that they are sisters, this book discusses family and loss in a beautiful way. And, if you do choose to read it, the audiobook is fantastic!

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

This literary fiction novel follows two twin sisters: one who lives her life as a black woman and the other who lives as a white one. Perfect for fans of family dramas and hard-hitting commentary on race and privilege.

The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris

This historical fiction novel details the experiences of Lale, a tattooist at a concentration camp during World War II. While historical fiction, the book is based on the real life romance of an individual at Auschwitz.

This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger

This Tender Land follows an orphan named Odie O’Banion who is separated from his parents. He is at the Lincoln School where Native American children are sent to be educated in 1932. If you are interested in learning more about the Native American experience, this is the perfect one for you.

Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid

After being stopped by law enforcement at a local supermarket for “kidnapping” a child, Emira is swept up into a world of people trying to help her, but perhaps not for the right reasons. This book has a really interesting and humorous exploration of performative activism.

Dragon Hoops by Gene Luen Yang

Author Gene Yang reflects on his own experiences with basketball. As a kid, he did not understand sports. But now, he meets with members of the Dragons to learn more about basketball while finding unexpected connections.

Series: These recommendations are part of a larger series. We’ll leave information about the book mentioned and the first book in the series so you can start your journey at the beginning!

Book Recommended: Chain of Gold (book 1 of The Last Hours) by Cassandra Clare

Start With: Clockwork Angel (book 1 of The Infernal Devices) by Cassandra Clare

In a London plagued by demons, how will the nephilim protect themselves and the mundanes? This urban fantasy series follows the children of the characters of The Infernal Devices. Because of that, we recommend reading The Infernal Devices first. But, you could just start with this one.

Book Recommended: A Sky Beyond the Storm (book 4 of The Ember Quartet) by Sabaa Tahir

Start With: An Ember in the Ashes (book 1 of The Ember Quartet) by Sabaa Tahir

A Sky Beyond the Storm is the climactic ending to the story following a slave and a soldier, who team up to fight greater evil. We recommend starting with An Ember in the Ashes, which is the first book in this series based on Ancient Rome.

Book Recommended: The Burning God (book 3 of The Poppy War) by R.F. Kuang

Start With: The Poppy War (book 1 of The Poppy War) by R.F. Kuang

The Poppy War is a gritty Asian-inspired adult fantasy series about a war orphan named Rin who is taken in by a family in the opium trade. To escape an arranged marriage, Rin tries to get into a school for war. The Burning God is the final book of the trilogy, so we recommend starting at The Poppy War.

Want more recommendations? Check out these “Best of 2020” lists from other sources:

Goodreads Choice Awards:

New York Times:

New York Times Critics:

Vanity Fair:

Book Riot:


Penguin Random House:

Or, you could fill out this form ( to get a recommendation from a Harker librarian!

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