We know we’ve all moved on from 2020, and none of us really want to revisit it. But 2020 was a really, really good year for books. We know that our staff picks are some of the most beloved shelves in our store. And since many of you are still staying home, and browsing is limited, we figured we would bring our staff shelves to you once again, in the now-annual Top Ten Reads of Last Year posts that we know many of you look forward to.
Teresa’s list is an eclectic combo of happy endings, dark and twisty tales, and fun stories for your local 6-year-old. Whatever your preference is–if you like romance or weird fiction–Teresa’s got you covered.
Teresa’s Top Reads of 2020
Wow, No Thank You, by Samantha Irby
This book made me laugh out loud so many times that my husband had to ask me (several times) what was so funny. Irby is a master at writing about the mundane, trivial parts of life but in such a way that you will have no choice but to agree with her (while snorting uncontrollably).
Black Sun, by Rebecca Roanhorse
This book was so out of my wheelhouse yet I COULDN’T PUT IT DOWN. The world building, the characters, the history embedded in the story…everything in this book sucked me in and kept me reading until the last word.
Unicorns are the Worst, by Alex Willan
My 6 year old and I love this book. A grumpy (but rightfully so because he is lonely) goblin doesn’t like his new neighbors…you guessed it, unicorns. They play too hard, have too many tea parties and get glitter everywhere. Goblins are just as amazing and magical as unicorns, aren’t they
Beneath the Moon, by Yoshi Yoshitani
The illustrations in this book alone will hold your interest, but each fairy tale, myth and story will expand your horizons in certain origins and ideas. A stunning book that both myself and my 6-year-old could spend hours reading.
The Harpy, by Megan Hunter
Man, this book didn’t get enough press but damn if it isn’t a gut punch worthy of massive praise. When Lucy learns her husband has been cheating on her she has no idea what to do….she was under the impression that their relationship was one of the greats. Determined to make Jake (her husband) hurt like she does and did, Lucy proposes that he allow her to hurt him, anytime and any way, three times for penance. What Lucy doesn’t foresee is that hurting him will not only hurt her family but herself…in ways she couldn’t have imagined. This book may be tiny but it is fierce in all the best ways possible.
The Roommate, by Rosie Danan
I have become an avid romance reader lately and this book was easily one of my favorites ever. Clara and Josh couldn’t be more different but when circumstances throw them together (as roommates) they soon learn that the chemistry between them is something that can’t be ignored. One of the few romance books that I have come across that focuses on (and promotes) solo pleasure and partner pleasure rather than your own. Rosie Danan is an author I will automatically pre-order (in fact I was lucky enough to read her latest book out in 2021 and it was just as great).
The Death of Vivek Oji, by Akwaeke Emezi
Emezi is able to rip my heart from my chest without hesitation with their words…several times over and over. This story focuses on family…the family we are born into and the family we create to feel comfortable and safe in. It also focuses on loss and what it can do to said families. A touching, memorizing story that starts with a mother finding her son’s dead body on their front porch and the threads she will follow to discover just who her son was and what happened to him.
Luster, by Raven Leilani
A stunning debut that had me cringing and laughing throughout the entire book. Leilani has written a love story (if you can call it such) that is unlike anything I have ever read; it covers sexism, racism and just how far a young woman will go to figure out what she wants out of life.
Beetle & the Hollowbones, by Aliza Layne
A beautiful graphic novel that I was able to read aloud to my daughter. The pictures are stunning and the story is beautiful. A young goblin is determined to save her best friend, Blob Ghost, from being destroyed with the local mall (BG haunts the mall and is thus bound to it). Reconnecting with her old best friend, and possible crush, Beetle will do whatever it takes to help her friend. Growing up and learning to reconnect, even with glaring differences, are just some of the themes this book touches on.
Memorial, by Bryan Washington
When Mike leaves Ben to go to Japan to help (and learn more about) his terminally ill father, it couldn’t come at a worse time. Mike’s mother, Mitsuko, has just come to visit and Ben doesn’t have a clue what to do with her partner’s mother, someone he has never met. Not only does Ben have to deal with Mitsuko but Ben & Mike have been on a rocky relationship road and this separation isn’t something Ben thinks will help it. Washington is able to bring race, sexuality and familial bonds together in such a way that I am still thinking about this touching story.
Remember, you can purchase any or all of these amazing books online by clicking on their titles above. And you can check out 2019’s and 2018’s Staff Top Ten lists here.