Today, Amazon announced the Best Books of the Year So Far as chosen by Amazon’s book editorial team. This annual list features the Top 20 books of the year so far, published between January and June 2020, as well as top picks across literary fiction, mystery and thrillers, biography, children’s, young adult, and more. Having read hundreds of titles over the last six months, whittling it down to the best of the best was no easy feat.
Abi Daré’s critically-acclaimed debut novel The Girl with the Louding Voice is 2020’s top pick to date. You can see the remainder of the deserving top 10 in the release below.
As your readers stay at home, or seek to better understand different backgrounds, experiences, and cultures, we know this comprehensive list will help them discover their next great read or add new options to their summer reading list.
Here are the Amazon Books editorial team’s top 10 picks of 2020 so far:
The Girl with the Louding Voice: A Novel by Abi Daré: In this rousing tale of courage and pluck, a 14-year-old Nigerian girl is sold into servitude by her father when her mother—a proponent of education—passes away. You will root for Adunni as she endeavors to escape her sorry—and often harrowing—lot, and applaud the kind strangers who buoy her efforts and her spirits.
Hidden Valley Road: by Robert Kolker: Hidden Valley Road is a heartbreaking, expertly told story of an all-American family, the Galvins, six of whom were diagnosed with schizophrenia while still teenagers. Relying on exhaustive research, Kolker weaves together cultural, medical, and family history to show the ravages of mental illness on the six Galvin boys, on their parents, and, perhaps most movingly, on their other six siblings.
The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes: by Suzanne Collins: The 10th anniversary of the Hunger Games is beginning, and 18-year-old Coriolanus Snow—President Snow, when we met him decades later in The Hunger Games—has an important role to play. Nearly impossible to put down, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is an exciting and thought-provoking novel that goes outside the arena to ask interesting questions about human nature and ambition.
Deacon King Kong: A Novel by James McBride: Set in the 1960s, this propulsive and darkly comic neighborhood epic features a cast of characters that are beguiling, boozed-filled, and larger than life. National Book Award-winner McBride weaves a fictional story of one Brooklyn project, but in doing so tells a broader tale of race and religion, getting by and getting out, and how grudges and alliances become embedded in the foundations of our lives.
Pretty Things: A Novel by Janelle Brown:
When a second-generation grifter, Nina, and her shady boyfriend move to Lake Tahoe, they collide with a woman from Nina’s past, heiress Vanessa Liebling. Behind a glittering façade of old money and fast living, a darker story of social climbing, social media, revenge, and betrayal starts to take menacing shape.
Writers & Lovers: A Novel by Lily King: Writers & Lovers is about the uncertainty of relationships, and of pursuing the creative life, in a world that values success and stability. Life is not waiting for Casey to fulfill her dream of being a novelist, so she works as a waitress and she dates, and she tries to figure it out as she goes. Love and art require frequent, often imperceptible, leaps of faith—and this book captures that perfectly.
Sigh, Gone: by Phuc Tran: Sigh, Gone is one of the funniest and most profound memoirs of the year so far. Without rose-colored glasses and with a flair for humor, Tran recounts his childhood as a Vietnamese kid growing up in a small Pennsylvania town: the racism, dislocation, and violence that surrounded him, how he fought to fit in, and how he fell in love with literature.
The City We Became: A Novel by N. K. Jemisin: Five strangers unexpectedly become the living embodiments of New York City’s boroughs and must battle an evil entity that threatens the city. Jemisin infuses this live-wire love letter to the city’s diverse denizens with reality-ripping storytelling.
Oona Out of Order: A Novel by Margarita Montimore: Oona Lockhart is celebrating New Year’s Eve 1982 and the eve of her 19th birthday, but at midnight she passes out and wakes up as a 19-year-old trapped in the body of a 51-year-old. Thus begins Oona living life out of order. Although Oona Out of Order could be a fun romp through the adage “youth is wasted on the young” (and it is), it’s also a deeper look at destiny, love, and family.
The Mercies: A Novel by Kiran Millwood Hargrave: There isn’t much that is not unforgiving when it comes to the far-flung and frigid town of Vardø, Norway, including the sea that surrounds it, which swallows the majority of its male population in an epic storm while they’re fishing. Accusations of witchcraft quickly infect this grieving but resourceful community, threatening what hard-won normalcy they’ve regained. The Mercies is infuriating, baleful, but full of stubborn hope.
Michael Kozlowski is the editor of the Good e-Reader News Publication and the Good e-Reader Bookstore. He has been chronicling the e-reader and publishing industry since 2007, the year the Kindle was first released. His stories have been picked up by the New York Times, Washington Post and various online news sites.