As the year comes to a close, I’m looking back at some of the books I’ve read and loved this year (and really wishing I’d kept a written list somewhere. #2020 goals)
Here’s Part I, and when I remember more, I’ll add Part II. Hey, it’s the holidays; I have eggnog brain.
This book by Courtney Summers is exactly my kind of gritty psychological suspense. The dual points of view follow 19-year-old Sadie as she tries to catch up with the man she believes killed her little sister. On Sadie’s trail is the true crime podcaster looking for a worthy story about missing girls. He gets one with Sadie.
This is a fast-paced read that makes you feel almost dizzy as Sadie uncovers a terrible chain of secrets and the investigative reporter finds his own version of the truth. I can’t recommend this book highly enough.
Watch Me Disappear
Another suspense that kept me up late at night, Janelle Brown’s Watch Me Disappear kept me guessing to the last pages.
Not long after her mother hikes into the wilderness and disappears, her teenage daughter, Olive, starts having visions. Convinced her mother is still alive, Olive sets out to find her. Meanwhile, Olive’s father grapples with the worry that his daughter needs psychological help, until he uncovers clues that cause him to doubt everything he thought he knew about his wife.
This is a twisty, turny tale that keeps you asking, “Is she/isn’t she?” and one that deals with love, grief, and hope in a very real way.
Love and Ruin
I love Paula McLain’s historical fiction and this one didn’t let me down. A companion of sorts to her earlier Paris Wife, this book follows the story of renowned war correspondent, Martha Gellhorn, and her relationship with Ernest Hemingway.
While I’m a sucker for the romance of that era (which often isn’t always all that romantic) it’s the harrowing scenes of Gellhorn reporting from the front lines that kept me riveted. Gellhorn works around the rules to put herself in the thick of it, often as the only female journalist in the combat zones. Ultimately it’s the story of a woman ahead of her time who fought hard for her place in the world.
Hate U Give
I was late to the party on this book but it more than delivered on the hype. It’s the story of sixteen year-old Starr Carter, an African-American teen caught between the two worlds of the inner city neighborhood where she lives and the preppy suburb where she goes to school.
When Starr witnesses the police shooting of her best friend, those two worlds come crashing together. Only Starr knows the truth about what happened that night, but speaking up could put her life and her family in danger. This is truly a story for our times, and the audiobook version is brilliant.
The Dutch House
Ann Patchett is one of my favorite authors and she did not let me down with The Dutch House. The audio version is narrated by Tom Hanks, who perfectly brings to life Danny Conroy as he tells the story of his family’s rise to wealth and their downfall at the hands of a “wicked” stepmother.
Exiled from their childhood home, Danny and his sister Maeve are left to fend for themselves with only one another for support. Maeve cooks up a plan to keep the pair alive and to exact a slow-burning revenge on the woman who ruined their lives. Ultimately this is a story of family, identity, and forgiveness.
I’ll be posting more recommendations before the end of the year, so be sure to sign up for my newsletter for alerts.
What were some of your favorite reads this year?