Our Best Books of the Year So Far yearbook

Al Woodworth on June 24, 2020
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Our Best Books of the Year So Far yearbook

Putting together the Amazon Books editors' Best of the Year So Far list is a lot of fun. We read, we debate, we champion the books we love, and then we get to share the best books out of the hundreds and hundreds that have published from January through June.

Our list includes the top 20 overall picks, as well as the best books in categories such as biography and memoir, science fiction, mystery and thrillers, nonfiction, romance, young adult, cookbooks, and more. It's a great list, but to help you discover your next great read, and to celebrate these talented writers, we thought we'd help you out even more—and have fun along the way, yearbook style.

Remember superlatives? Well, we thought we'd create our own yearbook so far using our Best Books of the Year So Far. Cheeky, right? Hope you enjoy.


The Girl with the Louding Voice by Abi Daré

The most likely to succeed

This is the Best Book of the Year So Far. 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.

See all our editors' top 20 picks for Best Books of the Year So Far.


The Chiffon Trenches: A Memoir by André Leon Talley

Best dressed

A delicious insider’s look at the fashion industry, the heyday of the Studio 54 years and beyond, and at Talley’s very personal and unique experience as a young black man from the South who became a style icon. And Talley doesn’t hold back—he tells you who said what, who did what, and to whom.

See all our editors' top 20 picks for biographies and memoirs.


Sigh, Gone: A Misfit’s Memoir of Great Books, Punk Rock, and the Fight to Fit In by Phuc Tran

Class clown

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, Phuc 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.

See all our editors' top 20 picks for biographies and memoirs.


Pretty Things by Janelle Brown

Most likely to steal your wallet

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.

See all our editors' top 20 picks for mysteries and thrillers.


Oona Out of Order by Margarita Montimore

Most likely to never be on time

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. A fun romp through the adage “youth is wasted on the young” and a deeper look at destiny, love, and family.

See all our editors' top 20 picks for literature and fiction.


Almond by Won-pyung Sohn

Most likely to break your heart

Sixteen-year-old Yunjae can’t express or understand emotion, which means he can’t process the unspeakable acts of violence, tragedy, and teenage vitriol that surround him constantly. But it’s precisely his disability that allows him to survive. Almond is a story about finding a common language with those who experience the world differently than you, and it will open your eyes about what loss, laughter, and connection truly mean.

See all our editors' top 20 picks for literature and fiction.


Rebel Chef: In Search of What Matters by Dominique Crenn

Most popular lunch date

I mean, the title says it all. The first female chef to receive three Michelin stars in the US, Dominque Crenn—who never attended culinary school—recounts her journey from a small town outside of Versailles to owning three highly acclaimed restaurants and  speaking out about restaurant culture, sexism, discrimination, and climate change. A fascinating woman who doesn’t take no for an answer.

See all our editors' top 20 picks for cooking, food, and wine.


Ronan the Librarian by Tara Luebbe and Becky Cattie, illustrated by Victoria Maderna

Best babysitter

This humorous picture book from sister duo Tara Luebbe and Becky Cattie follows Ronan the Barbarian as he grows from being just a rough-and-tumble warrior to a rough-and-tumble warrior who loves books. At first, his fellow barbarians are skeptical of his newfound passion for reading, but in the end, even they aren't immune to the charms of a good book.

See all our editors' top 20 picks for children's books.


Nobody Will Tell You This But Me: A true (as told to me) story by Bess Kalb

Most likely to cheer you up

A feel good, laugh-out-loud memoir that recounts the genuine comradery, joy, and love between a grandmother and her granddaughter. And if you’re in need of hug, this book delivers. “What have I always told you, Bessie? What have I always said? You’re my angel. I am you. I’m the bones in your body and the blood that fills you up and the meat around your legs.”

See all our editors' top 20 picks for biographies and memoirs.


Conventionally Yours by Annabeth Albert

Geekiest couple

Conrad and Alden are enemies, and that's the way it's always been. But when they're stuck together on a cross-country road trip to the biggest fan convention of their lives, the competition takes a backseat as unexpected feelings blossom. Yet each boy has a reason why they have to win the upcoming con tournament and neither is willing to let emotion get in the way—even if it means giving up their one chance at something truly magical.

See all our editors' top 20 picks for romance.


Hidden Valley Road: Inside the Mind of an American Family by Robert Kolker

Most unforgettable life story

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, author Robert 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 the other six siblings.

See all our editors' top 20 picks for biographies and memoirs.


Boys & Sex: Young Men on Hookups, Love, Porn, Consent, and Navigating the New Masculinity by Peggy Orenstein

Most likely to get people talking

Consent, pornography, hookup culture, gender identity, sexual preference, and a constantly changing definition of masculinity are among the issues boys today struggle with, and that’s exactly what this book addresses. Orenstein’s straight-ahead questions paired with the boys’ vulnerable answers make Boys & Sex a captivating, eye-opening read, and this book will definitely get you chatting with the men and boys in your life.

See all our editors' top 20 picks for nonfiction.


The City We Became by N. K. Jemisin

Most likely to quietly take over the world

Five strangers unexpectedly become the living embodiments of New York City’s boroughs and must battle an evil entity that threatens the city. N. K. Jemisin infuses this live-wire love letter to the city’s diverse denizens with reality-ripping storytelling—and the best news: it’s the start of a new series.

See all our editors' top 20 picks for science fiction and fantasy.


Beach Read by Emily Henry

Most meta beach read

A romance writer who no longer believes in love and a literary writer stuck in a rut engage in a summer-long challenge that may just upend everything they believe about happily ever afters.

See all our editors' top 20 picks for romance.


Spirit Run: A 6,000-Mile Marathon Through North America's Stolen Land by Noé Álvarez

Best overall athlete

When the son of Mexican immigrants hears about Peace and Dignity Journeys—"epic marathons meant to renew cultural connections across North America"—he signs up for one. From Canada to Guatemala, Noé Álvarez takes readers on his four-month run, where he forges a new relationship with the land, a new understanding of his parents’ migration, and—and in a society that exploits his body and rejects his spirit—the dream of a liberated future.

See all our editors' top 20 picks for nonfiction.


Lists + Reviews

Best Books Literature + Fiction Nonfiction Kids + Young Adult Mystery, Thriller + Suspense Science Fiction + Fantasy Comics + Graphic Novels Romance Eating + Drinking

Authors

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Editors

Omnivoracious, The Amazon Book Review

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