What are the most popular books of the year? Check out our in-depth guide to the Goodreads Choice Awards 2020 and see whether you agree with the winners.
Every December, Goodreads announces the winners of the annual Goodreads Choice Awards. And every year, I hear complaints about how it’s a glorified popularity contest.
In some aspects, it is. Whenever you are polling the general population, name recognition is a big part. Well-known authors are not only more likely to be read but also more likely to get the vote even if someone hasn’t read their book.
However, for the 2020 Goodreads Choice Awards, I feel like most of the winners are completely deserving.
Anyways, here are the 2020 winners of the Goodreads Awards. I’d love to hear what you think, so be sure to comment below!
Goodreads Choice Awards: Best Fiction
The Midnight Library
In the Midnight Library, there are two books – one book for the life you’ve lived and one for the one you could have lived. After attempting suicide, Nora Seed finds herself in the Midnight Library. Now she must decide which book to choose from. What if she had made different choices? Would her life truly have been better?
Goodreads Awards: Best Mystery & Thriller
The Guest List
On a remote island, the perfect wedding turns deadly in this thrilling mystery. The high profile wedding between a television star and a magazine publisher is supposed to be the perfect event. Set off the coast of Ireland, all the stops have been pulled out. Yet once the guests arrive, past conflicts come into play and someone turns up dead. Was it the bride? The best man? The wedding planner? Foley keeps you guessing until the end, giving each suspect a firm motive to want to commit murder.
Goodreads Choice Awards: Best Historical Fiction
The Vanishing Half
Growing up in a Southern black community obsessed with skin color, the Vignes sisters run away at age sixteen. Though identical twins, their lives end in completely different paths. One returns to live in their hometown while the other secretly passes as white. A fascinating story from beginning to end, Bennett explores more than race, as she contemplates how the past affects future generations when their daughters’ lives intersect. Nuanced and complicated, this through-provoking book is just what you want out of literary fiction.
Goodreads Choice Awards: Best Fantasy
House of Earth and Blood
Sarah J. Maas
Sarah J. Maas kicks off her new Crescent City adult fantasy series with the story of half-Fae half-human Bryce Quinlan intent on avenging the death of her friends. She teams up with Fallen Angel Hunt Athalar for a tale of danger, romance, and magic. With two huge fantasy series under her belt (Throne of Glass and A Court of Thorns and Roses), you shouldn’t be surprised that Maas’s newest book was the top fantasy book in the Goodreads Choice Awards in 2020.
Goodreads Choice Awards: Best Romance
From Blood and Ash
Jennifer L. Armentrout
For the best romance, the winner of the Goodreads Choice Awards was Jennifer L. Armentrout’s romantic fantasy. Chosen from birth, Poppy has lived her whole life in solitary confinement waiting for her Ascension. When a handsome new guard enters her life, she must reconcile her desire with her duty.
Goodreads Awards: Best Science Fiction
To Sleep in a Sea of Stars
While surveying an uncolonized planet, xenobiologist Kira Navárez discovers a relic that thrusts her into first contact with an alien race. First contact isn’t at all what Kira imagined, and now she finds herself the last and best hope for humanity at the brink of extinction.
Goodreads Awards: Best Horror
A gothic horror story set in 1950s Mexico. Sign me up! Noemí Taboada receives a frantic letter from her cousin accusing her new husband of trying to poison her. To help, Noemí travels to their estate in the Mexican countryside. She doesn’t fear her cousin’s husband or father-in-law, or the creepy house that is giving her nightmares.
Goodreads Awards: Best Humor
Nathan W. Pyle
Based on the popular Instagram channel, Strange Planet is Nathan W. Pyle’s comic series about aliens trying to understand the peculiarities of our world. With never-before-seen sketches, Pyle covers all the big human milestones with his unique wit.
Goodreads Awards: Best Nonfiction
Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi
A young adult re-imagining of Ibram X. Kendi’s bestselling book, Stamped from the Beginning. Reynolds and Kendi trace the history of racism for the last four hundred years, showing how politics, literature, and philosophy have been used to justify slavery and oppression.
Goodreads Awards: Best Memoir & Autobiography
A Promised Land
Former United States President Barack Obama has a 700+ page memoir coming out days after the 2020 presidential election. Describing his political journey, Obama recounts the grassroots movement that helped him rise to the presidency and details the politics and diplomacy from his term in office. Along with intimate insights into his presidency, Obama thoughtfully ponders the reach and limits of presidential power.
Goodreads Awards: Best History & Biography
When you think of castes, India’s strict caste system likely comes to mind. Wilkerson argues that America has its own hidden caste system, a hierarchy that has influenced the United States both historically and currently. Using fascinating stories, Wilkerson points out that on top of race and class, our understanding of caste systems must also change if we are to better ourselves as a nation.
Goodreads Awards: Best Science & Technology
A Life on Our Planet
Award-winning broadcaster and natural historian David Attenborough shares his thoughts on our planet’s changes over the last century. Attenborough laments the steady decline to the wild spaces in the world and the loss of biodiversity. A Life on Our Planet is his witness statement as well as his vision for the future.
Goodreads Awards: Best Food & Cookbooks
Modern Comfort Food
Ina Garten, the host of The Barefoot Contessa, has a new cookbook out showcasing her favorite comfort foods. Many of her dishes are inspired by childhood favorites – enchiladas, grilled cheese sandwiches, hamburgers – helping it win its place atop of the Goodreads Choice Awards winners in 2020.
Best Graphic Novels & Comics
Heartstopper: Volume Three
The heartstopper gang is back in the third graphic novel in the series. Love is in the air on a school trip to Paris. Nick and Charlie must navigate a new city and figure out how to tell others about their relationship. Tara and Darcy share more about how they fell in love. Meanwhile, Tao and Ellis face their mutual attraction and the teachers seem awfully chummy.
Goodreads Awards: Best Poetry
Although best known for her dystopian novel, The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood is a Goodreads Choice Awards winner again this year for her poetry. In Dearly, she discusses love, loss, time, and even zombies.
Goodreads Awards: Best Debut Author
Such a Fun Age
Blogger Alix Chamberlain has built herself a brand empowering women. When she moves to Philadephia, she feels overwhelmed by her two young daughters and comes to rely on her babysitter, Emira Tucker. While watching Alix’s two-year-old, Emira is shocked one day to be stopped by a grocery store clerk, only because she is a Black woman with a white toddler. Reid certainly sparks a conversation about racism and privilege, as both Alix and Emira’s boyfriend have completely different views on the same event.
Goodreads Choice Awards: Best Young Adult Fiction
Clap When You Land
Every year, Camino lives for the summers because her father comes to visit her in the Dominican Republic. As she arrives at the airport, she finds his plane has crashed. Meanwhile, in New York City, Yahaira also mourns for her father who died in the same crash. When they find they had the same father, their lives are changed forever.
Young Adult Fantasy & Science Fiction
The Queen of Nothing
The third book in her The Folk of the Air series was one of my most anticipated recent releases. In the first book, Black introduces us to Jude, a human girl living in the Fairie kingdom. During a political upheaval, Jude turns the cruel prince Cardan into the King of Faerie, only to face betrayal. Now exiled Jude must risk everything to save her sister, only to find herself entangled once again in political intrigue.
Goodreads Awards: Best Middle Grade
The Tower of Nero
The final book of Rick Riordan’s The Trials of Apollo series. Having been cast down to Earth to inhabit the body of pathetic teenager Lester Papadopoulos, will the Greek god Apollo finally be able to return to Mount Olympus? With his final challenge at the Tower of Nero in New York City, Lester and his friends will finally have all their questions answered.
Goodreads Awards: Best Picture Books
Ibram X. Kendi
Teach them while they’re young. In a new board book, Ibram X. Kendi demonstrates nine easy steps to establish a more equitable world and teach the youngest learners about the concept and power of racism.
Do you agree with the winners of the Goodreads Choice Awards 2020?