It’s no secret that summer 2020 is different than most, but no matter how you’re spending it, diving into a captivating new book is the best way to go on a new adventure, explore a new world or immerse yourself in a new culture. With plenty of intriguing new releases and perfect summer reads already climbing their way up the bestseller charts, finding a story that you love is easy — figuring out which one to read first is the difficult part. That’s where Amazon comes in.
The book editors at Amazon have just released the Best Books of the Year So Far list for 2020, which contains 20 of the most riveting titles that have recently graced bookshelves. The editors’ top pick? “The Girl with the Louding Voice” by Abi Daré. Also at the top of the list are the highly-anticipated novels “Hidden Valley Road: Inside the Mind of an American Family” by Robert Kolker and “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” by Suzanne Collins, among many other notable titles.
“The Amazon book editors compiled the Best Books of the Year So Far list with titles that stand out, thanks to the compelling topics, talented authors and unforgettable characters,” says Sarah Gelman, the editorial director of Amazon Books. “We have been reading and reviewing hundreds of books that were published between January and June, all in the name of recommending our very favorites for customers. Spanning literary fiction, mystery and thriller, memoirs, science fiction and more, we are excited to help readers of all ages and tastes find their next great book.”
Whether you love reading on a Kindle, listening to an audiobook or turning the pages of a paperback, immersing yourself in a new story is as easy as a few clicks of a button. Scroll down to shop the top 20 books Amazon editors recommend so far for 2020, and start your summer the best way possible.
’The Girl with the Louding Voice’ by Abi Daré (starting at $13.99; amazon.com)
Abi Daré’s debut novel, “The Girl with the Louding Voice” is making waves everywhere. This powerful tale follows Adunni, a 14-year-old Nigerian girl, trapped in a life of servitude but longing to use her voice, speak for herself and decide her own future. Fearless and determined to chase after her dreams, Adunni uses her voice to help girls just like her on a captivating journey that will leave you heartbroken, enlightened and inspired.
’Hidden Valley Road: Inside the Mind of an American Family’ by Robert Kolker (starting at $14.99; amazon.com)
Bestselling and award-winning author Robert Kolker tells the true story of the Galvin family, one of the first families to be studied by the National Institute of Mental Health, and what has become their extraordinary contribution to the research of schizophrenia and mental illnesses. With six out of 12 children in the family diagnosed with the disease, this book explores not only the effects and trauma of the illness experienced by the children themselves, but the toll it takes on the rest of the family members.
’The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes: A Hunger Games Novel’ by Suzanne Collins (starting at $16.79; amazon.com)
This highly anticipated tale is the prequel to “The Hunger Games” stories and became an instant bestseller. The story is a glimpse into the life of 18-year-old Coriolanus Snow (who became the dictatorial President Snow in the trilogy) and his shot at glory. Assigned to mentor the underdog female tribute from District 12, Snow finds himself at a crossroads of power, survival and emotions.
’Deacon King Kong’ by James McBride (starting at $14.99; amazon.com)
The No. 1 bestseller in its category, “Deacon King Kong” is based in New York City in 1969. Deacon, known as Sportscoat, kills a housing project drug dealer, which affects everyone involved, including the community, witnesses, cops, his Baptist church, Italian mobsters and Sportscoat himself. This is one dark and funny tale that you won’t be able to put down.
’Pretty Things’ by Janelle Brown (starting at $13.99; amazon.com)
When two women’s lives intersect on the shores of Lake Tahoe, deceit and destruction unfold. Nina, a scam artist, and her boyfriend Lachlan cross paths with Vanessa, a social media influencer and heiress with a dark past, all thanks to the scam of a lifetime.
’Writers & Lovers’ by Lily King (starting at $12.99; amazon.com)
“Writers & Lovers” follows Casey Peabody, a 31-year-old writer and child golf prodigy who now waits tables for a living, as she works on her novel and finds herself in a tumultuous love triangle. Determined to live a life of creativity, Casey is challenged by her ambitions and her relationships in a story that’s humorous, heartfelt and inspiring.
’Sigh, Gone: A Misfit’s Memoir of Great Books, Punk Rock, and the Fight to Fit In’ by Phuc Tran (starting at $14.99; amazon.com)
A coming-of-age memoir that details Tran’s struggles to assimilate to his new home in Pennsylvania in 1975. Faced with abuse, racism, tragedy and feelings of teenage rebellion, he finds himself on a journey of self-discovery through literature and punk rock music.
’The City We Became’ by N. K. Jemisin (starting at $14.99; amazon.com)
A fantasy set in New York City brings readers on a magical journey through the eyes of five people, all who become living embodiments of their respectful boroughs. When a very ancient enemy threatens to kill the city, they find themselves responsible for saving it. Full of paranormal battles, hidden subway stations, art and politics, this must-read will have you on the edge of your seat.
’Oona Out of Order’ by Margarita Montimore (starting at $13.99; amazon.com)
On New Year’s Eve in 1982, 19-year-old Oona Lockhart faints, waking up to find herself 32 years in the future. With each year that passes, Oona leaps to another random year, hopping through decades, relationships and friendships. This book will keep you on your toes and fill your heart with magic and love.
’The Mercies’ by Kiran Millwood Hargrave (starting at $13.99; amazon.com)
Inspired by real events, this story depicts a town on the coast of Norway in 1617 where the men and sons have all drowned in a storm and the women are left to survive on their own. When a Scottish stranger named Absalam and his Norwegian wife Ursa arrive three years later looking to rule the town, Ursa finds herself drawn to the independent women and the freedom they hold. The Mercies is a tale of love, evil, hope and feminism.
’The Jane Austen Society’ by Natalie Jenner (starting at $13.99; amazon.com)
A No. 1 new release in its category on Amazon and national bestseller, “The Jane Austen Society” is an uplifting and heart-warming story of strangers rallying together despite their own struggles to preserve the famed author’s estate and legacy.
’Apeirogon’ by Colum McCann (starting at $14.99; amazon.com)
Based on a true story of two fathers — one Palestinian and one Israeli — who grew up hating one another, and are brought together by their shared grief after each losing a daughter in a world of conflict and war. Through their connection, they find the strength to bring peace to a generation of heartbreak.
’Rebel Chef: In Search of What Matters’ by Dominique Crenn (starting at $14.99; amazon.com)
Three-time Michelin Award-winning chef, Dominique Crenn, pens a powerful, inspiring and captivating memoir detailing her unconventional coming-of-age story and her fierce passion for activism which she discovered through her experience as a mom, artist and wildly talented female chef in a male-dominated industry. This must-read autobiography is nothing short of fantastic.
’Things in Jars’ by Jess Kidd (starting at $12.99; amazon.com)
This gothic mystery novel takes place in Victorian England and is one you won’t be able to put down. When female detective Bridie Devine sets out to find a kidnapped child, one with supernatural powers, she encounters a dark underworld of crooked surgeons, ghosts and fairytale creatures. Will she be able to solve the case? You’ll have to read to find out.
’Yellow Bird: Oil, Murder, and a Woman’s Search for Justice in Indian Country’ by Sierra Crane Murdoch (starting at $13.99; amazon.com)
Lisa Yellow Bird returns from prison to her home in the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation in North Dakota to find the community stricken with violence, addiction and corporate greed. When a young white oil worker goes missing, she makes it her mission to find out what happened to him while simultaneously navigating the changes to her tribe’s lifestyle. This riveting true crime story examines the history of systemic violence on Native American tribes and Lisa Yellow Bird’s personal search for redemption in a modern world.
’Saint X’ by Alexis Schaitkin (starting at $13.99; amazon.com)
Alexis Schaitkin’s debut novel “Saint X” is a thrilling story of 7-year-old Claire, whose 18-year-old sister is murdered while on a family vacation in the Caribbean. Still unsolved years later, Claire experiences a chance encounter with one of the original suspects which sparks her journey to find the truth about what happened that fateful night on the island of Saint X and who her sister really was.
’Sharks in the Time of Saviors’ by Kawai Strong Washburn (starting at $13.99; amazon.com)
When 7-year-old Nainoa Flores falls overboard on a cruise ship off the coast of Hawaii and is returned unharmed to his family in the jaws of a shark, the miraculous event is chalked up to the legends of Hawaiian gods. Years later, while he and his siblings are each on their own paths in different cities, a supernatural and tragic event brings his family back together in Hawaii, where they are forced to reckon with their history, heritage and relationships.
’A Burning’ by Megha Majumdar (starting at $12.99; amazon.com)
Another No. 1 bestseller in its category, “A Burning” is a story you’ll want to read over and over again. Based in contemporary India, it follows the tales of three characters; a Muslim girl from the slums named Jivan, a gym teacher involved with a right-wing political party named PT Sir, and an outcast named Lovely. After a terrorist attack occurs on a train, their lives are intertwined in more ways than one. This thrilling story is filled with humor, hope and big dreams.
’Almond’ by Won-pyung Sohn (starting at $1.99; amazon.com)
This engrossing novel explores mental illness through the story of Yunjae, a teenager who was born with a brain condition that makes it hard for him to feel emotions like fear or anger. After a tragic event occurs, he finds himself navigating through life alone. His disability threatens his life and survival, but will resilience, kindness, new friendships and love be enough to help him conquer the unthinkable?
’Devolution: A Firsthand Account of the Rainier Sasquatch Massacre’ by Max Brooks (starting at $14.99; amazon.com)
Max Brooks, the bestselling author of “World War Z,” is back with a horror novel that will have you laughing, screaming and the hairs on your neck standing straight up. When Mount Rainier erupts and cuts off a small town from civilization and its weekly delivery of groceries, the community not only needs to figure out a way to survive the winter that’s coming, but a displaced group of hungry Sasquatches, too.
Note: The prices above reflect the retailers’ listed prices at the time of publication.