LIST: 2020 reads that emotionally WRECKED me

Look, I don’t have to tell you that 2020 has been a YEAR. Quarantine actually didn’t hurt my reading at first; if anything, it helped me because I had more time on my hands. However, once the new school year started, I hit a really bad slump that I’ve still yet to fully get out of.

It doesn’t help that I think my mood has really affected my opinions on the books I’ve read, meaning that I haven’t found as many books to be as emotionally wrecking this year. This made for a much shorter list than last year, which you can see here.

However, I did read books that really did emotionally wreck me! Especially at the beginning of quarantine when I was emotionally vulnerable and just kept reading the same romances/rom-coms over and over again. As usual, this list only has books that I read for the first time this year and doesn’t include rereads (otherwise, The Silvered Serpents would obviously be on this list).

TABLE OF CONTENTS:

  1. Late to the Party by Kelly Quindlen
  2. Verona Comics by Jennifer Dugan
  3. If I Never Met You by Mhairi McFarlane
  4. Goddess in the Machine by Lora Beth Johnson
  5. Beach Read by Emily Henry
  6. You Deserve Each Other by Sarah Hogle
  7. Beyond the Ruby Veil by Mara Fitzgerald
  8. These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong
  9. Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
  10. Down Comes the Night by Allison Saft
  11. Now That I’ve Found You by Kristina Forest
  12. Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas
  13. Return of the Thief by Megan Whalen Turner

Late to the Party by Kelly Quindlen

late to the party cover

Release Date: April 21, 2020
My Rating: 4.25 stars
Emotional Damage: 4 / 5

This book hit so hard because I feel like it so accurately captured how alienating being LGBTQ+ as a teenager and never fully being yourself with everyone in your life. You can read more of my elaboration of this in my review, but overall, Late to the Party depicts the Repression so well. It’s essentially Lorde’s Pure Heroine album in a novel.

| read my review here |


Verona Comics by Jennifer Dugan

verona comics cover

Release Date: April 21, 2020
My Rating: 4.5 stars
Emotional Damage: 4.5 / 5

I almost cried reading this book honestly. The anxiety and depression representation in this book is depicted so realistically. Also, even though you’re rooting for Jubilee and Ridley from the beginning, it’s refreshing to see a YA book call out and effectively handle a toxic relationship in a clear-cut manner.

| read my review here |


If I Never Met You by Mhairi McFarlane

if i never met you cover

Release Date: March 24, 2020
My Rating: 5 stars
Emotional Damage: 5 / 5

If you want to know how much I loved this book and how much it made me Feel things…I read it 3 times in one month and then another time 3 months later for a grand total of 4 times in one year. I’ve always loved Mhairi McFarlane’s books, but this one hits so differently. Maybe because this one is probably the most romance-heavy of her books? Laurie and Jamie’s dynamic is just so fun honestly; also, this book has fake dating, which was really chef’s kiss. And now, as I am writing this, I feel like reading it for a fifth time this year…


Goddess in the Machine (Goddess in the Machine #1) by Lora Beth Johnson

goddess in the machine cover

Release Date: June 30, 2020
My Rating: 4.5 stars
Emotional Damage: 4.5 / 5

I’m not sure what I was expecting when I picked this book up, but wow, did it leave an impact on me. I can see why it didn’t work for a lot of people because it is a bit of a slow read and the linguistics are hard to grasp at first. However, that being said, the payoff was soooo good!! The second half was a wild ride, start to finish, and I’m still thinking about that twist ending months later.

| read my review here |


Beach Read by Emily Henry

beach read cover

Release Date: May 19, 2020
My Rating: 4.75 stars
Emotional Damage: 4.5 / 5

Another book that I’ve read multiple times this year (3 times!). You can obvious tell that when the pandemic hit and quarantine began, I started seeking solace in romance / rom-com books. I needed the serotonin, okay. Anyways, I just really love January and Gus and their dynamic. This book isn’t a rom-com, but man, did they have such funny dialogue.

| read my review here |


You Deserve Each Other by Sarah Hogle

you deserve each other cover

Release Date: April 7, 2020
My Rating: 4.75 stars
Emotional Damage: 4.75 / 5

The next in my romance/rom-com string of reads and yet another book that I read 3 times this year. This one really provided the serotonin that I needed because this book is genuinely so funny. Naomi is as melodramatic as you can get, but you also see amazing growth in her character and with her relationship with Nicholas.


Beyond the Ruby Veil by Mara Fitzgerald

beyond the ruby veil cover

Release Date: October 13, 2020
My Rating: 4.5 stars
Emotional Damage: 4.5 / 5

This book snuck up on me honestly. I was completely hooked while reading, but I originally rated it a 4 star read. However, I couldn’t stop thinking about it for days after I finished it and ended up bumping it up half a star. That’s its impact! Beyond the Ruby Veil is so chaotic, and I loved it.

| read my review here |


These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong

these violent delights cover

Release Date: November 17, 2020
My Rating: 5 stars
Emotional Damage: 4.75 / 5

When I got this ARC and dropped everything to read it…oh to feel that adrenaline again! I’ve recently reread this book because I hate myself and wanted to feel that pain again :’). Seriously though, I loved this book, and it will be quite a bit until I get over the emotional consequences. That ending!! The yearning of it all!!

| read my review here |


Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

mexican gothic cover

Release Date: June 30, 2020
My Rating: 5 stars
Emotional Damage: 4.25 / 5

I was a bit hesitant to read this one because I’m not a huge horror person. However, this book was definitely an exception to this! It was completely and utterly engrossing; I couldn’t look away. Writing this, I am currently reliving the shock of this book and…it’s a lot.


Down Comes the Night by Allison Saft

down comes the night cover

Release Date: March 2, 2021
My Rating: 4.25 stars
Emotional Damage: 4 / 5

This was the first 2021 release that I read this year, and wow did I love it! It was a softer hurt, but I ultimately knew this book would make me cry from the dedication (“For the girls who feel too much”). I loved the protagonist Wren and her love interest Hal; the romance was so soft.


Now That I’ve Found You by Kristina Forest

now that i've found you cover

Release Date: August 25, 2020
My Rating: 4.5 stars
Emotional Damage: 4.25 / 5

I read this author’s first book I Wanna Be Where You Are earlier this year and unexpectedly really liked it. For some reason, I still didn’t expect how much I would love this book. I love books that deal with fame, but the fact that fame is so secondary to Evie’s real story was so well-written! I loved her character arc, and the plot was so fun. I think I finished this book in one sitting and then just sat there for a second, smiling.


Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas

cemetery boys cover

Release Date: September 1, 2020
My Rating: 4.5 stars
Emotional Damage: 4.25 / 5

Look, I know that everyone has been screaming about this book for a while, but I still was pleasantly surprised by how much I loved this book! Honestly, I knew I would like it in the first chapter when I read the words “chicken blood in a hydroflask.” I don’t know why that line got me, but it did, and I only fell more in love with this book the farther I got.


Return of the Thief (The Queen’s Thief series #6) by Megan Whalen Turner

return of the thief cover

Release Date: October 6, 2020
My Rating: 5 stars
Emotional Damage: 5 / 5

I read this book when I was in the middle of a slump (and I still am rip), but I managed to read this in two sittings. We all knew Megan would destroy us in this finale but we didn’t know how! I don’t even know how to put into words how much I loved this book. It was wonderfully written and, frankly, was the perfect ending. Anyways, I love this series and these characters and always will.

What books emotionally wrecked you this year?

4 thoughts on “LIST: 2020 reads that emotionally WRECKED me”

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