The Write Edge Bookshelf’s Binge-worthy books of 2020

By Ekta R. Garg

I read around 60 books this year from a variety of genres. Many of these authors were new to me, and I’m so glad I found them. I gave 4 stars to several books, which here on The Write Edge Bookshelf meant these tomes should be “Bookmarked.” The coveted 5 stars, though, were reserved for a precious few that I encouraged readers to “Binge.”

For me, a 5-star book hits writing perfection in every single department: characters; plot; story; setting; the book’s place in its genre. As a writer, I know how incredibly challenging it is to do this well. When an author does it, I’m thrilled.

Writing a book is like juggling several balls of varying sizes; not easy by any means. Many books this year for me dropped a ball but kept the others going. The following novels kept all of them in the air until the end.

In order of their release throughout 2020, then, I present to you The Write Edge Bookshelf’s Binge-worthy books of 2020 with excerpts of the reviews I wrote for them.

*****

Big Lies in a Small Town by Diane Chamberlain

What it’s about:

Two women separated by decades but connected by their love for art deal with a dark secret. When one sets out to discover what happened to the other, both of their lives will change. Author Diane Chamberlain will keep readers riveted until the end with her main characters in her incredible novel Big Lies in a Small Town.

What I thought:

Author Diane Chamberlain weaves an easy tale to follow. By switching chapters between Anna and Morgan, she doesn’t keep readers waiting too long on the stories of either women. Anna’s character arc follows familiar territory of race relations in small southern towns in the 1940s while also offering surprises. Morgan’s chapters, in first person, bring to readers her confusion that she restore the mural as well as her determination to do anything to stay out of prison.

*****

You Are Not Alone by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

What it’s about:

In the aftermath of a horrible incident, a woman tries to pull herself together. She stumbles upon a new circle of friends who she believes were tailor-made for her. The more time she spends with them, however, the more she realizes that she might be headed for danger herself. Co-authors Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen follow up their smash hits The Wife Between Us and An Anonymous Girl with the superlative novel You Are Not Alone.

What I thought:

Authors Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen prove once again that their writing team can produce thriller gold. Although Shay is obsessed with interesting bits of information, her work as a data analyst doesn’t make her out to be the stereotypical nerd. Hendricks and Pekkanen build Shay with enough complexity to make it seem like she could be anyone. Readers will identify with Shay’s faults and insecurities.

*****

Logging Off by Nick Spalding

What it’s about:

A graphic designer discovers that his mobile devices are affecting his health. When he agrees to a digital detox, he discovers just how necessary—and not—technology is to his life. Author Nick Spalding hits every note perfectly in the laugh-out-loud humor novel Logging Off.

What it thought:

Author Nick Spalding keeps the pacing steady from the start. Andy is funny, sweet, a good friend, and genuinely befuddled at how he’s going to manage the detox. In the hands of a lesser skilled writer, the main character could have easily turned into an annoying one. Instead, his strong voice and the tone of the novel will make readers burst into laughter several times.

*****

The Day She Came Back by Amanda Prowse

What it’s about:

A teenager is left without any family after her last living relative dies. She’s shocked, then, when the mother she thought had died of a drug overdose comes back, healthy and very much alive. The teen must decide if she can forgive her mother for disappearing and figure out how to move on. Acclaimed women’s fiction author Amanda Prowse is back with another winning novel about grief and restarting relationships in The Day She Came Back.

What I thought:

Author Amanda Prowse returns with a wonderful novel that smacks of reality and the process of learning how to let go of a dear family member. Prowse compounds Victoria’s grief by complicating it: not only does she want her wonderful grandmother back with an aching desperation, she’s also furious with her.

*****

Anxious People by Fredrik Backman

What it’s about:

A bank robbery goes wrong, making the thief desperate enough to take an apartment full of people hostage. As the day progresses, the hostages, the thief, and the police officers on the case will all find themselves grappling with their lives’ greatest hurts. Veteran author Fredrik Backman returns with another touching, funny, relatable novel with his latest book Anxious People.

What I thought:

Author Fredrik Backman brings to readers yet another poignant book that will induce laughter, tears, and a pause for reflection all on the same page. His lyricism and gentle prose might deceive some into thinking that his method of storytelling is easy. It is neither easy to accomplish nor easy to imitate, and Backman breaks many standard writing rules. Yet he does it with such grace, wit, and experience that readers won’t even realize he’s done it.

*****

A Whale of the Wild by Rosanne Parry

What it’s about:

When a pair of young orcas get separated from their family pod, they will have to rely on one another and what they’ve learned about the sea to get home. They encounter a variety of creatures, from land and sea, and discover a deeper bond with each other. Author Rosanne Parry treats her gentle giant protagonists with dignity and grace in her incredible middle grade book A Whale of the Wild.

What I thought:

Author Rosanne Perry breaks one of the cardinal rules of writing for children: don’t anthropomorphize animals. In the hands of a lesser skilled author, Vega and Deneb’s story and search might be reduced to a trite tale. With Perry’s deft touch, however, the novel conveys the magnitude and awe these amazing creatures induce.

2 thoughts on “The Write Edge Bookshelf’s Binge-worthy books of 2020

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s