Books in 2020 that surprised me!

December 23, 2020 Misc. 2

So these are books that I really enjoyed and I was kind of surprised at how much I enjoyed them. I thought they deserved a list all on their own.  So this is kind of a branch off the favorites. 🙂

No particular order just how I wrote them down.

The case is closed. Five years ago, schoolgirl Andie Bell was murdered by Sal Singh. The police know he did it. Everyone in town knows he did it.

But having grown up in the same small town that was consumed by the murder, Pippa Fitz-Amobi isn’t so sure. When she chooses the case as the topic for her final year project, she starts to uncover secrets that someone in town desperately wants to stay hidden. And if the real killer is still out there, how far will they go to keep Pip from the truth? 

Normally when I read YA thrillers they are usually 3 star reads. I am hardly surprised by one and enjoy them more than just saying it’s okay. This one though I really enjoyed. I listened to it and it was kind of mixed media, maybe not podcast but kind of because she taped interviews and things. I think that is one reason I really enjoyed it, but I also found myself really wrapped up in the mystery and wanting to know who was responsible, etc.

Mary Murphy feels like she’s drowning. Her violent father is home from prison, and the social worker is suspicious of her new bruises. An aunt she’s never met keeps calling. And if she can’t get a good grade on her science project, she’ll fail her favorite class.

But Mary doesn’t want to be a victim anymore. She has a plan: build a real submarine, like the model she’s been making with Kip Dwyer, the secretly sweet class clown.

Gaining courage from her heroine, Joan of Arc, Mary vows to pilot a sub across the Chesapeake Bay, risking her life in a modern crusade to save herself.

Mary Underwater is an empowering tale of persistence, heroism, and hope from a luminous new voice in middle-grade fiction.

I don’t read a lot of contemporary and I normally don’t read middle grade contemporary but I read a couple this year that I really enjoyed so maybe I should try more…lol. I really enjoyed the characters, especially Kip he was so sweet to Mary. He knew she was having a hard time at home and didn’t really know what to do, but he did try doing something and things didn’t go well. I thought he was so sweet for trying and loved how Mary took control of her situation and gained confidence.

A girl with a passion for science and a boy who dreams of writing fantasy novels must figure out how to get along now that their parents are dating in this lively, endearing novel.

Sutton is having robot problems. Her mini-bot is supposed to be able to get through a maze in under a minute, but she must have gotten something wrong in the coding. Which is frustrating for a science-minded girl like Sutton—almost as frustrating as the fact that her mother probably won’t be home in time for Sutton’s tenth birthday.

Luis spends his days writing thrilling stories about brave kids, but there’s only so much inspiration you can find when you’re stuck inside all day. He’s allergic to bees, afraid of dogs, and has an overprotective mom to boot. So Luis can only dream of daring adventures in the wild.

Sutton and Luis couldn’t be more different from each other. Except now that their parents are dating, these two have to find some common ground. Will they be able to navigate their way down a path they never planned on exploring? 

Proof that I was surprised by more than one middle grade contemporary. 🙂 I didn’t know what I would think of this one going in but I kind of liked the blurb and thought I would try it out. It was one I had my eye on but didn’t put on my anticipated because it was contemporary so when I seen it on Hoopla I went for it. I can say that I don’t know what it’s like to be these kids, my parents were together right up till my passed on, so having to blend a family is something I know nothing about but I really enjoyed learning about how these to kids were dealing with things. Especially since they are two very different kids but they learned that their uniqueness is what helped them be able to work together when they get lost on a hike. It was just a cute one.

She didn’t notice the corn stalks shiver a few feet to her right. By the time she looked up, the man towered above her. In a single movement he wrapped one thick hand around her waist, the other he clamped over her mouth, muffling her screams.

Detective Clara Jefferies has spent years running from her childhood in Alber, Utah. But when she hears that her baby sister Delilah has disappeared, she knows that the peaceful community will be shattered, her family vulnerable, and that that she must face up to her past and go home.

Clara returns to find that her mother, Ardeth, has isolated her family by moving to the edge of town, in the shadow of the mountains. Ardeth refuses to talk to the police and won’t let Clara through the front door, believing she and her sister-wives can protect their own. But Clara knows better than anyone that her mother isn’t always capable of protecting her children.

When Clara finds out that two more girls have disappeared, all last seen around the cornfields near her family’s home, she realizes it’s not just Delilah who’s in danger. And then she gets a call that a body has been found…

Clara will have to dig deep into the town’s secrets if she’s going to find Delilah. But that will mean confronting the reason she left. And as she gets closer to Delilah, she might be putting her more at risk…

I read this one and Her Final Prayer this year and enjoyed them both equally! I put this on my list because I am surprised that a book about a polygamy town was interesting to me. I have no interest in things like Sister Wives, or any of that stuff, but add a murder mystery and evidently I will enjoy it…lol. Now I don’t know how much of this is true but I figure the author did her research on the polygamy lifestyle and some of it was kind of interesting. Like how if a girl leaves they are considered fallen and no longer exist to their family and certain boys are kicked out and given a small amount of money to make it on their own and called Lost Boys. So yeah, I was surprised how much I am enjoying this series and can’t wait for the next one!

A middle grade fantasy adventure about a trio of royal siblings who unlock a long-forgotten magical language in their bid to reclaim their stolen throne.

Forced into exile on an enchanted, moving island, ex-princess Noa Marchena has two missions: reclaim her family’s stolen throne and ensure that the dark powers her older brother, Julian, possesses don’t go to his head in the process. But between babysitting her annoying little sister, Mite, and keeping an eye on the cake-loving sea monster that guards the moving island, Noa has her hands full.

When the siblings learn that their enemies are searching for a weapon capable of defeating Julian—whose legendary spell weaving is feared throughout the kingdom—once and for all, they vow to get to it first. To everyone’s surprise, the key to victory turns out to be a long-lost magical language—and only Noa can speak it.

But what if by helping her brother, Noa ends up losing him?

I think I got this one more for the cover than anything! I normally like middle grade fantasy but not always and I had heard of this author but hadn’t read her YA books, so had no clue if I would like it. I was surprised at how much I was drawn into the story and how quickly I read it because I was enjoying it so much. There was a certain aspect of it that I wasn’t a fan of but it wasn’t enough to keep it from making it to one of my list. 🙂 It wasn’t necessarily a favorite but it was enjoyable enough to be a surprising read.

“This is the story of a lover’s triangle…It was bad from the start. And it got worse in a hurry.”

It’s love at first sight for high school student Arnie Cunningham when he and his best friend Dennis Guilder spot the dilapidated 1958 red-and-white Plymouth Fury for sale—dubbed “Christine” by its original cantankerous owner—rusting away on a front lawn of their suburban Pennsylvania neighborhood. Dennis knows that Arnie’s never had much luck in the looks or popularity department, or really taken an interest in owning a car . . . but Christine quickly changes all that. Arnie suddenly has the newfound confidence to stick up for himself, going as far as dating the most beautiful girl at Libertyville High—transfer student Leigh Cabot—even as a mysteriously restored Christine systematically and terrifyingly consumes every aspect of Arnie’s life. Dennis and Leigh soon realize that they must uncover the awful truth behind a car with a horrifying and murderous history. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, and heaven help anyone who gets in Christine’s way… 

I have been a bit hit or miss with Stephen King so I was really surprised at how much I enjoyed a horror book about an evil car! I do think I enjoyed it so much because I listened to it on audio as I followed along in the book. The narrator was very good. It was super creepy how much life force the car was sucking out of Arnie and just how evil that car was! This is up there as one of my favorites of Stephen King. 🙂

Did you have any books that took you by surprise?

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