Chosen by readers, the Goodreads Choice Awards highlight favorite books of 2020 in multiple categories. Read on to see this year’s winners and nominees.
From Goodreads: This year’s Goodreads Choice Award for Fiction was the closest contest in the history of the awards. Your winner—by five votes—is The Midnight Library, author Matt Haig’s wildly inventive blend of literary and speculative fiction. The quick gist: Imagine a library in which each book represents a different path your life could have taken. Now imagine spending eternity in that library. It’s a Goodreads kind of dream…
Other Nominees for Best Fiction
Mystery & Thriller
From Goodreads: Lucy Foley ran away with this year’s Mystery & Thriller award by inviting us to the best wedding ever! And by “best” we mean “most terrifying.” Jules and Will have chosen to hold their wedding on a remote island off the coast of Ireland. Then the storm hits. Then the body is found. It’s like the old Irish adage: It’s not a party until somebody ends up dead.
Other Nominees for Best Mystery & Thriller
From Goodreads: Longlisted for the National Book Award, Brit Bennett’s ambitious novel follows two identical twin sisters from a small Southern town. One stays home in her Black community; the other passes for white in the wider world. Provocative and compassionate, Bennett’s book traces fascinating threads of American identity and is our hands-down winner for the 2020 Historical Fiction award.
Other Nominees for Best Historical Fiction
From Goodreads: Goodreads voters in the Fantasy category tended toward the dark and sticky side this year, and the 2020 win goes to House of Earth and Blood, author Sarah J. Maas’ introduction to her new Crescent City series. Stitched through with threads of romance and suspense, the novel follows complex heroine Bryce Quinlan and fallen angel Hunt Athalar as they track a lethal demon through the city.
Other Nominees for Best Fantasy
From Blood and Ash by Jennifer L. Armentrout
From Goodreads: This year’s Goodreads Choice Award for Romance comes from the exhilarating perimeters of the genre, where romance intersects with dark fantasy and paranormal intrigue. Veteran author Jennifer L. Armentrout tells the story of Poppy, a.k.a. The Maiden, a warrior destined by the gods to live a life of solitude, never to be touched. But then there’s Hawke, her fellow Guard. Forbidden passion is the best way to bust up destiny.
Other Nominees for Best Romance
From Goodreads: Author Christopher Paolini earns his first Goodreads Choice Award with this sustained gaze into the future of humankind. While scouting an as-yet-uncolonized planet, scientist Kira Navárez discovers an alien relic that will change the fate of Earth and its colonies. A resounding critical and commercial success, Paolini’s innovative story brings delightful new twists to the venerable “first contact” sci-fi template.
Other Nominees for Best Science Fiction
From Goodreads: If it seemed like everyone you knew was reading Mexican Gothic this year, that’s because they were. Author Silvia Moreno-Garcia (“Mexican by birth, Canadian by inclination”) collects the Horror prize for 2020 with a pitch-perfect Gothic horror story in the old-school mode, but with contemporary perspectives on race and colonialism. Spooky mansions! Opulent decay! Bumps in the night!
Other Nominees for Best Horror
From Goodreads: Writer and cartoonist Nathan W. Pyle found mad success online with his Instagram series Strange Planet. Now anthologized into a series of books, Pyle’s delightful creation has a Goodreads Choice Award, too. Strange Planet features blue aliens who think and act just like us humans, but with a hilarious kind of specificity (and emotional intelligence). It’s deceptively simple and really quite brilliant.
Other Nominees for Best Humor
From Goodreads: This year’s winner of the Goodreads Choice Award for Nonfiction, Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You is an adaptation for middle grade readers of Ibram X. Kendi’s 2016 National Book Award–winning Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America. An exhaustively researched and passionately argued statement on the history of racism, it’s good nutrition for young minds.
Other Nominees for Best Nonfiction
Memoir & Autobiography
From Goodreads: Former president Barack Obama has led a rather accomplished life, it can be said, and now he’s got a Goodreads Choice Award to add to the shelf. Hugely anticipated around the globe, A Promised Land delivers with a surprisingly intimate look back at Obama’s historic journey from young community organizer to 44th president of the United States—the first African American to hold the nation’s highest office. Hail to the chief.
Other Nominees for Best Memoir & Autobiography
History & Biography
From Goodreads: From Isabel Wilkerson, winner of the Pulitzer Prize in journalism, Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents continues a discernible theme in this year’s awards: books that take a long, hard look at America itself. Wilkerson argues, persuasively, that Americans are mired in an outdated and dangerous hierarchy system that goes even deeper than race and class. The silver lining: It’s not too late for meaningful change.
Other Nominees for Best History & Biography
Science & Technology
From Goodreads: With his definitive witness statement of life on planet Earth, naturalist, journalist, and planetary defender David Attenborough wins this year’s Goodreads Choice Award in Science & Technology. Sir Attenborough’s book is part testimony, part memoir, and part urgent call to arms. It provides a vision for the future in which, through collective action, we can still save Earth’s wild places. But we’ll have to act fast.
Other Nominees for Best Science & Technology
Food & Cookbooks
Modern Comfort Food: A Barefoot Contessa Cookbook by Ina Garten
From Goodreads: Author and alpha foodie Ina Garten takes the Food & Cookbooks prize with a collection of recipes perfect for the quarantined lifestyle of 2020. The 85 dishes featured here—many of them childhood favorites—are easy to make and meant to provide culinary comfort in this strangest of times. Cheddar and Chutney Grilled Cheese! Creamy Tomato Bisque! Banana Rum Trifle! We’re feeling better already.
Other Nominees for Best Food & Cookbooks
Dearly: New Poems by Margaret Atwood
From Goodreads: This year’s Goodreads Choice Award for Poetry goes to the indefatigable Margaret Atwood, who is surely one of our planet’s most priceless commodities. Her first collection of poetry in more than a decade, Dearly is like a sustained twinkle in Atwood’s ever-observant eye. The poems carom about inside Atwood’s fertile imagination, bouncing from the personal to political to genuinely funny.
Other Nominees for Best Poetry
From Goodreads: Author Kiley Reid’s fascinating debut brings dry and sometimes dark humor to a story about the “everyday domestic biases that we don’t even know we have.” African American babysitter Emira encounters escalating weirdness when her upper-crust white employer finds disastrous new ways to deploy her good intentions. Reid’s assured debut has won her rave reviews, chart-topping sales, and now a coveted Goodreads Choice Award.
Other Nominees for Best Debut Novel
Young Adult Fiction
From Goodreads: Elizabeth Acevedo wins this year’s Goodreads Choice Award for Young Adult Fiction with a powerful novel-in-verse about love, loss, and family. Camino and Yahaira Rios didn’t even know they were sisters until their father died in a plane crash. Now they’re learning more than they want to know about the ties (and knots) that bind families together. Bonus trivia: Acevedo is a National Poetry Slam champion, too.
Other Nominees for Best Young Adult Fiction
Young Adult Fantasy
From Goodreads: Author Holly Black celebrates back-to-back wins in the YA Fiction category with The Queen of Nothing, her follow-up to last year’s winner The Wicked King. This final installment in Black’s wildly popular series reveals the ultimate fate of Jude, exiled mortal Queen of Faerie, and a girl with extremely interesting problems. Shakespeare can tell you: Politics is lethal in the world of the Fae.
Other Nominees for Young Adult Fantasy
Middle Grade & Children’s
From Goodreads: Category godfather Rick Riordan once again takes the prize for Middle Grade and Children’s Books with the final installment of The Trials of Apollo series. Inspired by Greco-Roman mythology, The Tower of Nero chronicles the final adventures of the Greek god Apollo, incarnated on Earth as hapless teenager Lester Papadopoulos. For those keeping score at home, this is Riordan’s 10th consecutive victory in the Goodreads Choice Awards.
Other Nominees for Best Middle Grade & Children’s
Antiracist baby by Ibram X. Kendi
From Goodreads: Author Ibram X. Kendi reaches out to the youngest of readers—and the grown-ups in their lives—with this innovative picture book dedicated to creating a more equitable future for everyone. This is Kendi’s second 2020 Goodreads Choice Award; he also picked up the Nonfiction prize for his similarly themed book for middle grade readers. Illustrator Ashley Lukashevsky provides the bold and lovely art. Hey, babies! Check this out!
Other Nominees for Best Picture Books