In the middle of the year, it’s time to talk about the BEST books of 2022 – in my opinion!
I always get asked if I’m making a distinction between “favorite books” and “best books”, and I definitely think that best books of the year and favorite books of the year so far can mean two completely different things, but can sometimes be used interchangeably. Some of my favorite books that I can objectively say aren’t necessarily the BEST books, but for whatever reason have personal favorite status.
This list is always a mix between those two things for me. There are some books that I like: “Objectively, this is one of the the best books on a grand scale” and others that fall more into the “for whatever reason this book really took hold of my heart and became a personal favorite, regardless of its objectively better status.” Many of the books on this list are both of those things—objectively the best and also beloved.
Really, when I’m making this list, it’s just a gut feeling. I go through everything I’ve read and see which books I rated the highest, which books stuck with me long after I read them, and which book just jumps out at me more than others when I think about what for I had the best reading experiences this year.
Be that as it may, this reading year has been interesting. The first quarter started off steady and strong and then in the spring my life went off the rails and I found myself in a “hard to read” head. In June, I gradually returned to a more normal reading routine.
I still read mostly adult fiction these days, not when I read mostly young adult books—about 30% young adults, by a rough estimate. So many favorite YA authors have written adult fiction this year that I’ve definitely prioritized as another interesting slice of my reading habits in 2022.
In terms of genres, it was really all over the place—mostly contemporary fiction and romance with a dash of fantasy, thrillers, and dystopia.
So let’s get down to this list! Honestly, it’s not in order based on the list of books I’ve read.
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The best books of 2022
Every summer after Carly Fortune
For me, this book was like The Summer I Became Beautiful and Sarah Dessen books grown up. A summer atmosphere that you can feel in your bones, longing, romance, memories of last summer.
I loved this story so much I devoured it whole to find out what happened that summer that changed everything. The the best beach read of 2022 and beyond!
Notes on the execution of Dani Kukafka
This book is truly one of the the best books of 2022 – I was so impressed that I cannot recommend it. If you enjoyed Long Bright River last year, I highly recommend this one. Literary fiction meets suspense meets true crime, I don’t even have adequate words for how compelling it is.
Untangling the story of a serial killer on death row, told mostly by the women in his orbit, though you do get chapters from him, it also explores many fascinating themes, including a deft exploration of society’s obsession with true crime and serial killers.
I liked the fact that the story focuses more on the women. Just a brilliant book that made me think both during and after reading it.
All My Rage by Sabaa Tahir
One is mine the most anticipated YA books of 2022 and I could cry just thinking about this powerful and poignant story – especially how the last chapter broke me. Heartbreaking at times, but ultimately a battle-worn hope to hold on to.
The Unsinkable Greta James by Jennifer E. Smith
This was one of the most anticipated books because it was YA author Jennifer E. Smith’s adult fiction debut, and it delivered just as I had hoped.
A fantastic setting to get lost in as you watch the main character grieving the loss of her mother, going through this trip and her shaky relationship with her father. Just a beautiful story with a touch of romance. The story of the father and daughter and the mixture of grief is what really got the edge of this story for me!
Professional advice: May Whitman does the story for this one, and I HIGHLY recommend it in general, but especially if you also like audiobooks narrated by celebrities/actors.
Charmaine Wilkerson Black Cake
I’ve been craving a fantastic multi-generational family drama, and I absolutely loved this drama because it weaved layers of family secrets between generations and spanned continents so carefully. I gave it a full 5 stars and still do even after many months!
Yerba Buena by Nina LaCour
Nina LaCour’s coming-of-age debut was everything I could have wanted – a beautiful and dirty, character-driven coming-of-age romance meets love story!!
I listened to it on audiobook and performed by Julia Whelan (she’s one of the the best audiobook narrators ever!) was perfect as always.
The two main characters have been through so much trauma so it’s definitely a heavier book, but I loved watching them both grow, heal, and make their way back to each other.
If you enjoy more character driven novels, I highly recommend this one. But don’t let that make you think that this book is going to be slow and that nothing happens—I promise you won’t. Plus, the addition featured Nina’s signature GORGEOUS!
Book lover Emily Henry
This was the first time I listened to one of Emily Henry’s books on audio because I usually pack them in my beach bag and enjoy them by the water. I couldn’t wait to read it before my first beach trip, so I took advantage of the early review copy of the audiobook I received from the publisher and LibroFM. Julia Whelan is wonderful as always and I couldn’t get enough of this novel. Seriously. It made me very happy and was the perfect summer read. I loved the sister story in addition to the romance between the rivals and lovers. The setting of this little town was so lovely too. And the characters – I loved them!! Emily Henry does it again for me!
Ashley Herring Blake Delilah Green doesn’t care
I was in such a bad state when I read this and the amount of smiles and genuine feelings it made me feel was off the charts. I loved this Sapphic novel so much and the characters were very distinct and I really appreciated some of the exploration of family and belonging. It was smart, sexy, and I can’t wait for more romcoms in Bright Falls. One of the best 2022 romances probably!
Only Vanessa Len’s monster
I understand why this book was billed as This Wild Song Meets The Passenger, but this monster-filled urban time travel fantasy is totally worth it on its own. This is planned to be the first of a trilogy and I could NOT pass it up. I was impressed not only by the excellent and engaging plot, but also by the strong world-building and hero/anti-hero exploration.
The Last Housewife Ashley Winstead
Oh boy, that one was dark! It comes out in August and I could NOT put down my early copy (per publisher) – read most of it on the fly! If you’re into cults, don’t miss this dark thriller.
List of favorite books I read in 2022
I always like to showcase EVERYTHING I’ve read in a year, not just books published in 2022! So let’s take a look at all of my favorite books that aren’t out in 2022.
The Girl with the Loud Voice by Abby Dere
I heard raves about it, and oh, they weren’t wrong at all! Adunni is one of those rare captivating voices in fiction that you will literally never forget. Her story was so hard to read at times, but you’ll be rooting for Oduni at every obstacle and cheering her on as she perseveres despite some of the horrible things she’s faced.
Nothing To See Here by Kevin Wilson
Just listen to this book on audio, trust me! This is one of mine most recommended audiobooks already because Marin Ireland simply elevates this story with his narration. I loved this quirky, heart-filled story about finding family! Excellent a short book club book!
Farida Abike-Iimide’s ace of spades
This social thriller was a really exciting mix of pretty liars, Gossip Girl and exit that had me hooked! I listened to it on audiobook and it was fantastic.
The Gilded Cage by Lynette Noni
This sequel to The Prison Doctor was FANTASTIC and I’m begging you to grab your copy of the latest installment that just came out! If you like YA fantasy, this series is not to be missed!
Have you read any of this? What were your favorite or best books of 2022?
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