I am coming to you so incredibly late, and I am sorry for that. I was really hoping I would have the chance to post this earlier but life has been a mess of working too much, being too exhausted during my time off and feeling bad about not being able to post/blog hop. I will be better about it, I promise!
So in a very self-indulgent way, as I love looking back on these posts and reminding myself of my favorites of the year, I am here to share my ten favorite books I read in 2022:
DESERVING OF MORE HYPE
I didn’t know much about APPLE: SKIN TO THE CORE going into it, but I was so blown away by how much I enjoyed it, despite the format. It is entirely written in verse and recounts the author’s experience living between the Onondaga and Tuscarora nations from his family’s legacy, to his own upbringing and future.
At the end of the book, the author mentions how each section was inspired by a different album by The Beatles, which was reflected in the themes of each poem or even in the metric of the verses to match the songs! As soon as I read that, all I wanted to do was go back to the beginning and re-read the whole thing paying closer attention to these references.
Even though most of the poems were in free verse, you could still tell how much effort and thought was put in each one of them to create a unique sound.
One event that happened in Gansworth’s life and that certainly perpetuates the whole book is the loss of the house he grew up in to a fire back in the 90s. You can tell by the poems how much losing all of the photos, memorabilia and physical memories of his childhood impacted him and I was really able to see the book as a way to preserve the legacy of his family for eternity.
THE PERFECT ROM-COM
I do find very hard to find perfect rom-coms these days. I think most of the time they end up being an unbalanced medium of 70% com 30% rom or the other way around, and yet I found THE MISTLETOE MOTIVE to be the perfect 50/50.
I am not into enemies to lovers as a trope, but I found that Chloe Liese was able to find the perfect trope between entertaining and believable with these two. I loved the humor and the amount of passion between them in the same amount.
Lastly, I need to mention how great it was to read a romance book that features two disabled protagonists and to see that being mentioned and present during every scene – including the intimate ones – and yet to have that not be the focus of the book. These characters were so much more than their disability, but it was still a relevant part of their lives that impact the way they interact with the world!
As soon as I finished ICEBREAKER, I knew this was exactly the category it would fit in my “favorites of the year” list. This book was so surprisingly adorable and also heartbreakingly relatable.
To start with the not-as-deep layers, I need to mention how the “rivals to lovers” romance was such a good one, especially with the “rivals AND lovers” twist as the characters would pretend rivalry to the public while hooking up in private. Absolutely hysterical and amazing. I also loved how the side characters felt so vibrant and real, not like they were only existing to orbitate around our protagonist.
But what I really, really loved about this book was the mental health representation. Mickey, the main character, is struggling with depression, but it takes him a long time to come to terms with it. You can see throughout the story how much this is affecting him – his friendships, his grade, even his relationship with hockey, the sport he’s played his whole life – but Mickey feels as though he is not “allowed” to be depressed because nothing really bad has happened to him and he has a supportive family and friend group. To watch him learn how depression just works like that and chooses you regardless of your past, and also to accept help and to realize he doesn’t have to go through everything alone was so beautiful and made me feel so seen.
Once again, I have to mention SUPER FAKE LOVE SONG as the biggest surprise of 2022, mostly because David Yoon’s debut book had been an absolute no for me. But this one made me feel all the possible feelings.
While I really disliked the romance in Yoon’s Frankly In Love, I found it to be surprisingly endearing in this one, even if the protagonist is technically lying to his girlfriend for most of the book. I also loved the supportive and loving friend group and the growth of their bond throughout the story.
David Yoon writes humor really well and I found myself laughing out loud at times. What really impacted me, though, was how emotional it also made me feel, especially with the relationship between Sunny – the MC – and Gray – his brother. You can see how much these characters care and respect each other, how much they look up to one another and yet how they struggle to convey that and actually communicate their feelings. I loved their dynamic so much and it was absolutely the highlight of the novel for me.
I don’t think there’s really any other answer but ONE OF THE GOOD ONES. I was so surprised to learn that this is only the author’s sophomore release, because there’s so many things going on in this story and somehow everything works??
This novel jumps between different timelines, mostly a past and present one but some chapters are written several years in the past, back in the 1960s. You also have a jump in perspectives, with multiple points of views and yet all of them felt equally engaging and interesting????? Like, that is SO rare to find in books, as I feel like there will always be that one perspective you’ll be hoping to get more or less of, but this was incredibly balanced.
I also love the way it discussed different themes, such as the idea of “being one of the good ones” and how this really is just a toxic idea to turn oppressed groups against each other; the legacy of black people in America and the way social media impacts individuals and helps foster white supremacy. To have that and so much more be discussed in a YA novel that is formatted in such a unique way – I have to give it to these authors, they were outstanding.
FAVORITE NEW RELEASE
I was so happily surprised by the quality of THE LESBIANA’S GUIDE TO CATHOLIC SCHOOL, as it was a debut novel and I didn’t know much of what to expect.
I really appreciated how this was a coming of age story but not necessarily a coming out one, as I feel like we need more stories like these in YA, that normalize taking your time and respecting your own boundaries and how this doesn’t make your queerness any less valid.
I also loved the approach to mental health and the different experiences shown on page and how the main character really learns how she’s not able to help other people if she isn’t in a good state herself.
Lastly, the message around the power of love and how it changes people was so heart warming for what was also such a heartbreaking book. I really really loved it!
I don’t think many of you will be surprised to see another appearance of Brigid Kemmerer in my favorites list, as I feel like she’s one of those authors that truly gets the feelings I want in my contemporary stories.
The first time I read LETTERS TO THE LOST, it had been a few months since I had read Call It What You Want so I couldn’t stop comparing the two. But the second time around, I was able to appreciate Letters for what it really is and it was just such an experience.
I recall picking this up while waiting for my parents at a mall and I simply devoured 80% of the book while sitting there for a few hours. It’s one of those stories that is so heartbreaking but addictive and impossible to put down.
I love these characters so much and their journey to finding themselves again after having gone through so much is so beautiful. I love how they push each other to healing while hurting as well and everything – from the writing, to the side characters, to the romance, to the themes – is legit perfect.
Also: I love Declan now.
BEST ADULT ROMANCE
I am honestly still mad that the BookTok girlies haven’t made FOOL ME ONCE famous yet. This book is so good??? Where’s the hype for it c’mon!
I didn’t think politics and romance was a good mesh (from having been burned before by the RW&RB fiasco) but this book proved me wrong. I was so entertained by every single chapter and every weird thing the characters would get themselves into.
I was also blown away by the tenderness and passion of the romance. This book offered some of the best dialogues I had read in a while and I was swooning over these characters in a way I could’ve never expected!
I felt like this was the perfect combination of beautiful, swoon-worthy romance and hilarious dialogues and moments. It truly is the rom-com of my dreams.
BY A FAVORITE AUTHOR
Lyssa Kay Adams does it again! Granted, it had been a while since I had last picked up any book by her and I was purposefully avoiding continuing the Bromance Book Club series as I had heard mediocre reviews for books #2 and #3, but then book #4 – ISN’T IT BROMANTIC – came out and the reviews were good, the premise was just what I needed and, indeed, I was right! This was AMAZING!
This did contain every single one of my favorite tropes, so it was a favorite pretty instantly. Still, I love how the execution was able to expand on the tropes and give me even more of what I didn’t know I needed.
I love how Vlad was such a passionate man and some of his lines had me actually blushing. I loved Elena’s development and the relationship she builds with Vlad’s ridiculous group of housewife-friends. Even though the thriller-esque ending was a bit too much, I still had so much fun with this book it was ridiculous.
BEST BOOK OF 2021
I mentioned this book in my mid-year book tag, and it’s still here as the best book I read all year!
BAD BLOOD had the potential of being a lot of the same – I had consumed a lot of content regarding the Elizabeth Holmes/Theranos case, as podcasts, documentaries and numerous YouTube videos have been done about it, but the book still had new information to offer.
I really loved the sections that went into the beginning of the company and how it was built from lies and deceit from the start, as well as Carreyrou’s journey in being threatened by Theranos’ lawyers and still fighting to keep his sources and his story.
The writing was also extremely engaging and interesting. It felt like a thriller, even though it is non fiction, and I found myself not being able to stop reading even when I knew exactly how it ended!
Please, please, please do let me know in the comments: have you read any of these books? Did they make it to your list of favorites? What was the best book you read in 2022?