Having read 125 books in 2022, it’s fair to say I have some opinions on the best books of the year. There were some true standouts this year, many of which I’ll be thinking of for years to come. And although I primarily read historical fiction, I’ve compiled a list of my favorite reads of 2022 with a diversity of genres, authors, and characters. Starting with my very favorite read of the year, here is my list of the best books of 2022!
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Angels of the Resistance
Far and away the best book of 2022 (for me), Angels of the Resistance is a gem among novels. Though it’s perfect for historical fiction readers, this is a book I’d recommend to any reader. Full of non-stop action and nail-biting moments, Angels of the Resistance is the type of book you won’t stop thinking about for months to come.
Our Missing Hearts
This incredible story of a mother’s love left me speechless, which isn’t easy! Our Missing Hearts may be a departure for Celeste Ng, but it’s a good one. One can easily get lost in the fictional dystopian world of Bird, but it’s just as easy to imagine a future state like Ng’s. As much a political commentary as contemporary fiction, this is the perfect book for anyone looking for a reason to rage.
Half Blown Rose
Modern-day poetry meets screenplay meets novel: this is the best way to describe Half-Blown Rose. It’s the dark horse of my 2022 reading without a doubt, especially considering I nearly DNFd about 20% of the way into the story. Thankfully, I stuck with it, and let me tell you, the adventure was worth it. Probably a better read for 40+ year-olds, Half-Blown Rose is about permission to feel, to live, and to be. I cannot say enough about this book other than read it!
Code Name Helene
Wow! This book is really good, y’all. I mean really good. Although it was published several years ago, I knew the second I finished the last sentence Code Name Helene would be on my list of best books of 2022. Readers find themselves on the streets of Marseille, walking alongside Nancy and Henri as their world falls down around them. Anyone who enjoys a powerful female main character should not miss this book.
The Great Witch of Brittany
Any fan of witchy books MUST read at least one Louisa Morgan book. And if you’re looking for a recommendation of where to start, this is mine. Discover the origin of the Orchiere witches in The Great Witch of Brittany. Deeply atmospheric and steeped in Romani culture, this book is EVERYTHING I want in a witchy read and more. It’s a great standalone read, but I highly recommend reading the entire series for more context and background.
Carrie Soto is Back
Want my most convincing argument for reading Carrie Soto is Back? It’s definitely my favorite audiobook of all time, and it could be my favorite Taylor Jenkins Reid novel (don’t tell Evelyn Hugo). But seriously, if you enjoy audiobooks AT ALL, this is a MUST read/listen. Would I love it as much had I read the physical copy? Maybe not. But it’s still a masterpiece of fiction in my opinion. I know it’s controversial, so please do your research before reading.
Every Summer After
It’s rare that I read a book in one sitting…extremely rare. Every Summer After was the ONLY book that I finished in one day in 2022. That alone should tell you something. In the future, when someone asks me to recommend a book to help them fall in love with reading, this will be the book I recommend. Fast-paced and packed with emotion, Every Summer After is what I like to call a brilliant tension-building romance.
Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone
There is absolutely NO way I was making a list of the best books of 2022 without paying homage to the queen, Diana Gabaldon. Fraser’s Ridge Law: if an Outlander book was recently published, it must top best-of lists for months to come. I found Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone to be EXACTLY what I hoped it would be: progression in the larger plot, deepening of feelings for characters/couples, and stage setting for what’s to come in the final novel (yet to be published). If you’re an Outlander fan, you already know what I mean. And if you’re not an Outlander fan, might I ask why not?
The People We Keep
Geez, was this a sucker punch to the gut, or what? I mean, come on! The People We Keep is one of the sweetest yet saddest books I’ve read in a while. I wanted to reach through the pages and hug the main character, April. But it’s not just April’s story that moves you as a reader, it’s the story of found family that emerges throughout the novel. Never has there been a more bittersweet ending to a novel than The People We Keep. Anyone who’s ever felt lost will love this book.
The Good Left Undone
As a lover of historical fiction books, it was no surprise to me that I loved The Good Left Undone. What surprised me was the intricacy of the storytelling. Not only was Trigiani able to weave together a large constellation of characters, but she was also able to incorporate elements of history and culture that elevated this story to new heights. The Good Left Undone is a true gem of family fiction!
The last book to enter into the list of top books of 2022, Factory Girls will not be for everyone. This marvel of literary fiction is perfect for those with curious minds who enjoy immersing themselves in other cultures, whether through travel or exposure through books/film/television. If that describes you, then you will love Factory Girls. Set in the early 90s and full of nostalgic nods to the phenomena of 1990s culture, this book will bring a permanent smile to your face for a while.
Spells for Forgetting
Last and certainly not least, Spells for Forgetting should probably win the most deceiving book title ever. But it should also win the award for the most atmospheric read of 2022. Dark and twisted, Spells for Forgetting is the perfect combination of romance and thriller, with just a splash of witchy for good measure. If first love is one of your favorite romance tropes, then this is the book for you.
Top Books of 2022: Final Thoughts
I’m sure my reading tastes aren’t for everyone, but if you enjoy reading historical fiction, women’s fiction, closed-door romance, or literary fiction, then I highly recommend any of the books on my list of best books of 2022. Anyone looking for more book recommendations should be sure to follow along for all my 2023 book reviews. I’ve already put together a list of my most anticipated historical fiction releases in 2023, and I’ll be adding other genres along the way, too.
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