Midway through the year and it’s time to talk about the BEST books of 2022 so far — according to me!
There’s always a question of if I have a distinction between “favorite books” and “best books” and I definitely do think that best books of the year and favorite books of the year so far can mean two totally different things but sometimes can be used interchangeably. Some favorite books of mine I can objectively say aren’t necessarily the BEST books but they have personal fave status for whatever reason.
This list, for me, is always a mishmash between those two things. There are some books that I am like “objectively this is one of the best books on a large scale” and others that fall more in “for whatever reason this book just really wormed its way into my heart and became a personal favorite regardless of its objective best status.” A lot of books on this list are both of those things — objectively best and also favorite.
Really, it’s just a gut feeling when I make this list. I peruse through everything I’ve read and see what books I rated the highest, what books stuck with me on a longer term since I read it and what book just jumps out at me more than others when I’m thinking about what my best reading experiences were this year so far.
Anyways, that being said, this reading year has been interesting. The first quarter started out steady and strong and then my life went off the rails in the spring and I’ve been in a “reading is hard” brain space. I’ve been slowly getting back to more normal reading patterns in June.
I’m still reading mostly adult fiction these days rather than back in the day when I read mostly YA books — about 30% young adult from rough calculations. So many fave YA authors wrote adult fiction this year that I’ve definitely prioritized, as another interesting tidbit from my reading habits in 2022.
Genre-wise it’s really been all over the place — mostly contemporary fiction and romance with a smattering of fantasy, thrillers and dystopian.
So, let’s get to this list! It’s in no order, honestly, based on how I went down my list of books I’ve read.
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Best Books Of 2022 So Far This Year
Every Summer After by Carley Fortune
This book felt like, for me, if The Summer I Turned Pretty and Sarah Dessen’s summer-set books became grownups. The can-feel-it-in-my-bones summer setting, the pining, the romance, the flashbacks to summers past.
I loved this story so much and devoured it whole to find out what happened that summer that changed everything. The best beach read for 2022 and beyond!
Notes On An Execution by Danya Kukafka
This book is truly one of the best books of 2022 — I was so impressed by it and can’t recommend it enough. If you enjoyed Long Bright River last year, I highly recommend this one. Literary fiction meets suspense and true crime, I don’t even have adequate words for how compelling this one.
As it unravels the story of a serial killer on death row, told mostly by women in his orbit somehow though you do get chapters from him, it also explores many compelling themes including a deft exploration of society’s obsession with true crime and serial killers.
I loved how the focus is more on the women in this story. Just a brilliant book that made for some thought-provoking reflection during and after my reading of it.
All My Rage by Sabaa Tahir
One of my most anticipated YA books for 2022 and I could cry just thinking about this powerful and poignant story — especially how the last chapter broke me. Heartbreaking to the bone at times but ultimately a battle-worn hopefulness to cling to with this one.
The Unsinkable Greta James by Jennifer E. Smith
This one was one of my most anticipated books as it was YA author Jennifer E. Smith’s adult fiction debut and it so delivered in the ways I hoped it would.
Fantastic setting to get lost in as you watch the main character grieve the loss of her mother and navigate this trip and the shaky relationship with her father. Just a beautiful story with a dash of romance. The father-daughter story and that co-mingling of grief is what really took the cake for me with this one!
Pro tip: Mae Whitman does the narration for this one and I HIGHLY recommend in general but especially if you also like audiobooks narrated by celebrities/actors.
Black Cake by Charmaine Wilkerson
I had been CRAVING a fantastic multi-generational family drama and this one totally delivered for me as it wove the layers of family secrets throughout generations and spanning continents so carefully. I gave it a full 5 stars and I stand by that still even many months later!
Yerba Buena by Nina LaCour
Nina LaCour’s adult debut was everything I could have wanted — a character-driven beautiful and messy coming of age novel meets a love story!!
I listened to this one on audiobook and Julia Whelan’s performance (she’s one of the best audiobook narrators ever!) was perfect as always.
The two main characters experience so much trauma so it’s definitely a more heavy book but I loved watching them both grow, heal and make their way toward one another.
If you like more character driven novels, I highly recommend this one. But don’t let that make you think this book will be slow and that nothing happens — I promise you won’t think that. Plus it had Nina’s signature GORGEOUS writing to boot!
Book Lovers by Emily Henry
This was the first time I listened to one of Emily Henry’s books on audio because normally they are packed in the beach bag with me and enjoyed by a body of water. I couldn’t wait to read this one until my first beach trip so I took advantage of the early audiobook review copy I received from the publisher and LibroFM. Julia Whelan, as always, is amazing and I could not get enough of this romcom. Seriously. It made me so happy and is the perfect summertime read. I loved the sister story in addition to the rivals-to-lovers romance. The setting of this little town was so great, too. And the characters — I loved them!! Emily Henry nails it again for me!
Delilah Green Doesn’t Care by Ashley Herring Blake
I was in such a bad headspace when I read this one and the amount of grins and mushy heart feelings it gave me was off the charts. I loved this sapphic romance so much and the characters were absolutely so fleshed out and I really appreciated some of the exploration of family and belonging. It was smart, sexy and I cannot wait for more Bright Falls romcoms. One of the best 2022 romances for sure!
Only A Monster by Vanessa Len
I can see why this book was pitched as This Savage Song meets Passenger but this monster-filled, time travel urban fantasy totally stands on its own. It’s planned to be the first of a trilogy and I could NOT put it down. It wasn’t just the great and propelling plot that stood out for me but also the strong world-building and the hero/anti-hero exploration.
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The Last Housewife by Ashley Winstead
Woo boy this one was dark! It comes out in August and I could NOT put my early copy (c/o the publisher) down — read the majority of it on a flight! If you are fascinated by cults, don’t miss this dark thriller.
Favorite Backlist Books I Read In 2022 So Far
I always like to showcase EVERYTHING I read through the year not just books published in 2022! So let’s take a look at all my favorite books that weren’t 2022 releases.
The Girl With The Louding Voice by Abi Dare
I heard raving things about this one and oh they weren’t wrong at all! Adunni is one of those rare captivating voices in fiction that you will literally won’t ever forget. Her story was so hard to read at times but you will root for Adunni at every obstacle and cheers as she preserves despite some of the awful things she’s been dealt.
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Nothing To See Here by Kevin Wilson
Just listen to this book on audio, trust me! It’s one of my most recommended audiobooks already because Marin Ireland just elevates this story with her narration. I appreciated this quirky, filled-with-so-much-heart story of found family! A great short book club book!
Ace of Spades by Faridah Abike-Iyimide
This social thriller was truly a page-turning blend of Pretty Little Liars, Gossip Girl and Get Out that kept me hooked! I listened to it on audiobook and it was fantastic.
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The Gilded Cage by Lynette Noni
This sequel to The Prison Healer was FANTASTIC and I’m clamoring to grab my copy of the last installment which just came out! If you enjoy YA fantasy, this series is not to be missed!
Have you read any of these? What have been your favorite or the best books of 2022 so far?
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