Books of the Year 2022
This year was an amazing year for books (because isn't it always a great year for books?). But in many ways, YA had its strongest year in some time. YA text after YA text impressed, and it's reflected throughout the list. As always, it pained me to omit some of my favorite books of the year including Carrie Soto is Back, I'm Glad My Mom Died and In Love, but ultimately, the list needs to show some restraint. So without further ado, these are my top 10 books of the 2022. And if you would like an easy one page downloadable of this list, click here.
1. Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin
Maybe it’s the millennial in me, but Zevin has crafted the book of a generation. In the gaming world, a world full of so much isolation, we find kinship and numerous restarts. Gorgeously crafted, Zevin’s novel isn’t just the best book of the year, but one of my favorite books of all time.
2. The Weight of Blood by Tiffany D. Jackson
YA novels had one of the strongest years in some time. But The Weight of Blood is in a class all its own. A modern retelling of Carrie, Jackson rivals (and in many ways surpasses) King in this exhilarating horror novel. Not only do young adults need more books like this, but adults do too. A text that doesn’t bother to be didactic, and instead delivers with a multi-perspective narrative.
3. Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus
Elizabeth Zott is one of our great literary heroines. All pop-fiction should read like Garmus’ gorgeous tale of a woman trying to establish herself in the STEM field. But even when others try to put her in a box, Zott manages to only play by her rules, and the result is a wild success. It’s no wonder Barnes and Nobles declared it their book of the year.
4. An Arrow to the Moon by Emily X.R. Pan
Pan’s debut novel The Astonishing Color of After showed so much promise. But the pacing in the latter half never quite worked. But An Arrow to the Moon never falters. A modern retelling of Romeo and Juliet and steeped in Chinese Mysticism makes this one of the year’s most sophisticated YA Novels, and as an English teacher, an easy favorite.
5. Now is Not the Time to Panic by Kevin Wilson
It’s been a long time since I’ve binge read a novel. I’m talking a single sitting, can’t put down, and it’s all I want to do, kind of novel. Wilson’s newest was that novel. As it dabbles between coming of age story and an avant garde, Banksy inspired story, you have the most digestible and fun book of the year.
6. The Life and Crimes of Hoodie Rosen by Isaac Blum
For all the talks of mirrors and windows, it is rare a book offers a glimpse and an insight into a world unknown. Whether through television or film, most settings feel familiar, which is why Hoodie Rosen feels like a revelation. The world of an Orthodox Jewish boy and his excursions into the secular world felt like one of the most important adventures of the year.
7. Olga Dies Dreaming by Xochitl Gonzalez
A multigenerational novel of sorts, Olga is working in the world of wedding planning, but behind the veneer of perfect weddings, we’re ensconced into Olga’s world. Full of political intrigue and current affairs, as well as important moments such as the AIDS crisis, Gonzaelez crafts a world that feels more pertinent than any other book this year.
8. The Maid by Nita Prose
This year’s most unlikely whodunnit. The Maid’s socially awkward protagonist Molly offers a view into the continually surprising hotel industry. Where this year’s most popular whoddunits pandered down, Prose never once talks down to her audience–allowing the reader to fall in love with the protagonist while giving enough room to be hoodwinked in the most unlikely of ways.
9. Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt
I hope America’s growing obsession with Octopi never wanes. Septuagenarian Tova befriends Marcellus the Octopus. And with surprising tenderness and tenacity, the reader vanishes into the depths to explore love, loss and true friendship. Outside of Lessons in Chemistry, one of the easiest recommendations of the year.
10. Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel
No worries if you never read The Glass Hotel, Sea of Tranquility offers a soft reset of that world and delivers on all levels. The Sea of Tranquility offers the kind of high concept world that will encompass all of your thinking. Think of a Ted Chiang fever dream stretched into a full novel. More so than any other book on this list, from beginning to end, this is perfection.
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