I am a massive bookworm, and reading is one of my favorite pastimes. I never leave the house or dorm without a book. Because of this, every year, there are books I read that are simply unmatched. They become the best books I read that year and in some cases, the best books I have read in my entire life. So, here are the best books I have read in 2022.
Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
I didn’t initially expect an assigned reading novel to become one of my all-time favorites. I read Their Eyes Were Watching God as a senior in high school for my AP Literature class. It has some of the most beautiful prose I have ever read and introduced me to one of my favorite literary protagonists – Janie Mae Crawford. It is a classic for a reason.
Our Violent Ends by Chloe Gong
The sequel to Gong’s debut novel, These Violent Delights, Our Violent Ends was the perfect finish to this duology. The two books reimagined Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, with two rival gangs in 1920s Shanghai instead of feuding nobility in Italy. The story is captivating, combining political intrigue with fantasy elements. You will not be able to put both books in the duology down.
The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
Another classic novel, I also read The Bell Jar for an AP Literature assignment. It is breathtakingly well-written as it follows the main heroine through her recovery and finding her identity as a young woman in 1950s America. I related to Esther at times and flew through this novel.
Heartstopper, Volume Four by Alice Oseman
Heartstopper is a well-loved comic and Netflix series. It is a celebration of queer youth, and I adore the first three volumes in the series. The art style and storylines make it so that you can read all four volumes in one day. Volume Four is the most emotionally heavy installation in the series, but it still holds a very special place in my heart.
The Atlas Six by Olivie Blake
I am a sucker for the dark academia aesthetic, especially when combined with fantasy, so it was no surprise that I enjoyed The Atlas Six. It centers around a cutthroat competition between six young adults with magical powers. I loved how each character was morally gray and had an intricate backstory. It’s a perfect fall and winter read.
Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé
Ace of Spades is pitched as “Gossip Girl meets Get Out” which couldn’t be a more perfect description. The novel follows the only two Black students at an elite private school as they investigate the anonymous source leaking their secrets. The mystery is thrilling and will keep you on the edge of your seat.
I Am the Rage by Martina McGowan
I don’t usually read poetry, but this collection of poems blew me away. I Am the Rage focuses on topics such as race and the author’s experiences as a Black woman. Each poem is poignant and heart-wrenchingly beautiful. It’s less than 100 pages long, so you can read it in one sitting.
Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo
Girl, Woman, Other is another one of my all-time favorites. It is an anthology of stories about Black women in the United Kingdom and has the most beautiful and unique prose I have ever read. The sentences flow into one another and there are frequent paragraphs. The stories are all connected, from mothers and daughters to childhood best friends, each woman has her own story to tell, and you will not regret reading them.
This is How You Lose the Time War by Max Gladstone and Amal El-Mohtar
Sapphic time-travelers? Yes, please! Written from dual perspectives, This is How You Lose the Time War follows two rivals as they travel throughout time and different worlds to prevent the other’s side from winning the “time war.” However, they start to learn more about each other and fall in love instead. I’ll admit that the prose can be confusing to read at times, but this novel is gorgeously written, so you’ll still enjoy it.
The Folk of the Air Trilogy by Holly Black This series still has me in a chokehold. The Folk of the Air series is one of my current obsessions, and I hope you’ll see why as you’re reading it. Holly Black takes that reminiscent childhood fascination with faeries and turns it into a dark, magical world full of political intrigue and deception. I found another one of my favorite heroines, Jude Duarte, within this series; and I cannot recommend it enough.