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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at PSU chapter.

I think it is fair to say that Goodreads is one of my favorite apps. I go on it all the time to review books I just read and add even more books to my enormous “to be read” shelf. So what better way to put all that reading to use other than listing my five favorite books I read this year?

If you’re looking to get into reading this year, here are my favorite books of 2022.

“American wasteland: How america throws away nearly half of its food” by jonathan bloom

Going into 2022, I never would have thought this book would be in my top five, or that I would even read it. I got this book because I did a project on food waste in high school, and it was life changing. This book dove into the amount of food waste in America and the impact it has, while also exploring the eco-friendly and sustainability movements to combat it.

Bloom looked into household food waste, farm food waste, grocery store food waste and so many other sources I never would have thought of. It opened my mind to the affect my actions have, something as little as composting an apple instead of throwing it away uneaten can have an immense impact if everyone followed.

Because of this book, I try to live differently and focus on being more conscious and I recommend the book to anyone who will listen. If you are interested in sustainability and helping both humanity and the Earth, I can’t recommend this book enough.

“I must betray you” by Ruta Sepetys

I may be biased putting this book on here as Ruta Sepetys is one of my favorite authors and can do no wrong in my eyes. Her books are so moving and have taught me so much so when her new book “I Must Betray You” came out, I ran to the library to get it ASAP.

To be honest, I didn’t even know there was a Romanian Revolution until I read this. The book takes place in Romania 1989 during a dictatorship. Taking inspiration from real people, Sepetys writes about a 17-year-old who is blackmailed into being an informer for the secret police and has to choose between betraying everyone he loves or attempting to undermine the most notorious dictator in Eastern Europe.

I learned about a whole new topic of history I did not know existed and am so happy I found this. It gave voice to an often forgotten time that needs to be remembered and led to me doing so much more research about the book. All of Ruta Sepetys’ books give voices to people who have been silenced over time and who need to still be heard.

Love and other words by Christina Lauren

If you’re reading this looking for a fiction recommendation, look no further. “Love and Other Words” deals with love, loss, friendship and hurt of the past as it alternates from “then” and “now.”

Macy created a careful bubble around her world as she goes about her new routine to keep her heart safe. But her bubble bursts as she runs into Elliot, her first and only love. It goes back and forth from them as teenagers as Elliot helps her after the loss of her mom and as adults as he understands what happens and helps her become happy and whole again.

This book immediately became one of my favorites, it didn’t rely on cliches and gimmicks for the plot but instead it depicts the challenges real life. I immediately became so invested in the characters and felt like I knew them and I had such joy reading this.

“Daisy Jones & the six” by Taylor jenkins reid

This book is like none other I have read.

“Daisy Jones & The Six” is set in the age of rock ‘n’ roll as a band forms, rises to immense fame and loses it all. I had to stop halfway through this book to search if they were a real band and if this story was true because it was so complex. It is told through the form of an interview transcript as you hear each member of the band tell their version of the events.

Seeing the conflicting views on conversations that happened was mind-blowing to me. The characters became so much more realistic as you got further into their own thoughts and words. There were even songs written for this book! This book is a whole other world and it’s so shocking that it is not actually a true story.

“Daisy Jones & The Six” is such an easy read to escape and forget about the stress of school and work, you really feel like you are a part of this world. There is a reason it is one of the most read books and won awards on Goodreads.

If you need another reason to give it a try, it’s being turned into a show coming out soon produced by Reese Witherspoon’s company, Hello Sunshine. It comes out this spring, so be sure to read it in preparation for the show.

All the light we cannnot see By anthony doerr

Starting and finishing this list are both books I had to read for school. This book was assigned to me for my AP Literature class and I was dreading reading it, thinking it was old and boring.

This book was both haunting and beautiful. It tells the parallel stories of two children during World War II: a young blind girl and a young German boy talented in electronics.

The title has two meanings, as the author himself explained. The title refers to the physical light we cannot see such as radio waves, as radios have a large part in this story as a form of communication in the war. But it is also a metaphor for all the stories lost in the war, or a light not usually seen.

It tells a complex story of the war focusing through the eyes of the children and what they have to do, giving voices to those typically silenced and forgotten. It won a Pulitzer Prize and once you read it, you will immediately understand why.

Recommending books can always be nerve-racking if you don’t share the same taste in books. but the ones on this list are all instrumental in my year and how I view life, even though they aren’t specific self-help books. Motivation and lessons can come from anywhere.

These are just the books that highlighted my 2022 and hopefully they will highlight your 2023. Happy reading!

Ashley is a freshman at Penn State University majoring in broadcast journalism. In her free time, she loves reading, watching premier league football, obsessing over Harry Styles, and proclaiming her love for Saquon Barkley.