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The Best Books of 2022

The Best Books of 2022

A country governed by a vicious dictator. A romance developed by the love of books and reading. A spine-tingling heist. We’re only halfway through the year, but we’re already seeing a myriad of spectacular titles featuring various genres–from debut authors to your favorite writers. Indeed, 2022 has continuously been proving to be an exciting year for all bookworms alike!

Whether you’re craving an escape through divulging fantasy-driven titles or looking to understand the past, present, and future through rigorous non-fiction, there is definitely something for you to devour in this year’s pool of books.

We wrap up this marvelous year of reading with our list of the Best Books of 2022—compiled from resident bookworms, First Look Club reviewers, and Reading Allies. Read on to see if your favorite book made the cut.:


The Maid by Nita Prose

Genre: Literary Fiction

Date Published: January 4, 2022

The Maid is the kind of cozy mystery that really plays with how readers would respond to its protagonist, Molly (who reads as neurodivergent or perhaps socially challenged), and the calamitous circumstances she unintentionally finds herself in. The tension of the novel comes from how badly Molly reads the world and the intentions of the people around her. It seems predictable at first but Nita Prose can surprise us with some twists and turns. Ultimately, The Maid is a heartwarming story that shows us how our community can come through for us and save us. - Ilia, Fully Booked


The School for Good Mothers by Jessamine Chan

Genre: Literary Fiction

Date Published: January 4, 2022

This book highlights the impossible standards we have for a mother. What more for Frida; a single mother with a career. It's an example of what happens if we let a corrupt government take over what probably started as a good idea. Everything about it is absurd and yet I see it happening one day. - Kwe, Reading Ally


To Paradise by Hanya Yanagihara

Genre: Literary Fiction

Date Published: January 11, 2022

This was the first time I had the chance to read one of Hanya Yanagihara’s works. Knowing that Hanya’s sophomore book A Little Life was an acclaimed bestselling novel, many had high expectations for her first book release after seven years. Fortunately, the wait was worth it–To Paradise did not disappoint. 

To Paradise boasts impeccable writing, versatility, and powerful storytelling that ultimately makes it an unforgettable piece of literary work written by one of the most talented female writers of our time. - Alexx, Fully Booked


How High We Go in the Dark by Sequoia Nagamatsu

Genre: Literary Fiction

Date Published: January 18, 2022

Haunting yet strangely hopeful, How High We Go in the Dark is both a prescient warning against a potentially dark future, as well as an ode to humanity and our capacity for resilience, when we come together. Each chapter, written in the first-person perspective, shows a pivotal moment in each character’s life where they realize they can’t possibly survive alone. This novel shows us some of our darkest moments, then challenges us to turn and run towards the light. What fresh wonder we might see; what possibilities might yet unfold. - Jean, First Look Club


Gen13: Starting Over, the Deluxe Edition by Jim Lee, Brandon Choi, and J. Scott Campbell

Genre: Graphic Novel

Date Published: January 25, 2022

Image Comics-era WildStorm may be all cheesecake, pouches, and gritted teeth, but there’s a rich underlying mythology that was later explored in titles like Sleeper by Ed Brubaker & Sean Phillips and Alan Moore's run on WildCATs. This book collects the earliest issues of Gen13 for the first time in hardcover, with generous extras including the then-groundbreaking thirteen variant covers for Gen13 #1. Plus, interior art by superstar cover artist J. Scott Campbell! - Clifford, First Look Club


I Must Betray You by Ruta Sepetys

Genre: YA Fiction/Mystery

Date Published: February 1, 2022

I Must Betray You is a sweeping story of a young man's search for truth at a time when his country is bound by censorship and governed by a dictator who built a citizen spy network to hold on to power.

I'm a huge fan of Sepetys' literary works because she puts so much effort into researching the history and converting it into a medium that would be easier to consume, especially, for her younger readers. Sepetys never disappoints with her depiction of a crumbling Romania under Ceaușescu's tyranny, and how its people reclaimed their power for their freedom. Now more than ever, we need a story that is reflective of what had happened in the past no matter if it was told through literary fiction or not. Because, our history is the foundation of what we have today and it's important that it should be preserved and told for the generations to come. - Nats, Fully Booked


The Power of Regret by Daniel H. Pink

The Power of Regret

Genre: Psychology

Date Published: February 1, 2022

A common conviction is to live life with “No Regrets”. It sounds aspirational. It’s great for songs, tattoos and bumper stickers. But, the author of this book argues: to direct your life with “No Regrets” is unfounded. It can be harmful in the sense that it’s easy to burn yourself out of pacifying anticipated regrets or in fixating about past regrets.

The healthy response is to see regrets as universal. Everybody has them. Another is to treat regrets as signals-information that you can then use to act upon. The author stresses that if treated the right way, regrets can improve your decision making. It can improve your performance. And it can deepen your sense of meaning. - Book Newb, Reading Ally



The Impossible City
by Karen Cheung


Genre: World Politics 

Date of Publication: February 15, 2022

In The Impossible City, Karen Cheung shares the stories of her life in Hong Kong, amidst the shifts and upheavals the city goes through since the handover to China. She tells of vanishing streets, and changing landscapes--until her home is all but unrecognizable. I picked up The Impossible City because I needed a narrative that mirrored my own feelings about our country's turbulences and transitions. Through Karen's words, I still feel sad and sometimes scared, but no longer so alone. - Ilia, Fully Booked


The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley

Genre: Thriller & Suspense

Date Published: February 22, 2022

In this book, the story is mostly set in an apartment building. It made the story easier to follow, and helped make the twist at the end — every good mystery novel has a twist or two, come on — even more shocking.You read that right. Despite my misgivings, I consider The Paris Apartment a good mystery novel. How is that for a twist? - Clifford, First Look Club


A Brush With Love by Mazey Eddings

Genre: Romance

Date Published: March 1, 2022

This has been the most relatable book for me ever!! This is the only book I know so far that has been in a dental school setting and the emotions–stress, anxiety, and everything in between–have been so accurate, not only during exams but the everyday feeling of just entering the school and going throughout the day as a dental student couldn't be more accurate. - Bee, Reading Ally


In Defense of Witches by Mona Chollet

Genre: Non-fiction

Date Published: March 8, 2022

The witch has survived historic persecutions and historical distortions, and one particular protest sign encapsulates her endurance: "We are the granddaughters of the witches you could not burn." Franco-Swiss journalist Mona Chollet delivers a feminist celebration of witches and serves as a stark reminder that there is a continuing war against single, independent, and free-thinking women. In Defense of Witches could not have come at the right time to remind us that women are still on trial and will still survive the fire. - Jowana, First Look Club


The Book of Living Secrets by Madeleine Roux

Genre: Fantasy

Date Published: March 8, 2022

The concept of the multiverse had been shown and discussed ubiquitously this year through various media, but imagine how mad it would be if we get to experience a multiverse where we get to enter our favorite book’s world and live every moment of its plot. This is what The Book of Living Secret is about, plus its dash of nightmare-ish twists that the MC’s have to encounter in order to overcome their quests. A must-read especially if you’re a fan of Lovecraftian stuff. - Rence, Fully Booked


Disorientation by Elaine Hsieh Chou

Genre: Literary Fiction

Date Published: March 22, 2022

As a graduate school dropout, I instantly related to Ingrid Yang, the main character who starts to question her life choices as she finds herself unable to finish her dissertation on a Chinese poet. Ingrid finds out he's a fraud and her whole world slowly crumbles. With the right balance of satire, chaos, and humor, Disorientation is able to capture the politics and insularity of the academe. Elaine Hsieh Chou takes us, readers, on a real wild ride and explores the issues of representation and cultural identity with a lot of nuance and self-awareness. - Ilia, Fully Booked


Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus

Genre: Literary Fiction

Publication Date: April 5, 2022

With Elizabeth Zott, Bonnie Garmus gave us an unforgettable character that broke the ceiling in the 60s when ceilings were much higher and harder to break. Elizabeth’s journey may not be how she imagined it to be when it started, but life’s twists and turns gave her a much more rewarding surprise in the end. There were some loose ends before the book ended, but Garmus found a way to tie everything together in a profound and touching way. At once funny and insightful, add this to your must-read list before it hits your TV screen with Brie Larson on Apple TV. -Dan, First Look Club



Time is a Mother by Ocean Vuong

Time is a Mother

Genre: Poetry

Date Published: April 5, 2022

This might be the weirdest experience I've had in terms of reading a poetry book, because the pieces were undeniably personal, made absolutely no sense to me, and the structure was kind of a mess, but I still ended up feeling somewhat moved and impressed. There's something so vital and delicate about Vuong's imagery; the pictures he paints in your head. There's the hard-hitting topics of grief, complicated relationships, sexuality, violence, and the notion that time heals wounds but how its existence can sometimes be a source of panic; a trigger.

I loved the different tones set in each piece. You hear Vuong's desperation, his fears and wishful longing, and several biting observations that he turned into powerful memories that present a larger question relating to self-acceptance, place in the world, and moving forward in life. Overall a book worth re-reading and invokes reflection. - Bookish Karen, Reading Ally


Funny You Should Ask by Elissa Sussman

Funny You Should Ask

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Date Published: April 12, 2022

Funny You Should Ask is absolutely one of the best well-written books I have ever read. I love how the story is structured leaving bits and pieces of the past and the present scattered throughout the entire book - it's a breath of fresh air from the typical chronological way of storytelling.

I love the articles and blogs that give insight to these bits and pieces, they’re like easter eggs giving a preview of what’s next or what was the context behind that plot. I fell in-love with the characters as well, especially Chani (whose name is quite unique for me btw). Despite the MCs only having a few hours together, the author was able to build up the chemistry between them.

Definitely recommended for the romance, but mostly for how the story is written." - Carmela Agatha, Reading Ally


Book Lovers by Emily Henry

Genre: Women’s Fiction/Contemporary Romance

Date Published: May 3, 2022

Book Lovers by Emily Henry is legit worth the hype. Just a few chapters in and I promise that you will get hooked, and would want to finish the book ASAP. It's got that enemies to lovers trope that we all love, but beautifully written and not cringey at all. - Myks, Fully Booked

Two words why it should be one of the best: CHARLIE LASTRA. This book might seem like a romance novel to some (well, it is) but it's actually so much more than it might be contemporary fiction. The story is very character-driven, taking in the narrative from the MC’s POV makes it more fun because you get to feel every kilig, every angst, and every ridiculous thought she had in the story. - Joe, Fully Booked 

A very fun and fast read! More than the romance, the book also touched on sisterhood and self-love. It justified the passion behind the hustle of professionals. Plus! The romance in the story is just perfect. This book will surely put you into a good mood once you’re done with the last page. - Alec, Fully Booked

A delightfully self-indulgent romp through romantic and literary tropes, with whip-smart banter, lots of laughter, sugar and spice (so worth it!), and a whole lot of heart, Book Lovers is both a love story and a love letter to readers, writers, editors, agents, and beyond–everyone who brings words to life every single day to make our world a more beautiful, colorful place. Read the full review here- Katya, First Look Club


Out of the Blue by Jason June

 

Genre: Young Adult Fiction

Date Published: May 31, 2022

Another pride read from Jason June. Out of the Blue is like a little mermaid with a little less drama, a little less sea-witch, and more gay moments, magic, and teenage hormones. This YA novel is such a cute read with great messaging of identity, and views on relationships that you might not expect to read in a YA Novel. - Joe, Fully Booked


This Is Not a Book About Benedict Cumberbatch by Tabitha Carvan


Genre: Biography & Memoir

Publication Date: May 31, 2022

Reading This Book is Not about Benedict Cumberbatch is quite a trip. Any fan will find joy in this delightful memoir. Fandoms have been part of popular culture since, well, Sherlock Holmes. (The “Sherlockians” is considered the first modern fandom.) The author delivered a sociological examination of modern fandoms and a feminist treatise of motherhood. More importantly, she wrote about her happiness. - Jowana, First Look Club


Counterfeit by Kirstin Chen

Genre: Women’s Fiction/Crime & Thriller

Date Published: June 7, 2022

One of my favorite reads this year is Counterfeit by Kirstin Chen.

Ava Wong has her life turned upside down by Winne Fang, the college roommate she hadn’t seen in twenty years. What began as a meet up for coffee now has Ava flying to China and becoming the face of Winnie’s counterfeit handbag scheme.

Counterfeit is a smart, fun, fast-paced read. I was hooked from the beginning and not at all prepared for how the author turned everything I thought I knew about Ava upside down. - Denise, Fully Booked

A con artist story? Count me in. Counterfeit will give you a twist you’re not quite ready for. Not the usual happy ending but still a happy ending. The story will captivate you enough, making you live through the thrill of each deception they pull wanting you to finish the story in one go. - Alec, Fully Booked

Counterfeit pulls off a very neat twist about two-thirds of the way in. Going into detail would be delving into spoiler territory, so just understand that when it happens, it gives the plot just the right amount of energy to keep going, and exactly at the point when it seems like it would start to flounder. Read the full review here. - Jed, First Look Club


Everything I Need I Get From You: How Fangirls Created The Internet as We Know It by Kaitlyn Tiffany

Genre: Non-fiction

Date Published: June 14, 2022

In this book, writer Kaitlyn Tiffany investigates the terrain of fan culture and internet fandom. Using cultural critique, sociology, her own love for One Direction, and funny, heartfelt anecdotes from fellow stans, she presents this argument: the internet as we know and use it today has been greatly shaped by fan communities. I felt, allow me to speak stan lingo here, Very Seen by this book. We often dismiss fangirls as a hoard of squealing, rabid teenyboppers, possessing a hive mind-controlled by their idols. The writer instead tells us that these communities are in fact more complex than that: at times volatile, but often creative, caring, and nourishing towards each other. I wish I could give every stan in my life a copy of this book. Actually, I just might! It's that good. - Arielle, Fully Booked


I Want to Die but I Want to Eat Tteokbokki by Baek Se-hee

Genre: Biographies and Memoirs

Date Published: June 23, 2022

I Want to Die But I Want to Eat Tteokbokki is a deceptively cute-looking book with an interesting title. Wrapped in calming pastel colors and a bubbly font, the cover makes it seem like it would be a light read that you’d breeze through. The book, however, is about the actual experiences of the author Baek Sehee as she sees a psychiatrist for a span of twelve weeks. Each chapter contains snippets of dialogue between Baek and her psychiatrist, and it is written out very straightforwardly, like a play with the name of the speaker, a colon, and what they’d said. Part memoir and part self-help book, I Want to Die But I Want to Eat Tteokbokki invites readers into the very intimate space of Baek Sehee’s journey through therapy as she digs deeper into her own mental health. - Jody, First Look Club


Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin

Genre: Literary Fiction

Date Published: July 5, 2022

No other book has moved me this year in the same way that Gabrielle Zevin's newest book has. Sam and Sadie are genuinely complex characters who cannot untangle themselves from the knots of their deep bond—constantly drawn towards one another, pulled by what they can create together. It is an ode to creativity, friendship, human resilience, and the power of stories to connect us. Bonus points for making me want to play video games beyond just Pacman, Tetris, and Pokemon. - Ilia, Fully Booked


How to Read Now by Elaine Castillo

How To Read Now

Genre: Literary Criticism

Date Published: July 26, 2022

One of my main realizations when I read this book, Elaine really didn't spell this out but I just connected the dots in my brain, is that I'm very prone to attempt self-actualization by way of media consumption--- and I'm very prone to feeling like a whole person, or like a real human, when I feel found by media, when I feel seen by movies, books and music, and I'm still trying to unpack that. That said, this is easily one of my favorite reads of the year so far. - Andrea, Reading Ally




The Book Eaters by Sunyi Dean

Genre: Fantasy

Publication Date: August 2, 2022

Cannibalism has recently become in vogue in contemporary literature and The Book Eaters fit right in, making it quite an appropriate gothic fantasy Halloween read. I was attracted by its fascinating premise—a secret species who look and act like humans but require books as food is seeking to find a solution to the mind eaters (yes, literally) who are born into their population—but was sold on its complex exploration of motherhood, family, and the personal and communal ethics that bind and break us. - Ilia, Fully Booked


I'm Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy

Genre: Biographies and Memoirs

Date Published: August 9, 2022

This book took me on such an emotional journey. I found it engaging in how raw and candid it was. It's easy to think this is a humorous book because the author's prose is so clear and readable, and her tone is straightforward and light, but the themes she tackles are actually quite heavy. It can be hard to read and triggering for people still trying to process their own trauma, so proceed with caution. - Belle, Fully Booked


Babel by R. F. Kuang

Genre: Historical Fantasy

Date Published: August 23, 2022

This fantasy speculative fiction of R.F. Kuang is truly a ride. Full of ups, downs, and appreciation for translators, and translations. This book made me want to study another language just so I can inscribe itI  in silver, and hope that magic works. Aside from the fantasy aspect of this book, this also contains passages about racism, trauma, and friendship, all of which make the book even more worthwhile. - Joe, Fully Booked


Carrie Soto is Back by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Genre: Women's Fiction

Date Published: August 30, 2022

Bestselling writer Taylor Jenkins Reid returns with Carrie Soto is Back. She transports readers into the ultra-competitive world of professional tennis. True to form, she introduces us to another complicated titular character—a complicated woman. Unlike her previous protagonists, we meet Carrie at the end of her sterling career. She is not a rising movie or rock ‘n’ roll star, but rather, retired tennis great (the greatest, in fact) whose record-breaking accomplishment is on the line. 

Reid's confidence as a writer is far more apparent in Carrie Soto is Back. She is more precise and more economical as a storyteller. Though Reid was able to capture the thrill of tennis action, her writing shines best in chapters outside the court. There is emotional candor in her relationships of Carrie with her father, her agent, and her hitting partner (the former flame). - Jowana, First Look Club


The Marriage Portrait by Maggie O'Farrell

Genre: Literary Fiction

Date Published: September 6, 2022

Lucrezia de Medici is fifteen when an arranged marriage forces her away from her home and family in Florence. Months into her union with the Duke of Ferrara, one thing becomes clear: her husband intends to kill her. Maggie O'Farrell's writing is unforgettable—atmospheric and meandering, this historical fiction novel is told from the perspective of a doomed young woman who is tenacious and perceptive, culminating in a stirring ending that feels like an exhale. - Arielle, Fully Booked



Bliss Montage by Ling Ma


Genre: Literary Fiction

Date Published: September 13, 2022

I'm only a few chapters in, but I can already attest that the Bliss Montage pages are as beautiful as its vibrant cover. The short stories resemble the unconventional combination of unhinged and powerful—Ling Ma does it again: leaving readers with interesting musings to ponder on page after another.


BONUS RECOMMENDATIONS!

What Might Have Been? by Holly Miller

Genre: Contemporary Romance 

Date Published: January 18, 2022

One of the things I liked about it is the premise of the book with "what if" scenarios. It's a switching narrative that clearly discusses how one can control his/her destiny. It's a beautiful story about the choices we make and the effects of those choices. - Lommie, Reading Ally


Hook, Line and Sinker by Tessa Bailey

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Date Published: March 1, 2022

I loved the story of Fox and Hannah!! Hannah is a character I relate to so much. - Cat, Reading Ally


Hidden Pictures by Jason Rekulak

Genre: Thriller

Date Published: May 10, 2022 

This horror-thriller book got me all terrified and entertained. The writing is easy-read to, but the story will not--I was not able to put this book down not until I'm done. - Shainne, Reading Ally


If you have set a goal this year to pick-up more books, check out the Fully Booked Read



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