The Best Books I Read in 2022

2022 is coming to a close, which means many of us are shifting into reflection mode as we round out this year and plan for the next one. It also means that every single publication that even remotely thinks about books is putting out their Best Books of 2022 lists. 

As for me, I like to reflect on my reading year rather than the publishing one. So my annual roundup isn’t necessarily the best books that came out this year, but the best ones I read. I do read a lot of frontlist, so there are a good number of 2022 releases in my best boooks list, but it’s not a requirement. 

This has been an interesting reading year. I felt like it took me a while to find my groove and most of the books I read early in the year didn’t quite do it for me, for one reason or another. Still, I’ve read some amazing books and I can’t wait to share them all with you. 

These books aren’t in ranked order, because that feels impossible. Rather, this is just a list of the 10 books from the reading year that made the most lasting impression. Let’s get to it!

(Full disclosure: This post uses affiliate links. Books marked with an asterisk were received as complimentary review copies).

Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus 

Genre: Literary Fiction

From page one, I knew I would love Lessons in Chemistry. There’s a wry humor to the narration that I adore, and I love that the dog gets to have a POV in the story. Yes, there’s some heavy stuff and it’s worth a look at the content warnings before you dive in, but I personally think this may be the best book I read this year. If you want to hear more of why this takes the top spot, my full review is available here: “Lessons in Chemistry” Uses a Compelling Storytelling Formula

Lucy on the Wild Side by Kerry Rea 

Genre: Contemporary Romance

I love a romance that also tackles bigger issues, and Kerry Rea has done a great job balancing the love story with each character’s personal growth in Lucy on the Wild Side. Lucy has some growing and learning to do before she’s ready to accept her HEA, and I loved going along for the journey with her. I read this one on audio, and I highly recommend that version. My full review is available here: Mini Review: Lucy on the Wild Side

The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow

Genre: Historical Fantasy

This is one of the longer books I read this year, and boy was it worth it. The Once and Future Witches follows three sisters as they try to reclaim the power that once belonged to all women by bringing magic back into the world. 

I never managed a full review of this one because it’s hard to put into words what is so captivating about this book. But I’m still thinking about it months later, which is an endorsement if I’ve ever heard one.

The No-Show by Beth O’Leary

Genre: Contemporary Romance

I think O’Leary is bound to claim a top spot for me any year. I actually did some catching up with her backlist this year and read three of her books, but The No-Show definitely takes the cake for me. The characters are compelling, there’s a bit of a mystery to it, and O’Leary masterfully plays with our assumptions and expectations to great (and emotional) effect. My full review is available here: “The No-Show” Kept Me Guessing

Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow* by Gabrielle Zevin

Genre: Literary Fiction

I know I’m not alone with listing this one among my top books of the year, since Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow is making year-end lists across the board. But I’m not afraid to say I also liked a thing that everyone liked, and this is Amanda genre kryptonite if I ever heard it. I love stories about complicated friendships that sometimes feel like they could be more, and I also love video games. A win win for me here. Bonus point for a realistic portrayal of how chronic pain can impact your life and relationships. 

No full review for this one because what would I even do except tell you that you should read it? Which, you should. With tissues nearby. 

Getting Clean with Stevie Green* by Swan Huntley

Genre: Literary Fiction 

This was the first 2022 book that really knocked my socks off. Getting Clean with Stevie Green is about trying to start fresh, while also coming to terms with who you are. This is told through alternating points of view and has a bit of a mystery at its core — we know something happened during high school that set Stevie on a negative path, but we don’t find out for a while what it is. I loved the characters and the writing style. Full review is available here: “Getting Clean with Stevie Green” Gets a Yes from Me

Legends & Lattes by Travis Baldree

Genre: Fantasy 

I didn’t know cozy fantasy was a thing until I started hearing about Legends & Lattes, and now I’m desperate for readalikes. This story about an orc who hangs up her adventuring gear to open a coffee shop is like a Dungeons & Dragons themed hug, and I am here for it. If Baldree could just go ahead and write about a thousand more like this, that’d be great. 

Early Morning Riser by Katherine Heiny 

Genre: Literary Fiction

Early Morning Riser is a quiet book about normal people just getting through life. There’s good moments and bad moments, and most of the time it’s somewhere in between. I find it hard to put into words what’s so great about this book, but I think it sort of encapsulates the best of what we call “literary fiction.” It’s a character study and a reflection of life, with some really beautiful sentences and a bit of quiet humor. 

Side note: I thought this was my big backlist pick of the list, but apparently it came out this year? Who knew. 

I’m Glad My Mom Died by Jeanette McCurdy

Genre: Memoir 

I mean, the writing chops on Jeanette McCurdy, am I right? This book so, so deserves the recognition it’s getting. McCurdy made be well known for her child actor days for now, but this woman can write. I’m Glad My Mom Died is an unflinching look at complicated family dynamics, parental abuse, and mental health challenges. It’s not a light and easy read by any means, but it’s a stellar piece of writing that tackles important issues. You can read my review here: Mini Review: I’m Glad My Mom Died

The F*ck It Diet by Caroline Dooner

Genre: Nonfiction 

I struggled with what the 10th book on this list should be, as there were a lot of 3 and 4 star reads in 2022. But ultimately, I had to go with The F*ck It Diet because I learned a ton from reading it, and it’s also written in an immenently readable style. This book takes on the myths and intentional lies that the diet industry has perpetuated, explaining why diets don’t work and why the diet industry keeps pretending that they do. My review here: Reading “The F*ck It Diet” Could Change Your Life

As many of us tend to do in December, I’m already eagerly making my January plans. 2022 was a slow start for me reading-wise, and I ended up piling up a lot of anticipated reads. That means I’ve got many a book to look forward in 2023, and I can’t wait to get reading. 

What were some of your favorite reads from 2022? 

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7 thoughts on “The Best Books I Read in 2022

  1. Happy to see I had some overlap with you. Chemistry, Lucy, No-Show, and Tomorrow was all great. When that big twist came in The No-Show, I remember gasping and feeling devastated. It changed everything for me. So well done.

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