Behold! My top eight* books of 2022**!
The Anthropocene Reviewed: Essays on a Human-Centered Planet
The Anthropocene is the current geological age, in which human activity has profoundly shaped the planet and its biodiversity. In this remarkable symphony of essays adapted and expanded from his ground-breaking, critically acclaimed podcast, John Green reviews different facets of the human-centered planet – from the QWERTY keyboard and Halley’s Comet to Penguins of Madagascar – on a five-star scale.
If I’m one thing, I’m a John Green girly. There’s simply nothing better than Looking for Alaska…except maybe The Anthropocene Reviewed. Each essay in this collection is infused with his signature humor and curiosity, with the seemingly random topics serving as springboards for personal and beautifully written discussions about Green’s own mental health, family, and experience of the pandemic. It’s ultimately optimistic, sincere, and oh-so poetic – exactly what I come to John Green for!
A Court of Thorns and Roses Series (Books 1-3) by Sarah J. Maas
Dragged to a magical kingdom for the murder of a faerie, Feyre discovers that her captor, his face obscured by a jeweled mask, is hiding far more than his piercing green eyes would suggest. Feyre’s presence at the court is closely guarded, and as she begins to learn why, her feelings for him turn from hostility to passion and the faerie lands become an even more dangerous place. Feyre must fight to break an ancient curse, or she will lose him forever.
God, I love this ridiculous fantasy series! What begins as a Beauty and the Beast retelling evolves into an unputdownable and very horny tale of faerie politics, power, and war. It made me feel like a teenager again, staying up all night to read The Hunger Games or The Mortal Instruments (both of which were significantly less smutty than ACOTAR, by the way). I’m recommending the first three books here because they’re the core story, but you can read the novella and sequel too if you become hooked (trust me: you will; I’m currently writing this while wearing a Night Court sweater I got for Christmas).
Migrations by Charlotte McConaghy
Franny Stone has always been the kind of woman who is able to love but unable to stay. Leaving behind everything but her research gear, she arrives in Greenland with a singular purpose: to follow the last Arctic terns in the world on what might be their final migration to Antarctica. Franny talks her way onto a fishing boat, and she and the crew set sail, traveling ever further from shore and safety. But as Franny’s history begins to unspool—a passionate love affair, an absent family, a devastating crime—it becomes clear that she is chasing more than just the birds. When Franny’s dark secrets catch up with her, how much is she willing to risk for one more chance at redemption?
Speaking of totally gripping books, meet Migrations by Charlotte McConaghy. It’s beautifully written, explores what it’s like growing up between Ireland and Australia (very relatable for me), and is a great example of how fiction can be used to share vital messages about climate change that truly stay with you.
Book Lovers by Emily Henry
Nora Stephens’ life is books—she’s read them all—and she is not that type of heroine. Not the plucky one, not the laidback dream girl, and especially not the sweetheart. In fact, the only people Nora is a heroine for are her clients, for whom she lands enormous deals as a cutthroat literary agent, and her beloved little sister Libby.
Which is why she agrees to go to Sunshine Falls, North Carolina for the month of August when Libby begs her for a sisters’ trip away—with visions of a small-town transformation for Nora, who she’s convinced needs to become the heroine in her own story. But instead of picnics in meadows, or run-ins with a handsome country doctor or bulging-forearmed bartender, Nora keeps bumping into Charlie Lastra, a bookish brooding editor from back in the city. It would be a meet-cute if not for the fact that they’ve met many times and it’s never been cute.
Do you, like me, adore Hallmark movies? Then you’ll adore Book Lovers. And if you can’t stand Hallmark movies, I think you’ll like this one even more. It’s about the other woman we often see in those films; the extremely type-A one who nags her boyfriend to get back to the big city and back to Business when he’s visiting a small rural town and falling in love with the owner of a snow globe store. Playing with genre’s tropes like this is what Emily Henry does best, and what makes her books so fresh and exciting to read. Like an onion, it’s got layers. Also like an onion, it made me cry.
Every Summer After by Carley Fortune
Six summers to fall in love. One moment to fall apart. A weekend to get it right.
They say you can never go home again, and for Persephone Fraser, ever since she made the biggest mistake of her life a decade ago, that has felt too true. Instead of glittering summers on the lakeshore of her childhood, she spends them in a stylish apartment in the city, going out with friends, and keeping everyone a safe distance from her heart. Until she receives the call that sends her racing back to Barry’s Bay and into the orbit of Sam Florek—the man she never thought she’d have to live without.
On a recent episode of Different Things Can Be Sad, I shared three reasons I fell in love with Every Summer After. They are as follows:
- It’s Canadian!
- It completely transported me to the summers of my teen years! The way Carley Fortune described the cool lake water and the sensation of ice cream running down the cone to your hands, as well as her depiction of awkwardly navigating friendships, family, and first love, felt so tangible.
- It’s a dual timeline! I love both YA stories and the spice of adult romances, and this book had both.
Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin
In this exhilarating novel, two friends–often in love, but never lovers–come together as creative partners in the world of video game design, where success brings them fame, joy, tragedy, duplicity, and, ultimately, a kind of immortality.
As the aforementioned John Green said on the cover: This is one of the best books I’ve ever read. I’ve decided Gabrielle Zevin must be a witch because the way she makes me care so much about the minute details of video games (something I never cared about before) is pure magic. I’ve also never read a book where the characters felt so real to me; by the end, I knew the intricacies of Sam and Sadie’s personalities (and the complexities of their friendship) better than my own.
What were your favorite books of 2022? Let me know so I can enjoy them in 2023!
*I’m featuring these eight books because they’re all the ones I read in 2022 and adored on a “I own merch and have been considering tattoos and simply must tell you about them” level. However, I also highly recommend:
- Reputation by Lex Croucher
- The Paper Palace by Miranda Crowley Heller
- The Club by Ellery Lloyd
- Once There Were Wolves by Charlotte McConaghy
- Pizza Girl by Jean Kyoung Frazier
- The Dead Romantics by Ashley Poston
- Aesthetica by Allie Rowbottom
- Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel
- Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
- The Final Girls Support Group by Grady Hendrix
**Not all these books were released in 2022; this was simply the year I discovered them!