In my opinion, there has never been a better time to get back to reading. Flashback to when I was a book-lover my entire life leading up to college and then I just stopped. Like most of my peers who are now in their 30’s, we are starting to read again and the literary world is bursting with options. Unfortunately with the good there must come the bad and I have a few takeaways from the overall year in books I must share first:
Adult fiction reads like young adult fiction and it’s weird. I see very little cursing, sex and descriptive violence in the popular novels and I wonder why. Growing up, the teen books were riddled with it, see: Gossip Girl. So I must wonder why except for the obvious “appeal to the masses.”
You can tell that a lot of books are being written for the potential screen. Look, I get it. There is a LOT of money in television and movies, especially for franchises. All the material can’t be found in scripts alone, so the books are giving showbiz a head start now for optioning.
So how do I get my books, you may ask? Well, I’m a library girl through and through - shout out the LA library system! I can crush a book a day if I wanted to, I love it that much. I am obsessed with the app Good Reads. Everything is organized so well with lists and you can even set a reading goal each year. My goal this year was 35 and I just finished my 50th.
The books I read this year were about 99% new, adult fiction and that is what is going to dominate my list. Every book on this list was released and read in 2022. So buckle up, see if you agree and let’s tackle the 10 books that made me laugh, cry and roll my eyes.
The Five Best Books of 2022
Sea of Tranquility - Emily St. John Mandel
The New York Times released the best 100 books of the year and this is the only book I read that was on it. It was also the only book I gave a 6/5 stars to, so clearly we both agree that it was incredible. Emily has quickly become my favorite author after reading Station Eleven and Glass Hotel and this book continues to show her unique storytelling. It is in a way a sequel / companion to Glass Hotel and I would recommend both. It does get a little science-fictiony that isn’t usually my go to but she’s such an incredible author I can’t help but breeze through it. Space and time and music all play key roles in this book and I loved every minute of the journey.
The Accomplice - Lisa Lutz
My favorite kind of story is a linear, life one. That’s what The Accomplice is - even some bonus points for it being murder mystery. The writing of the friendship between the two characters felt relatable as well as the dialogue. This was how I spoke with my best guy friends. I always end up reading some kind of detective story and this one kept me on my toes. I even read it in one day. If you’re looking to read about how far one will go to help out a friend - then this one's for you.
Notes On Your Sudden Disappearance - Alison Espach
This was another linear, life story and would do wonders for anyone who has experienced grief from losing someone. The realistic portrayal of the main character going through the emotions that accompanies that situation was powerful and raw. The bond between sisters, the accidental killer and two families was so intriguing to me that I had to give it 5 stars.
Remarkably Bright Creatures - Shelby Van Pelt
It doesn’t take a lot to get me to cry from a book but this one was a tearjerker. I’ve noticed that the world has fallen in love with Octopuses again due to My Octopus Teacher and this book even furthers the interest of this sea creature. Not only are they “remarkably bright creatures,” this story is heartfelt and offers some intrigue with it’s own murder mystery. Shout out the author - her debut novel was simply marvelous.
Reminders of Him - Colleen Hoover
Ok Colleen really knows how to pull on the heart strings and this book doesn’t disappoint. By the end I was bawling my eyes out like usual with her...damn you Colleen! While I don’t enjoy all her books, this one was special. The usual love story is present but there’s a twist, of course. If you are a Colleen fan, this was probably on your top list as well.
The Five Worst Books of 2022
The Club - Ellery Lloyd
This is the worst book of the year in my opinion. Listen, I know what The Club was trying to do and this wasn’t it. We have an island. Multiple murders. Incredibly unlikeable characters. A members only club. This had all the makings for a good story but it just completely fell flat and into its own cheesiness. The dialogue was droll, the red herrings obvious and you just knew this was more of a script than a book as you read it. I am sorry, but this one would get negative stars if I could.
Reckless Girls - Rachel Hawkins
This one was a straight up mess, like The Club, so I also gave it one star. The story is probably going to be a Netflix limited series since it takes place on a tropical island with hot characters and sex and lies and murder - seems to me like all the mainstream stuff is cut from the same cloth now. Anyways, the writing was lame, the story predictable and the author just wrote this one with her eyes closed. It’s a cheap beach read and nothing else.
Very Cold People - Sarah Manguso
While people seemed to really like this book, to me it was incredibly boring and short. Not quite a novella but not a novel either. It was about a cold down in New England and one girl’s coming-of-age tale. The subject matter wasn’t interesting enough for me. Next.
This Might Hurt - Stephanie Wrobel
I didn’t read THAT many awful books this year to warrant a one-star so this one got a two. The author tries to get you with a bait and switch POV which I could admire but the plot will have you scratching your head and wondering what the point actually was. I was let down, that's for sure.
The Family Remains - Lisa Jewell
This got three stars from me because it wasn’t as good as the first in the series. The story maybe didn’t need more to tell, but I guess it did move it along. Either way, I finished it in a day because I wanted to just get it over with.