“All right… I suppose things like this usually start with an apology of some sort.”First line in A Choir of Lies by Alexandra Rowland
It’s finally time for one of the most exciting posts of the year: My ten favorite reads of 2022! As per usual, I’m doing this through Top Ten Tuesday which is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, and I’ve also put the books in order like I usually do.
Last year, I had trouble finding ten books for my list and it was definitely easier this time around without it being outright difficult to only pick ten. Putting them in order, though? Impossible. I always put them in order and it has never been harder than this year, which I guess is a good thing. Especially the top ones are almost interchangeable. But let’s look at my ten favorite reads of the year!
The Hidden Palace by Helene Wecker
This sequel to The Golem and the Jinni took me by surprise because I really didn’t know what to expect from a sequel to a book I felt was a standalone. But with that kind of atmosphere, I couldn’t help but love it! I got such an urge to travel just from reading it because I always felt like I was right there with the characters as they explored places I’ve never been to. And most importantly, Wecker made me feel like that without spending an unnecessary amount of time on it. The book is still very much about the characters, although you probably shouldn’t go into it expecting too much of the plot. Which is totally fine by me!
Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore
A December read managed to get itself a spot in my top ten because I just appreciate it so much when a book isn’t afraid to be a bit controversial and very dark. Reading it, I felt like anything could happen because I quickly learned that the “standard rules” didn’t apply here so I was invested and blown away by plot twists, just as I like it. Then I also loved the dynamics between the characters because there were so many complex relationships that went through ups and downs along the way. And then the humor. I liked the humor in this book. A lot.
Unwind by Neal Shusterman
I read the whole series in 2022 but the first book still stands out to me as the best one (the fourth came close though). A part of the reason is that I had rather low expectations going in despite loving Shusterman’s other books. I was simply afraid of a YA book released in 2007. No need to worry, though, because it dealt with such interesting moral questions and was pretty much based on my all-time favorite trope: Dysfunctional families. The trope wasn’t very prevalent in the rest of the series, however, which is probably why I liked them less.
These Violent Delights by Micah Nemerever
Do I understand everything about this book? Nope, but I still really loved it! It’s sort of dark academia and it managed to hit the completely right amount of pretentiousness where both author and reader are aware that the characters aren’t great people. They’re just very, very interesting and question unusual stuff about humanity. Generally, I thought the characters represented types of people I haven’t read about before and I really loved that.
To Paradise by Hanya Yanagihara
This is definitely one of the most ambitious novels I’ve ever read. Yanagihara relies on the reader to piece things together and read between the lines, which is a big risk because if readers don’t catch on, they’ll hate the book (as proven by its average Goodreads rating of 3.79!). But it’s so beautiful and explores well-known themes such as loneliness and depression in unique ways. Part 1 in particular means a lot to me and I’m very thankful to Yanagihara for writing it.
The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison
So. Much. Politics! 😍 AND the softest main character ever! I absolutely adored him and this entire book. If you don’t like political books, you’ll hate it, but to me, it’s one of the most perfect books I’ve ever read. The struggles of the main character were so interesting and heartbreaking to follow but I also loved how the language was so formal because I think it told us a lot about the world that seems to have even more to offer.
Young Mungo by Douglas Stuart
YES PLEASE! As I mentioned earlier, a dysfunctional family is my favorite trope and I have NEVER read such a perfect execution of that trope as the one I experienced in Young Mungo. I’m so happy that someone was able to do it since that trope is fucked up more often than done right. Other than that, the book is also a very tough read, very depressing, as we follow a Scottish working-class family that has all kinds of problems that gives a realistic portrayal of such families.
The Darkness Outside Us by Eliot Schrefer
Just like when I reviewed this book the first time, I can’t say anything about it! It’s sci-fi but you should also read it if you don’t like sci-fi because it’s not normal sci-fi. Nothing about this book is normal. It’s based on a scenario that I’ve only encountered once in a book before but it is everything to me. I desperately need more authors to utilize this thing I’m being very vague about because the possibilities are endless. Basically, The Darkness Outside Us was such a nice surprise and so unique!
The Half Life of Valery K by Natasha Pulley
Well, the odds of a newly released Natasha Pulley book making it into my top ten are always extremely low. So here we are! The Half Life of Valery K came very close to being my new favorite book by Pulley primarily because Valery is such a great main character. He’s very broken but I love him a lot. Also, it’s a very science-heavy book and the fact that it’s my second favorite book of the year anyway should tell you that Natasha Pulley has somehow learned how to do magic.
A Choir of Lies by Alexandra Rowland
A Choir of Lies is the sequel to A Conspiracy of Truths and also one of the most unique books I’ve ever read. It uses footnotes as a central device in its exploration of depression and I loved everything about it. Please don’t let the footnotes scare you! The book wouldn’t work without them! And you really don’t want to miss out on the main character Ylfing because he is sweet and soft and so precious. Also, the book has a strong theme of communication vs. manipulation so I don’t think it would be possible for it to check more boxes for me. It already hits all of them!
Any book in the top four could basically be number one but I chose this order based on how much I thought about the books after finishing them. There were just some really strong contenders this year which is unusual for me because I usually have one or two clear favorites. However, that doesn’t mean that I don’t have anything for my worst books of the year post. Trust me, there’s plenty so stay tuned for that.
Have you read any of these books? What book is your own number one?