2022 was the first year of my adult life that I’ve ever read 100+ books… and it still doesn’t feel like enough. There are too many books being published every year, and not enough time to read all the ones that sound good!
Despite reading 100+ books this year, I didn’t find that many standout favourites. To me, it just didn’t seem like the greatest year in books. While the list below does have 12 books on it, and I do think they are all well worth reading, fewer than usual are likely making my all-time favourites list. 😢
Nightcrawling by Leila Mottley
Nightcrawling is definitely a book that has made it onto my all-time favourites list. This is a story of a young girl who, while struggling to pay rent and other expenses, finds herself caught up in nightcrawling. She ultimately ends up as a key witness in an investigation (and scandal) within the Oakland Police Department. This novel is based on a true story, and have never wanted to throw a book across the room more than when I read this one.
Black Cake by Charmaine Wilkerson
I don’t even know how to accurately describe this book. Black Cake is the story of a family that goes back in time, reveals twists and turns, and leaves a lot for the two adult children in the novel to process. The book was quick-paced, surprising, and utterly un-put-down-able.
Crosshairs by Catherine Hernandez
Catherine Hernandez, author of a previous favourite, Scarborough, has done it again with this dystopian novel. This book is set in the near-future, where an environmental disaster has allowed the oppressors to fully show their colours. The novel follows folks who have gone into hiding, are working in the work camps, and who are actively a part of the resistance. The writing in this book is fantastic, but what makes this novel truly amazing is just how real and possible (and absolutely atrociously terrible) this near future is.
The Maid by Nita Prose
Sometimes we just need a fun, light-hearted mystery to get us through the day, and that’s definitely The Maid. Molly is working as a maid at a hotel when she finds one of the guests dead in his hotel room…and she quickly becomes a prime suspect, simply because her behaviour isn’t ‘atypical’ or ‘normal.’ This book reminded me a lot of The Rosie Project, so if you were a fan of that book/series, I’d recommend this book as well. Bonus: The author is Canadian!
I’m Glad My Mom Died by Jeannette McCurdy
I’d never heard of actress Jeannette McCurdy before reading this memoir (she was on iCarly, I guess…a show I had also never heard of), but none of that mattered once I started reading. This is probably the best memoir I have ever read. From the structure of the book to the vulnerability she showed to everything she had gone through in her life, this book sucked you in and made you feel.
The only non-fiction book on my list this year, this book left me with so many flagged pages, and so much to think about. As a white woman, I know I unwittingly fall into the trap of white feminism, and probably more often then I’d like. This book wasn’t too difficult a read (from a language/writing perspective), and for the most part, was easy to follow and pick up on the lessons.
True Biz by Sara Novic
I read True Biz over six weeks ago now, and I still haven’t stopped thinking about the themes. The story focuses on a group of students at a residential school for the Deaf, as the navigate the typical teenage dramas, while also navigating Deaf culture, ASL, the medical system, and disability and civil rights. While the book was an enjoyable read, I admittedly do have a number of issues with the plot- the book tried to do to much, and paid itself a disservice in doing so. However, the amount I learned, and the amount I feel in love with the characters, made up for it.
The School for Good Mothers by Jessamine Chan
This dystopian/speculative novel follows Frida, a mother who, after leaving her young child at home alone for a few hours, finds herself caught up in a new government reform program. Frida is sent away for a year to learn how to be a good mother, and regaining custody of her child depends on successful completion of the program. This book does a great job of exploring the question of what makes a good parent, and who decides, and the state’s involvement in parenting. While I will admit the middle of the book does get a bit repetitive and lags a bit, the exploration of the main topic and themes are strong enough to make up for it!
The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood
I never thought a romance novel would make my top books of the year list, but I really did enjoy The Love Hypothesis. We got to know the main characters outside of just the relationship, the conflict felt real and meaningful, and the centring of science in the novel definitely helped elevate the story for me.
Kiss Her Once for Me by Alison Cochrun
A second romance novel made the list! This once was a Christmas-themed LGBTQ+ romance, and was such a fun read. Again, the main characters were whole people, the conflict was real and meaningful (and even somewhat unique- can you imagine agreeing to fake marry someone, and then discovering that their sibling is your long lost one-day love-of-your-life?). The story was cute, engaging, and enjoyable!