Ranking Every Book I Read in 2022

Honestly, I didn’t read much in 2022, if one only counts novels as reading. Instead, I was chipping away at Higurashi When They Cry, which is an incredibly lengthy visual novel that I still haven’t finished, while reading through quite a few manga and light novels. Obviously, I am a huge believer in the concept that all reading is reading and there is no difference between choosing to read a manga and choosing to read a “traditional” book. For the purposes of this ranking, though, I’m not going to talk about any of my light novel and manga adventures I had throughout the year because those discussions deserve their own post. Instead, I’m going to discuss any books and (non-manga) graphic novels that I read and give them a quick ranking. While I didn’t read too many things this year, a lot of what I did read stuck with me and I’m excited to share it.

26. Wish You Were Here – Jodi Picoult

I wish I knew why I kept picking up Jodi Picoult’s books. One year on vacation, I picked up a single title by her that I absolutely loved, and since then, I have been giving her chance after chance and she consistently disappoints me. This may be the final straw, though. It’s hard to discuss Wish You Were Here without spoilers, as the reason I didn’t like this book is related to a specific plot twist that absolutely infuriated me. I was actually having a great time for the first half, and then it totally fell apart after the big twist. Picoult’s writing is good, so as much as I wish I could swear off her forever, I’m sure I’ll probably continue to give her more chances when I’m in the mood for something that will tug on my heartstrings. This will still go down as one of the worst titles I have ever read and I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone.

25. The Summer Palace – C.S. Pacat

This is a short story related to the Captive Prince series, and it was really not good. It has been a few years since I initially read the main trilogy, and this short story was so bland and uninteresting that it has me questioning my memories of enjoying the original books. There are still two more stories in the collection that I own, but I’m not sure if I’m going to bother reading them or not.

24. November 9 – Colleen Hoover

I have a strange relationship with Colleen Hoover. It Ends With Us is a personal favorite of mine, but Verity and All Your Perfects were both only okay. November 9 is a title I have wanted to read for years and is actually how I initially heard about Hoover. Unfortunately, this was not a fun read. The core relationship came off as more toxic than I tend to prefer my romances to be, and there are a few plot twists in here that angered me to the point that I seriously considered dropping the book halfway through. I’m not sure if I should give Hoover another chance at this point, since her books seem to be going downhill for me with each one I read.

23. Reckless Girls – Rachel Hawkins

Reckless Girls has to be one of the worst thrillers that I have ever read. It was trying to be an Agatha Christie novel, and that was incredibly clear in the way it was written as a slow-burn thriller, with a small cast of characters that the reader gets to know over the course of the book. The problem is that there is a limit to how much slow-burn I can take when reading a genre that is typically characterized by being fast-paced. Almost nothing happens in the first eighty percent of this novel, and I am not exaggerating! This feels like reading Gossip Girl: Castaway Edition to the point that I almost forgot what type of book I was actually reading when things finally got mildly interesting right at the end. Maybe if the conclusion was halfway decent, I would have been okay with the slow build-up, but that also completely fell on its face. In summary, this is not the thriller to pick up for quick pacing and good twists.

22. One Last Stop – Casey McQuiston

I hate putting One Last Stop so low on this list because I had high expectations for it. The idea of a woman stuck in time on a train sounded like an interesting premise for a romance novel and I was really excited for it. For me, I think the biggest issue with this book was the marketing. Since this was clearly a romance and was never billed as anything else, it meant that the stakes could only be raised so high due to normal genre conventions. Normally, that’s fine because people read romance for happily ever after endings and lots of angst along the way, but in a story that has an entire sci-fi subplot about a woman being stuck on a train and unable to leave, it made the plot and conclusion of this storyline way too easy to predict. Additionally, this book was over 400 pages, which is a long time to keep the reader’s attention, given that frequent readers of the genre are going to know exactly how it ends. I don’t think it was terrible, but I wish it had been better.

21. The Caiman – María Eugenia Manrique

The Caiman is a picture book about an alligator that I got for free as a part of an Amazon promotion. I love illustrations, which should be obvious given my love of manga, so I was really excited to pick this one up as soon as I got it. Unsurprisingly, I had a pretty good time with it. The illustrations were solid and the story, while short and clearly aimed at a younger audience, was sweet. There’s only so much I can say here as someone who is not the target demographic, but it’s worth picking up to read, with or without children.

20. The Christmas Pact – Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward

If I’m being totally honest, I had to go reread the Goodreads synopsis for The Christmas Pact in order to remember what this book was even about. This is a short romance tale told via audiobook about two characters with names that are the reverse of each other’s, Riley Kennedy and Kennedy Riley. They work at the same company and regularly get each other’s emails due to the similar names. I like the premise, and I don’t recall there being anything terrible about the story. Still, since I didn’t read that many books this year overall, the fact that I can barely remember reading this one doesn’t say much about its overall quality.

19. Before the Coffee Gets Cold – Toshikazu Kawaguchi

I was really excited for Before the Coffee Gets Cold because of the premise. This book follows a coffeehouse in Japan where people can time travel with a number of restrictions and limitations. While it sounded like an interesting premise for a light, cozy science fiction read, it felt more like a self-help book than anything else. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the prose and there were some good moments here, but a lot of the content primarily felt like it was trying to teach the reader a moral lesson in a very heavy-handed way. There are some sequels and I haven’t ruled out reading them because I’m interested in other directions that the author could potentially take this premise, but I’m not in a rush because this really wasn’t what I wanted from it.

18. People We Meet on Vacation – Emily Henry

People We Meet on Vacation is a fascinating book in the way that it could have been one of my favorites of the year, if not for one aspect that held it back. This is a romance novel that follows two longtime friends that live apart in separate lives, but meet up once per year for a big vacation together. I found both of the main protagonists quite loveable in their own right and really enjoyed the flashbacks and flashforwards that the narrative utilizes to give glimpses into the pair’s friendships over the years.

The main issue I had here was the communication between these two is abysmal. Nearly all of the drama and conflict throughout this book could have been fixed by a five second conversation, but instead it dragged on and on for the entirety of the story. It was frustrating because I enjoyed everything else about the book, but this drama for the sake of drama because the characters forgot how to speak to each other like mature adults just left a sour taste in my mouth.

17. A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder – Holly Jackson

A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder is a fun young adult mystery novel following a teenage girl as she investigates a murder in her hometown as part of a class project. The main character was endearing, even if she made the occasional dumb teenager decision that frustrated me as a grown adult woman, and I did enjoy the final wrap-up to this mystery. It was a fun read and I really hope to get to the rest of the trilogy in 2023.

That said, I did have one complaint throughout this narrative. This book is supposedly set in a relatively sleepy and small town, but so many bad things happen in this rural area in a small span of time that it bordered on funny after a while. It felt like the author was playing a game with herself to see how many dark things she could squeeze into the span of a single novel. It was a fun read, but that particular aspect really needed to be toned down a bit.

16. The Silent Patient – Alex Michaelides

As someone who really enjoys reading thrillers, it’s shameful that it took me this long to read The Silent Patient. Overall, I read this in about a day and stayed up way too late finishing it because I had to know the ending. Like Reckless Girls, this was also a slower-paced book, but it knew how to sprinkle in enough clues and tidbits to keep the reader engaged. Additionally, the overall conclusion was actually worth the time I invested in it. I still think this was a bit on the blander side as far as thrillers are concerned, with no real standout moments, but it was fun and had a satisfying enough ending that I’ll certainly try more titles by the author in the future.

15. Veronika Decides to Die – Paulo Coelho

The Alchemist is one of the worst books I’ve ever read. I’m not quite sure why I decided to pick up another title by Paulo Coelho, but I was in the bookstore and the title Veronika Decides to Die caught my eye, so I picked it up and gave it a shot. Ultimately, I’m glad I read this, even if it wasn’t a flawless book. I don’t want to discuss this particular one in too much detail because, as the title may suggest, this book discusses some pretty dark subject matter. Personally, I believe the sensitive themes on display here were handled reasonably well, though it also definitely shows its age in some regards.

The biggest flaw in Veronika Decides to Die is that I didn’t enjoy the ending much. This is probably obvious by now, but I’m not a big fan of heavy-handed moral lessons, which seems to be a staple of Paulo Coelho’s writing and was heavily present in the final pages of this story. Many novels are written with a moral or lesson as inspiration, but if that’s the only reason that this particular story is being written and seems to be more important than developing interesting characters or plot, I find the reading experience frustrating. Even with that criticism in mind, it’s an interesting read, for sure, so I would recommend giving it a try, even if it’s far from a perfect book.

14. Forever, Interrupted – Taylor Jenkins Reid

I love all of Taylor Jenkins Reid’s earlier reads from Evelyn Hugo onwards, but I still haven’t tackled her older novels that she wrote earlier in her career. While I didn’t have great expectations going in, I really did enjoy Forever, Interrupted. It follows a young woman who loses her husband just a short time after marrying him, and for that matter, shortly after first meeting him. It was overly sappy at times and, like Veronika Decides to Die, it threw subtlety out the window in its attempts to teach the reader a grand life lesson, but I had a good time and I’m glad I read it.

13. 84, Charing Cross Road – Helene Hanff

I picked this up on a whim because my Barnes & Noble was doing one of those “buy one, get one half off” deals and it looked interesting enough to be worth picking up alongside whatever I was actually trying to buy. Amusingly, the chances are very high that the original title I bought was not something I ended up reading, whereas 84, Charing Cross Road was so short that I picked it up immediately for an easy win in my reading goals.

This book is interesting, as it is a non-fiction series of letters between a bookseller and someone who is trying to get copies of some rare books over a lengthy span of time. Personally, while I thought it was unique, I also thought it was a little dull at times. While I appreciate the historical significance of reading a series of letters about life in the 1950s and onwards, it is still simply a series of letters between two friends. Given how short it is, I would recommend it if the description sounds at all appealing, but go into it expecting a relatively cozy, but dry, series of correspondence.

12. Night of the Mannequins – Stephen Graham Jones

Night of the Mannequins is a horror novella that seems to have a somewhat divisive reputation, based on the reviews I’ve seen. Ultimately, I really enjoyed it, as I loved the central protagonist and his inability to fully understand what is happening to the world around him. It becomes clear what is going on pretty early in the narrative, but it’s still fun to watch the events unfold as the story progresses. Stephen Graham Jones is high on my list of authors to try more books from in 2023.

11. The Deal of a Lifetime – Fredrik Backman

Fredrik Backman is slowly becoming one of my favorite authors. Something about the way he crafts characters just digs into me and becomes part of my soul after finishing one of his books. The Deal of a Lifetime is no exception to this, as I regularly think about this story, even months after initially finishing it. In true Backman fashion, this is an emotional read filled with ups and downs, though its short page length keeps it from being quite as in-depth of a character portrait as other books I have read from him in the past. I probably wouldn’t recommend it over the full novels Backman has written, but it was a good time and I will certainly reread it again in the future.

10. Truly Devious – Maureen Johnson

When I said that I wanted to try and read a few full series in 2023, Truly Devious was one of the main inspirations for making that goal. I love this young adult murder mystery, but it doesn’t have much of a resolution by the end of the book, as it’s the first of a trilogy (and now some additional companion novels, as well). I want to withhold saying too much until I’ve read all of the books for myself, but I think this has the potential to become a favorite of mine and I really hope I find the time to prioritize it this year.

9. Solutions and Other Problems – Allie Brosh

I didn’t know that Allie Brosh had another book out, but when I saw it at a Barnes & Noble, I dropped everything I had intended to pick up that day in favor of immediately purchasing Solutions and Other Problems. Brosh is hilarious, and her illustrations and amazing stories just continue to highlight her charm and sense of humor. She has also gone through some hardships, though, and she doesn’t shy away from discussing the bad in her life alongside the good, making this a read that is equal parts heartbreaking and inspirational. Even in the darkest parts of this essay collection, however, she still manages to balance out a healthy dose of humor. This is one I will definitely return to some stories from for a long time to come.

8. Galatea – Madeline Miller

I bought Galatea on impulse because the cover was pretty, but I’m really glad I did. While I tried to read Circe a while ago, I had trouble enjoying the writing style and put it down. After reading Galatea, however, I am definitely going to give Madeline Miller a second chance. Galatea is a retelling of a classic Greek myth, and while it is short enough that it can be read alongside a single cup of tea, the story and its message has stuck with me. There isn’t much to say given how short it is, but if anyone finds themselves falling short of their reading goal towards the end of the year, this is an easy title to recommend.

7. Grown – Tiffany D. Jackson

Grown is such a hard read. I don’t want to give away much about this title because it’s best to just let the story unfold naturally, so I’ll stick to the very basics here. This novel centers around an aspiring singer named Enchanted Jones, and her relationship to famous music artist Korey Fields, who was found dead. Anyone who has subject matter they are uncomfortable reading about should definitely check out any trigger warnings first, as Grown deals with dark subject matter, but it was such a heart-wrenching read that had me on the edge of my seat throughout the story.

6. The Anthropocene Reviewed – John Green

This might be my most surprising read of the year. I have some pretty mixed feelings on John Green, mostly because I don’t like his writing style, specifically around how he writes character dialogue. The Anthropocene Reviewed, however, was phenomenal. I cannot stress enough how good this book was, as every essay, formatted to feel like an Amazon review, got me thinking about the world around me in new ways. Not every essay was a total hit for me, which is the only thing keeping it from the top of this list, but that is to be expected with any essay collection on such a varied set of topics. Even if John Green’s previous works weren’t for you, this book should be required reading for anyone living in today’s society.

5. Come Tumbling Down – Seanan McGuire

I finally, finally finished another book in the Wayward Children series after a several year break! Come Tumbling Down is the fifth novella in a series that follows a set of children living in this halfway house of sorts that exists to help kids who have gone to other worlds (like Narnia or Wonderland) readjust to our world after being kicked out of their magical one. What I love about these stories is, while they are connected and I would still recommend reading them in order, they are loosely enough tied together that I can take a lengthy amount of time between entries in this series and not miss out on any major details. While I will have to catch up on the remaining entries out right now to say for certain, this is quickly becoming one of my all-time favorite series.

While I also loved many of the books ranked lower on this list, only the stories from this point onwards are actually five-star reads this year. I only have four to discuss here, but all four of these are amazing reads that will stick with me for the rest of my life, so I’m happy that I read them. These are my biggest recommendations from what I read throughout 2022, and also the titles most representative of my own tastes.

4. Everyone’s a Aliebn When Ur a Aliebn Too – Jomny Sun

Everyone’s a Aliebn When Ur a Aliebn Too came to me at the perfect time in my life. I was stressed and exhausted, but I read this book and everything felt okay again. It’s a graphic novel, or maybe even just a picture book, about this adorable alien visiting our planet and befriending the animals that live on it. While it can be emotional at times as the story twists and turns, it’s just such a comforting read and one that I frequently return to just to look at the artwork. While I love all four of my five-star reads, this is probably the one I would most recommend to anyone looking at this list.

3. Address Unknown – Katherine Kressmann Taylor

Address Unknown is like 84, Charing Cross Road, in that I decided to pick it up on a whim simply because Barnes & Noble was having a sale. This ended up being one of the best things I’ve ever done, however, as Address Unknown is one of the most fascinating stories I have ever picked up. This short story was written to warn the world about the existence of Nazism in 1938, which makes it a unique time capsule moment. Lots of novels are written about World War II and Hitler in the modern day, but there is a finite amount of fiction written in the moment that so directly references the events ongoing at the time. It isn’t a long read, so it is worth picking up to get a glimpse of how some people of the day were perceiving the dangers to come.

2. Carrie Soto is Back – Taylor Jenkins Reid

At this point, if a brand new Taylor Jenkins Reid book isn’t near the top of my favorites list, it will be considered a disappointment, as I have absolutely adored all four of her most recent books. She can craft a story and set of characters in a way that few others can, and I admire her for this ability. Carrie Soto is Back continues Reid’s historical fiction universe of sorts, following the titular Carrie Soto, a former tennis player who is about to have her world record broken and decides to go out on the courts for one last season in order to take her title back.

I love this book because it discusses female ambition and how it is perceived differently for women versus when men exhibit the same behaviors. Carrie can come off as abrasive, grumpy, and arrogant, which are all qualities she shares with the men around her, yet only she gets the criticism for it. I only have a few more of Reid’s books to read before I’m fully caught up with her, so when I make the inevitable ranking list of her stories, don’t be surprised to see Carrie Soto is Back near the top of the list.

1. Anxious People – Fredrik Backman

There are very few authors that can rival Taylor Jenkins Reid for my top spot, but Fredrik Backman is certainly one of them. I love Bear Town, respect A Man Called Ove even if I don’t think that specific book was for me, and also enjoy his shorter fiction stories like The Deal of a Lifetime, but nothing even remotely compares to the love I have for Anxious People. This story speaks to me in a way that books typically don’t, with every character feeling like there is some aspect of their personality that resonates deeply with my own life.

Anxious People is a strange story to explain, because in the hands of any other author, I don’t think it would have worked. It follows a bank robber that has done an exceptionally bad job of robbing a bank and has somehow turned this straightforward theft into accidentally taking on hostages in an apartment being toured for a potential sale. Unfortunately for this bank robber, all of the people touring the apartment are equally strange in their own right, making them all terrible hostages, as well. What follows is a hilarious and emotional rollercoaster where the accidental hostage taker and hostages all bond and learn about each other. I don’t want to give anything away, so I would just say that it’s absolutely worth reading this book and I can’t wait to read the rest of Backman’s novels in the coming years.

That’s it for everything I read in 2022! Hopefully I can stick to doing some straightforward wrap-ups from month to month so I can do a normal best and worst list in 2023, as writing about everything all at once can feel a little overwhelming, both for me as the writer, and I’m sure for the reader, as well.

What books did you love and hate in 2022? Let me know in the comments below!

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