Hi y’all. Today is my 22nd birthday, so I thought what better way to celebrate it than by launching my book blog. I want to recommend 22 books out of the 93 that I’ve read so far this year. It was hard to narrow down the list because I’ve read so many great books, but I think anyone reading this will be able to find at least one book that is their perfect match. I’ve included why I like them, who I’d recommend them for, links to non-spoiler reviews I’ve done, and where you can read the synopsis of the books and buy them. Also if you click the book covers you’ll be directed to the author’s website.
And I’d love to see your comments down below on whether any of these piqued your interest or which ones you’ve already read. I can’t wait to read your thoughts and thank you for spending this special day reading mine. I hope you enjoy!
1. Hollywood Park by Mikel Jollett
A captivating memoir about Jollett’s journey to finding his identity through music and his experience growing up surrounded by poverty and addiction after his family escapes a cult. The themes that shine through the most in this book revolve around how we love in the midst of bad times, how our passions can help us on the road to finding and understanding our identities, and how rewarding breaking generational cycles can be. I don’t usually read memoirs, but I loved this one because it’s told in a linear timeline and it easily drew me in as it felt like each chapter was its own story.
2. All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood
If you want to read a book that challenges your morals and sticks with you long after reading it, then I highly recommend this one. It’ll have you questioning the gray areas of love and consent and how much age plays a factor in both. It’s a love story about a girl and her father’s friend that is far from what it seems or should be. The story is captivating and the characters are so well written you’ll have to remind yourself the book is fiction.
3. The Guest List by Lucy Foley
This is a slow-burn thriller, but it is so worth it because when things start really popping off you’re already completely hooked. There’s a lot of twists and you’re never sure who is going to be killed and who’s going to be doing the killing. It has multiple perspectives so you really get into the minds of the different guests, and all their backstories really help build the suspense. I recommend this if you love weddings gone wrong, thrillers, whodunits, and general creepiness.
4. One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus
Five teens in detention. Only four come out alive. Who was responsible? This is a top-notch mystery if you like not being able to solve them until almost the end of the book. There was a lot of suspense and the more you learn information the more you want to reread parts of the book to see how you could have missed it initially. If you like YA thrillers, gossip, and solving crime, then this is the book for you. There’s also an equally interesting sequel, so it’s also perfect for people who like series.
5. The Best Lies by Sarah Lyu
Lyu masterfully writes about the dangers of trauma bonding through the relationship between two teenage girls, Remy and Elise. The book drops you off in the aftermath of Elise killing Remy’s boyfriend and puts the pieces together while taking you through alternating timelines of the present and the past. I highly recommend this book if you’re interested in thrillers, toxic relationships, unreliable narrators, and the power of friendships.
6. When We Vanished by Alanna Peterson
This book takes you on a journey into the dangers of the food industry through the eyes of four youth. The book jumps into action quickly, and Peterson does a great job of attaching you to all the characters. Love and family were the cords tying the protagonists together which also heightened the consequences of their actions because anything one person did could unintentionally affect the others. I’d recommend this if you’re interested in the food industry, corporations, and food justice or if you just want to read an amazing YA thriller with endearing characters.
7. Opposite of Always by Justin A. Reynolds
If you’re interested in concepts like the butterfly effect, parallel universes, time travel, and righting your wrongs, then this book will hook you. It’s an enjoyable read, and it’s interesting to see how Jack’s priorities change with every chance he gets to save Kate’s life. Except her life isn’t the only one being affected every time he goes back into the past. Also I loved that both of the protagonists are Black.
8. Ecosystem by Joshua David Bellin
This book reintroduced me to the fantasy/sci-fi genre, and I fell in love. It’s set in a world where nature fights back against humans, so I feel it’s very relevant to today while also showing a possible future we could face. The female characters are strongly written, and Sarah is an amazing protagonist who you easily root for. The emotional roller coaster this book takes you on is well worth it, and the rest of the series does not disappoint at all. I’d recommend this book if you’re interested in adventures, deception, nature, and the fragility of society.
9. The Atlantis Bloodline by C.A. Gray
If you enjoy mythology, Atlantis, rock stars, or secret societies, then this fantasy romance is for you. It’s action packed and will have you wanting to rent a boat in search of Atlantis (okay maybe that’s just me). The friendships, especially between the women, were so heartfelt, and the lore was so layered in this that the plot was so unpredictable. It was so easy to get lost in this book for a couple hours and not want to leave its world.
10. Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
If you want to read about an alternate timeline in which a woman became president and the first son of the United States falls in love with the Prince of Wales, then I suggest you read this immediately. It’s my favorite read so far this year as it’s humorous, heartwarming, and emotional all wrapped in one gloriously queer romance. You’ll be inspired by the love and bravery in these pages while also trying to get in contact with Meghan Markle to ask for tips on how to land a prince.
11. To Have and To Hoax by Martha Waters
This book will have you frustrated one second and then crying from laughter the next. The main couple is absolutely crazy and the banter between them is so witty and fun to read. If you’ve ever had a moment where you were stubborn and took things to far, you’ll relate to this couple’s maddening obsession to con the other. This is the book for you if you want to read a unique, funny regency romance.
12. Well Met by Jen DeLuca
Bringing you another hilarious romance, but this one is set at a Renaissance Faire. DeLuca wrote such rich protagonists with their own motivations and struggles that impacted their relationships with all the other characters. If you like a good enemies to lovers story filled with banter and well developed characters, then this book will have you never wanting to put it down. And if pirates, wenches, and a good turkey leg are your thing, you’ll enjoy the setting.
13. Beach Read by Emily Henry
This book is amazing but be warned it is not a light beach read. The main characters both have heavy pasts that they’re dealing with, but the bet they make to write in the other’s genre and get published brings some lightheartedness and shows the great lengths authors go to when trying to craft a perfect book. There were a lot of pearls of wisdom in this book about relationships and family, so I recommend this if you like to read more realistic romances.
14. Just One Day by Gayle Forman
This is one of my favorite series that I’ve read this year. You get to experience Paris for a day along with Lulu who usually doesn’t break the mold but takes a chance by traveling there with Willem, a traveling actor she just met. It has love, a betrayal, and some soul searching as Lulu tries to track Willem down a year after he left her in Paris. If you like Shakespeare, you’ll really enjoy this one.
15. The Rest of the Story by Sarah Dessen
I read 13 of Sarah Dessen’s books this year and her most recent has to be one of my favorites. It’s about feeling like you’re split between two identities and wanting to become whole. About finding a part of yourself you didn’t know existed. About life on a lake. About a love that could destroy a family. About finding family you didn’t know you were missing. About the bravery of one girl to decide her fate. It’s fun. It’s emotional. It’s heartwarming. It’s heartbreaking. Overall, just a great read.
16. When the Stars Lead to You by Ronni Davis
This book was everything. The characters (a biracial protagonist). The emotions. The ending. All perfection. May is Mental Health Awareness month and this book touches on some heavy themes, but I highly recommend it if you’re interested in a YA book about mental health, first love, overcoming discrimination, and making hard decisions.
17. I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson
This was a beautifully crafted book. The characters were so flawed but real, and it never stopped being suspenseful. There were a lot of emotions in this one, and it made feel like I could change and remake the world. I’d recommend this one if you like books about artists, survivor’s guilt, tense family dynamics, and finding one’s identity.
18. When We Collided by Emery Lord
I really like Emery Lord’s writing, but this one hit me harder than her other books. My tweets about this book show that I was crying so hard at the end of the book that I couldn’t see the words anymore. I think that’s good indication that this book might emotionally destroy you. I like how little information this book gives you at first and doesn’t really tell you a lot about Vivi until towards the end. All you know is that Vivi and Daniel are just what the other needs until they’re not.
19. Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett
I love enemies to lovers stories, but this one was even more interesting because Zorie and Lennon had been friends in the past. This book is great for people who like when characters are really knowledgeable about something (astronomy and camping) and like seeing characters being forced to rely on each other and work through their relationship.
20. Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley
Books set in bookstores have an extra flavor to them that I eat up. I enjoyed this book so much. The main characters are running off of assumptions about what they think has happened instead of taking the time to actually talk to the other and find out the truth. There’s so many layers in this story, and the author writes about grief and loss so well. Also the element of the bookstore having a collection of books where people can write notes and exchange letters with each other was so unique. This book is a great reminder that using your voice is powerful. That words themselves are powerful.
21. More Than We Can Tell by Brigid Kemmerer
This is a favorite of mine because I loved the story and Kemmerer’s writing. I read this without reading the first book so it can be a standalone, but I definitely want to read the first to get to know the other characters more. This book had a lot of action and some really suspenseful scenes. It has two teens trying to overcome childhood trauma, deal with online harassment, escape their current situations but also a relationship that connects them and gives them the courage and hope to face everything in their life.
22. Every Other Weekend by Abigail Johnson
I liked the unpredictability in this book. The main characters gravitate towards each other as both of their lives are falling apart, but I loved the dichotomy when one of their lives improves and the other’s doesn’t. It strains the relationship and adds more tension to their living situations. I recommend this if you like reading stories about broken families, film buffs, and young love.
You can check these links out if you want to learn more about me or contact me. I also made a bingo card for my book recommendations that you can save and share on social media. Thanks again for reading! And stay tuned this week for an interview I have with the author of When We Vanished.