bts might be going to the military but hey at least i loved these books // ft. my faves of 2022

I don’t wanna talk about the first half of the title (cries) but the second half I’m more than ready for*! Today, I’m ranking my favorite reads of the year! I’m narrowing this down to a TOP TEN but I’ll put some of my runner-ups below!

* i like how i just call them halves even though they’re clearly not equal lmao. now you see why math and i have restraining orders against each other.


and before i count down the top 10, i wanted to acknowledge two books i absolutely adored this year but don’t necessarily want to pit against the others.

C.S. Lewis writes some amazing books. While The Great Divorce is technically fiction, it is fiction that follows much more along the lines of The Pilgrim’s Progress than Narnia. It’s more of an allegory than anything else. With that in mind, and the personal meaning both books have to me as a Christian, I didn’t want to rank them. However, both The Great Divorce and Mere Christianity were beyond excellent, and the latter stunned me in its frankly logical breakdown of Christianity.

now for the top 10! coming in hot at the bottom of the pack (but still good) we have gilded by Marissa Meyer!

THIS BOOK. I was so scared because even though it’s Marissa Meyer (aka on of my all-time favorite authors) I’ve read some not-great reviews of this one. However, I ended up really, really enjoying it. I couldn’t give it the full 5 stars because the romance completely missed and it was a little slow in the middle*. However, this truly felt like a dark fairytale. Serilda was a powerful female protagonist not because she was The Chosen One or because her sarcastic quips and immovable anger made her “special”. No, it was the power of storytelling and her own wit that allowed her to stand up to the Erlking and differentiated her from so many other female protagonists I’ve read this year. And the ending blew me away! Out of all the books I’ve read this year, I think this one might just stand out the most in terms of atmosphere, earning it a place on my top 10 list.

*ironically both of these downsides happened because of the other. the middle was slow because the romance needed to be developed and the romance didn’t quite work because the plot needed to do other things. it is somehow both funny and sad. ANYWAYS it’s still a favorite!

Gilded follows Serilda, a miller’s daughter who has a talent for telling stories. One night, she ends up saving some nymphs of the forest, but only by telling a lie to the Erlking (a spiritual ruler who comes to hunt in the human world once a month) that she can spin straw into gold. He takes her to his castle and it is there that she meets Gild, a boy trapped in the castle who can actually turn straw into gold. She begins to uncover secrets and curses about the castle, the Erlking, and the boy she might just be coming to love.

next up is number 9! we have the lovely fantasy night of the raven, dawn of the dove by rati mehrotra!

Night of the Raven, Dawn of the Dove by Rati Mehrotra is such a solid fantasy read. It has strong worldbuilding, Indian mythology, and shocking twists. It was An Ember in the Ashes meets politics and monsters. The romance was okay; it certainly could have used more development. But the characters were complex! The twists had me going:

Like I did not see half of the twists coming. I loved how we get to see our characters in a school setting, with relatively low stakes, and then something just snaps a third of the way through and the story is a suspenseful ride all the way to the end. 100% would recommend.

We follow Katyani, an assassin who is bonded to the Queen of Chandela ever since the royal family adopted her when she was a baby. Katyani ends up going with her adopted brothers to a school to train royal leaders and there they learn to defeat monsters, make ethical decisions, and of course, Katyani meets a rather obnoxious man who can’t stop talking about rules and yet…there’s something there. Of course, unexpected tragedy will strike and Katyani will be forced to reconcile lies and truths in a deadly setting.

number 8! my most surprising read of the year!

If you told me that I’d read a dystopian book about Black kids who work at the one safe place in the world, an amusement park utopia, until everything goes wrong…I’d be like WHAT. I’ve already been burned by one amusement park book this year*! However, this was an incredibly dark book, that dealt with so much social commentary and shocking circumstances. It’s reminiscent of Black Mirror (or so I hear, I ain’t ever seen it) as a seemingly perfect utopia starts to get torn apart. I can’t believe that this story doesn’t get the hype so many other thriller-horror hybrid books do! It’s a crime! Go buy this now!

*in case you missed my worst books of the year list…yeah, hide was pretty terrible. like ACTUALLY terrible.

We follow several Black characters: Jay most of the time, but also Zeke and Connie. We also follow Jay’s crush Seychelle, who is mixed-race and the technical heir to the great Karloff Country, aka an amusement park not unlike Disney World where everyone can escape the chaos of a slightly apocalyptic world for a little while.

but what happens when things start to go…wrong?

What happens when the thinly veiled racism and classism come out in full force? I don’t want to go into details but let’s just say that the oasis that is Karloff Country? Yeah, it’s only an oasis for some people. As Jay and his friends unravel mysteries and conspiracies and plots galore, they will be forced to reckon with terrors beyond imagination.

7 is a lucky number for this book: portrait of a thief by grace d. li!

Portrait of a Thief was quite literally the inspiration for my senior thesis. That’s how good it is. It’s full of art and repatriation and discussion of diaspora and heritage and ownership. I went into this having read reviews that said “don’t focus on the heists and you’ll enjoy it” and that’s what I did! And it worked, clearly, since this is on my favorites list despite having minimal heist time*. It truly affected me so deeply and made me rethink so much of my knowledge in terms of art and history.

*if you know me, you’ll know i love me a good heist. heist the sails! heist the strawberry torte! heist! heist! (no bc i must have gone insane)

A crew of college students plans heists to steal Chinese art back, all while diving into the world of art, repatriation, colonialism, and diaspora.

6 is easy to predict, since it’s in the name! we have the atlas six by olive blake!

LOOK DON’T GET ME WRONG. This book is a mess! The dialogue is unbelievably pretentious! The plot is harder to find than a kernel of popcorn in a circus! The worldbuilding is playing hide-and-seek and is stuck in hide*! And Parisa! However, all of that aside (especially Parisa, she’s getting Trunchbulled tossed from the playground) I genuinely loved this book. It’s just full of so many interesting characters with interesting powers, and every single relationship dynamic is fascinating to read about. On top of that, her endings always have twists I never see coming. Which…kinda makes sense considering I never see the plot coming too but I digress. Nicolibby better be the endgame ship or I am suing and fighting and rioting and-

*man I’m good at naming flaws of books i supposedly love

We follow six talented magicians who are invited to a top secret society to prepare for initiation to said society…except one of them will have to be eliminated.

5 is the second ever memoir to make my end-of-year list: I’m glad my mom died by jennette mccurdy!

I’m Glad My Mom Died is Jennette McCurdy’s memoir that came out in 2022 and completely took over the Internet. Listening to Jennette’s narration and her sarcastic delivery, especially the one moment her voice completely broke…it really hit me. This is told in a very sharp, brilliant way, and every short chapter was packed with emotions. Definitely a difficult read, but an eye-opening one for me.

4 is a debut! A YA fantasy debut! who knew? we have this vicious grace by emily thiede!

THIS BOOK. It had so much depth. The more I think about my standout fantasies of the year, the more this book comes to my mind. Alessa’s journey is such a powerful one, and I think it was the character relationships that really stood out in this story. The romance isn’t insta-love, and is rooted in more than just physical attraction. However, because of the way this story is laid out, any physical connection at all is a big deal. Everything from the Italian-inspired world to the intriguing plot to the fantastic characters made This Vicious Grace a top read of the year for me.

We follow a girl named Alessa, who is a Finestra charged with saving an entire continent from a swarm of demons that come every couple of decades. A Finestra is able to amplify the abilities of people called Fontes, who essentially have magical abilities. Unfortunately, Alessa keeps killing Fontes whenever she touches them. As time runs out to find her Fonte, she enlists the help of a very dark, brooding, grumpy bodyguard named Dante to protect her.

3 came in hot at the end of the year, and completely threw me! we have grown by tiffany d. jackson!

If I had to pick one new favorite author of the year, it would be Tiffany D. Jackson. I read Monday’s Not Coming, Grown, and Allegedly in 2022. They were all excellent but Grown was the one that hit me the hardest. It’s such a riveting, horrifying tale of grooming and abuse. Enchanted’s yearning to be recognized for her talent is something that is taken advantage of in a terrible way, and I think Jackson handled this difficult topic with so much grace and nuance while discussing grooming, isolation, abuse, and the blame society puts on young women who speak out while simultaneously blindingly defending men they look up to. I couldn’t stop listening, and I think the ending is an incredibly powerful conclusion to an incredibly powerful story.

Enchanted Jones has always wanted to sing professionally. When famous R&B artist Korey Fields sees her talent and draws her into his fold, she feels special. Beloved. Hopeful that this could be her big break. Until Enchanted wakes up next to Korey’s dead body with blood on her hands, and no memory of what happened the previous night. What happened to lead up to that fateful night, and did Enchanted Jones kill Korey Fields?

2 is a sequel, funnily enough! we have the ballad of never after by stephanie garber!

JACKS AND EVANGELINE HELLO?!?! The ending to this book had me screaming and sobbing and I think everyone who read this book before Stephanie announced that this was going to be at least a trilogy knows how I felt. Do I think it got a little repetitive? Sure. But the world is so magical! And the trope of “she’s in danger and he’s gonna save her” is one of my absolute favorites*! I’m not sure if I liked it better than Once Upon A Broken Heart, but hopefully a reread will fix that.

In Book 1, we follow Evangeline Fox who, after making a deal with the Prince of Hearts, finds herself in unexpected circumstances. She ends up traveling to the Magnificent North, where she gets swept up into magic and mayhem and another possible scheme of the Prince of Hearts. Can you read this before reading Caraval? Technically yes, but I’d recommend at least trying Caraval first because this series spoils it!

and my official favorite book of the year is…cue drumroll

All My Rage. A three word title, a 384 page book, and a ten-year masterpiece. This story blew me away. It felt so personal, I get chills just thinking about little details. The sheer breadth and depth of emotions this little book dares to cover ought to be illegal, it ought to never work. And yet, Sabaa Tahir created a story that tackles so many topics across so many emotional levels that to begin to discuss them would take another 1000 words at the very least. I cannot describe the impact this book had on me with a short paragraph nor a long essay. Maybe a thesis but I’m never writing those for fun so this is going to have to do. Truly, I think that this book deserves all of the awards and more.

All My Rage follows Salahadin, a boy with a sick mother, an alcoholic father, and a dying motel in a desert. We also follow Noor, a girl who lives with her uncle who doesn’t want her to recognize any part of her Pakistani heritage and certainly doesn’t want her to go to college. Together, they have to navigate the complexities of their lives and face the consequences of their actions. And in several journal entries scattered throughout, we have the perspective of Misbah, Salahudin’s mother, as she meets Sal’s father in Pakistan and falls in love.

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20 thoughts on “bts might be going to the military but hey at least i loved these books // ft. my faves of 2022

  1. You have some great books here. I also loved The Great Divorce. It remains one of my favorites. I haven’t read the Jennette McCurdy book yet, but I bought it for my daughter for Christmas, and once she’s done with it, I get to read it, lol.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great list of books! I haven’t read all of them though. 😂 I would say that Belladonna would probably be my number 2 for 2022. I only had 19 5 star reads and half were mangas though. 😅

    Liked by 1 person

  3. GREAT LIST! A couple of my favourites made it as your runner ups but I’ve got ALL of the books on your faves list on my TBR and I’m sad that I didn’t end up reading some of these in 2022 cos I said I would but here’s hoping that they get read in 2023! I hope you have an awesome year ahead, Kaya!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What a tragedy that I have only read one book (the atlas six, and yes there is valid critism but we don’t care 🤭😆), but if I didn’t want to read the other books before, I DO NOW!!
    I haven’t read any of Tiffany D Jackson’s books. I am sceptical of thrillers but she is an author I would give a shot. Grown sounds like a different but impactful story.
    I have said this before but I *need* to read All My Rage and Night of the Raven, Dawn of the Dove… Oohh and Portrait of a Thief. Okay, wow I need to get reading!!
    I absolutely loved this post, your writing voice is ah-mazing 😍
    Have a great new year 💜

    Liked by 1 person

    1. the atlas six might not be objectively good but…it’s so good😭😂
      omg i’d definitely recommend tiffany d jackson’s books! they’re not 100% thrillers, they often just read like contemporary fiction but with difficult topics.
      thank you so so much sophie, that means so much to me!! i hope you enjoy all of your reads in 2023💜💜

      Liked by 1 person

  5. PORTRAIT OF A THIEF!! It was such an amazing read ahhh even though the heists weren’t the best, the rest of it was fantastic!
    All my rage was truly wonderful I am never EVER getting over it.
    Loved this so much ! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Omg I can’t believe I’ve only read one book from your top ten 🙈 although Gilded would definitely be in mine as well. And the only reason I haven’t read This Vicious Grace yet is because I’m still hoping I’ll manage to get a copy with the American cover. Although I doubt it 😪 I’m hoping to start Once Upon A Broken Heart tonight or possibly tomorrow. And i would love to read All My Rage at some point this year but really want to read the Ember Quartet first. Which atm I plan to read after two other series. It looks like you read some truly fantastic books last year. I definitely hope to read some of Tiffany Jacksons this year as I have so many on my tbr and don’t quite know how I’ve picked up none of them yet. I hope 2023 brings even more favourites your way.


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