14 Authors Share the Best Books They Read in 2022

A torso covered in a white knit sweater holding open a book

Best Of season is here again! The beauty of these lists is that each is entirely personal and unique, meaning it’s a great time of year to pick up book recommendations. Earlier this month, we shared the NetGalley team’s favorite books of the year. Now, 14 authors each share one of the best books they read in 2022!

Portrait of a Thief by Grace D. Li

“Grace D. Li’s Portrait of a Thief explores both the power of reclamation and the question of identity when you are a child of the diaspora. Li masterfully probes the importance of who gets to own cultural pieces when they’ve been ripped from their native country. What follows is a fantastic heist with compelling characters struggling with their own shadows. Li answers the question of what would happen if you steal back what you think is yours and the dire consequences that ensue.” —Roselle Lim, author of Sophie Go’s Lonely Hearts Club 

The Honeys by Ryan La Sala

“There were so many amazing books that came out in 2022! About a month ago, I read The Honeys by Ryan La Sala and it blew me away. I was intrigued by the synopsis and touched by the author’s reason for writing it (he started this book after he’d lost his sister in 2018), not to mention the cover is stunning. But I did not get what I expected—in a good way!!—and I was hooked until the very last, twisted page.” —Charlene Thomas, author of Seton Girls

Sinister Graves by Marcie R. Rendon

“I loved Marcie R. Rendon’s main character, Cash Blackbear, in her new novel, Sinister Graves, which is the third and latest in a series. Rendon charms readers with an unbendable main character and an absorbing plotline. Cash Blackbear is an Ojibwe woman with a powerful and unique talent. When she’s pulled into the mystery of murdered and missing girls, Cash must use her talents to unearth a dark and chilling truth. I can’t wait to follow Cash through her future adventures.” —Oscar Hokeah, author of Calling for a Blanket Dance

Wahala by Nikki May

“The word wahala means ‘trouble’ in Nigeria, and it’s the perfect title for Nikki May’s brilliantly original, bitingly funny debut novel. This is the story of three friends in London, whose lives are thrown into turmoil with the arrival of a glamorous woman from their past. Written with the pacing of a thriller, it’s a sharp, explosive and at times shocking tale of friendship, race and love. Wahala is utterly addictive and easily one of my most memorable reads of 2022.” —Freya Sampson, author of The Lost Ticket

They Come at Knight by Yasmin Angoe

“Yasmin Angoe’s They Come at Knight is the second installment in her incredible Nena Knight series, which follows an elite female assassin working for the Tribe, an African business syndicate. This book is as cerebral and emotionally gripping as it is action-packed and viscerally satisfying, perfect for fans of thriller movies like Atomic Blonde, The Woman King, or Salt, where women are the stars: flawed but lovable, master strategists, and every bit as ass-kicking as their male counterparts. Reading Angoe’s prose gives me goosebumps; this series absolutely sings.” —Ashley Winstead, author of The Last Housewife

Hell Followed with Us by Andrew Joseph White

Hell Followed With Us is a story that follows trans teen Benji in a post-apocalyptic America, where the apocalypse was actually brought about by the cult of evangelical Christians that raised him. There’s body horror and gore and a truthful reckoning of what it’s like to have grown up in an oppressive religious environment as a queer person—everything I needed to explain to my therapist why I’m like this. It’s an absolute need for anyone with religious trauma and a desire to see a better tomorrow.” —Vincent Tirado, author of Burn Down, Rise Up

The Maid by Nita Prose

“I was delighted by The Maid. Molly Gray isn’t like anyone else and she’s just fine with that. She’s created an orderly life for herself as a maid at the Regency Grand Hotel. She loves cleaning and wearing the crisp uniform until the day she discovers the wealthy Charles Black dead in his hotel room bed. Molly must help solve the crime and she does, with humor and heart. Hurry and read it before the movie releases. Molly will steal your heart.” —Kaira Rouda, author of The Widow

To Catch a Raven by Beverly Jenkins

“My standout read this year is To Catch a Raven by Beverly Jenkins. Jenkins never fails to deliver a great story wrapped in eye-opening history and scads of sensuous romance. This book had all that and more. The heroine, Raven Moreaux, is a seasoned member of a family of grifters. When she’s blackmailed into an undercover job by a dastardly Pinkerton agent, she’s forced to work with the uptight son of her mother’s old paramour, and the sparks are just what you’d expect when the opposites of straightlaced and scandalous butt heads. Oh, and the job? Retrieve a purloined signed original of the Declaration of Independence. Talk about a story!” —Lisa Rayne, author of Never Cross a Highlander

The Hacienda by Isabel Cañas

“Ever since 2020, I’ve been foaming at the mouth for something to satisfy my craving for more books like Mexican Gothic. Along comes Isabel Cañas and The Hacienda—a perfect story that, to me, feels like a modern-day Fall of the House of Usher meets Crimson Peak. Combined with marginalized representation, beautiful prose, and the hallmark traits of a powerful horror story that takes social commentary and gives it a “big bad” face for us to conquer, this book should be the next adaptation in the canon of The Haunting of Hill House, The Haunting of Bly Manor, and Midnight Mass. I’m so excited to see what Cañas does next, and how she’ll keep me up way past my bedtime.” —Kosoko Jackson, author of A Dash of Salt and Pepper

Salt and Sugar by Rebecca Carvalho, narrated by Imani Jade Powers

The quickest way to my reader-heart is through my stomach, so it’s no shock that I adored the delectable-in-all-the-ways Salt and Sugar by Rebecca Carvalho. This book has it all: enemies to lovers, beautiful handling of grief, and—of course—food. I was lucky enough to read this one early, but have since listened to the audiobook and can’t recommend it highly enough!” —Ashley Schumacher, author of The Renaissance of Gwen Hathaway

The Last Housewife by Ashley Winstead

The Last Housewife by Ashley Winstead is one of those books that will stay with you long after you’ve turned the last page. Not only is Winstead’s prose stunning as she elegantly weaves in discussions of women’s roles in this ‘modern’ world, bodily autonomy, and who really holds agency, but she also expertly builds a suspenseful mystery that will have you holding your breath and racing to the end. It is both poignant and evocative and I find myself still thinking about it even though it’s been months since I’ve read it.” —Amanda Jayatissa, author of You’re Invited

The Soviet Sisters by Anika Scott

“A favorite from 2022 was Anika Scott’s The Soviet Sisters, a historical Cold War thriller about two sisters with very different ideals in post-World War II Soviet Russia. The story alternates between Marya in 1947 Berlin, where the sisters are working and spying, to Vera nine years later in Moscow, investigating the events in Berlin that led to her sister’s imprisonment in Siberia. Scott cleverly tests the bonds of sisterly love, friendship, and loyalty by taking apart the sisters’ relationship and piecing it back together in an emotionally compelling, breathtaking conclusion. A thrilling ride of a novel which I can’t recommend enough!” —Olesya Salnikova Gilmore, author of The Witch and the Tsar

The Getaway by Lamar Giles

“Set in a world-famous theme park during an apocalypse of sorts, The Getaway by Lamar Giles is an incredible roller coaster ride from beginning to end. Jay and his crew unravel the mystery of their missing friend, all the while providing top-notch service to the wealthy who flock there. The voice, layered themes, and tight plot kept me reading late into the night. With heart, it delves into how much one’s willing to endure in order to be ‘safe’ at the end of the world and when it’s time to stand up and fight. Don’t miss this one!” —Trang Thanh Tran, author of She Is A Haunting

Anywhere You Run by Wanda M. Morris

“Wanda M. Morris’ second novel, Anywhere You Run, was my gut-punch read of the year. Two sisters living in the Jim Crow South are both running from their past and into uncertain futures. Race, family, murder, betrayal, love, and hope can be found in this firecracker of a mystery. I held my breath as I flew through this story and found myself hoping for the best for these two heroines—and that ‘the best’ would be two Black women winning their right to simply live and love on their terms.” —Rachel Howzell Hall, author of We Lie Here

What was your favorite book of the year?

Kelly Gallucci

Kelly Gallucci is the Executive Editor of We Are Bookish, where she oversees the editorial content, offers book recommendations, and interviews authors and NetGalley members. When she's not working, Kelly can be found color coordinating her bookshelves, eating Chipotle, and watching way too many baking shows.

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