We know that the year is not even halfway done but, we wanted to start our list of the best books of 2022. This year has given us so many unbelievable reads (and listens) that we could not wait to share them with you.
What are the best books of 2022? Celebrity book clubs have really had some remarkable picks and some of the mysteries were very appealing. You’ll also find some amazing stories that ended up on the Ultimate List of Beach Reads 2022. Check out our list below and see if your favorites are included.
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Best Celebrity Book Club Picks of 2022
May 2022 Read with Jenna Book Club Pick
I haven’t read a novel with as much heart as this one in quite some time.
Elderly, recently widowed Tova loves her job cleaning the aquarium in town in the quiet of the night, especially because of her fondness for Marcellus, the octopus. She finds solace in the aquarium as it makes her feel closer to her son, Erik – a marine life lover – who disappeared on a boat when he was 18.
But when she hurts herself and is unable to return to work at full capacity, she grows close with her replacement, Cameron, a young man newly arrived in town looking for his birth mother.
Meanwhile, Marcellus knows what really happened to Erik and he wants to help Tova find the closure she needs. His narration is interspersed with Tova and Cameron’s for a story that is compelling, heartwarming, and utterly unique.
I will be shoving this book into the hands of everyone who asks for a book recommendation. I’m not exaggerating when I say it’s my favorite book of the year so far.
A Read With Jenna Pick for February 2022
I absolutely loved this book which is a story about love, family, and acceptance. It captured me from the first page with the story and the writing.
When Eleanor Bennett dies, she leaves a voice recording for her two children Benny and Byron. She wants to tell them things about her life that she could not say when she was alive.
While listening to their mother’s story, Byron and Benny learn about their mother, their family, and about themselves. They try to piece their relationship back together. The novel looks at everyone’s life in the present and in the past.
Molly works as a maid in a grand hotel and gets joy from leaving things orderly and pristine. Molly struggles with reading social cues and has had even more trouble since her gran can no longer help.
When Molly finds a dead body in a room at the hotel, she becomes a prime suspect and will need all her friends to help her.
I loved the description of this book and I hoped it would live up to my expectations. I did that and more. I loved every minute of this book and closed the last page smiling.
June 2022 Read with Jenna Book Club Pick
Well, this story is a doozy. It’s a book club book worth discussing with friends, which makes sense because the heart of the story is female friendships.
Malak, Kees, and Jenna have been besties since childhood, but this story focuses on their young adulthood and their respective romantic relationships.
There is so much meat in this story to discuss – the expectations put on Muslim women, the difficulty of having (or hiding) a non-muslim partner, the call to leave Europe, and the balance of cultural traditions verse modern life. I can’t recommend this story enough. It’s one of the best books of 2022 for sure.
Best Historical Fiction Books of 2022
I adored this mystery set during the 11 days of Agatha Christie’s disappearance. It’s told from the perspective of Christie’s husband’s mistress and it is utterly absorbing.
There are layers of mystery throughout, with a side of love story. I never felt I would be able to sympathize with a mistress but I was cheering for her by the end. If you love a good mystery, this is a must-read.
I loved this book set in a bookstore! Taking place just after WWII, the women of Bloomsbury Books are struggling to make their own way in the changing world.
We get to see alternating narrators, one of which was in Jenner’s first book, The Jane Austen Society. Each of the 3 females in the story are striving for their dreams and interacting with some of the most famous literary figures of their day!
I squealed with delight when Daphne Du Maurier appeared on the page, but you’ll see Peggy Guggenheim, Ellen Doubleday, and more scattered throughout this charming tale.
I’ve been reading WWI books non-stop because I’m fascinated by the way modern warfare met traditional tactics in the Great War. I’m particularly interested in the role women played in helping the Allies.
Chiaverini brought the Switchboard soldiers (the women who operated the telephone lines) to life in the most interesting way. I loved their bonds of sisterhood, how they stayed cool under pressure, and learning just how crucial they were to the war effort.
If you are looking for book club books, this historical fiction is a perfect choice. It is also a perfect choice for our list of books like Lessons in Chemistry.
Best Sci-Fi Books of 2022
Is there anything author Bianca Marais can’t do? This amazing sci-fi packs everything into a short story without the story feeling rushed. Yet, we get a full cast of characters with histories, a glimpse at a future, and a story that doesn’t stop for one minute.
Somehow I’m in this imperfect perfect world, there is still something to fight for. Each viable human ( Viper for short) must face a jury who will decide on their right to live. That jury is comprised of the lives that will be directly affected if that person is allowed to be born. What an amazing idea for a story. I loved it.
Logan Ramsey works for the Gene Protection Agency, a part of the government dedicated to ensuring genes are not being manipulated after the “Great Starvation”.
When Logan is caught in an explosion, it seems like there is nothing wrong at first. Then, he begins to notice the changes. He is smarter, stronger, faster, better, and multitasking. In short, his genes have been hacked and he has been upgraded.
It is not a coincidence that Logan was chosen. His family has a horrible legacy and now, he is the only one that can stop the plan that will change humanity forever.
I have loved all of Couch’s books and this one did not disappoint. I could not stop reading this book that has non-stop action and really makes you think!
July 2022 Read With Jenna Book Club Pick
This is one of the most unique books I’ve ever read. One day everyone over the age of 22 wakes up to find a string on their doorstep. It’s soon clear that the length of one’s string determines the length of their life.
Soon short stringers are being discriminated against around the globe which begs the question – what is the true measure of a valuable life? This would be a fabulous book club book. There is so much to talk about and you will love this pick from summer reads 2023! Don’t let the fact that this is a sci-fi book deter you if it is not your usual genre.
Best Fantasy of 2022
I am a huge fan of Ms. Marais’ writing. I read her previous two books and was so excited to read this one because fantasy is my favorite genre. This book did not disappoint. The writing is beautiful and very much Marais’ style and the witches in this book are hilarious. They are witty and funny and there is never a dull moment in the Manor.
The magic in this book is woven seamlessly into the story that has non-stop surprises. The book begins with the people of the town descending onto the manor with a wrecking ball to destroy it and the distillery and leave the witches homeless. They are left with less than two weeks to save their house but in order to do so, they must reveal long-kept secrets.
I do not want to give anything away. This book made me laugh out loud often and shed a few tears as well. I absolutely loved it and it is a definite must-read.
Everyone told me to go into this story blind and I’m so very glad I did. The story was completely unique and because I didn’t know much, I was shocked at the various twists and turns.
Adam Hamdy is truly a gifted storyteller. I was swept away by David’s telling of why he was separated from his son, Elliot. The mystery unfolded in a way that had me utterly captivated. We do not want to ruin any part of this pick from summer reads 2023 by telling you too much.
Best Mysteries and Thrillers of 2022
Buckle up for a stunning story in Lisa Barr’s newest book, Woman on Fire. Jules, an ambitious investigative journalist, is working on a story about a piece of art that was stolen by the Nazis during WWII.
But she’s not the only one looking to track down Woman on Fire. Margaux, a gallerist and art thief, also wants to get her hands on the painting.
As we learn the origins of the painting and the many hands it switched to over the years, we also discover the dark underbelly of the art world.
I was ENTHRALLED. I’ll be putting this on every must-read list we do this year. It was thrilling and informative. Buy it now, thank me later.
I was utterly charmed by this unique murder mystery! The premise is great – a detective duo has been given a stack of correspondence (text and emails) and asked to read through and determine who was murdered, why, and who was wrongly accused.
Of course we readers get to come along for the ride – reading their post-it notes or texts to each other as they try to solve the mystery. I was desperately trying to solve it along with them but I was stumped!
The ending was truly shocking and the many twists and turns had me flying through the story. I read part of it and listened to part. Both formats make for a wonderful experience! This is one I’ll be recommending for years to come!
This might just be the best thriller of 2022. I was on the edge of my seat as Steadman expertly guided me through the twisted games of the Holbeck family. This NYC society clan may seem like an untouchable, elite group with everything, but inside their homes, dark and dangerous things are at play.
I loved watching Harry interact with her fiancé, Edward’s family for the first time. Seeing the Holbecks through her eyes was the perfect way to approach the story.
I couldn’t listen to this domestic thriller fast enough as each game unfolded, ending on a bloody Christmas Eve. If you read only one thriller book this year, let this be it! We cannot recommend this pick from ultimate beach reads 2023 more!
I have to say that I love every single Louise Penny book more than the last. I LOVED this book so much.
This story moves back and forth between the present and the past as the chief inspector confronts his past demons. A young woman and her brother whose mother was murdered find themselves in three pines. This is the case that brought Gamache and Beauvoir together and the memory is haunting for everyone.
I loved seeing the relationship between the two men from its difficult beginning. It made me love Gamache and Beauvoir even more. If you love Louise Penny, this newest mystery will not disappoint
Best Contemporary Fiction of 2022
I have to say that I think this feel-good book was my favorite pick of 2022. The writing, the characters, and the storyline are all outstanding and I loved every minute of this book. If you are looking for books about friendship, this one will make your heart sing.
Iona Iverson has rules for commuting on the train and they start with never talking to anyone. When a businessman starts choking on a grape, this all changes. As the characters get to know one another, we see them all change, evolve and develop friendships. This feel-good book is heartwarming and delightful in every single way and we knew we needed to include it in our best summer reads 2023 post.
Rachel Kapelke Dale does it again with her newest novel, The Ingenue, featuring a musical prodigy who has fallen from grace.
Back home to deal with the recent death of her mother, Saskia is expecting to inherit the famed Elf House that she grew up in. But when her mother’s will stipulates Saskia’s former lover is the recipient, Saskia goes in search of answers – unlocking the trauma of her past in the process.
Sprinkled throughout with vignettes of feminist retellings of fairytales, this searing story explores the mother-daughter relationship and examines the dark truth behind sexual predators. I was transfixed by her writing and rooting for Saskia to slay her demons like a true fairytale heroine. This heart-thumping book about music was a best book of 2022 pick for me.
In my eyes, Fredrik Backman can do no wrong. I love his writing and I love his books. Let me start by saying that I do not love hockey. You do not need to like hockey to read this trilogy. It will tear your heart out with its beauty and raw emotion.
In this epic conclusion to the Beartown trilogy, it is two years later. The peace the characters find at the end of the last book is short-lived.
The book starts with a storm which is the perfect way to foreshadow the upheaval of the lives of everyone in this book. There is a little bit of everything in this book from corruption and pain to rape and abuse (content warning). It is a conclusion worth waiting for.
I want to scream from the rooftops about this family drama contemporary fiction set over the course of the lives of the Oppenheimer family. The Oppenheimer triplets have been averse to each other since they were born. On the brink of escaping to the freedom of college, their parents decide to have a fourth child.
Soon secrets are unraveling, choices are called into question, and sibling rivalry reaches a crescendo. This character-driven story is truly marvelous. Perfect for fans of Ann Patchett, Clare Lombardo, and family saga books.
This is the story of Sara Glikman who in 1910, as a young child, was able to see the glow between her sister and the man who would become her husband. She very quietly arranged their match and many more for years.
Her granddaughter Abby is a divorce attorney who represents some of the biggest divorces in the city. When Sara dies, leaves Abby all of her diaries.
I loved this unexpected book. It is so unique and a pleasure to read. The story is such a wonderful feel-good book and we needed to recommend if for our summer reads 2023 post.
For more contemporary fiction books like these, check out our ultimate list for dozens of recommendations.
Best Feel-Good Books of 2022
The mayor of the Italian town needs money to repair the town’s pipes, so he hatches a plot to drum up business in town by saying a famous movie star is coming to make a movie.
The next thing he knows, he’s having to make an actual movie staring the locals with no experience and the craziest script while keeping up the ruse that the celebrity is coming.
I laughed so hard at scenes in this comedic feel-good read that I woke up my sleeping husband. It was a charming tale and the perfect vacation read.
This charming contemporary fiction story is about a 65-year-old British postman being forced to retire. As he takes stock of his life, he realizes he is lonely and he doesn’t want to be in the closet anymore.
As she sets about changing his life for the better, we are privy to flashbacks of his strict childhood. You’ll be rooting for Albert the same way you rooted for Ove. It’s such a wonderful feel-good book. You can find more books like this in our list of Books Like a Man Called Ove.
Best Romances of 2022
If you only read one Christmas book this holiday season, let it be Just Like Magic. I adored this funny paranormal romance book and it is one of the best holiday books ever! The premise is amazing. Down-on-her-luck Bettie Hughes accidentally summons the magical Holiday Spirit, who can’t leave her until he raises her spirit level.
So going by the name of Hal, he poses as her boyfriend for her week-long family Christmas vacation. His use of magic throughout the week is hysterical. It also helps that the chemistry between Hal and Bettie crackles. It’s unlike any other Christmas story I’ve read in the best way possible! If you are looking for reverse grumpy sunshine books, this should be at the top of your list. Gifted by Putnam
Rowan has a Ph. D in botany and is suffering from a setback in her research. She decides to take a position to help restore a winery vineyard until she is able to resume her research and start a post-doc position. She has her two best friends and that is all she needs after an emotionally abusive mother and a similar ex-fiance.
She does not expect to meet Harrison, an OB who has issues of his own. This is such a well-written romance and I loved seeing these two characters overcome heartache and distrust. This is a fun one that is also on our list of fiction books about wine and is such a great pick from ultimate beach reads 2023.
I absolutely adored this charming second-chance romance set at a lake house. It was one of the most popular books on Instagram this summer and for good reason.
Sam is the teenage boy we all needed in our lives growing up, and he gets better with age! Meanwhile, I was rooting for Percy to get her happily ever after with Sam the whole time. I was swept away by their summer love story and you will be too!
This is a must-read if you are looking for the best summer reads for 2023.
Best Non-Fiction Book of 2022
September 2022 Read with Jenna Book Club Pick
I was blown away by Javier Zamora’s memoir about his solo journey to America. At just 9-years-old, he traversed 3,000 miles, to reunite with his parents in America.
While his grandpa accompanies him for the beginning of his journey, they soon have to part ways and he is left in the care of the adults traveling with him on his journey.
This book about immigration is one that is seared into my memory. I was so grateful for the mother on the journey that took him in as her own. Frustrated, sorrowful, and ultimately joy were all emotions I felt while reading this book. Its a best book of 2022 pick for me for sure.