Welcome to the Cup of Tea’s Best Books of the Year, where I list the best of the best books I read this year.
With the beginning of the new year, it is fitting to say the best Teen/Young Adult titles of 2022. Unfortunately, I didn’t read as many YA titles as I would have liked to last year. Hopefully, I will try to remedy that in my reading year of 2023. As a YA librarian, I should read many teen/young adult books, but for those who know me very well, I am very picky about YA books. So when I choose YA titles and say they are my favorites of the year, that is a true honor. And in 2022, although I didn’t read many YA titles, I managed to read impactful and thought-provoking books. That all readers will enjoy. So just like last year, I encountered emotional and impactful books that will stay with me always. So if you are looking for titles to start your 2023 reading year, you can’t go wrong with the following:
Monsters Born and Made by Tanvi Berwah
I didn’t like The Hunger Games and although this novel was inspired by it, I found Monsters Born and Made to be so much better, more compelling, more riveting and have a main character that I wanted to root for from beginning to end. Berwah doesn’t write a dystopian tale but a story that is jampacked with so many relatable themes that any reader of this novel will have a connection with. I can’t for the next book!
Five Survive by Holly Jackson
I was completely spent after reading this one! 😳 I didn’t think Jackson could top herself after “A Good Girl’s Guide To Murder” series, but once again, Jackson has enthralled us with a haunting thriller that I had a hard time putting down! What I love about Jackson’s books is that her mysteries are realistic and have teens deal with real-life repercussions and never sugarcoat anything for them.
Jackson has a winning book here and is a must-read! All I know is that I won’t look at RVs the same again (let alone go into one 😅)
Only On The Weekends by Dean Atta
Beautifully written and filled with well-rounded depictions of teenage emotions, Dean Atta has another great YA novel in verse that if filled with the powerful emotion and insight that Atta does such an excellent job putting into verse. If you want to read a queer romance story for Pride Month or for any time of the year, you cannot go wrong with this highly recommended book!
No Accident by Laura Bates
When a small plane crash ends with a group of seven teens washed up on a deserted island, their first thought is survival. With supplies dwindling and the fear of being stranded forever becoming more of a reality, they quickly discover that being the most popular kid in high school doesn’t help when you’re fighting to stay alive.
And when strange and terrifying accidents start to occur all around them, the group realizes that they are being targeted by someone who was on the plane, and that the island isn’t their only danger. A terrible secret from a party the night before the flight has followed them ashore–and it’s clear that someone is looking for justice. Now survival depends on facing the truth about that party: who was hurt that night, and who let it happen? (Credit: Sourcebooks Fire)
The Burning Swift by Joseph Elliott
With the deadly phantom sgàilean defeated, Jaime and Agatha prepare to help their clan reclaim their compound from the treacherous Raasay people. But Sigrid, sent at the behest of Queen Beatrice, arrives with a warning: the kings of Norveg and Ingland have joined forces and plan to march north to annihilate the people of Scotia. The clan quickly turns to the Badhbh and his powerful blood magic. But instead of aiding them, the mage kidnaps Agatha, seemingly as an offering to the kings. Now Sigrid and Jaime must rally unlikely allies to face a common enemy, even as Jaime finds himself drawn to a boy from another clan. Meanwhile, Agatha garners unexpected support among the Inglish as well as from an animal of Scotian legend, and discovers the extraordinary secrets of her past. Three remarkable heroes unite for the grand conclusion of this rich and exciting series.
Love In Winter Wonderland by Abiola Bello
I don’t normally go for romances but this adorable holiday rom-com had me hooked from beginning to end. And taking place in a bookstore was a definite plus, Bello created realistic teen characters that wasn’t cheesy or stereotypical anyway and I definitely appreciated that.
Medusa: The Girl Behind The Myth by Jessie Burton
Exiled to a far-flung island by the whims of the gods, Medusa has little company except the snakes that adorn her head instead of hair. But when a charmed, beautiful boy called Perseus arrives on the island, her lonely existence is disrupted with the force of a supernova, unleashing desire, love, betrayal . . . and destiny itself. (Credit: Bloomsbury YA)
Trespassers by Claire McFall
Tristan and Dylan have escaped the afterlife, defying fate: Dylan should have been killed in a horrific train crash, while Tristan should still be an immortal ferryman. Now, living in bodies they have no right to inhabit, they discover they’re connected by something stronger than love–their souls are bound together. Alone, they’ll die, but being together has its own difficulties. As they try to adjust to life in the real world, with Dylan slowly healing from her injuries and Tristan attending school for the first time, they realize that when they broke through the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead, they showed the way for others to escape. Now they must face the consequences. Dylan and Tristan’s beautifully told and richly imagined story–in development to be a major motion picture–continues in this sequel full of suspense, action, and intense emotion. (Credit: Walker Books US)
These were not published in 2022, but I enjoyed them immensely and definitely wanted to give them the attention on this list:
All Our Hidden Gifts by Caroline O’Donoghue
Maeve Chambers doesn’t have much going for her. Not only does she feel like the sole idiot in a family of geniuses, she managed to drive away her best friend Lily a year ago. But when she finds a pack of dusty old tarot cards at school, and begins to give scarily accurate readings to the girls in her class, she realizes she’s found her gift at last.
Things are looking up – until she discovers a strange card in the deck that definitely shouldn’t be there. And two days after she convinces her ex-best friend to have a reading, Lily disappears.
Can Maeve, her new friend Fiona and Lily’s brother Roe find her? And will Maeve’s new gift be enough to bring Lily back, before she’s gone for good? (Credit: Walker Books US)
Wrecked by Louisa Reid
Joe and Imogen seem like the perfect couple – they’ve been in a relationship for years and are the envy of their friends at school. But after accidentally becoming involved a tragic fatal accident, they become embroiled in a situation out of their control, and Joe and Imogen’s relationship becomes slowly unravelled until the truth is out there for all to see … Structured around a dramatic and tense court case, the reader becomes both judge and jury in a stunning and page-turning novel of uncovering secrets and lies – who can be believed? (Credit: Guppy Books)
Blood Moon by Lucy Cuthew
I reread this to prepare for the author talk that I did with Lucy and it was just a pleasure to rediscover this story once again. It was better and even more powerful the second time around. If you want to read more of my thoughts on this book, read my book review which you can find here.
Goodbye, Perfect by Sara Barnard
This was the book that made me fall in love with the YA genre again. I reread this for my author talk with Sara and I even loved it more! If you want to read more thoughts on the book, you can read my book review here.
Harrow Lake by Kat Ellis
Lola Nox is the daughter of a celebrated horror filmmaker–she thinks nothing can scare her.
But when her father is brutally attacked in their New York apartment, she’s quickly packed off to live with a grandmother she’s never met in Harrow Lake, the eerie town where her father’s most iconic horror movie was shot. The locals are weirdly obsessed with the film that put their town on the map–and there are strange disappearances, which the police seem determined to explain away.
And there’s someone–or something–stalking her every move.
The more Lola discovers about the town, the more terrifying it becomes. Because Lola’s got secrets of her own. And if she can’t find a way out of Harrow Lake, they might just be the death of her. (Credit: Dial Books)
You can watch the author talk with Kat here.