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20 sensational books you MUST read in 2022

By Sarah Sinovich

There is this old saying that stories and poetry are to comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable. By whatever means of any media/art, like a good story or a good poem, it must be either/or (disturbing or comfortable), but a captivating story that truly forces you to ponder life is the true gold mine. Recently this past year I’ve gotten into reading. I’ve been hyper-fixated on creating this perfect TBR (to be read) list and it has been undeniably enjoyable. From profound, provocative quick-reads to a book with captivating sad prose to charming and intimate memoirs, here are 20 sensational novels you must read this year:

  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower   By Stephen Chbosky

“Coming of age story about a socially awkward teen who is a wallflower, always observing life from the side, until two charismatic students become his friends/mentors. Written in delicate prose of letters sent to ‘Friend,’ immersed in Charlie’s world of discovering friendship, first love, inner sadness, and music.” -Unknown (Fiction)

  • The Invisible Life of Addie Larue   By V.E. Schwab

Set in 1700s France, our main character Adeline Larue is torn between being alive or living. She trades her soul with the “devil” and is granted the chance to live forever, but the catch is nobody will remember her. Third-person, beautiful prose, and time/continent jumps! (Light Historical Fantasy, Fantasy, Historical Fiction)

  • I’ll Give You the Sun   By Jandy Nelson

“I’ll Give You the Sun, is a story of art, love, and loss, narrated by twins Noah and Jude. … This is a tale of friendship and loss, combined with the heady emotions of first love.” -The Guardian (YA- young adult fiction)

  • Norwegian Wood   By Haruki Murakami

“The novel is a nostalgic story of loss and burgeoning sexuality. It is told from the first-person perspective of Toru Watanabe, who reflects on his days as a college student living in Tokyo.” -Wikipedia (Fiction, Romance)

  • Bunny   By Mona Awad

This book was described to me as a psychedelic trip mixed with horror, and it has an open-ended ending that makes you think ‘what did I just read?’ It’s a cultish story set in a prestigious school with pretentious students, and “the secret history meets Jennifer’s body.” (Fiction, Humor, Dark Comedy)

  • Pride & Prejudice   By Jane Austen

A classic and the first great enemies-to-lovers trope. (Romance Novel, Fiction, Satire)

  • The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo   By Taylor Jenkins Reid

A retired 1950s Hollywood star is interviewed about her chaotic life and the journey of marrying a total of seven husbands. (Romance Novel, Historical fiction, Psychological Fiction)

  • Taste: My Life Through Food   By Stanley Tucci (recommend the audiobook!)

A memoir and reflection on the intersection of food and life. Stanley Tucci shares the experience of growing up in an Italian American family and the compelling stories behind Tucci family dinners, films/movies, and personal experiences through good and bad times. (Memoir)

  • Verity   By Colleen Hoover

The main character Lowen is a poor, grieving author and is given the opportunity to finish a world-renowned author’s unfinished series due to a tragic accident that had left them paralyzed. While sorting through the author’s (Verity) home office for notes to use for work, she finds a disturbing biography manuscript. Then things start getting weirder and weirder in the home of Verity’s family. (Thriller, Romance, Fiction, Suspense)

  • Crying in H Mart   By Michelle Zauner

“A memoir about the singer-songwriter Michelle Zauner growing up Korean American, losing a mother, and being forced to reckon with her identity to be able to reclaim the gifts of taste, language, and history that her mother had given her.” -Goodreads and Books & Books  (Memoir)

  • Scythe   By Neal Shusterman

“Set in the future, where death by natural causes is non-existent due to technological advances. An advanced computer system known as the ‘Thunderhead’ is in control of society.” -HHG (Dystopian, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Adventure)

  • Emma   By Jane Austen

Have you ever watched the movie Clueless? Well, this is the original inspiration of that movie, just more British, posher, and in the Regency era. (Comedy, Fiction, Romance Novel)

  • The Silent Patient   By Alex Michaelides

Essentially this book follows a woman who has shot her husband five times in the face and completely stops speaking. She is admitted into a hospital where a criminal psychotherapist will try to find out why she did what she did. (Fictional Psychological Thriller, Mystery, Suspense)

  • My Year of Rest and Relaxation   By Ottessa Moshfegh

This book follows a privileged girl who has access to a pharmaceutical doctor who unethically prescribes her any drug she wants at any time. She is depressed and decides she wants to sleep for an entire year, so she consumes a lot of sleeping pills. (Psychological Fiction Novel)

  • Where the Crawdads Sing   By Delia Owens

Where the Crawdads Sing is part bildungsroman and part crime drama, centered around Kya, a wild and unkempt/unconventional girl. The book follows the ups and downs of her life. She lives a lonely life, but her story is a hopeful one as well.” -Movie Cultist  (Mystery, Literary Fiction Novel)

  • Love and Other Words   By Christina Lauren

Childhood friends to lovers trope. Set between present and past, as the reader you are trying to figure out what caused the big falling out of the two main characters that has separated them a bit. (Contemporary Romance, Fiction Novel)

  • My Policeman   By Bethan Roberts

Soon to be a major motion picture [R-rated], this book is set in the 50s in Brighton, England, with Marion, Tom, and Patrick. Marion narrates the story as a confession to her husband. (Literary Fiction)

  • Normal People   By Sally Rooney

From my understanding of what I have been told, this book is a realistic, sad kinda-romance. “The novel follows the complex friendship and relationship between two teenagers, Connell and Marianne, who both attend the same schools in Ireland. It is set during the post-2008 Irish economic downturn, spanning from 2011 through 2015.” -Art and Pop culture  (Fiction)

  • It Ends with Us   By Colleen Hoover 

Might want to look up possible trigger warnings for this book, if you are a sensitive soul. The author’s prose is super easy to digest, so it’s a fast and gripping read. This book will definitely have an impact on you, and it ends in a way you don’t expect. Something I wish I knew before reading this (that might have made me enjoy it more) is that, yes, it’s a romance book, but it’s more than just that. It sheds light on a few possible ‘uncomfortable’ topics. (Fiction, Contemporary Romance Novel)

Finally, for the last recommendation, I have a couple of suggestions for some series, which I am 100 percent lacking (oops). These fantasy/dystopian picks are dangerously good and will keep you hooked for the long run. Ordered first is the smallest series and will go to the largest series, but they are all so good. Series are definitely a commitment, but take that with what you will. All these books are seemingly amazing.

  • The Hunger Games trilogy By Suzanne Collins, Cruel Prince trilogy By Holly Black, Red Queen series By Victoria Aveyard, Shadow & Bone/Six of Crows series By Leigh Bardugo, and finally ACOTAR or Throne of Glass series (both) by Sarah J Mass.

This may not cure my or your seasonal depression, but it sure is a heck of a distraction, a safe outlet, and a potentially educating experience for some. Don’t read books you do not want to read! Remember to always have fun with it, and enjoy the stress of wanting to read so many books with so little time! Also, who would have ever thought I, out of all people, would be writing an exciting recommendation list of popular books. Obviously, if you are a reader, you have probably noticed the trend of BookTok books in my recs. Maybe? Anyway, yes there is, everyone has to get their start somewhere. Hopefully, this specifically curated list inspires you to go out to your local library or bookshop and get a book!

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