The Best 22 Books of 2022


Olivia Rosato, Reporter

If you are an avid reader, you might be wondering what the best books of 2022 were. Even if you are not, you might still find a few books to interest you on this list, compiled from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads, and Barack Obama’s lists of the best books from the year. There is a book for everyone, ranging from the best cookbook of the year (Deb Perelman’s Smitten Kitchen Keepers) to realistic fiction that hits very close to home—literally. Tess Gundy’s The Rabbit Hutch appears to be set in a very South Bend-like town, which would make sense, considering she is a South Bend native. Here are 22 of the best books of 2022!


  • The Rabbit Hutch by Tess Gundy

The 2022 National Book Award winner, The Rabbit Hutch follows the fictional lives of several people living in the same rundown Midwestern apartment complex. Interestingly, the author is a South Bend native, graduating from Marian High School and the University of Notre Dame. The central setting is Vacca Vale, a town suspiciously similar to South Bend.


  • Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus

This historical fiction book is the Barnes & Noble Best Book of the Year, and has a very strong female protagonist to contrast the very sexist nature of the chemistry field in the 1960s. She even participates in a cooking show, where her chemistry prowess is on full display. It might sound weird, but the book is highly acclaimed for being witty and engaging.  


  • The Light We Carry by Michelle Obama

If you have ever wanted to be like Michelle Obama, her new book is a good start. She provides readers with insight on how to make progress and live more boldly, as well as the best practices for growing and overcoming obstacles. For the best advice from the former First Lady, you might want to pick up a copy of The Light We Carry—which was also, incidentally, Barack Obama’s first pick on his own “Best of 2022” book list.


  • Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel

If you cannot decide exactly what genre you would like to read, you might try this Goodreads Choice Award winner. There is an element of historical fiction—early 1900s Vancouver, precisely—but also time travel to distant moon colonies for the science fiction lovers; Time travel, romance, investigation, and intellect, this book has it all.


  • It Starts With Us by Colleen Hoover

If you have not read It Ends With Us, then you might have heard of it or seen it circulating on TikTok. Well, 2022 brought the much-anticipated sequel that picks up where its predecessor left off, continuing to follow the journey, romance, complications, and all from the previous book. If you are in the mood for an emotional rollercoaster, this realistic fiction is a must-read.  


  • Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir

This Hugo Award finalist is a thrilling novel with twists, turns, science, and humor. There is only one last chance for the astronaut protagonist to save all of humanity, and the book begins with him waking up in a spaceship with no idea of who he is or how he got there—are you invested yet? This one is also on its way to becoming a movie, so if you read it now, you will be prepared to fully enjoy all of its facets.


  • Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver

If this title sounds familiar, you are probably thinking of Charles Dickens’ David Copperfield. But this is a drastic and exciting reimagining, set in rural Appalachia where the main character contends with poverty, an addict for a mother, and being reduced to inventory of the state. The historical fiction is fascinating, and the connection to Charles Dickens adds another layer of complexity. What’s not to like? 


  • Husband Material by Alexis Hall

This is a hilarious sequel to the also-funny Boyfriend Material, which reimagined the beloved fake dating trope for main characters Oliver and Luc. The second installation is as funny as the first, set in London and following the navigation of romance, friends, complicated families, and disappointment. The USA Today Bestseller is magnificent, enough said. 


  • Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin

This is Amazon’s Best Book of 2022, and you can see why with its stunning representation of friendship, love, and almost every emotion known to man (yes, it is another emotional rollercoaster). Video game design, a story set over years in a variety of locations, and a love story unlike any other make Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow worth a read.


  • The Passenger by Cormac McCarthy

An exploration of science and the human mind, set spanning across the American south in the 1980s. This historical fiction novel begins with a disaster and follows the aftermath, with several vibrant settings, conflicts, and obstacles for the main character. This poignant novel was also a nominee for the Goodreads Best Historical Fiction of 2022, and its acclaims speak for themselves. 


  • The Maid by Nita Prose

Did you ever play the board game Clue? Regardless, if you enjoy mystery and intrigue, you will enjoy the investigative, closed-door mystery of The Maid. The book is also not without its unique characters and plot twists, which add to the appeal of a beautiful mystery story. Definitely worth a read for almost anyone.  


  • Our Missing Hearts by Celeste Ng

This book has been the talk of almost every major platform in 2022, including the New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Today, NPR, Los Angeles Times, People, Oprah Daily, and Reese Witherspoon’s book club picks… the list goes on. The realistic fiction book explores the nature of family love and sacrifice, and if our hearts are missing—this book still shatters them in the very best way. 


  • Smitten Kitchen Keepers by Deb Perelman

This is a cookbook for any food- and cooking-lovers still reading this article. This cookbook is as good as Perelman’s others, and contains the best of familiar favorites and comfort foods, made in the very best way. It contains 100 recipes that you will want to keep making, over and over again… a lot of good meals! 


  • Our Crooked Hearts by Melissa Albert

Amazon named this the Best Young Adult Book of 2022, but if that is not enough to convince you, it is a thrilling dark fantasy that explores a mother-daughter relationship, power, and secrecy. Any book described as dangerous is sure to be a good one, especially when it has an element of magic.    


  • Babel, Or the Necessity of Violence by R.F. Kuang

Did you read the ever-popular Secret History by Donna Tartt? If you did, this calculated and meticulously researched response is a fantastic follow-up. If not, you will definitely still enjoy this historical fiction that explores how language was one of the most powerful tools of the British Empire, across several stories of colonialism and resistance. And what is the most effective form of revolution?


  • The Door of No Return by Kwame Alexander

A change of pace from Alexander’s usual award-winning work, this new bestseller is a coming-of-age novel set in Africa with a heartwarming family shattered by an unthinkable tragedy, separating the main character from all he has grown up with. Heartbreaking, unforgettable, and written in Alexander’s best poetic verse, this is certainly some of the best work from 2022.


  • Solito: A Memoir by Javier Zamora

What can happen on a 3,000 mile journey? Zamora’s memoir of the impossible and treacherous journey from El Salvador into the US as a solo child shows resilience, kindness, and hope. Exploring the controversial immigration subject from the point of view of someone who endured it firsthand, Solito is a must-read memoir.  


  • River of the Gods: Genius, Courage, and Betrayal in the Search for the Source of the Nile by Candice Millard

The obsession with ancient Egypt in the 19th century rivals even the greatest of modern history buffs, and this book is an excellent non-fiction recounting of the search for the past. If the title is not descriptive enough, the book follows the dangerous and near-impossible quest of two European explorers to solve an ancient geographic riddle—not without its own conflicts. 


  • Gallant by V.E. Schwab

Dark, magical, and thrilling, with an element of shadows, this is the Goodreads’ Choice Award Winner for Best Young Adult Fantasy and Science Fiction. This fantasy is as original as it gets, and explores love through both the heartwarming and the heartbreaking. There is nothing better than a transporting work of fantasy.   


  • The Marriage Portrait by Maggie O’Farrell

The vibrancy of Renaissance Italy is brought to life in the fictional account of the very real but very obscure Lucrezia de’ Medici. As a political pawn caught between other people’s desires, Lucrezia has very specific duties, and failure will mean the end of any influence she may have. Of course, there is also portrait-sitting—the title does not lie. 


  • Watercress by Andrea Wang

Admittedly, this is a children’s picture book, but it is a very good one, having won the Caldecott Medal for Jason Chin’s illustrations and the Newbery Honor for Wang’s writing. If you are keen to revisit your childhood, you might try this for a sweet take on memories and heritage. Besides, who does not love a short book with beautiful illustrations?


  • The Last Cuentista by Donna Barba Higuera 

This one was also written for a slightly younger audience than high schoolers, BUT the dystopian setting and the end of the earth is a compelling start, especially with a strong-minded protagonist and complicated plot. For a fascinating read about an aspiring storyteller, The Last Cuentista is your friend.


Happy reading!