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  • Kristina Elyse Butke

2022 Year in Books


A collage of 180 book covers - 2022 Year in Books
Images sourced from Goodreads

So, 2022 didn't go the way I thought it would. I started out wanting to do another YA Fantasy Reading Project, with it being research for Son of the Siren (which I wanted to write as YA). However, after getting feedback that said Son of the Siren might be more NA than YA, I decided to switch to reading adult fantasy instead. This was primarily to study the genre and to look for more comp titles!


But there weren't a lot of adult fairytale adaptations that I was finding that aligned with what I was writing. Also, I made more changes to Son of the Siren which I felt landed it back in upper YA territory...


So instead of reading with a research purpose in mind, this year I turned around and read whatever it was I felt like. And I ended up reading a total of 184 books!


I hadn't kept meticulous track of what I had been reading, except on Goodreads. And based on my reading, the number one type of book I read for the year was comics. By a huge margin. They varied from BL to shōjo romance to superhero to horror and more (though BL comics won out by a landslide).


Here are my tops for the year per genre:


BL (Tie): On or Off by A1 and Semantic Error by Angy and J. Soori


The book covers to On or Off and Semantic Error, two Korean BL comics

On or Off is your not-so-typical office romance that's hilarious, sexy, and adorable. Semantic Error is about two college students that regularly butt heads, but there's something more going on! Both series (ongoing) have humor and heart and I gave them both 5 stars on Goodreads. I highly recommend them!


Best Manga: The Savior's Book Café Story in Another World by Kyouka Izumi, Oumiya, and Reiko Sakurada


The book cover to The Savior's Book Cafe Story in Another World, featuring a man in military uniform and a woman in an apron holding a book

This manga has a thirty-something heroine who is into books and a cozy life. While she's chosen to be the savior of another world, she's got other plans. This is a sweet story with a cute budding romance and a dash of fantasy. I enjoyed reading this one the most this year.


Best comic: Spectacle by By Ro Salarian and Megan Rose Gedris


The cover to Spectacle Book One, featuring a circus tent and two women standing in front of flowers and swords. One of the women is a ghost.

I'm actually up to volume 4 of Spectacle. This is a story set in a travelling circus filled with supernatural mysteries, murder, ghosts, and queer romance. I love the aesthetic and story of the series and I am eagerly awaiting volume five.


Best YA: The Bright and the Pale by Jessica Rubinkowski


The cover to The Bright & The Pale, featuring a tall mountain in a starry night sky and frozen rooftops and ice

This is a series starter about a deadly freeze that has overpowered a mountain village, and two gods rule the hearts of the people--the Bright God and the Pale God, Out of all the YA I read this year, I remember this one the most, and it stands out to me for its atmospheric scenes, particularly deep in the caves, and the love story between the two leads. I plan on reading the second book in the series this year.


Adult Fantasy (Tie): Nettle & Bone by T. Kingfisher and Spear by Nicola Griffith


The covers to Nettle & Bone and Spear, two adult fantasies that are based on fairy tales and  Arthurian myth

One book takes the tenets of fairy tales to create a new story about a woman with impossible tasks who wants to save her sister from an abusive king. Another book is an Arthurian retelling with myth, magic, action and romance featuring a woman who travels as a man in search of serving Artos, the king of Caer Leon. Both books took my breath away this year.


Adult Horror: The Luminous Dead by Caitlin Starling


The cover to The Luminous Dead, featuring a hand in a spacesuit clinging to a stone edifice deep within a cave

All the horror I read this year were three-star books, so it was hard to choose the best from that bunch...but of all the horror I read, The Luminous Dead stayed with me the most for its tension deep in the cave system where things are not what they seem. I guess I have a thing for caves, as my YA choice also had tense moments in caves, too!


Romance: The Highwayman by Kerrigan Byrne


The cover to The Highwayman, featuring a blonde woman in a gold and yellow gown clutching on to a shirtless man with dark brown hair

I actually attempted several romances this year but ran out of steam and DNF'd them...this book survived the purge! It's historical fantasy (which I enjoy) about a villainous man who finds love in a woman who is not to be underestimated. There's a whole revenge plot and marrying for protection and of course, love blooms amid the chaos. It was a lot of fun to read.


Nonfiction: I'm Glad My Mom Died by Jenette McCurdy


The Cover to I'm Glad My Mom Died, featuring a blonde woman in pink clutching onto a pink urn

My other nonfiction books varied widely in topics, so I should probably count this more as a memoir than anything else. But for the sake of keeping things easy, I'm going with nonfiction. Anyway, this book was supposed to be filled with dark humor, but I actually found this more harrowing than anything else. It's a bingeable read about a daughter's relationship with her abusive mother, about mental illness and eating disorders, and more. This book deservedly had a lot of hype and that's why I read it. I don't know if I'll ever read it again, but it will stay with me for a long time.


All right! These were my heavy hitters for the year! I hope you enjoyed looking at these and let me know in the comments what books you read this year that worked for you.


Over 181 books in a cover collage from Goodreads.
My 2022 books. Images from Goodreads.

Onward into 2023!

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