I’ll be the first to admit that I spent far too long listening to awful audiobooks in 2022. Looking back at everything I read, it’s actually quite difficult to choose five amazing reads as it’s not been a great year for quality. I’m not saying the books I’ve mentioned in this post are not incredible, they are. They’re actually most of the best ones – minus ARCs because I did a separate post on those last week (read it here).
I want to point out now that only one book in this post was released last year. This is why it is titled ‘2022 reads’ and not ‘2022 books’. Sorry if you were looking for books released in the last year.
Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid
This book completely took over my life for a while and I still think about it to this day. Every time someone asks me for an audiobook suggestion this is my instant answer. It is incredible.
I’ve never been much of an audiobook fan, but this completely consumed me. I seriously cannot find the words to adequately describe how much I enjoyed Daisy Jones & The Six. If you haven’t listened to the audio version yet, you need to.
Synopsis: Everyone knows Daisy Jones & The Six, but nobody knows the reason behind their split at the absolute height of their popularity . . . until now.
Daisy is a girl coming of age in L.A. in the late sixties, sneaking into clubs on the Sunset Strip, sleeping with rock stars, and dreaming of singing at the Whisky a Go Go. The sex and drugs are thrilling, but it’s the rock and roll she loves most. By the time she’s twenty, her voice is getting noticed, and she has the kind of heedless beauty that makes people do crazy things.
Also getting noticed is The Six, a band led by the brooding Billy Dunne. On the eve of their first tour, his girlfriend Camila finds out she’s pregnant, and with the pressure of impending fatherhood and fame, Billy goes a little wild on the road.
Daisy and Billy cross paths when a producer realizes that the key to supercharged success is to put the two together. What happens next will become the stuff of legend.
The making of that legend is chronicled in this riveting and unforgettable novel, written as an oral history of one of the biggest bands of the seventies. Taylor Jenkins Reid is a talented writer who takes her work to a new level with Daisy Jones & The Six, brilliantly capturing a place and time in an utterly distinctive voice.
Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
I know this book is marmite for a lot of people, but personally, I adored it. The characters were oozing charisma and don’t even get me started on the secret romance. Sign me right up.
I’m actually considering re-reading this at some point, which for me is pretty unheard of. But I need Alex and Henry back in my life.
I pretty much devoured this book and I cannot wait for the film adaption to come out. It’s been a while since they finished filming so I’m getting very impatient now.
Synopsis: What happens when America’s First Son falls in love with the Prince of Wales?
When his mother became President, Alex Claremont-Diaz was promptly cast as the American equivalent of a young royal. Handsome, charismatic, genius—his image is pure millennial-marketing gold for the White House. There’s only one problem: Alex has a beef with the actual prince, Henry, across the pond. And when the tabloids get hold of a photo involving an Alex-Henry altercation, U.S./British relations take a turn for the worse.
Heads of family, state, and other handlers devise a plan for damage control: staging a truce between the two rivals. What at first begins as a fake, Instragramable friendship grows deeper, and more dangerous, than either Alex or Henry could have imagined. Soon Alex finds himself hurtling into a secret romance with a surprisingly unstuffy Henry that could derail the campaign and upend two nations and begs the question: Can love save the world after all? Where do we find the courage, and the power, to be the people we are meant to be? And how can we learn to let our true colours shine through?
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
This post has basically become me gushing over Taylor Jenkins Reid and I’m not mad about it. I don’t know what it is about her books, but they seem to completely take over your every waking thought. When I wasn’t reading the book I was thinking about it. Even now I think about it.
The style of Daisy Jones & The Six might not be for everyone, but you absolutely must give The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo a go. I promise you won’t regret it.
Synopsis: Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one in the journalism community is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now?
Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband, David, has left her, and her career has stagnated. Regardless of why Evelyn has chosen her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career.
Summoned to Evelyn’s Upper East Side apartment, Monique listens as Evelyn unfurls her story: from making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the late 80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way. As Evelyn’s life unfolds through the decades—revealing a ruthless ambition, an unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love—Monique begins to feel a very a real connection to the actress. But as Evelyn’s story catches up with the present, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.
Filled with emotional insight and written with Reid’s signature talent, this is a fascinating journey through the splendor of Old Hollywood into the harsh realities of the present day as two women struggle with what it means—and what it takes—to face the truth.
Better Than the Movies by Lynn Painter
This was a bit of a sly one I wasn’t expecting. I didn’t have any ARCs to read a few weeks ago and it was free on Kindle Unlimited so I thought, why not? Well, I’m glad I did.
In the past year I’ve really come to appreciate romance a lot more, maybe it’s because I’m getting older. I’ve also learnt to not care what people think about what I’m reading and so I enjoy my cheesy little romances a lot more.
At the time of posting this I haven’t uploaded my review of Better Than the Movies yet, but it should be up soon so keep an eye out.
Synopsis: Liz Buxbaum has always known that Wes Bennett was not boyfriend material. You would think that her next-door neighbour would be a prince candidate for her romantic comedy fantasies, but Wes has only proven himself to be a pain in the butt, ever since they were little. Wes was the kid who put a frog in her Barbie Dreamhouse, the monster who hid a lawn gnome’s severed head in her little homemade neighbourhood book exchange.
Flash forward ten years from the Great Gnome Decapitation. It’s Liz’s senior year, a time meant to be rife with milestones perfect for any big screen, and she needs Wes’s help. See, Liz’s forever crush, Michael, has just moved back to town, and—horribly, annoyingly—he’s hitting it off with Wes. Meaning that if Liz wants Michael to finally notice her, and hopefully be her prom date, she needs Wes. He’s her in.
But as Liz and Wes scheme to get Liz her magical prom moment, she’s shocked to discover that she actually likes being around Wes. And as they continue to grow closer, she must reexamine everything she thought she knew about love—and rethink her own perception of what Happily Ever After should really look like.
Heartstopper Vol, 4 by Alice Oseman
I couldn’t talk about my top 2022 reads without mentioning Heartstopper. I’m aware I was super late to the party, but this series has become my life. It really taught me a lot about myself and Nick’s character in particular really resonated with me.
My plan with this series is to re-read it at least once a year from now on, I read it twice this year alone. It’s definitely a comfort read and I’m so excited for volume five.
Synopsis: Charlie didn’t think Nick could ever like him back, but now they’re officially boyfriends. Charlie’s beginning to feel ready to say those three little words: I love you.
Nick’s been feeling the same, but he’s got a lot on his mind – not least coming out to his dad, and the fact that Charlie might have an eating disorder.
As summer turns to autumn and a new school year begins, Charlie and Nick are about to learn a lot about what love means.
What are your top 5 2022 reads?
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Like this post? Why not read this one too: What I Watched: December 2022
[…] Like this post? Why not read this one too: Top 5: 2022 Reads […]
Honestly, yes to both ways you’ve described Taylor Jenkins Reid’s books–they really do consume you! I’m glad you enjoyed these and hope you love the same in 2023.