In 2022, here at In Between Drafts, it’s been a difficult year, and we long for sweet romances and high doses of whimsy. That said, there are plenty of darker books represented on this list as well. Ultimately, this list is as eclectic as the writers that put it together. Please enjoy our list of the best books of 2022.
The Undertaking of Hart and Mercy by Megan Bannen
Ever since first finishing The House In The Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune, I’ve searched for a love story that made me feel both hopeful and cozy with characters so well-established that they felt like old friends. In 2022, the book closest to that was The Undertaking of Hart and Mercy by Megan Bannen. It’s a fantasy romance told in letters and prose with two prickly characters who find each other when they need the other most. There’s zombies, a talking rabbit, and a found family aspect that gave me a warm fuzzy feeling. Read it! You won’t regret it. — Brianna Robinson
Belladonna by Adalyn Grace
As evidenced by my first pick, you can probably guess that I love fantasy romance. I also love smart, stubborn heroines and Signa Farrow is definitely one of them. Add to the fact that this book also has a mystery at its center that kept me guessing until the end and I was delighted. If you gravitate toward forbidden romances, dark crumbling mansions and characters you know you can’t trust but can’t help but like, this book is for you. — B. R.
Better Than We Found It by Frederick Joseph and Porsche Joseph
This book should be mandatory reading for everyone. It’s smart, intelligent, and empathetic toward a host of issues that our country faces. It’s hopeful and truthful and features diverse voices who have actionable ways to make the world and the country a better place. — B. R.
I Must Betray You by Ruta Spetys
I think it’s safe to say that Ruta Spetys is one of the great historical fiction writers of our time. Her prose is stunning. Short and to the point, she kept me quickly turning pages to get to the next chapter. Before reading this book, I knew nothing about Romanian history. I had no idea that Romania was under Soviet control for so long, or how that control decimated so many lives. Not only did I thoroughly enjoy this book, but I learned so much from it as well. — Abby Petree
Gallant by V. E. Schwab
When you open one of Schwab’s books, it is guaranteed that the voice and vibes will be impeccable. Set in the spookiest of houses, we follow Olivia, a cold and unusual protagonist who is somewhat off-putting, but still draws you into the story. While many readers might struggle with the slow pace, I welcome the opportunity to slow down and soak in the atmosphere. — A. P.
Nothing More to Tell by Karen McManus
Karen McManus is the thriller queen, and this novel might be her best yet (bold of me to say, I know). The sharp focus on only two main characters made those characters strong and well developed. The true crime angle is so fun, and all the twists kept me on the edge of my seat and forced me to devour this book in less than 48 hours. — A. P.
Read my full review here.
Miss Peregrine’s Museum of Wonders by Ransom Riggs
As a lover of “in universe” books, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this baby. It did not disappoint! Ransom Riggs really opens up the Peculiar world and provides cool little insights like what happens to Peculiars who break the law and who are the most notorious criminals to offering advice to Peculiars about how to avoid detection. Overall, it’s an absolutely delightful read and fans of the series should not miss it! — A. P.
A Lady for a Duke by Alexis Hall
Author Alexis Hall keeps busy with no less than four books of his being published in 2022 alone. While each was worthwhile in its own way, his historical romance A Lady for a Duke is his very best set. Casting an assured, delicate tone over his witty and introspective prose, the romance between the two characters, Viola and the Duke of Gracewood, is a heart stopper.
As we watch these two begin to fall in love with one another, both carrying the history of their past friendship and the scars they bear due to the battle that forever changed them–or better and for worse–we are burrowed into the souls of these characters as their hearts beat for only the other. It’s tender and aching and still absurdly funny when it wants to be. Richly drawn with characters whose love stories are informed greatly but the tremendous character detail gone into each main character’s backstory, this is a textured, and engrossing romance, one that acknowledges and celebrates the history of queer love stories. — Ally Johnson
Book Lovers by Emily Henry
Emily Henry has become a name synonymous with modern romantic comedies and her latest, the delightful Book Lovers, is a further testament to her strengths. While the will they/won’t they relationship is once again a big draw, especially with a man character who refuses to believe in love stories, it’s the story between the two sisters. Their shared loss and growth makes for the book’s strongest element. As was the case in Beach Read, Henry has a knack for drawing tears when it comes to processing familiar relationships and how they grow with time, and here it anchors the entire story that the romance is simply a bonus. — A. J.
See You Yesterday by Rachel Lynn Solomon
Author Rachel Lynn Solomon perfects the time loop romance in her latest, See You Yesterday, a new adult novel that sets her scene on the disastrous first day of college. The story would become easily redundant and dull if not for the wonderfully charming and easily lovable characters who are at the heart of the book, Barrett and Miles, two freshmen who are experiencing their first day at university over and over again. As they try and break out of the loop employing science, movie logic, and dumb luck, they grow closer and while their ending is inevitable, it’s made sweeter by how we were never not rooting for them. A quick and easy read, it’s Solomon’s most confident and engaging yet. — A. J.
Photos Courtesy of Greenwillow Books, Penguin Random House, Little Brown Books for Young Readers, & Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers.