These are my top ten YA novels for 2022, which include all books read whether released in 2022 or not. I also cheated by adding a trilogy in here. Heh… They’re not in any particular order, because I could not decide what I liked best.
1. The Reader trilogy by Traci Chee
** The trilogy is a gem. It only further solidified how amazing Traci Chee is. I binge read the books and bawled my eyes out.**
Sefia knows what it means to survive. After her father is brutally murdered, she flees into the wilderness with her aunt Nin, who teaches her to hunt, track, and steal. But when Nin is kidnapped, leaving Sefia completely alone, none of her survival skills can help her discover where Nin’s been taken, or if she’s even alive. The only clue to both her aunt’s disappearance and her father’s murder is the odd rectangular object her father left behind, an object she comes to realize is a book—a marvelous item unheard of in her otherwise illiterate society. With the help of this book, and the aid of a mysterious stranger with dark secrets of his own, Sefia sets out to rescue her aunt and find out what really happened the day her father was killed—and punish the people responsible.
2. Wind Daughter by Joanna Ruth Meyer
**I was not expecting to fall head over heels for Joanna Ruth Meyer’s stories. I loved how whimsical the story was and have since been trying to delve into her backlist.**
In the dark, cold reaches of the north lives a storyteller and his daughter. He told his daughter, Satu, many stories–romances like the girl who loved a star and changed herself into a nightingale so she could always see him shining–but the most important story he told her was his own. This storyteller was once the formidable North Wind, but he lost his power by trading it away in exchange for mortality–he loved her mother too much to live without her. The loss of his magic impacted more than just their family, however, and now the world is unraveling in the wake of this imbalance.
To save the North, Satu embarks on a perilous journey to reclaim her father’s magic, but she isn’t the only one searching for it. In the snow-laden mountains, she finds herself in a deadly race with the Winter Lord who wants the North Wind’s destructive powers for himself.
Satu has the chance to be the heroine of her own fairy tale, only this one has an ending she never could have imagined.
3. Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young
Publication: April 24, 2018
Series: Sky and Sea #1
**I was supposed to wait until 2023 to read this, but I needed to meet a readathon prompt. This book came out of sitting pretty on my shelf to being a top read of the year with just a week or two to spare.**
Raised to be a warrior, seventeen-year-old Eelyn fights alongside her Aska clansmen in an ancient rivalry against the Riki clan. Her life is brutal but simple: fight and survive. Until the day she sees the impossible on the battlefield—her brother, fighting with the enemy—the brother she watched die five years ago.
Faced with her brother’s betrayal, she must survive the winter in the mountains with the Riki, in a village where every neighbor is an enemy, every battle scar possibly one she delivered. But when the Riki village is raided by a ruthless clan thought to be a legend, Eelyn is even more desperate to get back to her beloved family.
She is given no choice but to trust Fiske, her brother’s friend, who sees her as a threat. They must do the impossible: unite the clans to fight together, or risk being slaughtered one by one. Driven by a love for her clan and her growing love for Fiske, Eelyn must confront her own definition of loyalty and family while daring to put her faith in the people she’s spent her life hating.
4. Violet Made of Thorns by Gina Chen
**Chen’s debut fulfilled so many of my YA dreams about a character who looked like me in my favorite genre. I loved it. I cannot wait for the next book!**
Violet is a prophet and a liar, influencing the royal court with her cleverly phrased—and not always true—divinations. Honesty is for suckers, like the oh-so-not charming Prince Cyrus, who plans to strip Violet of her official role once he’s crowned at the end of the summer—unless Violet does something about it.
But when the king asks her to falsely prophesy Cyrus’s love story for an upcoming ball, Violet awakens a dreaded curse, one that will end in either damnation or salvation for the kingdom—all depending on the prince’s choice of future bride. Violet faces her own choice: Seize an opportunity to gain control of her own destiny, no matter the cost, or give in to the ill-fated attraction that’s growing between her and Cyrus.
Violet’s wits may protect her in the cutthroat court, but they can’t change her fate. And as the boundary between hatred and love grows ever thinner with the prince, Violet must untangle a wicked web of deceit in order to save herself and the kingdom—or doom them all.
5. Flame in the Mist – Renee Ahdieh
Publication: May 16, 2017
**I cannot remember how I stumbled upon the book, but I was drawn to the blurb. Mariko could be frustrating at times, but her determination to change her fate is admirable. This one is a duology, but I did not enjoy the second book nearly as much.**
The only daughter of a prominent samurai, Mariko has always known she’d been raised for one purpose and one purpose only: to marry. Never mind her cunning, which rivals that of her twin brother, Kenshin, or her skills as an accomplished alchemist. Since Mariko was not born a boy, her fate was sealed the moment she drew her first breath.
So, at just seventeen years old, Mariko is sent to the imperial palace to meet her betrothed, a man she did not choose, for the very first time. But the journey is cut short when Mariko’s convoy is viciously attacked by the Black Clan, a dangerous group of bandits who’ve been hired to kill Mariko before she reaches the palace.
The lone survivor, Mariko narrowly escapes to the woods, where she plots her revenge. Dressed as a peasant boy, she sets out to infiltrate the Black Clan and hunt down those responsible for the target on her back. Once she’s within their ranks, though, Mariko finds for the first time she’s appreciated for her intellect and abilities. She even finds herself falling in love—a love that will force her to question everything she’s ever known about her family, her purpose, and her deepest desires.
6. A Thousand Steps into Night by Traci Chee
**Traci Chee is one of my most read authors in 2022. This is the book that encouraged me to seek out Chee’s backlist. I enjoyed the world-building and the social commentary in this one.**
In the realm of Awara, where gods, monsters, and humans exist side by side, Miuko is an ordinary girl resigned to a safe, if uneventful, existence as an innkeeper’s daughter. But when Miuko is cursed and begins to transform into a demon with a deadly touch, she embarks on a quest to reverse the curse and return to her normal life. Aided by a thieving magpie spirit and continuously thwarted by a demon prince, Miuko must outfox tricksters, escape demon hunters, and negotiate with feral gods if she wants to make it home again. But with her transformation comes power and freedom she never even dreamed of, and she’ll have to decide if saving her soul is worth trying to cram herself back into an ordinary life that no longer fits her… and perhaps never did.
7. An Arrow to the Moon by Emily X.R. Pan
**This is a magical retelling and exemplifies the creation of contemporary myths. I had questions for days after, trying to decipher so many different parts of the story.**
Hunter Yee has perfect aim with a bow and arrow, but all else in his life veers wrong. He’s sick of being haunted by his family’s past mistakes. The only things keeping him from running away are his little brother, a supernatural wind, and the bewitching girl at his new high school.
Luna Chang dreads the future. Graduation looms ahead, and her parents’ expectations are stifling. When she begins to break the rules, she finds her life upended by the strange new boy in her class, the arrival of unearthly fireflies, and an ominous crack spreading across the town of Fairbridge.
As Hunter and Luna navigate their families’ enmity and secrets, everything around them begins to fall apart. All they can depend on is their love… but time is running out, and fate will have its way.
8. Road of the Lost by Nafiza Azad
**This was my first book by Azad, and it will definitely not be my last. It starts off like a middle grade read and becomes more complex as Croi slowly uncovers who she is. I am excited for the next book.**
Even the most powerful magic can’t hide a secret forever.
Croi is a brownie, glamoured to be invisible to humans. Her life in the Wilde Forest is ordinary and her magic is weak—until the day that her guardian gives Croi a book about magick from the Otherworld, the world of the Higher Fae. Croi wakes the next morning with something pulling at her core, summoning her to the Otherworld. It’s a spell she cannot control or break.
Forced to leave her home, Croi begins a journey full of surprises…and dangers. For Croi is not a brownie at all but another creature entirely, enchanted to forget her true heritage. As Croi ventures beyond the forest, her brownie glamour begins to shift and change. Who is she really, who is summoning her, and what do they want? Croi will need every ounce of her newfound magic and her courage as she travels a treacherous path to find her true self and the place in the Otherworld where she belongs.
9. Cold the Night, Fast the Wolves by Meg Long
Publication: January 11, 2022
**This is a riveting tale of a girl and a wolf who find a kindred spirit in the other. Their bond is one of the best parts of the book.**
Seventeen-year-old Sena Korhosen hates the sled race, especially after it claimed both her mothers’ lives five years ago. Alone on her frozen planet, she makes money any other way she can—until she double-crosses a local gangster.
Desperate to escape, Sena flees with his prized fighting wolf, Iska, and takes an offer from a team of scientists. They’ll pay her way off-world, on one condition–that she uses the survival skills her mothers taught her to get them to the end of the race. But the tundra is a treacherous place. When the race threatens their lives at every turn, Sena must discover whether her abilities are enough to help them survive the wild, and whether she and Iska together are strong enough to get them all out alive.
As the girl and the wolf forge a tenuous bond and fight to escape ice goblins, giant bears, and the ruthless gang leader intent on trapping them both, one question drives them relentlessly forward: Where do you turn when there is nowhere to hide?
10. The Shadows Between Us by Tricia Levenseller
Publication: February 25, 2020
Series: The Shadows Between Us #1
**This has one of the best first lines. As soon as I read it, I was hooked. Alessandra is conniving and has a thirst for power, yet I couldn’t help but root for her. **
Alessandra is tired of being overlooked, but she has a plan to gain power:
1) Woo the Shadow King.
2) Marry him.
3) Kill him and take his kingdom for herself.
No one knows the extent of the freshly crowned Shadow King’s power. Some say he can command the shadows that swirl around him to do his bidding. Others say they speak to him, whispering the thoughts of his enemies. Regardless, Alessandra knows what she deserves, and she’s going to do everything within her power to get it.
But Alessandra’s not the only one trying to kill the king. As attempts on his life are made, she finds herself trying to keep him alive long enough for him to make her his queen—all while struggling not to lose her heart. After all, who better for a Shadow King than a cunning, villainous queen?
It was hard to narrow it down to 10 but I finally did it! What were your best YA reads for 2022? Comment below. If you posted a list, drop a link and I’ll be sure to check it out.