The Best YA Books Of 2022

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Some readers might hear the term young adult literature and turn up their noses to it. While the genre does include themes for and about teenagers, as explained by Jim McCarthy, Vice President at Dystel & Goderich Literary Management to The Atlantic, the genre is much deeper and highly enjoyable for readers of all ages. Some of your favorite books may be looped into the YA genre. "The Hunger Games," "Holes," and "The Giver" are some popular books beloved by all ages and categorized under YA fiction (per Time).

The YA genre has become a cultural phenomenon. Readers across age ranges have fallen in love with authors and stories this year. If you're a follower of #BookTok looking to expand your library over the holiday break, look no further. We have compiled a list of the best young adult novels to hit shelves this year. With a wide range of subgenres included — from queer literature to fantasy books — there is something on this list for every bookworm.

We Deserve Monuments by Jas Hammonds

Jas Hammonds made her young adult debut with her title "We Deserve Monuments," a mystery that tackles racial violence and generational trauma with a splash of queer romance (per Goodreads).

Seventeen-year-old Avery Anderson is forced to move in with her sick grandmother where she discovers family trauma that has been pushed under the rug for several years. While dealing with struggles at home, she falls for a classmate, whose family is deeply rooted in a racist past. Anderson is being pulled in several directions. A beautiful but heartbreaking story.

"ABSOLUTELY BUY THIS BOOK," a reviewer on Amazon wrote.

The Honeys by Ryan La Sala

"The Honeys" is the latest young adult novel by author Ryan La Sala. The story surrounds a pair of twins, Mars and Caroline. Caroline was always the perfect twin. However, when Mars wakes up to his sister trying to kill him, he is forced to make a decision that traumatizes him. Now, as he is attempting to get to the bottom of what happened that night, he meets with a girl group called The Honeys (via Goodreads).

Mars' gender fluidity adds another layer to his story as he navigates loss and the strain within his politically-connected family. La Sala shared on Instagram that the storyline surrounding loss was inspired by the death of his own sister.

Five Survive by Holly Jackson

If you are familiar with the "A Good Girls Guide to Murder" series, you need to check out the author's new novel, which is sure to suck you in and keep you buried in the pages (via Barnes & Noble). A thriller, "Five Survive" follows a group of friends who are traveling in an RV for spring break and find themselves fighting off a sniper in the middle of nowhere that is targeting them.

Holly Jackson's latest book has people talking, with one reviewer stating, "ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS I HAVE READ THIS YEAR I AM SCREAMING" (per Goodreads).

Gallant by V.E. Schwab

Are you a fan of gothic, fantasy novels? Then "Gallant” by V.E. Schwab should be added to your reading list ASAP! The story is about Olivia Prior, a 14-year-old who has lived the majority of her life in a home for girls. She returns to her family home after receiving a letter, only to find out she is far from wanted there, and humans are not the only beings occupying the manor (per Amazon).

"Finished this at 2:00 AM on a Thursday because once I reached the halfway mark, I could not put this down," one reviewer wrote.

Kingdom of the Feared by Kerri Maniscalco

If you're looking to get sucked into a series, "Kingdom of the Feared" by Kerri Maniscalco, author of the "Stalking Jack the Ripper" books, is for you. This is the third book in the series, which focuses on Italian witch Emilia and the Prince of Wrath.

This book has everything: fantasy, murder, romance, and royalty. "This book was absolutely everything I needed and MORE!!!" gushed one reviewer on Amazon.

The Sunbearer Trials by Aiden Thomas

"The Sunbearer Trails" is a powerful novel by Aiden Thomas that combines "Mexican-inspired fantasy" with a queer storyline. The main characters, Teo and Xio, have to compete in trials to prevent themselves from becoming sacrifices to the sun. Teo's identity as a trans man brings a layer of depth to the storyline.

"Clever, vibrant, & convention-shattering. 'The Sunbearer Trials' is my favorite kind of YA fantasy ― spectacular worldbuilding, a charming & supremely lovable main character, & a found family I would die for!" shared Romina Garber, a New York Times-bestselling author (per Amazon).

When the Angels Left the Old Country by Sacha Lamb

"When the Angels Left the Old Country" by Sacha Lamb is a special story about Uriel the angel and Little Ash, supernatural creatures, who help guide Americans who are struggling (via Amazon). Centered around Jewish people and storylines, this book conquers pain, murder, corruption, and more from a Jewish voice.

"If you love Jewish stories and/or 'Good Omens,' I absolutely recommend this book! It's well written, it's fun, the dialogue is clever and unique, and this feels like an entire experience in itself," wrote a Goodreads reviewer.

I Kissed Shara Wheeler by Casey McQuiston

Are you looking for a young adult novel with LGBTQ+ characters and a haunting storyline? Look no further than "I Kissed Shara Wheeler” by Casey McQuiston. The story follows Chloe Green, who falls for her valedictorian rival and the prom queen, Shara Wheeler. However, it all changes when Shara suddenly disappears. Chloe finds herself searching for answers.

Fans on Goodreads can't get enough of the novel, ranking it an impressive 4.25 stars out of 5. "A book couldn't have been written so impeccably by addressing so sensitive issues: identity crisis, youth problems with multi-layered characterization and perfect LGBTQ representation," one reviewer wrote.

Hotel Magnifique by Emily J. Taylor

Emily J. Taylor's novel "Hotel Magnifique," is a fantasy novel about magic and mysteries. Jani, the story's main character, is sick of her average, boring life. She wants an escape and finds one when the Hotel Magnifique comes into town.

The traveling hotel is filled with magic, but it's not always positive. When Jani's sister gets trapped within the hotel's magic, she has to find the root of the fantasy and set her free.

One reviewer penned, "I disliked nothing. The story was so well thought out and every little detail made me feel I was there. It was magical and wonderful. Definitely read this book."

I Must Betray You by Ruta Sepetys

Calling all historical fiction fans! "I Must Betray You" by Ruta Sepetys is a powerful account of European historical fiction. The thrilling story takes place in Communist Romania, where citizen spies have taken over and devastated the area.

Cristian, a teenager living in the area with his family in 1989, is struggling. He pens his issues in a notebook, which he will use to fight back against the constant surveillance he is under in his communist-controlled country. The story is thrilling and will keep you glued to the pages.

All My Rage by Sabaa Tahir

"All My Rage" from #1 New York Times bestselling author Sabaa Tahir is a beautiful story about finding a home when you don't fit in. Salahudin and Noor, two best friends, have become a chosen family as they navigate life as outcasts.

This story is filled with both love and tragedy, as the pair of best friends work through trauma and pain as life changes like sickness in their biological families leave them searching for their purpose. This is a story of immigrants struggling to make it in Juniper, California.

Nothing More to Tell by Karen M. McManus

From Karen M. McManus, the author who brought us "One of Us Is Lying," comes "Nothing More to Tell," a spooky mystery novel. The lead character, Brynn, left Saint Ambrose School for a terrifying reason: her favorite teacher was murdered. It was a group of students who found his body in the woods.

Now, Brynn is returning to her old stomping grounds and is determined to help solve the murder, and her former best friend seems to have all the answers.

A Scatter of Light by Malinda Lo

"A Scatter of Light" is a coming-of-age story about queer love. Author Malinda Lo tells a story about love during a pivotal time in history, when the Supreme Court made its first decision on gay marriage.

Aria Tang West is struggling to find her identity after her graduation party goes wrong and she is exiled by her parents. Instead of spending her summer in Martha's Vineyard with the rest of her family, she's sent to the Bay Area, where she gets introduced to a tight-knit group of LGBTQ+ friends that changes her life.

Cinder & Glass by Melissa de la Cruz

Melissa de la Cruz is bringing a lively twist to the story of Cinderella with her latest novel, "Cinder & Glass." This is not your Disney version of the fairytale. Cendrillon de Louvois, who was the most beautiful and sought after girl in her town, is left to become a servant to her family following the death of her family, shaking up her whole life.

While the prince does fall for Cinder, like in the traditional story, there is a love triangle twist to de la Cruz's story that will keep you turning the pages all night.

How to Survive Your Murder by Danielle Valentine

Are you a horror book fan looking to dip your toes in young adult literature? Check out "How to Survive Your Murder" by Danielle Valentine. Alice Lawrence finds herself as the only witness to the murder of her sister, Claire, a theater kid who found herself a victim of a crime. Alice, who dreams of working in the field of forensic pathology, finds herself in the courtroom, facing her sister's murderer.

However, a twist in the courtroom takes Alice back to that night, when she has to find the real murderer and save her sister if she can.