01 January 2023

My Top 5 Books of 2022

Today, I am sharing my five favourite books from among those I read during 2022. I ended up reading fewer than 100 books in both 2020 and 2021 and to hold myself accountable, at the start of 2022 I started blogging every other month about my favourite books. I tailed off towards the end of the year due to a hectic travel schedule and getting stuck for a while on a few books I wasn't enjoying, but I still achieved my target and read 102 books in 2022. Read on to find out which ones made my shortlist, as well as my full reading list for the year.

As usual, I've included links to Bookshop.org, a UK-based online bookshop, although you should also be able to find them all in your local indie bookshop.

1. Yerba Buena by Nina LaCour
The power of a great novel comes in its ability to transport you to another time or another place and Nina LaCour's debut adult novel did just that, taking me back to coastal California, which holds a special place in my heart. Yerba Buena is a richly evocative love story between two young women growing up in the Golden State who come from very different backgrounds, united by shared loneliness and a deep connection. LaCour's writing tantalises all of the senses — I would love to drink the titular Yerba Buena cocktail at the (sadly fictional) depicted restaurant and I long to smell the fragrant redwoods again.

2. We Are All Birds of Uganda by Hafsa Zayyan
I was instantly drawn to Hafsa Zayyan's novel in a bookshop after I happened upon it in a bookshop just after I returned from my first trip to Uganda earlier this year. We Are All Birds of Uganda is the story of Sameer, a successful young lawyer in London, who is at a crossroads after he is offered a new role in Singapore and is torn between the excitement of the new opportunity and duty to his South Asian family in Leicester. He travels to Uganda – his family's home until they were forced to leave for the UK during the Idi Amin regime — and falls in love, prompting even more hard choices. Zayyan's novel is a fascinating multigenerational story, with complex characters, a strong emotional core and enlightening insights into racial tensions, past and present.

3. The It Girl by Ruth Ware
Set in Oxford and Edinburgh, Ruth Ware's latest novel sees Hannah — happily married and heavily pregnant — call into question the events leading up to the murder of her best friend, the titular It Girl April, during their first year at the University of Oxford. Ware is a master of the locked-room mystery and her suspenseful, well-plotted novel will keep you gripped — and keep you guessing right up until its dramatic conclusion. The It Girl also perfectly captures the sense of place of both present-day Edinburgh and college life in Oxford.

4. Detransition, Baby by Torrey Peters
Torrey Peters' smart, witty and warm-hearted novel tells the story of Reese a trans woman who yearns for a baby and may get the opportunity when her ex-girlfriend Amy — who has since detransitioned to become Ames tells her that his new lover Katrina (a cis woman) is pregnant. Ames has a grand plan that the three of them could raise the baby together. Detransition, Baby alternates between Reese and Ames's perspectives and fills in the details of their romantic and sexual histories, how they got together and why it all went wrong. The novel's characters are complex but Peters makes you root for them despite the sometimes frustrating decisions they make — especially Reese, whose often sharp tongue is offset by her big heart and her self-awareness. 

5. Reputation by Sarah Vaughan
After the success of Anatomy of a Scandal — and its Netflix adaptation — Sarah Vaughan's latest novel tackles some similar themes, with the perfect mix of politics, the media and domestic drama into a compelling legal thriller. The carefully constructed world of Emma Webster, former teacher and up-and-coming Labour MP, rapidly unravels after the reputation of her teenage daughter — and therefore her own — comes under threat. Before long, Emma is on trial for murder and everything that she thought she knew and believed is put to the test. Reputation is compelling and provocative and is a fascinating character study of its strong but flawed protagonist.

I also enjoyed the following five books, which didn't quite make my top five this year:

My full 2022 reading list:
  1. The Night She Disappeared — Lisa Jewell
  2. The Plot — Jean Hanff Korelitz
  3. The Perfect Escape — Leah Konen
  4. The Thursday Murder Club — Richard Osman
  5. All Her Little Secrets — Wanda M. Morris
  6. The School for Good Mothers — Jessamine Chen
  7. Find Me — Alafair Burke
  8. Reckless Girls — Rachel Hawkins
  9. No One Will Miss Her — Kat Rosenfield
  10. A Flicker in the Dark — Stacy Willingham
  11. Greenwich Park — Katherine Faulkner
  12. The Couple at the Table — Sophie Hannah
  13. The Accomplice — Lisa Lutz
  14. Good Rich People — Eliza Jane Brazier
  15. We Are All Birds of Uganda — Hafsa Zayyan
  16. Wahala — Nikki May
  17. The Golden Rule — Amanda Craig
  18. In My Dreams I Hold a Knife Ashley Winstead
  19. The Locked Room — Elly Griffiths
  20. The Interview — C.M. Ewan
  21. Do You Follow? — J.C. Bidonde
  22. What His Wife Knew — Jo Jakeman
  23. The Maid — Nita Prose
  24. The Damage — Caitlin Wahrer
  25. Vladimir — Julia May Jonas
  26. Insatiable — Daisy Buchanan 
  27. That Night — Gillian McAllister
  28. The Younger Wife — Sally Hepworth
  29. The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle — Stuart Turton
  30. Girl A — Abigail Dean
  31. Fiona and Jane — Jean Chen Ho
  32. The Fields — Erin Young
  33. Out of Her Depth — Lizzy Barber
  34. The Paris Apartment — Lucy Foley
  35. The Club — Ellery Lloyd
  36. The People Next Door — Tony Parsons
  37. Reputation — Sarah Vaughan
  38. The Caretakers — Amanda Bestor-Siegal
  39. The Manager — A.K. Wilson
  40. Nine Lives — Peter Swanson
  41. The Lost Child — Patricia Gibney
  42. Never Saw Me Coming — Vera Kurian
  43. Brown Girls — Daphne Palasi Androids
  44. Magpie — Elizabeth Day
  45. The Long Weekend — Gilly Macmillan
  46. Insomnia — Sarah Pinborough
  47. The Perfect Couple — Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen 
  48. It Ends at Midnight — Harriet Tyce
  49. The Lioness — Chris Bohjalian
  50. The Man Who Died Twice — Richard Osman
  51. The Every — Dave Eggers
  52. Her Last Affair — John Searles
  53. Cover Story — Susan Rigetti 
  54. Deep Water — Emma Bamford
  55. Wrong Time, Wrong Place — Gillian McAllister
  56. The Midnight Hour — Elly Griffiths
  57. Do No Harm — Jack Jordan 
  58. Woman on Fire — Lisa Barr
  59. The Night Shift — Alex Finlay
  60. Yerba Buena — Nina LaCour 
  61. We Were Never Here — Andrea Bartz 
  62. A Woman of Intelligence — Karin Tanabe
  63. The House Across the Lake — Riley Sager
  64. The Lies I Tell — Julie Clark
  65. The It Girl — Ruth Ware
  66. First Born — Will Dean
  67. Blood on the Tongue — Stephen Booth
  68. No Safe Place — Patricia Gibney
  69. The Almond in the Apricot — Sara Goudarzi
  70. Hope to Die — Cara Hunter
  71. The Interview — Gill Perdue
  72. Girl, Forgotten — Karin Slaughter
  73. The First Woman — Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi
  74. You’re Invited — Amanda Jayatissa
  75. The Family Remains — Lisa Jewell
  76. The Last Party — Clare Mackintosh
  77. Stay Awake — Megan Goldin
  78. More than You’ll Ever Know — Katie Gutierrez
  79. One of the Girls — Lucy Clarke 
  80. Lessons in Chemistry — Bonnie Garmus
  81. Truly Darkly Deeply — Victoria Selman
  82. The Retreat — Sarah Pearse
  83. Next in Line — Jeffrey Archer
  84. The Most Fun We Ever Had — Claire Lombardo
  85. Please Join Us — Catherine McKenzie
  86. The Family Game — Catherine Steadman 
  87. Is This Love? — C.E. Riley
  88. The Vicious Circle — Katherine St John
  89. Carrie Soto Is Back — Taylor Jenkins Reid
  90. The Ink Black Heart — Robert Galbraith
  91. The Night Swim — Megan Goldin 
  92. I’ll Be You — Janelle Brown
  93. The Woman in the Library — Sulari Gentill
  94. Secluded Cabin Sleeps Six — Lisa Unger
  95. Becky — Sarah May
  96. Mad Honey — Jodi Picoult
  97. Speak Like Churchill, Stand Like Lincoln — James C. Humes
  98. Any Other Family — Eleanor Brown
  99. Kingsrise — Anne Mattias
  100. Base Notes — Lara Elena Donnelly
  101. The Widowmaker — Hannah Morrissey 
  102. Detransition Baby — Torrey Peters 

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