10 Best Novels of 2022 (So Far), According to Goodreads

2022 is shaping up to be a good year for fiction. Literary heavyweights Mohsin Hamid and Hanya Yanagihara have published new novels, while Polish author Olga Tokarczuk‘s acclaimed The Books of Jacob has been translated into English for the first time. Booker Prize-winner Julian Barnes is also set to release his latest work Elizabeth Finch in August.

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Now is as good a time as any to look back at the most beloved novels of the year so far. The year’s most popular books on Goodreads span a variety of genres, from crime and sci-fi to historical epics and intimate family dramas. They are sure to include some great selections for even the pickiest readers.


‘The Candy House’ by Jennifer Egan (3.74/5)

Jennifer Egan won the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for her sprawling novel A Visit From the Goon Squad. Like that book, her latest work follows a host of characters as they navigate life and relationships. Most of it takes place in the near future, where new technology allows people to record and re-experience their memories. Users can even enter the memories of others. Egan succeeds in making this concept seem believable, even inevitable, as if we’ll find ourselves in this world sooner than we expect.

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Few novels explore technology’s impact on modern life and relationships with such precision. Where shows like Black Mirror explore similar dystopian themes, The Candy House is a thoughtful exploration of aging, memory, and loss that ranks among her very best work.

‘Olga Dies Dreaming’ by Xochitl Gonzalez (4.02/5)

This debut novel tells the story of a Puerto Rican-American brother and sister living in Brooklyn in 2017. Olga is a wedding planner for the Manhattan elite, and Prieto is a rising congressman. But their lives are turned upside down when their mother, who abandoned them as children to pursue a political cause, re-enters their lives.

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The plot unfolds against the backdrop of Hurricane Maria, which devastated Puerto Rico that year. In the process, the book examines issues of identity and corruption, as well as politics. In particular, It takes shots at Puerto Rico’s limited representation in Washington, despite being an American territory for more than a century.

‘The Golden Couple’ by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen (4.03/5)

The Golden Couple is the story of a marriage falling apart. On the surface, Marissa and Matthew appear to have it all. They are rich, popular, and successful. But after Marissa cheats, they start couples counseling in the hopes of salvaging the relationship. Their therapist Avery has an unconventional method (and has recently lost her license). Soon, secrets and lies bubble to the surface.

Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen are the bestselling authors of You Are Not Alone and The Wife Between Us, among others. Their latest is a fast-paced domestic thriller that’ll appeal to fans of Gone Girland Big Little Lies.

‘Violeta’ by Isabel Allende (4.06/5)

Isabel Allende is the award-winning Chilean-American author behind novels like City of the Beasts and The House of the Spirits. Her last novel A Long Petal of the Seaset during the Spanish Civil War, was one of the most acclaimed books of 2019. Her latest, Violetafollows the life of a woman in an unnamed South American country as she lives through some of the defining moments of the 20th century.

She recounts her life under a dictatorship, implied to be the government of Augusto Pinochet. She also interrogates her own complicity in the regime. Like the rest of Allende’s work, Violeta boasts rich prose and complex, well-drawn characters. Her fans include Barack Obama, who awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2014.

‘The War of Two Queens’ by Jennifer L. Armentrout (4.06/5)

The War of Two Queens is the fourth installment in Jennifer L. Armentrout‘s fantasy series, Blood and Ash. It continues the story of heroine Poppy in her battle against the cruel Blood Queen. While it might not have the most original premise, the series has become very popular. The first three books have already sold almost a million copies.

Armentrout has described her series as “if A Game of Thrones had vampires.” But the George RR Martin comparison isn’t quite right. Blood and Ash is more of a romantic fantasy saga along the lines of Sarah J. Maas and Laura Thalassa. While it features genre tropes aplenty, many readers will enjoy the likable main character and brisk plot.

‘Black Cake’ by Charmaine Wilkerson (4.18/5)

After the death of their mother Eleanor, Byron and Benny seeks to unravel the mysteries Eleanor left behind, which seem to involve a family recipe for a black cake. Their quest leads them into parts of their mother’s life they never knew about and raises questions about their own identities. A long-lost child further complicates the situation.

Black Cake is the debut novel of former journalist Charmaine Wilkerson. The story spans multiple continents and decades, exploring historical events like the transatlantic slave trade and the Windrush migration to the United Kingdom. Along the way, it ponders pertinent questions about family and inheritance.

‘The Daughter of the Moon Goddess’ by Sue Lynne Tan (4.19/5)

The Daughter of the Moon Goddess is the first entry in a fantasy series by Sue Lynn Tan. It follows heroine Xingyin as she seeks to rescue her mother from the cruel Celestial Emperor. In the process, she learns archery and magic and falls in love with the Emperor’s son.

It’s an epic saga of court intrigue, magical beasts, and doomed romance. The book also draws on Chinese mythology, which sets it apart from most English-language fantasy. Fans of The Poppy War by RF Kuang and The Rage of Dragons by Evan Winters should enjoy Tan’s work.

‘Sea of ​​Tranquility’ by Emily St. John Mandel (4.21/5)

Emily St. John Mandel is the author of the hit thriller The Glass Hotel, as well as the post-apocalyptic Station Eleven, which HBO adapted into a series last year. The latter won the prestigious Arthur C. Clarke Award in 2015. Her latest, Sea of ​​Tranquility, is a sci-fi novel about time travel that spans multiple centuries. It’s similar to David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas in that it features a large cast of characters whose stories intersect in unexpected ways.

Sea of ​​Tranquility also engages with the simulation hypothesis, which claims that the reality we inhabit is actually an elaborate computer simulation; a theory which has been endorsed by tech billionaire Elon Musk. Critics have praised Mandel’s work for its high-concept premises and its lyrical prose. Few writers so successfully combine genre plots with emotional depth.

‘Either/Or’ by Elif Batuman (4.26/5)

Either/Or is the long-anticipated sequel to Turkish American author Elif Batuman‘s acclaimed novel The Idiot. That book introduced Selin Karadağ, a young woman of Turkish heritage studying linguistics at Harvard in 1995. The bulk of the novel revolves around her relationship with mysterious Hungarian maths student Ivan.

The Idiot is exceptionally well-written and observant. The book is in love with language, but also brutally honest about its limitations. Despite their endless talking, the two main characters never seem to connect. Batuman’s depiction of the early years of the Internet is also spot-on. It sheds an interesting light on our current moment. The Idiot was one of the sharpest coming-of-age novels in years, so Either/Or is unlikely to disappoint.

‘Young Mungo’ by Douglas Stuart (4.43/5)

The biggest literary hit of 2020 was the Booker-Prize-winning Shuggie Bain, which portrayed the life of a young gay man in a working-class district of Glasgow in the 1980s. Author Douglas Stuart is back this year with Young Mungo, which explores similar themes. It follows Protestant teenager Mungo who begins a relationship with James, a Catholic boy.

Shuggie Bain was an unflinching look at alcoholism, sexuality, and an industrial society in decay. Young Mungo has largely been praised for examining these issues from a fresh angle. Such a bleak setting might put some readers off, but Stuart makes up for it with entertaining dialogue and complex characters.

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