Another year, another round of books to read. I gotta say, if you’re thinking about making a goal to read a certain number of books in 2022, there is no shortage of good novels out there. From buzzy debuts to highly anticipated follow-ups, Q1 of 2022 has it all. So much so, that this was actually supposed to be a Most Anticipated 2022 reading list, but I ended up frontloading it with books coming out in the first three months! I can’t help it, I just want everyone to read these picks (mostly so I have people to talk about them with, but whatever). So read on for some books to add to your reading list this year. The upside is, you don’t have to wait long for most of these to come out.
Fiona and Jane by Jean Chen Ho (1/4/22)
This buzzy 2022 debut is told in alternating voices and traverses the globe. Ho depicts two women’s struggles with sexuality, class, family secrets, mental health, identity, and a whole lot more. It’s about two best friends (you can probably guess their names) who are polar opposites. Fiona is outgoing, beautiful, and ambitious. Jane is soft spoken and doesn’t like to stand out. They remain in touch throughout multiple significant life events, such as a crush on a teacher, college, family deaths, and more.
Honor by Thrity Umrigar (1/4/22)
Reese’s January book club pick (yes, that Reese) comes from the author of The Space Between Us. Smita, an Indian-American journalist, travels to India for an assignment: a Hindu woman, Meena, is brutally attacked for marrying a Muslim man, who is murdered. Meena’s attackers? Her own brothers. Smita works to tell Meena’s story while grappling with her perception of modern India, her privilege, and her own trauma.
Reckless Girls by Rachel Hawkins (1/4/22)
IDK, I just feel like if there’s an island that’s earned a mythic, Lord of the Flies-esque reputation for driving its inhabitants insane, the last thing you should do is sail there—but good thing the characters of Reckless Girls do exactly the opposite, or there wouldn’t be a book. Luxe is floating aimlessly after the death of her mother, so when she meets rich, handsome Nico, who wants to spend months sailing in Hawaii, she’s along for the ride. Literally. Even when that means picking up two college girls and sailing to aforementioned Lord of the Flies island. Their voyage starts off picturesque, but just like the images you see on IG, this one quickly becomes too good to be true.
The School For Good Mothers by Jessamine Chan (1/4/22)
The School for Good Mothers takes place in a slightly dystopian future where Child Protective Services overreaches its power: the agency will identify unfit parents and take away their kids at the slightest perceived offense. In this world, Frida Liu is like many parents: overwhelmed, stressed out, and trying to juggle raising a kid as a single parent and have a full-time job. It’s in this world that Frida makes a mistake and ends up getting her daughter taken away from her. Even worse? She’s placed in a state-sponsored institution where she has to earn back custody by being a “good mother”—whatever that means.
Find Me by Alafair Burke (1/11/22)
Burke’s last three works were optioned for TV, so you might want to get a jumpstart on Find Me before HBO Max or somebody picks it up. In her latest, three women search for the answers to long-buried secrets. Hope Miller has no clue who she really is—literally. 15 years ago, she emerged from a car accident in a small NJ town with no recollection of who she was or how she got there. Lindsay Kelly is Hope’s best friend and a Manhattan defense attorney, and who discovers one day that Hope’s disappeared. So Lindsay calls NYPD detective Ellie Hatcher to find Hope.
Must Love Books by Shauna Robinson (1/18/22)
This novel is being described as Younger meets The Bookish Life of Nina Hill, but it delivers so much more than romance—it tackles diversity in publishing (and the search for racial equity, opportunity, and stability in the workforce in general), mental health, self-worth, and more. Nora works as an Editorial Assistant for a publishing house, thinking it will get her on the path to her dream job. But five years and a million coffee orders later, and she’s no further along in her career. When her salary gets cut, Nora decides to do the unthinkable and moonlight for the rival publishing house. But when her employer’s most coveted author gets thrown Nora’s way, she has to decide where her loyalties lie.
Yinka, Where Is Your Huzband? By Lizzie Damilola Blackburn (1/18/22)
This debut subverts the Strong Black Woman trope, gives a tribute to Black British culture, and tackles issues like colorism and Eurocentric beauty standards. Talk about a book that can do it all, right? Yinka Oladeji is a thirty-something banker who went to Oxford and is, by all accounts, killing it. Except in one area: she doesn’t have a husband, a fact her family doesn’t let her forget. Ugh, I know how that goes.
Good Rich People by Eliza Jane Brazier (1/25/22)
This book was a little creepy, but in a good way. Lyla thinks she hit the jackpot when she marries Graham, impossibly handsome and even more impossibly rich. But her marriage comes with strings: she will forever be under the thumb of her mother-in-law, Margot. Pretty literally, too, as she lives in the house right above them. These people are so rich that the only thing that gives them excitement is ruining other people’s lives. They’ve made a game of it, in fact. So when Demi, a new tenant, moves into their guesthouse, it’s Lyla’s turn to play the game. Only Demi isn’t as breakable as she seems, and she’s just as determined as Lyla not to lose. Let the games begin.
Greenwich Park by Katherine Faulkner (January 25, 2022)
Need a new domestic thriller that will keep you guessing and gives Girl on the Train and The Family Upstairs vibes? Look no further than Faulkner’s debut, which received a starred review from Booklist. Helen is finally pregnant after years of disappointment. When she meets a new friend, Rachel, at a pregnancy class, suddenly weird things start happening. Like, her husband is acting distant and Rachel keeps running into her everywhere. As Helen tries to figure out what’s going on, it becomes apparent that Rachel might not just be a stranger, and she may be after something.
The Accomplice by Lisa Lutz (1/25/22)
Lutz is the author of The Passenger, The Swallows, and The Spellman Files, to name a few, so you know this one’s about to be a twisty thriller. Enter, Owen: rich, charming, never happy, inextricably linked to his no-nonsense BFF, Luna Grey. Also enter: the deadly secret they share. Years later, Owen ditches his wife for a few hours to drink with Luna, but when Luna finds Owen’s wife dead, they become prime suspects. Their secret kept them together; will it drive them apart?
Finlay Donovan Knocks ‘Em Dead by Elle Cosimano (2/1/22)
Our favorite author-turned-accidental-hitwoman, Finlay Donovan, is back with a whole new dilemma on her hands: someone’s put out a hit on her ex-husband, Steven. Finlay and Vero try to stop Steven from getting whacked, all without getting in the way of the killer. All the while, Finlay has to keep her kids alive (and none the wiser), juggle a love triangle, and figure out what secrets Vero is hiding, and why. Oh, and of course, submit the manuscript for her book, which just so happens to be about, you guessed it, a female assassin caught in a love triangle. The sequel was just as fun as the first one, so don’t miss this!
The Liz Taylor Ring by Brenda Janowitz (2/1/22)
Told between two timelines, The Liz Taylor Ring traces the impact a family heirloom has on three siblings and their parents. In present day, three siblings butt heads over who will inherit the 11-carat “Liz Taylor” inspired ring from their parents. And in 1970s Long Island, their parents are swept up in a romance of which their families disapprove.
Homicide and Halo-Halo by Mia P. Manansala (2/8/22)
Talk about just desserts, right? Sorry, you’re right, I’ll see myself out. Anywayyyy, the author of Arsenic and Adobo (I’m sensing a theme) is coming out with a new mystery that places Filipino heritage front and center. Lila Macapagal finds herself once again at the center of another murder (should we get this girl a mirror? Kidding) when the head judge of her local beauty pageant is found killed. Lila has to team up with her former pageant rival to solve the case and vindicate her former frenemy.
You Truly Assumed by Laila Sabreen (2/8/22)
Sabriya is a Black Muslim teen whose summer plans go out the window when a terrorist attack causes a rise in Islamophobia in her neighborhood. Sabriya turns to her blog, You Truly Assumed, for comfort, and something unexpected happens: it goes viral. So viral that two more girls, Zakat and Farah, join to help her run the site. As the blog becomes more popular, the girls are opened up to more vitriol. When one of them receives a threat, the three team up to figure out who’s behind the violence, and they have to decide if it’s better to shut down the blog or stand up for what’s right, even if it puts them at risk.
Chilean Poet by Alejandro Zambra (2/15/22)
This buzzy new novel is about, what else, an aspiring poet named Gonzalo who reunites with Carla, otherwise known as The One That Got Away. Gonzalo, Carla, and Carla’s 6-year-old son form a little happy family, but eventually, Gonzalo leaves for New York to pursue a poetry career. In his absence, his stepson Vincente discovers a love for poetry. Years later, as an 18-year-old, Vincente meets an American journalist and encourages her to write about (here it is) living Chilean poets. The search leads her to discover a vibrant community, but will it also put Vincente and Gonzalo back in contact?
Delilah Green Doesn’t Care by Ashley Herring Blake (2/22/22)
Blake’s adult debut serves up a queer rom-com that has as much depth as it does sizzle. Delilah Green left her small town of Bright Falls, Oregon, after high school and never looked back, moving to New York to make her way as a photographer. Like any artist in NYC who doesn’t have a trust fund, Delilah isn’t doing so hot financially, so when her family offers a big paycheck to photograph her stepsister’s wedding, she can’t exactly say no. The gig puts her up close and personal with Claire, the bride’s gorgeous best friend. *Eyes looking left emoji*
I’m So (Not) Over You by Kosoko Jackson (2/22/22)
Jackson’s adult debut is a heartwarming LGBTQ rom-com about second chances, with a classic fake relationship storyline as well. Aspiring journalist Kian Andrews is seemingly over his ex, Hudson Rivers, until he gets an urgent text to meet up. Is Kian finally getting an apology? Closure? Lol no, Hudson needs Kian to pretend to be his boyfriend and attend the wedding of the year as his plus-one. Kian agrees—only to find that their fake relationship might have more substance to it after all.
This Might Hurt by Stephanie Wrobel (2/22/22
Natalie hasn’t heard from her sister Kit in six months, when she suddenly receives a threatening email that prompts her to drop everything and try to visit her at Wisewood, the insular self-help retreat she checked into. They won’t say they’re a cult, but they’re a cult. The thing with cults, of course, is that they don’t want to let anyone from the outside in, and they definitely don’t want to let anyone on the inside out without a fight.
Like A Sister by Kellye Garrett (3/8/22)
Not only is Melina the daughter of a legendary hip-hop record exec, she’s also the sister of Desiree Pierce, a beloved influencer. Safe to say, the masters nonprofit student couldn’t be more different from her family—and she likes it that way. Until her sister Desiree turns up dead in the Bronx of an apparent overdose, and Melina is the only one who knows it’s all wrong. In order to find out what really happened to her sister, Lena has to immerse herself in her world. If you want twists, turns, and shade thrown at IG culture, this is the book for you.
I Kissed Shara Wheeler by Casey McQuiston (5/3/22)
The author of Red, White and Royal Blue is making their official YA debut, and we truly love to see it. I really can’t wait for this one. Protagonist Chloe Green is so close to getting TF out of her shitty Alabama high school and winning valedictorian. There’s only one person standing in her way: prom queen Shara Wheeler. But a month before graduation, Shara kisses Chloe… then disappears. And Chloe’s not the only one: Shara has kissed the quarterback and her bad boy neighbor, left them cryptic notes, and ghosted. So these three unlikely heroes have to team up, solve the trail of clues, and figure out WTF is going on. I can already see the Netflix movie being made.
The Hacienda by Isabel Cañas (5/10/22)
If you like gothic horror (creepy manors and the like), then you’ll love this highly anticipated thriller that takes place at a haunted hacienda. When Beatriz is proposed to by the dashing Don Rodolfo Solórzano, she accepts—ignoring his first wife’s mysterious death in favor of focusing on what she’ll gain in the marriage. Namely, his sprawling country estate. But when Rodolfo goes to work in the capital, Beatriz starts feeling like she’s not alone in the hacienda. All she knows is that something is deeply wrong, and she might find the answers in investigating what happened to Rodolfo’s first wife—even if it comes at a grave cost.
On Rotation By Shirlene Obuobi (6/21/22)
Angie’s unlucky in love and in med school—she didn’t do so hot on Step One. With her little sister about to get engaged, her parents breathing down her neck, and yet another fuckboy leaving her, she just can’t catch a break. Until, like straight out of a rom-com, she meets a handsome stranger in a park and they spend a magical day together. Except there’s one problem: he has a girlfriend. And more problems keep popping up, namely, because a chance meeting makes this guy a part of Angie’s mutual friend circle.
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Images: Amazon (22); Alexandra Fuller / Unsplash