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December 09, 2022

Best Books of 2022

Best Books of 2022

The Hamilton East Public Library is proud to present our Best Books of 2022! Explore our annual recommendations for kids and adults, curated by our expert librarians. The books on these lists are perfect for gifting, book club selections, or personal reading. They include fiction, nonfiction, graphic novels, picture books, and more! All of these books are in the Library’s catalog, and many are available in multiple formats, including e-books and audiobooks. Happy reading!

Jump to: KidsTeensAdults

For Kids

Board Books

Boop the Snoot by Ashlyn Anstee

The best title of a playful, rhyming board book that also happens to help babies develop motor skills with fingerplay.

Peek-a-You! by Andrea Davis Pinkney, illus. by Brian Pinkney

Sure to elicit squeals of delight with this classic game in a book! You’ll be getting your child ready to read by playing.

Picture Books

Luli and the Language of Tea by Andrea Wang, illus. by Hyewon Yum

Because of language barriers, all the children in ESL daycare play by themselves, but Luli has a plan to change that with tea, cookies, and friendly faces.

Uncle John’s City Garden by Bernette G. Ford, illus. by Frank Morrison

The pictures in this book bring the words to life showing how much love is put into growing the garden and sharing its bounty with others.

Hot Dog by Doug Salati

Wanna know what a dog is thinking and feeling? You’ll never feel as close to a pup as you do with this picture book wherein a sweltering canine needs to get calm, free, and cool at the beach. Kids will pore over the detailed pages again and again!

A Gift for Nana by Lane Smith

A beautifully illustrated picture book about a young bunny who loves his Nana and the adventure he goes on to bring her the perfect gift.

This Book Will Get You to Sleep! by Jory John, illus. by Olivier Tallec

We can’t guarantee you’ll put your child to sleep with this hilariously loud book. The author of the popular Bad Seed books will be sure to elicit lots of laughs.

Gibberish by Young Vo

The anxieties of learning a new language are realistically rendered as young Dat’s comfort and knowledge grow with blooming color.

My Paati’s Saris by Jyoti Rajan Gopal, illus. by Art Twink

A young child helps their paati (the Tamil word for grandmother) get ready for a night of festivities.

I-Can-Read Fiction

Gigi and Ojiji by Melissa Iwai

Gigi is excited that her grandfather is going to live with her, though reality sure has its ups and downs!

Chapter Books

Spooky Sleuths: The Ghost Tree by Natasha Deen, illus. by Lissy Marlin

Perfect for shorter chapter book readers who want something spooky! Follow along with 4th grader Asim whose belief in the supernatural just might save the town.

Pets Rule!: My Kingdom of Darkness by Susan Tan, illlus. By Wendy Tan Shiau Wei

This beginner chapter book made us LOL as we followed along with rescued chihuahua Ember, whose quest for world domination means defeating the acorn-lobbing squirrels next door.


The Adventures of Dr. Sloth by Suzi Eszterhas

This book is full of sloth pictures and facts, but it also shares information about becoming a scientist who studies sloths.

Blue: A History of the Color as Deep as the Sea and as Wide as the Sky by Nana Ekua Brew-Hammond, illus. by Daniel Minter

Who knew the color blue could be so cool, vivid, and fascinating?

The Snowy Owl Scientist by Mark Wilson

Find out if snowy owls are in trouble as you follow along with a scientist in the field and all their fun gear, featuring supportive ways to help snowy owls by keeping a safe distance.

A Seed Grows by Antoinette Portis

A bold and colorful look at the growth cycle of a sunflower. Portis is a favorite picture book author to share with young kids.

Yoshi and the Ocean: A Sea Turtle’s Incredible Journey Home by Lindsay Moore

Rescued as a baby, Yoshi is tagged and released into the wild to follow her instincts home.

Middle Grade

Witchlings by Claribel A. Ortega

Fun middle grade read following three young witches-in-the-making on an adventure full of magic, friendship, and an epic battle against a magical creature called the Nightbeast.

Key Player by Kelly Yang

Mia Tang is a favorite middle grade character, and this story once again showcases her spunk and determination to follow her dreams.

The Ogress and the Orphans by Kelly Barnhill

A fabulous story about community and friendship and how they suffer when deception and lies are allowed to sneak in. This heartwarming tale of compassion and kindness, that overcomes evil and bitterness, will have you cheering for an Ogress and the children who are trying to save their town.

The Last Mapmaker by Christina Soontornvat

Aiding an ancient mapmaker in this adventurous fantasy, Sai journeys to find out who she can be in a world set against her.

Aviva vs. the Dybbuk by Mari Lowe

Aviva is overwhelmed by both her mother’s depression after the loss of Aviva’s father and by a mischievous dybbuk that’s haunting their home.

Graphic Novels

The Real Riley Mayes by Rachel Elliott

Navigating new friendships in a new school year is hard, but budding comic artist Riley is trying to make it through without her best friend that moved away. Fans of Shannon Hale and Raina Telgemeier’s graphic novels will enjoy this one too!

Little Monarchs by Jonathan Case

Mystery and adventure readers alike will enjoy this graphic novel in which 10-year-old Elvie and her guardian track monarch migration patterns, convinced that the butterflies are the key to a vaccine for a mysterious disease that has killed most of the world’s population.

Swim Team by Johnnie Christmas

You’ll be rooting for Bree in this attention-grabbing, feel-good graphic novel about an underdog athlete diving headlong into her worst fear with courage and the help of friends.

For Teens

Middle School (MS) Fiction

I Know You’re Lying by Daphne Benedis-Grab

A twisty middle school mystery about what happens when bullying goes too far.

Shot Clock by Caron Butler and Justin A. Reynolds

The first book in a new middle grade series about a boy trying to make it on an AAU basketball team coached by a former NBA player, while also trying to heal from losing his best friend.

Two Degrees by Alan Gratz

An action-packed middle grade novel featuring three different teens caught up in a wildfire, a snowy tundra, and a hurricane — all devastating effects of climate change.

Middle School (MS) Graphic Novels

Enemies by Svetlana Chmakova

A middle grade graphic novel about the thin line between friends and enemies.

High School Fiction

Hollow Fires by Samira Ahmed

Teen journalist Safiya Merza investigates the murder of “Bomb Boy” and addresses the danger of racism in this thrilling mystery.

Love from Mecca to Medina by S.K. Ali

The romantic sequel to Love from A to Z, Adam and Zayneb agree to go on a pilgrimage from Mecca to Medina over Thanksgiving break so they can finally spend time together. However, this trip may put one too many wedges between them for their love to survive.

The Final Gambit by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

In the third book of The Inheritance Games series, Avery is just weeks away from becoming the richest teenager in the world, but as fans of the series know, nothing is simple with so many secrets and riddles surrounding the Hawthornes!

Violet Made of Thorns by Gina Chen

The first book in a new fantasy series with an enemies-to-lovers plot involving Violet, a prophet and a liar, and Prince Cyrus, the king-to-be that plans to strip Violet of her position.

Bloodmarked by Tracy Deonn

In the highly-anticipated book 2 of the fantasy series The Legendborn Cycle, Bree now knows of her ancestral powers, but can she learn to control them in order to rescue the boy she fell in love with?

The Ballad of Never After by Stephanie Garber

In the highly-anticipated sequel to Once Upon a Broken Heart, Evangeline Fox swears she will never trust the Prince of Hearts again, but he may be the only person she can trust when a new murderous spell is cast.

Foul Lady Fortune by Chloe Gong

In the first book in a new duology, two spies must work undercover together to find out who is behind a series of murders in 1931 Shanghai.

Five Survive by Holly Jackson

A thrilling mystery of a road trip turned deadly: 8 hours, 6 friends, 5 survive.

The Weight of Blood by Tiffany D. Jackson

With suspenseful horror inspired by Stephen King’s Carrie, a Georgia school’s first integrated prom turns deadly after relentless bullying of biracial student Maddy.

Tokyo Dreaming by Emiko Jean

In the sequel to rom-com Tokyo Ever After, overnight princess Izumi Tanaka tries to ensure her parents’ happily-ever-after without losing her own.

A Magic Steeped in Poison by Judy I. Lin

In book 1 of The Book of Tea fantasy series, Ning competes in a magical tea-making competition to win a favor from the princess to save her sister’s life.

Family of Liars by E. Lockhart

In this prequel to We Were Liars, the wealthy Sinclair family spends another summer on their private island, where betrayal and secrets are hidden by lies to keep up appearances.

Self-Made Boys: A Great Gatsby Remix by Anna-Marie McLemore

Part of the Remixed Classics, this book includes all the same beloved characters but with modern twists!

Nothing More to Tell by Karen McManus

Brynn is investigating the murder of a teacher from her old school as a part of her internship on a true-crime show, but digging into the past is turning up new secrets and dangers in the present.

Ain’t Burned All the Bright by Jason Reynolds and Jason Griffin

A spectacular mash-up of art and text that describes in three powerful sentences and 300 pages the changes happening while the world was sheltered inside.

Scattered Showers: Stories by Rainbow Rowell

Nine beautifully-written love stories with unforgettable characters and laugh-out-loud moments that will make readers swoon!

I Must Betray You by Ruta Sepetys

In this historical thriller set in 1989 Romania, anyone could be a spy, and the rest of the world has no idea the country is being led by a cruel dictator turning neighbors against neighbors.

The First to Die at the End by Adam Silvera

In the prequel to best-seller They Both Die at the End, two boys registered with Death-Cast to be notified when they are going to die, but after meeting and forming a deep connection, only one of them gets an End Day call leading to a heart-breaking goodbye.

The Sunbearer Trials by Aiden Thomas

In the first book in a Mexican-inspired fantasy duology, ten teens are chosen to compete in a series of challenges where the stakes are life and death.

YA/High School Graphic Novels

Crumbs by Danie Stirling

A romantic graphic novel based on the WEBTOON webcomic, featuring a magical bakery, first love, and all the delicious complications of growing up.

Clementine: Book One by Tillie Walden

In this graphic novel set in the world of The Walking Dead, tough survivor, Clementine, meets an Amish boy too naive for his own good and a small group of teens with hidden agendas, as they plan to create a walker-free establishment without knowing if they actually trust each other.

For Adults


All Good People Here by Ashley Flowers

Set in a small town in Indiana, this debut novel follows a young journalist seeking to solve an unsolved murder—and possibly prevent a second one.

Babel by R.F. Kuang

A new series from one of the most exciting new voices in speculative fiction, this is a story about a powerful institution of translation and the dark secrets found within.

Black Cake by Charmaine Wilkerson

A debut novel about a family history and an intertwining mystery bringing its members together.

Book Lovers by Emily Henry

This consistently popular author is back with another sweet romance with a twist.

Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver

One of the great modern American writers presents a pseudo-retelling of a classic Dickens novel as an allegory for growing up in poverty in present-day South.

Fairy Tale by Stephen King

The perennial favorite horror writer delves into fantasy with a battle of good and evil that becomes so much more.

Legends and Lattes by Travis Baldree

A social media darling: this is an epic fantasy set in a mythical coffee shop.

Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus

When a brilliant scientist’s life is uprooted, she turns instead to cooking—though not by choice—and the differences turn out to be not all that different in this funny yet poignant story.

The Maid by Nita Prose

After Molly finds the perfect job for herself as a housekeeper, a horrible crime shocks her out of her daily routine where she learns more about herself in the process.

The Many Daughters of Afong Moy by Jamie Ford

In the most recent novel from HEPL’s featured Books Build Bridges author, a poet reflects on relatives from her past to deal with trauma of the present.

The Netanyahus by Joshua Cohen

This literary meta-novel (which won the Pulitzer Price in Fiction) is about a historian tasked with evaluating an eccentric scholar with humorous and revelatory effects on life.

Now Is Not the Time to Panic by Kevin Wilson

A coming-of-age story about a writer who is confronted with an event from her past.

The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley

In the newest from the reliable thriller author, a young woman uncovers secrets about her half-brother the more she learns about his current living situation.

The Passenger by Cormac McCarthy

The inimitable longtime author unveils his first work in over fifteen years with a duology about a crash diver and his outlook on life.

The Rabbit Hutch by Tess Gunty

Set in a fictional town in Indiana, this literary fiction debut about a week in a young writer’s life was the winner of the National Book Award in Fiction.

Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt

An endearing debut novel about an unlikely friendship between a woman and an octopus.

Run, Rose, Run by James Patterson and Dolly Parton

An iconic matchup: a bestselling author and a beloved musician team up to tell a thrilling story about a young musician overcoming obstacles to start her career.

Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin

A coming of age romance novel with a technological twist broad enough to appeal to many generations.

Tracy Flick Can’t Win by Tom Perrotta

In the long-awaited follow-up to Election, this book picks up with the classic character now in her career twenty years later.

Trust by Hernan Diaz

Literary historical fiction about the effect of money and power on young New Yorkers in the early twentieth century.


And There Was Light by Jon Meacham

The well-known presidential biographer returns with a comprehensive telling of Lincoln’s life—a worthy addition in a crowded field.

Bittersweet: How Sorrow and Longing Make Us Whole by Susan Cain

From the bestselling author of Quiet, this book examines the use of pain and longing and how it can be beneficial.

Cuba: An American History by Ada Ferrer

In this winner of the Pulitzer Prize in History, scholar and historian Dr. Ferrer outlines the complex history of Cuba and its relationship with the United States.

River of the Gods by Candice Millard

A narrative nonfiction just as adventurous as it is informative about explorations along Egypt’s Nile River.

Unmasked: My Life Solving America’s Cold Cases by Paul Holes

A memoir from a detective responsible for tracking down several high-profile cases.

Graphic Novels

The Nice House on the Lake by James Tynion IV

In this graphic novel which won the Eisner Award for Best New Series, a group of people with one figure in common are brought together to withstand the end of the world.