What are the most popular books of the year? Check out the Goodreads Choice Awards 2022 and see whether you agree with the winners.
Every December, Goodreads announces the winners of the annual Goodreads Choice Awards. And every year, I hear complaints about how it’s a glorified popularity contest.
In some aspects, it is. Whenever you are polling the general population, name recognition is a big part. Well-known authors are not only more likely to be read but also more likely to get the vote even if someone hasn’t read their book.
For the Goodreads Choice Awards 2022, I feel like it’s a mixed bag. Some of the winners were among my favorite books of the year, and some feel extremely overrated.
Here are the 2022 winners of the Goodreads Awards. I’d love to hear what you think, so be sure to comment below!
Goodreads Choice Awards 2022: Best Fiction
On a bitterly cold day, Sam Masur runs into Sadie Green on a train platform and they renew their childhood friendship bonding over video games. Together, they create Ichigo, a blockbuster game that changes their lives. Over the next three decades, their friendship is tested as their success leads them to money, fame, love, and betrayal.
My Thoughts: More a heartrending story about friendship than video games, Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, is one of the best books I’ve read recently, and I can’t recommend it enough. I read it in one sitting, staying up until 3 am because I could not put it down. Although there are plenty of video game references, the story wasn’t overwhelmingly nerdy and the complexity of the character development particularly stood out to me.
Goodreads Awards: Best Mystery & Thriller
Although she struggles to interact with people, her love of order and cleanliness makes Molly Gray an excellent maid at the Regency Grand Hotel. When Molly discovers a wealthy guest dead in his hotel bed, the police peg her as the prime suspect due to her unusual behaviors. With the help of her friends, Molly must investigate the murder to prove her innocence in this locked-room mystery.
My Thoughts: The Maid is an adorable cozy mystery. You’ll instantly fall in love with Molly as the neurodivergent protagonist, with her keen observations and lovable personality. If you are in the mood for a cute book, The Maid delivers: the twists and turns are intriguing but not shocking and everyone gets their happily ever after.
Goodreads Choice Awards: Best Historical Fiction
Taylor Jenkins Reid
When Carrie Soto retired from tennis six years ago, she was the best player the world had ever seen, shattering every record imaginable. Now a hotshot new tennis star is threatening to break Carrie’s legacy. At 37, Carrie attempts to come back for one more epic season to defend her title, even if defying all the odds means she has to train with a man from her past.
My Thoughts: Since it’s set in the 1990s, it doesn’t feel like historical fiction to me; I voted for Lessons in Chemistry. However, I absolutely loved Carrie Soto is Back. I started it half an hour before my bedtime and literally did not put it down until I had finished it. Taylor Jenkins Reid shines with her brilliant writing and complex characters. You do, however, need to at least enjoy tennis, because much of the suspense comes from the actual tennis matches.
Goodreads Awards 2022: Best Fantasy
Sarah J. Maas
In the second book of her Crescent City series, Bryce Quinlan and Hunt Athalar just want some rest after saving Crescent City. As the rebels continue to chip away at the Asteri’s powers, Bryce and Hunt are faced with a decision. Should they keep quiet while others are oppressed or join the rebels fighting the Asteri?
My Thoughts: I am not shocked at all to see Sarah J. Maas rack up another Goodreads Choice Award in 2022. After reading Throne of Glass a few months ago, I’ve finally jumped on the Maas bandwagon. Yet, I haven’t really heard too much buzz about her newest series, though it does seem to be rather popular.
Goodreads Choice Awards 2022: Best Romance
Cutthroat literary agent Nora Stephens lives her whole life in books. On a sisters’ trip to North Carolina, Nora dreams of becoming a heroine worthy of the books she reads. Instead, she keeps running into a brooding editor from back in the city. As their accidental meetings keep coming, Nora and Charlie begin to see each other differently in this enemies-to-lovers summer read.
My Thoughts: Emily Henry has become the summer beach read queen, with her romance books landing on the bestseller lists every year. I rarely read romance, but the one Emily Henry book I read was a fun read, though steamier than I prefer. I do love that her books often center around bookish people, and will probably try to read Book Lovers and Beach Read next year.
Goodreads Awards 2022: Best Science Fiction
Emily St. John Mandel
Emily St. John Mandel (author of Station Eleven) returns with her third novel, a story about parallel worlds and alternate possibilities. In 1912, a young man hears a violin playing in the Canadian woods, an event that a videographer captures in the present day. Two hundred years later, a famous writer includes a similar haunting scene in one of her books. Decades later, Gaspery-Jacques Roberts is hired to investigate this anomaly in time, one that has the potential to disrupt the universe’s timeline.
My Thoughts: At under 300 pages with a large font and small size, Sea of Tranquility is an extremely short read. Mandel brilliantly writes literary science fiction, and Sea of Tranquility has a gorgeous lyrical presence to it. The story is simple and unrushed, laying out each scenario and then tying it all together as Gaspery-Jacques’ time-traveling contemplates the nature of destiny and fate.
Goodreads Awards: Best Horror
Just out of rehab, Mallory Quinn takes a job as the babysitter for five-year-old Teddy. Mallory loves her newfound freedom and instantly bonds with Teddy, who is never without his sketchbook. One day, Teddy draws a man in the woods dragging a woman’s dead body. Suddenly, Teddy’s childish drawings transform into sinister life-like scenes, and Mallory suspects a supernatural force is guiding them to uncover an unsolved murder.
My Thoughts: Horror isn’t my favorite genre, but I have to admit that Hidden Pictures has a very appealing premise. Reviewers say the story gripping with a fantastic twist, so it definitely sounds worth the read.
Goodreads Awards 20212: Best Humor
Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey
Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey, stars of the US tv show The Office, reveal a behind-the-scenes look at the hit tv series. Although their characters, secretary Pam Beasley and accountant Angela Martin, didn’t have anything in common, the co-stars hit it off in a warm friendship that continues to this day.
My Thoughts: The Office was a gigantic cultural phenomenon when I was in college, and I still find myself watching reruns whenever I am in a hotel. It’s fun to see two costars whose characters were so extremely different, get along so well in real life. However, I assume The Office BFFs will only make you laugh if you are a fan of the show.
Goodreads Awards: Best Nonfiction
Known for her work researching vulnerability and shame, Brené Brown takes you on a journey through what it means to be human. Brown focuses on the 87 emotions that we feel, giving you tools and skills to navigate each emotion and understand how to give yourself a chance at more connection.
My Thoughts: Is it a terrible thing to admit that I am not a Brené Brown fan? Don’t get me wrong, she makes some great points about shame and vulnerability. While I think her work has a ton of value and helps a lot of people, I just don’t enjoy reading her books.
Goodreads Awards 2022: Best Memoir & Autobiography
Both vulnerable and hilarious, Jennette McCurdy’s tell-all memoir sends a poignant message of the dangers of child acting. McCurdy brilliantly embraces her inner child by describing how desperately she wanted to please her mom by acting, even if it lead to an eating disordered and a chaotic relationship with her family that she didn’t fully understand until attending therapy after her mother’s death.
My Thoughts: I have had a library hold on Jennette McCurdy’s memoir since it hit the bestseller lists this summer, and I don’t think I’ll get a copy until next summer. It’s just that popular. No surprise that it was a Goodreads Choice Awards Winner. I’ve heard her tell-all book is both vulnerable and hilarious and can’t wait to read it for myself.
Goodreads Choice Awards: Best History & Biography
Huw Lemmey and Ben Miller
As a society, we prefer to look through history pointing out the heroes and pioneers and how they changed the world. However, Huw Lemmey and Ben Miller decided to do the opposite – look at the villains and failures to understand the impact they had on history. Based on their hit podcast, Bad Gays looks at LBGTQ+ history through a lens of how the worse actors have shaped current thoughts and events.
My Thoughts: I had never heard of Bad Gays, either the book or the podcast, though that is not uncommon when it comes to History & Autobiography winners. Lemmey and Miller’s premise sounds fascinating, and judging by the popularity of their podcast, I assume they are fantastic storytellers capable of bringing history to life.
Best Graphic Novels & Comics
With their relationship going well, Charlie finally feels ready to say “I love you” to Nick. While Nick feels the same way, his mind is overcome with worries. The thought of coming out to his dad terrifies Nick. Plus, Nick begins to suspect that Charlie has an eating disorder. With the start of a new school year, Nick and Charlie must learn what love really means to each other.
My Thoughts: Heartstopper: Volume Three topped the Goodreads Choice Awards for graphic novels in 2020, so it makes sense that Volume Four would top the charts yet again. But the popularity of the Netflix series has sent Heartstopper to new heights. I honestly know nothing about the series except that my teenage babysitter enjoys watching it on my Netflix account after she’s put my kids to bed.
Goodreads Awards 2022: Best Poetry
In 2021, Amanda Gorman became the youngest presidential inaugural poet in US history when she read her poem, “The Hill We Climb,” at President Biden’s inauguration. In her expanded collection, Amanda Gorman becomes a new voice in American poetry.
My Thoughts: Last year, Amanda Gorman won the Goodreads Choice Awards for Poetry with her inaugural poem, “The Hill We Climb.” So it’s not surprising to see her expanded collection from last fall top this year’s list. I haven’t read it yet, but I’ve only heard good things from others.
Goodreads Awards: Best Debut Novel
Elizabeth Zott has always defied stereotyping, especially as the only woman chemist at the Hastings Research Institute in the 1960s. After falling in love with another chemist who sees her for who she is, life throws her a curveball. Now as a single mom, she unexpectedly finds herself the host of a tv cooking show. When Elizabeth’s unusual approach to cooking charms her audience, the women who watch her begin to question the status quo in their own lives, making Elizabeth a target of those who find the change unwelcome.
My Thoughts: At first, I ignored the popular buzz around Lessons in Chemistry, thinking it would be your stereotypical historical romance. To my surprise, I found the book has a love story but isn’t a romance. Instead, Garmus presents an engrossing progressive historical fiction read with heartfelt depth and a searing look at sex discrimination in the past (and today).
Goodreads Choice Awards: Best Young Adult Fiction
Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Avery Kylie Grambs is only a few weeks away from inheriting billions. She just needs to survive a little longer in the Hawthorne house with the help of the Hawthorne brothers. Yet, when a new stranger arrives, the balance in the house shifts. Suddenly, Avery has one more puzzle to solve, else she could risk losing everything when she is so close to winning.
My Thoughts: I haven’t read The Inheritance Games series yet, but it sounds just want I want from YA fiction – fast-paced and fun. I don’t need nuanced characters and deep themes. Just lots of over-the-top action, a little romance, and a protagonist to root for.
Young Adult Fantasy
Growing up in a girls’ school, Olivia’s only connection to her family is her mother’s journal, chronicling her mother’s descent into madness. When Olivia is invited to return to the extended family’s home at Gallant, she feels at home for the first time. Until she discovers a parallel realm of shadows where she must decide where her loyalties lie.
My Thoughts: I was hoping that V. E. Schwab’s standalone fantasy would be able to win the top spot over the other YA fantasy series. I haven’t read Gallant, but I know Schwab is an excellent writer, easily writing bestsellers for adults, young adults, and middle grade.
Goodreads Awards 2022: Middle Grade & Children’s
I Am Quiet
While everyone else sees Emile as shy, he’s really just quiet. An introvert at heart, Emile might seem like a blank slate from the outside, but inside his imagination is running on overdrive. A reminder that we can accept ourselves for who we are, I Am Quiet helps kids understand that there is nothing wrong with being an introvert.
My Thoughts: Even though I have four children, I’m a terrible judge of children’s and middle grade literature. However, being an introvert myself, I fully appreciate any book about reminds people that introverted and shy are too different things.
What Do You Think About the Goodreads Choice Awards 2022?
Do you agree or disagree with the Goodreads Choice Awards winners? What 2022 new releases were you disappointed didn’t make the cut? As always, let me know in the comments!
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