My goal this year was to read 100 books, and I made it! Maybe I’ll go for 125 in 2023. I read a lot of books I loved in 2022, but the below were my five favorites. Did you read any of them? What did you think?
See You Yesterday by Rachel Lynn Solomon
- Summary: Barrett Bloom is hoping college will be a fresh start after a messy high school experience. But when school begins on September 21st, everything goes wrong. She’s humiliated by the know-it-all in her physics class, she botches her interview for the college paper, and at a party that night, she accidentally sets a frat on fire. She panics and flees, and when she realizes her roommate locked her out of their dorm, she falls asleep in the common room.The next morning, Barrett’s perplexed to find herself back in her dorm room bed, no longer smelling of ashes and crushed dreams. It’s September 21st. Again. And after a confrontation with Miles, the guy from Physics 101, she learns she’s not alone—he’s been trapped for months. When her attempts to fix her timeline fail, she agrees to work with Miles to find a way out. Soon they’re exploring the mysterious underbelly of the university and going on wild, romantic adventures. As they start falling for each other, they face the universe’s biggest unanswered question yet: what happens to their relationship if they finally make it to tomorrow?
- Why I Loved It: If you’re reading this, chances are that you know that I am a Rachel Lynn Solomon superfan. See You Yesterday has all of my favorite Rachel Lynn Solomon staples: Jewish rep (including a Jew of color in this one!), mental health representation, excellent character development, etc. The time loop adds a sense of freedom, fun, and mystery that permeates this novel. You can read my full review here.
- Who I Recommend It For: Fans of Groundhog Day and/or Palm Springs, people seeking books with mental heath and/or Jewish representation, fans of romance with an adventure/mystery element
When You Get the Chance by Emma Lord
- Summary: Nothing will get in the way of Millie Price’s dream to become a Broadway star. Not her lovable but super-introverted dad, who after raising Millie alone, doesn’t want to watch her leave home to pursue her dream. Not her pesky and ongoing drama club rival, Oliver, who is the very definition of Simmering Romantic Tension. And not the “Millie Moods,” the feelings of intense emotion that threaten to overwhelm, always at maddeningly inconvenient times. Millie needs an ally. And when a left-open browser brings Millie to her dad’s embarrassingly moody LiveJournal from 2003, Millie knows just what to do. She’s going to find her mom. There’s Steph, a still-aspiring stage actress and receptionist at a talent agency. There’s Farrah, ethereal dance teacher who clearly doesn’t have the two left feet Millie has. And Beth, the chipper and sweet stage enthusiast with an equally exuberant fifteen-year-old daughter (A possible sister?! This is getting out of hand). But how can you find a new part of your life and expect it to fit into your old one, without leaving any marks? And why is it that when you go looking for the past, it somehow keeps bringing you back to what you’ve had all along?
- Why I Loved It: Emma Lord is another one of my favorite authors. First of all, as a milennial, I LOVE that the set up of this book is around Livejournal. I love the humor and energy that permeate every one of Lord’s books. She also always knows when it’s time for her books to take themselves seriously. Lord’s musical theater and Taylor Swift references always bring me joy.
- Who I Recommend It For: Musical theater fans (especially fans of Mamma Mia), New Yorkers, fans of the rivals to lovers trope
Tokyo Dreaming by Emiko Jean
- Summary: When Japanese-American Izumi Tanaka learned her father was the Crown Prince of Japan, she became a princess overnight. Now, she’s overcome conniving cousins, salacious press, and an imperial scandal to finally find a place she belongs. She has a perfect bodyguard turned boyfriend. Her stinky dog, Tamagotchi, is living with her in Tokyo. Her parents have even rekindled their college romance and are engaged. A royal wedding is on the horizon! Izumi’s life is a Tokyo dream come true. Only…Her parents’ engagement hits a brick wall. The Imperial Household Council refuses to approve the marriage citing concerns about Izumi and her mother’s lack of pedigree. And on top of it all, her bodyguard turned boyfriend makes a shocking decision about their relationship. At the threat of everything falling apart, Izumi vows to do whatever it takes to help win over the council. Which means upping her newly acquired princess game. But at what cost? Izumi will do anything to help her parents achieve their happily ever after, but what if playing the perfect princess means sacrificing her own? Will she find a way to forge her own path and follow her heart?
- Why I Loved It: I absolutely loved Tokyo Ever After, the first book in this duology. As a story about a regular American girl who learns that she’s a princess in a foreign country, this series reminded me a lot of The Princess Diaries, which was a favorite of mine growing up. I was entranced by Izumi’s story as she adjusts to life in Japan. She is very down to earth and easy to relate to. Her parents’ love story is so sweet, and I couldn’t help but root for them. There was a smile on my face for the entirety of the time I was reading this book. There is also added depth to this story knowing that in 2021, Princess Mako of Japan married a nonroyal and had to give up her royal status.
- Who I Recommend It For: Fans of The Princess Diaries, fans of books with love triangles
Book Lovers by Emily Henry
- Summary: One summer. Two rivals. A plot twist they didn’t see coming….Nora Stephens’ life is books—she’s read them all—and she is not that type of heroine. Not the plucky one, not the laidback dream girl, and especially not the sweetheart. In fact, the only people Nora is a heroine for are her clients, for whom she lands enormous deals as a cutthroat literary agent, and her beloved little sister Libby. Which is why she agrees to go to Sunshine Falls, North Carolina for the month of August when Libby begs her for a sisters’ trip away—with visions of a small-town transformation for Nora, who she’s convinced needs to become the heroine in her own story. But instead of picnics in meadows, or run-ins with a handsome country doctor or bulging-forearmed bartender, Nora keeps bumping into Charlie Lastra, a bookish brooding editor from back in the city. It would be a meet-cute if not for the fact that they’ve met many times and it’s never been cute. If Nora knows she’s not an ideal heroine, Charlie knows he’s nobody’s hero, but as they are thrown together again and again—in a series of coincidences no editor worth their salt would allow—what they discover might just unravel the carefully crafted stories they’ve written about themselves.
- Why I Loved It: As a book lover, I was immediately intrigued by the title of this book. I loved that it highlights the importance of independent bookstores in small towns in addition to shedding light on the publishing industry in New York. There is certainly a Schitt’s Creek (or Hallmark) vibe to the story as it features a big city person trying to adjust to life in a small town. Henry’s characters always feel like deep and fully formed humans and her dialogue is so smart. I also loved the sister relationship between Nora and Libby: they are so different, but care about each other so deeply.
- Who I Recommend It For: Fans of the rivals to lovers trop, fans of Schitt’s Creek
Four Aunties and a Wedding by Jesse K. Suntano
- Summary: Meddy Chan has been to countless weddings, but she never imagined how her own would turn out. Now the day has arrived, and she can’t wait to marry her college sweetheart, Nathan. Instead of having Ma and the aunts cater to her wedding, Meddy wants them to enjoy the day as guests. As a compromise, they find the perfect wedding vendors: a Chinese-Indonesian family-run company just like theirs. Meddy is hesitant at first, but she hits it off right away with the wedding photographer, Staphanie, who reminds Meddy of herself, down to the unfortunately misspelled name. Meddy realizes that is where their similarities end, however, when she overhears Staphanie talking about taking out a target. Horrified, Meddy can’t believe Staphanie and her family aren’t just like her own, they are The Family–actual mafia, and they’re using Meddy’s wedding as a chance to conduct shady business. Her aunties and mother won’t let Meddy’s wedding ceremony become a murder scene–over their dead bodies–and will do whatever it takes to save her special day, even if it means taking on the mafia.
- Why I Loved It: I fell in love with Meddy and her family when I read Dial A for Aunties. They are loving, vibrant, and funny, and their personalities just fly off the page. I love that Sutano combines that goofy ebullience with the drama and suspense of murder. Sutano combines Chinese-Idonesian culture into the story seamlessly. Meddy and her aunts are so charming, and their relationships really form the heart of this story.
- Who I Recommend It For: Fans of murder mysteries/suspense, people who like a good laugh, people who are close with their family