The Best YA Books of 2022


It’s hard to believe that 2022 is coming to a close. Until, that is, looking back on the books released this year. 2022 has been a year full of remarkable book releases, with plenty by debut as well as established authors to check out.

This list rounds up 15 notable YA releases from this past year. For those you haven’t read before, look for them at your local library or bookstore. And for books you have read this year, now’s an excellent time to revisit them. Included in this list are books from a variety of genres including contemporary, mystery, fantasy, science fiction, and post-apocalyptic. You’ll find plenty here to read and recommend.

While this list can’t capture every YA book released this year worth checking out — and there are so many worth reading — Book Riot has plenty more resources. To explore this year’s YA releases in greater depth, visit the Young Adult Literature archives here on Book Riot. Through the archive, you’ll find monthly new release articles, themed lists, and more. You can also check out the Hey YA! podcast to stay up to date on news and upcoming releases related to YA fiction and subscribe to the biweekly “What’s Up in YA?” newsletter.

Interested in what the most anticipated YA books of 2023 will be? Stay tuned in the coming weeks for Book Riot’s Most Anticipated Books of 2023. There you’ll discover which books releasing next year contributors are most excited to read.

the honeys book cover

The Honeys by Ryan La Sala

After his sister Caroline dies suddenly and violently, genderfluid teen Mars is expected to take her place at the annual Aspen Conservancy Academy retreat. Convinced that there is more to Caroline’s death than everyone else claims, Mars investigates the Honeys — a malicious and secretive group of girls that Caroline was close to before she died.

we deserve monuments book cover

We Deserve Monuments by Jas Hammonds

During her senior year, biracial teen Avery and her mother move to Bardell, Georgia to care for her terminally ill grandmother, Mama Letty. Here Avery meets Simone, a next door neighbor who she soon falls for, and Jade — whose mother was murdered and the crime never solved.

As Avery is confronted with Bardell’s cruelty and racist history, she is determined to understand more about her mother and Mama Letty’s past while uncovering what happened to Jade’s mother.

The Queen of Tiles cover

Queen of the Tiles by Hanna Alkaf

Najwa is a professional Scrabble player at her first tournament following the death of her best friend and fellow competitor Trina. One year exactly since Trina’s death, Najwa hopes to claim the “Queen of the Tiles” title in her honor.

But when Trina’s Instagram reactivates — and the posts allude to her death not being accidental — Najwa is determined to find out what happened to Trina last year.

cover of hell followed with us

Hell Followed With Us by Andrew Joseph White

Raised in a cult responsible for the end of the world, trans boy Benji runs away to find somewhere in what’s left of the world where they can’t hurt him anymore.

Enter the ALC, or Acheson LGBTQ+ Center, a group of teens who accept Benji as their own. They believe that Benji can use the biochemical powers the cult inflicted on him to protect the ALC. But even in this safehold, secrets lurk with the potential to destroy everything.

The Undead Truth of Us by Britney S. Lewis book cover

The Undead Truth of Us by Brittany S. Lewis

After Zharie lost her mother, she began seeing zombies. Nobody understands why except Bo, a new neighbor who helps her figure out the meaning behind what she sees. As she spends more time around Bo, Zharie finds ways to process the grief behind her visions.

A Magic Steeped in Poison by Judy I. Lin book cover

A Magic Steeped in Poison (Book of Tea #1) by Judy I. Lin

To save Ning’s sister from the same poisonous tea that killed her mother (a tea that Ning accidentally brewed), she enters a competition open to the kingdom’s shennong-shi — those who practice the art of tea-making.

The winner’s prize? A favor from the princess, which Ning believes will save her sister. That is, if she can survive long enough to compete.

Book cover of The Lesbiana's Guide to Catholic School

The Lesbiana’s Guide to Catholic School by Sonora Reyes

As one of the few students of color at her new Catholic school, 16-year-old Yamilet Flores would prefer to be closeted. Especially since at her last school, the choice was taken away from her when her former best friend outed her.

But as Yamilet grows closer with Bo, a classmate who is openly queer, she struggles to decide whether a chance at love is worth risking rejection — not just from Bo but from her family and her school.

Only a Monster cover

Only a Monster (Monsters #1) by Vanessa Len

When 16-year-old Joan starts a new job at the Holland House, she finds herself drawn to her co-worker Nick while enjoying life with her mother’s eccentric family.

But there’s more to both than Joan initially sees. Nick is a monster slayer and, as Joan soon discovers, her family are monsters. If Joan wants to save her family, she’ll have to embrace that she, too, is a monster.

Goth Girl, Queen of the Universe by Lindsay S Zrull cover

Goth Girl, Queen of the Universe by Lindsay S. Zrull

Goth girl Jessica is stunned when a woman claiming to be her biological mother contacts her through her Instagram. Jessica, who has been in the foster care system since she was 7 years old, is eager to reunite with her mom.

And joining an upcoming cosplay competition in New York City with a group from her school seems to offer the opportunity to do so. But as she prepares for the competition, she finds family and belonging in her newfound friends.

Kings of B'More cover

Kings of B’More by R. Eric Thomas

Best friends Linus and Harrison are inseparable and, with junior year just months away, the two need each other. But when Linus tells Harrison that his family is moving in a week, neither can’t process what life will look like without the other there.

Inspired by Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Harrison plans one memorable day together to say goodbye. But letting go of your best friend isn’t easy, even if you make memories along the way.

Being Mary Bennet cover

Being Mary Bennet by J.C. Peterson

When 17-year-old Marnie Barnes realizes she’s more of a “forgettable middle child” Mary Bennet than a bold and witty Elizabeth, she’s determined to cultivate more of a main character personality. But she soon discovers that everyone is the hero of their own story and that there’s more to fulfillment in life than chasing after perfection that only a fictional character could embody.

The Many Half-Lived Lives of Sam Sylvester Cover

The Many Half-Lived Lives of Sam Sylvester by Maya MacGregor

Autistic nonbinary teen Sam and his dad move to Astoria, a small town in Oregon. Here, Sam meets new friends — including Shep, who they fall for — at their school’s LGBTQ+ student club.

As Sam finds themselves increasingly drawn to a decades-old murder, they are determined to catch the killer — who they believe still lives in Astoria. Even if it means facing the ghosts of the town’s past.

The Loophole by Naz Kutub Book Cover

The Loophole by Naz Kutub

After his boyfriend Farouk leaves him to travel the world, 17-year-old Sy wishes he had said yes to Farouk’s offer to join him. He’d give anything for a second chance.

Wish granted! But not in the way Sy expects. When a stranger grants him three wishes — and soon after proves she can offer what she claims — Sy embarks on an around-the-world mission to reunite with Farouk.

So This Is Ever After by F.T. Lukens Book Cover

So This is Ever After by F.T. Lukens

After fulfilling his destiny as the kingdom’s Chosen One, Arek unexpectedly becomes the new ruler. And this kingship comes with a catch: he must find a spouse by his 18th birthday or die.

To escape this curse, Arek and his mage best friend Matt begin a search for a spouse. But what is Arek to do when the only person he could see himself spending his life with is Matt?

My Mechanical Romance by Alexene Farol Follmuth cover

My Mechanical Romance by Alexene Farol Follmuth

After discovering she has a knack for engineering, Bel joins her school’s robotics club. Although she and team captain Teo disagree on the specifics, they know the club has the potential to win big at Nationals. As they prepare their robot for the competition, Bel and Teo find themselves understanding themselves and each other more — and falling in love along the way.

cover of when you get the chance

When You Get the Chance by Emma Lord

Theater nerd Mille Price was raised by a loving single dad, with little knowledge of who her mother was or why she left while Millie was a baby. But when Millie discovers her dad’s old LiveJournal account, she discovers something shocking. In college, her dad was involved with three different people who could be Millie’s mom. And all of them still live nearby!

As Millie competes for her dream internship with her frenemy Oliver, who she may be falling for, she searches for her mother in this Mamma Mia–inspired romantic comedy.

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