There’s a chill in the air, holiday lights are twinkling in neighborhoods around the world, and in the spirit of the season, we have a gift for you! Presenting… our favorite tradition of the holiday season here at Riveted by Simon Teen: a list of the books we’ve loved over the past year! Take a look to find a little something for your loved ones (or yourself).
Our Favorite Books from 2022 We Love to Give (and Get) This Holiday Season
Emily recommends The Do-Over by Lynn Painter
You absolutely need to read The Do-Over if you love: Taylor Swift, Jess from Gilmore Girls, witty banter, and/or disastrous but romantic time loops. Emilie Hornby is reliving the WORST Valentine’s Day, over and over again. She’s forced to watch her boyfriend cheat on her and she can’t escape the enigmatic Nick, who she keeps crashing into, literally. As her life continues to go up in flames, she eventually decides it’s her turn to burn it all down. If you loved Lynn Painter’s Better Than the Movies, do NOT miss The Do-Over; it’s swoony and funny and will warm your heart (from the flames of burning it all down – relatable, right?).
Bezi recommends Bloodmarked by Tracy Deonn
The Legendborn Cycle has something for everyone: a powerful Black fantasy heroine; a true love triangle with no wrong answer; a nuanced exploration of grief and of the trauma of being “the first” in primarily white spaces; and a fantasy adventure that will take your breath away. In Bloodmarked, the sequel to the first book Legendborn, the stakes are even higher after Bree’s ancestry has been revealed, but when she must go on the run to save herself and her friends, she begins to explore the magic within her that will either help her become the legend—or break it. You don’t want to miss all the magic, love, and betrayal in what is undoubtedly one of the best fantasy YA series of all time.
Brian recommends Blaine for the Win by Robbie Couch
Robbie Couch’s sophomore novel, Blaine for the Win, is equal parts hysterical and empowering. A new queer romp that celebrates the heart and tenacity of aloof and lighthearted gay boys everywhere!
Caroline recommends Very Bad People by Kit Frick
Dark academia fans, rejoice! Very Bad People by YA thriller queen Kit Frick delves deep into questions about how far you would go to do the right thing—and at what point the ends no longer justify the means. New at boarding school, Calliope gets swept up in a secret society that strives to make positive campus change through clandestine pranks. When their tactics get more extreme, Calliope doubts whether their actions are fully justified—but is she already in too deep? This is a relentless page-turner full of morally complex characters. The ending made me absolutely scream.
John recommends The Ones We Burn by Rebecca Mix
A blood-witch with a deadly mission, a prince disinterested in being a king, and a mysterious plague. On the surface, The Ones We Burn is a story of revenge, magic, and conspiracy. However, a closer look reveals themes of deep-seated pain and surviving trauma. Through her often times heart-wrenching writing, author Rebecca Mix presents a fantastic world filled with morally grey characters and complex societies that form the foundation for an incredible story.
Lametria recommends The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han
When this show dropped on Amazon Prime this summer, I had to go back to the beginning and revisit my favorite fictional beach in The Summer I Turned Pretty! Cousin’s Beach is where Belly has spent every summer since she was born, with her mom, brother, Susannah, and Susannah’s sons, Conrad, and Jeremiah. I can’t get enough of this book and the best part is, regardless of the summer theme, this book is a great read for any season! Also, and this is going to be a controversial statement, but I am ALWAYS team Jeremiah!
Remi recommends She Gets the Girl by Rachael Lippincott and Alyson Derrick
If you’re looking for a charming, feel-good love story about opposites attracting, look no further than She Gets The Girl! Alex and Molly aren’t planning to fall for each other, after all, they’re actually trying to help each other get different girls. However, you won’t be able to help rooting for them, especially as their bickering becomes more and more flirty… And, the fact that this is co-written by a married couple makes it all the more better!
Amy recommends Love Radio by Ebony LaDelle
Love Radio is a hard-hitting yet swoonworthy romance has been a fave of the Simon Teen team from day one! Dani and Prince are ADORABLE together and taking part in their journey was such a treat. Don’t miss this heartfelt story, and make sure you listen to the Love Radio playlist while you read to really get the full experience!
Trey recommends A Wilderness of Stars by Shea Ernshaw
Magic, an EPIC trek across the wilderness, a little romance and a stunning cover to top it all off makes this new release a must-read! I’ve been a Shea Ernshaw fan since the first time I read Winterwood, so I knew I was bound to love A Wilderness of Stars, and Shea didn’t disappoint! This moody, magical, atmospheric read is the perfect book to pick up this winter, so curl up with under a cozy blanket and settle in for a magical journey.
Saleena recommends Foul Lady Fortune by Chloe Gong
As a fan of Chloe Gong’s previous books, I was so excited to read Foul Lady Fortune, which is set a few years after the events of These Violent Delights and Our Violent Ends. And I was not disappointed! Foul Lady Fortune follows Rosalind, an assassin who cannot die, as she investigates a series of mysterious murders causing unrest in Shanghai. To avoid suspicion, she must pose as the wife of another Nationalist spy, Orion Hong. Action-packed, angsty, and thrilling, Foul Lady Fortune is one of my favorite YA books of this year!
Thad recommends So This Is Ever After by F.T. Lukens
Following Arek as he tries to find a spouse before a curse kills him on his eighteenth birthday, is chaotic and hilarious to say the least. So This Is Ever After is utterly delightful and feels like a rom-com dressed as a fantasy. While the book starts with an explosion of action, the slow burn romance will have you rolling your eyes at Arek over and over as he searches for a love that we all know is right in front of him. Keep this book on your shelf for a day when you need a good laugh, a good cry, or just want that cozy heartwarming feeling.