Winners of the 2022 Goodreads Choice Awards

The winners of the 2022 Goodreads Choice Awards have been announced! We’ve gathered up the winners and listed them below. We would love to hear your thoughts on the winners in the comments! Summaries of the books have been provided by the publishers and authors.

Best Fiction: Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin

On a bitter-cold day, in the December of his junior year at Harvard, Sam Masur exits a subway car and sees, amid the hordes of people waiting on the platform, Sadie Green. He calls her name. For a moment, she pretends she hasn’t heard him, but then, she turns, and a game begins: a legendary collaboration that will launch them to stardom. These friends, intimates since childhood, borrow money, beg favors, and, before even graduating college, they have created their first blockbuster, Ichigo. Overnight, the world is theirs. Not even twenty-five years old, Sam and Sadie are brilliant, successful, and rich, but these qualities won’t protect them from their own creative ambitions or the betrayals of their hearts.

Spanning thirty years, from Cambridge, Massachusetts, to Venice Beach, California, and lands in between and far beyond, Gabrielle Zevin’s Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow is a dazzling and intricately imagined novel that examines the multifarious nature of identity, disability, failure, the redemptive possibilities in play, and above all, our need to connect: to be loved and to love. Yes, it is a love story, but it is not one you have read before.

This title is also available in the following formats:

Best Mystery & Thriller: The Maid by Nita Prose

Molly Gray is not like everyone else. She struggles with social skills and misreads the intentions of others. Her gran used to interpret the world for her, codifying it into simple rules that Molly could live by.

Since Gran died a few months ago, twenty-five-year-old Molly has been navigating life’s complexities all by herself. No matter—she throws herself with gusto into her work as a hotel maid. Her unique character, along with her obsessive love of cleaning and proper etiquette, make her an ideal fit for the job. She delights in donning her crisp uniform each morning, stocking her cart with miniature soaps and bottles, and returning guest rooms at the Regency Grand Hotel to a state of perfection.

But Molly’s orderly life is upended the day she enters the suite of the infamous and wealthy Charles Black, only to find it in a state of disarray and Mr. Black himself dead in his bed. Before she knows what’s happening, Molly’s unusual demeanor has the police targeting her as their lead suspect. She quickly finds herself caught in a web of deception, one she has no idea how to untangle. Fortunately for Molly, friends she never knew she had unite with her in a search for clues to what really happened to Mr. Black—but will they be able to find the real killer before it’s too late?

A Clue-like, locked-room mystery and a heartwarming journey of the spirit, The Maid explores what it means to be the same as everyone else and yet entirely different—and reveals that all mysteries can be solved through connection to the human heart.

This title is also available in the following formats:

Best Historical Fiction: Carrie Soto is Back by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Carrie Soto is fierce, and her determination to win at any cost has not made her popular. But by the time she retires from tennis, she is the best player the world has ever seen. She has shattered every record and claimed twenty Grand Slam titles. And if you ask Carrie, she is entitled to every one. She sacrificed nearly everything to become the best, with her father, Javier, as her coach. A former champion himself, Javier has trained her since the age of two.

But six years after her retirement, Carrie finds herself sitting in the stands of the 1994 US Open, watching her record be taken from her by a brutal, stunning player named Nicki Chan.

At thirty-seven years old, Carrie makes the monumental decision to come out of retirement and be coached by her father for one last year in an attempt to reclaim her record. Even if the sports media says that they never liked “the Battle-Axe” anyway. Even if her body doesn’t move as fast as it did. And even if it means swallowing her pride to train with a man she once almost opened her heart to: Bowe Huntley. Like her, he has something to prove before he gives up the game forever.

In spite of it all, Carrie Soto is back, for one epic final season. In this riveting and unforgettable novel, Taylor Jenkins Reid tells her most vulnerable, emotional story yet.

This title is also available in the following formats:

Best Fantasy: House of Sky and Breath by Sarah J. Maas

Sarah J. Maas’s sexy, groundbreaking CRESCENT CITY series continues with the second installment.

Bryce Quinlan and Hunt Athalar are trying to get back to normal-they may have saved Crescent City, but with so much upheaval in their lives lately, they mostly want a chance to relax. Slow down. Figure out what the future holds.

The Asteri have kept their word so far, leaving Bryce and Hunt alone. But with the rebels chipping away at the Asteri’s power, the threat the rulers pose is growing. As Bryce, Hunt, and their friends get pulled into the rebels’ plans, the choice becomes clear: stay silent while others are oppressed, or fight for what’s right. And they’ve never been very good at staying silent.

In this sexy, action-packed sequel to the #1 bestseller House of Earth and Blood, Sarah J. Maas weaves a captivating story of a world about to explode-and the people who will do anything to save it.

This title is also available in the following format:

Best Romance: Book Lovers by Emily Henry

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.

This title is also available in the following formats:

Best Science Fiction: Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel

Edwin St. Andrew is eighteen years old when he crosses the Atlantic by steamship, exiled from polite society following an ill-conceived diatribe at a dinner party. He enters the forest, spellbound by the beauty of the Canadian wilderness, and suddenly hears the notes of a violin echoing in an airship terminal—an experience that shocks him to his core.

Two centuries later a famous writer named Olive Llewellyn is on a book tour. She’s traveling all over Earth, but her home is the second moon colony, a place of white stone, spired towers, and artificial beauty. Within the text of Olive’s best-selling pandemic novel lies a strange passage: a man plays his violin for change in the echoing corridor of an airship terminal as the trees of a forest rise around him.

When Gaspery-Jacques Roberts, a detective in the black-skied Night City, is hired to investigate an anomaly in the North American wilderness, he uncovers a series of lives upended: The exiled son of an earl driven to madness, a writer trapped far from home as a pandemic ravages Earth, and a childhood friend from the Night City who, like Gaspery himself, has glimpsed the chance to do something extraordinary that will disrupt the timeline of the universe.

A virtuoso performance that is as human and tender as it is intellectually playful, Sea of Tranquility is a novel of time travel and metaphysics that precisely captures the reality of our current moment.

This title is also available in the following formats:

Best Horror: Hidden Pictures by Jason Rekulak

Mallory Quinn is fresh out of rehab when she takes a job as a babysitter for Ted and Caroline Maxwell. She is to look after their five-year-old son, Teddy.

Mallory immediately loves it. She has her own living space, goes out for nightly runs, and has the stability she craves. And she sincerely bonds with Teddy, a sweet, shy boy who is never without his sketchbook and pencil. His drawings are the usual fare: trees, rabbits, balloons. But one day, he draws something different: a man in a forest, dragging a woman’s lifeless body.

Then, Teddy’s artwork becomes increasingly sinister, and his stick figures quickly evolve into lifelike sketches well beyond the ability of any five-year-old. Mallory begins to wonder if these are glimpses of a long-unsolved murder, perhaps relayed by a supernatural force.

Knowing just how crazy it all sounds, Mallory nevertheless sets out to decipher the images and save Teddy before it’s too late.

This title is also available in the following formats:

Best Humor: The Office BFFs by Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey

An intimate, behind-the-scenes, richly illustrated celebration of beloved The Office co-stars Jenna Fischer & Angela Kinsey’s friendship, & an insiders’ view of Pam Beesly, Angela Martin, & the unforgettable iconic TV show. Featuring Jenna and Angela’s many personal photos.

Receptionist Pam Beesly and accountant Angela Martin had very little in common when they toiled together at Scranton’s Dunder Mifflin Paper Company. But, in reality, the two bonded in their very first days on set and, over the nine seasons of the series’ run, built a friendship that transcended the show and continues to this day. Sharing everything from what it was like in the early days as the show struggled to gain traction, to walking their first red carpet—plus exclusive stories on the making of milestone episodes and how their lives changed when they became moms — The Office BFFs is full of the same warm and friendly tone Jenna and Angela have brought to their Office Ladies podcast.

This title is also available in the following format:

Best Nonfiction: Atlas of the Heart by Brené Brown

In Atlas of the Heart, Brown takes us on a journey through eighty-seven of the emotions and experiences that define what it means to be human. As she maps the necessary skills and an actionable framework for meaningful connection, she gives us the language and tools to access a universe of new choices and second chances—a universe where we can share and steward the stories of our bravest and most heartbreaking moments with one another in a way that builds connection.

Over the past two decades, Brown’s extensive research into the experiences that make us who we are has shaped the cultural conversation and helped define what it means to be courageous with our lives. Atlas of the Heart draws on this research, as well as on Brown’s singular skills as a storyteller, to show us how accurately naming an experience doesn’t give the experience more power—it gives us the power of understanding, meaning, and choice.

Brown shares, “I want this book to be an atlas for all of us, because I believe that, with an adventurous heart and the right maps, we can travel anywhere and never fear losing ourselves.”

This title is also available in the following formats:

Best Memoir & Autobiography: I’m Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy

A heartbreaking and hilarious memoir by iCarly and Sam & Cat star Jennette McCurdy about her struggles as a former child actor—including eating disorders, addiction, and a complicated relationship with her overbearing mother—and how she retook control of her life.

Jennette McCurdy was six years old when she had her first acting audition. Her mother’s dream was for her only daughter to become a star, and Jennette would do anything to make her mother happy. So she went along with what Mom called “calorie restriction,” eating little and weighing herself five times a day. She endured extensive at-home makeovers while Mom chided, “Your eyelashes are invisible, okay? You think Dakota Fanning doesn’t tint hers?” She was even showered by Mom until age sixteen while sharing her diaries, email, and all her income.

In I’m Glad My Mom Died, Jennette recounts all this in unflinching detail—just as she chronicles what happens when the dream finally comes true. Cast in a new Nickelodeon series called iCarly, she is thrust into fame. Though Mom is ecstatic, emailing fan club moderators and getting on a first-name basis with the paparazzi (“Hi Gale!”), Jennette is riddled with anxiety, shame, and self-loathing, which manifest into eating disorders, addiction, and a series of unhealthy relationships. These issues only get worse when, soon after taking the lead in the iCarly spinoff Sam & Cat alongside Ariana Grande, her mother dies of cancer. Finally, after discovering therapy and quitting acting, Jennette embarks on recovery and decides for the first time in her life what she really wants.

Told with refreshing candor and dark humor, I’m Glad My Mom Died is an inspiring story of resilience, independence, and the joy of shampooing your own hair.

This title is also available in the following formats:

Best History & Biography: Bad Guys by Huw Lemmey and Ben Miller

We all remember Oscar Wilde, but who speaks for Bosie? What about those ‘bad gays’ whose unexemplary lives reveal more than we might expect? Many popular histories seek to establish homosexual heroes, pioneers, and martyrs but, as Huw Lemmey and Ben Miller argue, the past is filled with queer people whose sexualities and dastardly deeds have been overlooked despite their being informative and instructive.

Based on the hugely popular podcast series of the same name, Bad Gays asks what we can learn about LGBTQ+ history, sexuality and identity through its villains, failures, and baddies. With characters such as the Emperor Hadrian, anthropologist Margaret Mead and notorious gangster Ronnie Kray, the authors tell the story of how the figure of the white gay man was born, and how he failed. They examine a cast of kings, fascist thugs, artists and debauched bon viveurs. Imperial-era figures Lawrence of Arabia and Roger Casement get a look-in, as do FBI boss J. Edgar Hoover, lawyer Roy Cohn, and architect Philip Johnson.

Together these amazing life stories expand and challenge mainstream assumptions about sexual identity: showing that homosexuality itself was an idea that emerged in the nineteenth century, one central to major historical events.

Bad Gays is a passionate argument for rethinking gay politics beyond questions of identity, compelling readers to search for solidarity across boundaries.

Best Graphic Novels & Comics: Heartstopper by Alice Oseman

Charlie and Nick are at the same school, but they’ve never met … until one day when they’re made to sit together. They quickly become friends, and soon Charlie is falling hard for Nick, even though he doesn’t think he has a chance.

But love works in surprising ways, and Nick is more interested in Charlie than either of them realised.

By Alice Oseman, winner of the YA Book Prize, Heartstopper is about love, friendship, loyalty and mental illness. It encompasses all the small stories of Nick and Charlie’s lives that together make up something larger, which speaks to all of us.

Best Poetry: Call Us What We Carry by Amanda Gorman

The breakout poetry collection by #1 New York Times bestselling author and presidential inaugural poet Amanda Gorman

Formerly titled The Hill We Climb and Other Poems, the luminous poetry collection by #1 New York Times bestselling author and presidential inaugural poet Amanda Gorman captures a shipwrecked moment in time and transforms it into a lyric of hope and healing. In Call Us What We Carry, Gorman explores history, language, identity, and erasure through an imaginative and intimate collage. Harnessing the collective grief of a global pandemic, this beautifully designed volume features poems in many inventive styles and structures and shines a light on a moment of reckoning. Call Us What We Carry reveals that Gorman has become our messenger from the past, our voice for the future.

This book is also available in the following formats:

Best Debut: Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus

Chemist Elizabeth Zott is not your average woman. In fact, Elizabeth Zott would be the first to point out that there is no such thing as an average woman. But it’s the early 1960s and her all-male team at Hastings Research Institute takes a very unscientific view of equality. Except for one: Calvin Evans; the lonely, brilliant, Nobel–prize nominated grudge-holder who falls in love with—of all things—her mind. True chemistry results.

But like science, life is unpredictable. Which is why a few years later Elizabeth Zott finds herself not only a single mother, but the reluctant star of America’s most beloved cooking show Supper at Six. Elizabeth’s unusual approach to cooking (“combine one tablespoon acetic acid with a pinch of sodium chloride”) proves revolutionary. But as her following grows, not everyone is happy. Because as it turns out, Elizabeth Zott isn’t just teaching women to cook. She’s daring them to change the status quo.

Laugh-out-loud funny, shrewdly observant, and studded with a dazzling cast of supporting characters, Lessons in Chemistry is as original and vibrant as its protagonist.

This title is also available in the following formats:

Best Young Adult Fiction: The Final Gambit by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Avery’s fortune, life, and loves are on the line in the game that everyone will be talking about.

To inherit billions, all Avery Kylie Grambs has to do is survive a few more weeks living in Hawthorne House. The paparazzi are dogging her every step. Financial pressures are building. Danger is a fact of life. And the only thing getting Avery through it all is the Hawthorne brothers. Her life is intertwined with theirs. She knows their secrets and they know her.

But as the clock ticks down to the moment when Avery will become the richest teenager on the planet, trouble arrives in the form of a visitor who needs her help—and whose presence in Hawthorne House could change everything. It soon becomes clear that there is one last puzzle to solve, and Avery and the Hawthorne brothers are drawn into a dangerous game against an unknown and powerful player.

Secrets upon secrets. Riddles upon riddles. In this game, there are hearts and lives at stake—and there is nothing more Hawthorne than winning.

This title is also available in the following formats:

Best Young Adult Fantasy: Gallant by V.E. Schwab

Olivia Prior has grown up in Merilance School for Girls, and all she has of her past is her mother’s journal—which seems to unravel into madness. Then, a letter invites Olivia to come home to Gallant. Yet when Olivia arrives, no one is expecting her. But Olivia is not about to leave the first place that feels like home; it doesn’t matter if her cousin Matthew is hostile, or if she sees half-formed ghouls haunting the hallways.

Olivia knows that Gallant is hiding secrets, and she is determined to uncover them. When she crosses a ruined wall at just the right moment, Olivia finds herself in a place that is Gallant—but not. The manor is crumbling, the ghouls are solid, and a mysterious figure rules over all. Now Olivia sees what has unraveled generations of her family, and where her father may have come from.

Olivia has always wanted to belong somewhere, but will she take her place as a Prior, protecting our world against the Master of the House? Or will she take her place beside him?

New York Times–bestselling author V. E. Schwab crafts a vivid and lush novel that grapples with the demons that are often locked behind closed doors. An eerie, stand-alone saga about life, death, and the young woman beckoned by both. Readers of Neil Gaiman, Holly Black, Melissa Albert, and Garth Nix will quickly lose themselves in this novel with crossover appeal for all ages.

This title is also available in the following formats:

Best Middle Grade & Children’s: I Am Quiet by Andie Powers and Betsy Petersen

Emile is not shy—he is quiet.

Emile may seem timid and shy on the outside, but on the inside he is bustling with imagination. While grownups and even other kids may see Emile as the shy kid who doesn’t raise his hand in class, we know that Emile is actually a high-seas adventurer, a daring explorer, and a friend to wild beasts.

This story honors and encourages the beauty of knowing ourselves for exactly who we are. Emile’s world shows us that the mind of a quiet child can be as rich, expansive, and bold as that of any other (more extroverted) child.

Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith

I recently read Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith, a modern classic of YA queer fiction, originally published in 2014. Delightfully, it reads like what would happen if Alice Oseman collaborated with Terry Pratchett on Alien fanfiction- authentic teenage confusion meets a dryly humorous take on apocalyptic mayhem. And as a nice bonus, it’s set in Iowa! Whether or not it’s a loving portrait of growing up in Iowa is something you’ll have to judge for yourself…

Grasshopper Jungle is the story of Austin, his girlfriend Shann, his best friend Robby, the interconnectedness of history, and how Austin’s bisexual awakening inadvertently leads to the end of the world via giant murderous insects. Austin narrates using mostly simple, declarative sentences stating the facts, because his ultimate passion is history – how it’s reported, how it’s preserved, how it continues to impact the present. The main history he has to relate is about his town’s legacy of secret science experiments, hidden bunkers, and dangerous plagues that produce 6-foot-tall, unstoppable, carnivorous insects. But while these secrets are being uncovered and the end of humanity draws closer and closer, Austin still can’t stop thinking about sex. He’s always known his best friend Robby is gay, and he’s also always known that he loves Shann Collins. So why can’t he stop thinking about kissing Robby? Is he gay too? How can he know? And how in the world is he going to get it figured out without hurting either of the two people he loves the most?

An accurate, awkward, ultimately endearing portrayal of what being a teenage boy is like, complete with lots of sexual thoughts, angst, and uniquely profound thoughts about family, history, and heritage, this is a good read for those who like coming-of-age stories, coming-out stories, or stories of terrible events ending the world as we know it (not a typical combination, but here it really works in balance).

And good news: its sequel, Exile from Eden, is also available in Rivershare.

A Prayer for the Crown-Shy by Becky Chambers

The sequel to A Psalm for the Wild-Built is here, and it’s just as tender and pleasant as its predecessor. A Prayer for the Crown-Shy takes Sibling Dex and the robot Mosscap on travels through towns, villages, and beautiful scenery, all to ask Mosscap’s essential question: what do humans need?

These books are the ultimate gentle read for me; it’s all calm atmosphere and descriptive detail, focused on everyday tasks mixed with meditative questions about purpose and fulfillment. We see lots of hospitality and manners, painting society as a cooperative, curious, and practical enterprise that has room for many types of people. Sibling Dex’s career as a traveling tea monk contributed to this in the last book – where tea and small comforts help all kinds of ailments – and in this book Mosscap’s tour of human society serves the same purpose, but with a focus on making connections and friendships, and the way helping others in society makes a positive atmosphere. Through Mosscap’s eyes we also see the wonder of everyday life, as the robot takes great delight in every beautiful tree and the personal possessions and trappings of everyday life. At the same time, the story makes room for weariness, rest, and feeling lost; Dex wrestles with feelings of emptiness and disconnection from their tea service, and neither Mosscap or anyone else shames them for it, choosing instead to be supportive of them whatever their emotional state.

Other scenes to warm the heart include Dex’s romance with a blue-bearded craftsman and a visit to Dex’s family farm filled with a huge number and range of loving, bickering relatives, again with positivity, inclusion, respect and acceptance as themes. If you’re looking for a utopian read where things go well and everyone works together to take care of each other – with a heaping helping of inclusion, love, and responsibility – definitely give the Monk & Robot books a read.

The Daughter of Doctor Moreau by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Cover of the novel bearing the text "New York Times Bestselling Author of Mexican Gothic, The Daughter of Doctor Moreau, Silvia Moreno Garcia" over a photorealistic scene: an orange wooden doorway set in a pink ivy-covered wall; a smaller door is set into the larger one, and offset with a green border; A woman in an old-fashioned green dress stands superimposed on a blue background in the smaller arched doorway.Perspective matters: that’s what I kept thinking while reading The Daughter of Doctor Moreau by Silvia Moreno-Garcia. Whose voice tells the story has a huge impact on the story’s effect. In this retelling of HG Well’s original classic science fiction novel, a change of perspective shows us that “monsters” are much more likely to be arrogant white men of power than animal-human hybrids.

In the original story, the narrator was a man shipwrecked on the island of Doctor Moreau, a man who was horrified to see the doctor’s creations: animals he had attempted to turn into humans. The hybrids in that case were obsessive and easily turned to violence as their animal natures inevitably reasserted themselves. In this case, the Doctor’s house is a peaceful haven in the jungle of the Yucatan for the doctor’s daughter Carlota, who knows no other home. Through her eyes we see the beauty of the natural setting and the easy community of the hybrids she has grown up with and loves like family. The handsome city men, sent by the doctor’s patron Hernando Lizalde, who come knocking one day are, by contrast, strange, alien, frightening, thrilling, and soon pose a great danger to her peaceful life. Alternating with her voice is that of the man hired to oversee the estate, the alcoholic Montgomery who is all too aware of his failings and is struggling to find a better sense of meaning. Gradually his growing bond with the hybrids and with Carlota drives him to take action for their protection.

Rather than focusing on the concept of human nature as opposed to, or entwined with, “animal savagery” as HG Wells did (which frankly reads now like eugenics and racism), this book meditates on who has power and how they harm others by using it and/or withholding it. One example of this – and of the power of perspective – is Carlota’s romantic storylines. Both Montgomery and the younger Lizalde are attracted to Carlota, and how they handle that (do they give Carlota any voice or power in that situation, do they act on the attraction, what action do they take) is very revealing about their respective characters’ values, motivations, and views on authority.

For myself, I didn’t find it quite as compelling as Mexican Gothic, but I love its improvements on the original source material and how it makes an iconic story accessible for modern audiences. I also think the questions it raises – questions the original raised as well, about the reasonable boundaries of science and innovation – are important ones to think about. If you like thoughtful retellings, chosen family, women’s empowerment, or the lush, entrancing prose of Silvia Moreno-Garcia, you’ll want to try reading this book.

Trouble in the Stars by Sarah Prineas

When life gets you down… read a middle-grade novel. These books tackle serious issues without the angst of YA or the bleak cynicism of adult fiction, and that’s something everyone needs sometimes. My latest recommendation is Trouble in the Stars by Sarah Prineas.

Readers are plunged headlong into a journey of discovery when a young shapeshifter (who enters the story as a blob of goo) goes on the run from StarLeague (dystopian government type) soldiers. After stowing away aboard a freighter, the shifter takes human form and is christened Trouble by the crew. Trouble learns what it means to be a human (from food to friendship) while trying to earn the crew’s trust. But eventually StarLeague will catch up, so it’s up to Trouble and the ship’s crew to chase down the truth about where Trouble came from and why StarLeague wants so badly to find them.

New readers of sci-fi will appreciate learning the lingo alongside Trouble, and similarly diversity (of many stripes) is explained in clear, matter-of-fact terms. Fans of Firefly (or parents who want to expose their kids to the concept but not the actual show) will appreciate the outlaw vibes, complete with a mysterious, coveted individual who doesn’t know their own power. This is a good read for all ages, balancing a quick and interesting plot with thoughtful characterization and moral considerations.

See also its sequel, Asking for Trouble for the continued adventures of your new favorite shapeshifter. Trouble in the Stars is also available on Overdrive.

Winter’s Orbit by Everina Maxwell

I’m a bit of a picky reader, wanting mostly to read books with LGBTQ-diverse characters. Often (as you’ll know if you’ve read my posts) this leads me to fantastic books in the romance genre. However, there are more titles available in other genres, though they’re trickier to find. Most recently I’ve been exploring sci-fi titles, starting with Winter’s Orbit by Everina Maxwell.

Kiem is a very low-level royal in the Iskat Emperor’s family, and he’s got a bit of a bad reputation from his student days that he just can’t shake. Jainan, meanwhile, is well-respected and has been representing the planet Thea for the empire quite well with the help of his Iskat partner Taam. But just as the Empire enters high-stakes negotiations with the ominous Auditor of the Resolution, Taam is killed in an accident, and it’s very important Jainan remarry to present a strong and united front. Enter Kiem – whose main qualifications are his bloodline and his ability to look confident in photos. One quick marriage ceremony later, Kiem and Jainan are struggling to navigate dangerous galactic politics, trying to find out if Taam’s death was really an accident, and feeling surprisingly attracted to each other…

I saw this described as Ancillary Justice meets Red, White, and Royal Blue and I do think that’s a cleverly apt description – although I personally think Boyfriend Material is a closer fit (and the book I prefer between the two). The space opera / imperial conspiracy / political maneuvering elements are a big part of the story and its setting, but Kiem adds some much needed humanity and humor to the story. Throw in a murder mystery and it’s practically a gay version of Star Wars. Better yet, this is a universe that’s very honest, frank, and unconcerned about LGBTQ relationships and identities – which was delightfully refreshing to read.

If you’re a sci-fi reader looking for more representation, don’t miss this critically-acclaimed book!

The Last Cuentista by Donna Barba Higuera

‘What the Collective doesn’t understand is by honoring the past, our ancestors, our cultures—and remembering our mistakes—we become better.’ – Donna Barba Higuera, The Last Cuentista  

Donna Barba Higuera’s newest book, The Last Cuentista, flew to the top of my to-read list when I saw the list of 2022 ALA Youth Media Award WinnersThe Last Cuentista is the 2022 Newberry Award winner for the most outstanding contribution to children’s literature. Donna Barba Higuera was also the 2022 recipient for the Pura Belpré Young Adult Author Award. This book is a top contender for my favorite read of 2022.

The Last Cuentista tells the story of a journey through stars to save humanity as we know it, told through the eyes of a young girl named Petra Peña who longs to be a storyteller like her abuelita. Her parents have hopes that she will be a scientist like them. Petra’s dreams are put on hold when the government realizes that there is a comet heading straight towards Earth that will destroy the planet and all life that lives there. Only a few hundred scientists and their children have been selected to evacuate Earth and head to a new planet named Sagan, where they have determined that people can safely live. Petra and her family are among the chosen few. The only hitch in this plan: it will take them hundreds of years to travel there.

The scientists and their children will be put to sleep while Monitors will watch over them and make sure the ship runs smoothly. While they are sleeping, they will be programmed with different informational courses that will allow them to wake up with all the information they will need to survive on Sagan.

Hundreds of years later, Petra awakens on the ship only to discover that she is the only person who remembers Earth. The Collective has taken over the ship and has hatched a new plan to control, essentially, everything. Their desire is to erase all the sins of humanity’s past. They have purged the memories of all those onboard. If they were unable to purge the memories, they eliminated the person altogether. Petra alone carries all the memories of the past. She isn’t quite sure what to do as having that knowledge puts her life in danger. Petra must find a way to save herself and the stories she carries within.

This book is also available in the following formats:

Best Sellers Club March Authors: Tami Hoag and George RR Martin

Want the hottest new release from your favorite author? Want to stay current with a celebrity book club? Love nonfiction? You should join the Best Sellers Club. Choose any author, celebrity pick, and/or nonfiction pick and the Davenport Public Library will put the latest title on hold for you automatically. Select as many as you want! If you still have questions, please check out our list of FAQs.

New month means new highlighted authors from the Best Sellers Club! March’s authors are Tami Hoag for fiction and George RR Martin for science fiction.

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Our March fiction author is Tami Hoag. Hoag writes primarily mystery, romance, and romantic suspense. She is an international bestselling author with more than thirty books that are published in more than thirty languages all over the world. Hoag is known for writing thrilling plots with character-driven suspense. She prides herself on research-based realism and accurate police procedure. Hoag has done research in many of the fields she writes about in order to be as accurate and true as possible.

Hannah’s newest book is The Boy, published in 2018. This is the second book in the Broussard and Fourcade series.

Curious what this book is about? Check out the following description provided by the publisher:

An unfathomable loss or an unthinkable crime? #1 New York Times bestselling author Tami Hoag keeps you guessing in her most harrowing thriller yet.

A panic-stricken woman runs in the dead of night, battered and bloodied, desperate to find help…

When Detective Nick Fourcade enters the home of Genevieve Gauthier outside the sleepy town of Bayou Breaux, Louisiana, the bloody crime scene that awaits him is both the most brutal and the most confusing he’s ever seen. Genevieve’s seven-year-old son, KJ, has been murdered by an alleged intruder, yet Genevieve is alive and well, a witness inexplicably left behind to tell the tale. There is no evidence of forced entry, not a clue that points to a motive. Meanwhile, Nick’s wife, Detective Annie Broussard, sits in the emergency room with the grieving Genevieve. A mother herself, Annie understands the emotional devastation this woman is going through, but as a detective she’s troubled by a story that makes little sense. Who would murder a child and leave the only witness behind?

When the very next day KJ’s sometimes babysitter, twelve-year-old Nora Florette, is reported missing, the town is up in arms, fearing a maniac is preying on their children. With pressure mounting from a tough, no-nonsense new sheriff, the media, and the parents of Bayou Breaux, Nick and Annie dig deep into the dual mysteries. But sifting through Genevieve Gauthier’s tangled web of lovers and sorting through a cast of local lowlifes brings more questions than answers. Is someone from Genevieve’s past or present responsible for the death of her son? Is the missing teenager, Nora, a victim, or something worse? Then everything changes when Genevieve’s past as a convicted criminal comes to light.

The spotlight falls heavily on the grieving mother who is both victim and accused. Could she have killed her own child to free herself from the burden of motherhood, or is the loss of her beloved boy pushing her to the edge of insanity? Could she have something to do with the disappearance of Nora Florette, or is the troubled teenager the key to the murder? How far will Nick and Annie have to go to uncover the dark truth of the boy?

This book is also available in the following formats:

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Our March science fiction author is George RR Martin. Martin is most well-known for the Song of Ice and Fire series, which the television show Game of Thrones is based on. Martin writes science fiction, fantasy, horror, and urban fantasy. He started writing when he was young, selling monster stories to other neighborhood children. Martin’s first professional sale was when he was 21. He became a full-time writer in 1979. Martin currently lives in New Mexico.

Martin’s latest book is Joker Moon, published in July 2021. This is the book 29 in the Wild Cards series.

Curious what this book is about? Below is a description provided by the publisher.

The return of the famous shared-world superhero books created and edited by George R. R. Martin, author of A Song of Ice and Fire

For decades, George R.R. Martin – bestselling author of A Song of Ice and Fire – has collaborated with an ever-shifting ensemble of science fiction and fantasy icons to create the amazing Wild Cards universe.

In the aftermath of World War II, the Earth’s population was devastated by a terrifying alien virus. Those who survived were changed for ever. Some, known as Jokers, were cursed with bizarre mental and physical deformities; others, granted superhuman abilities, are known as Aces.

Wild Cards tells the stories of this world.

Once & Future by A.R. Capetta and Cori McCarthy

If you like the King Arthur legend, rebels against dictators, outer space adventures, or LGBTQ+ found families, you’ll probably like Once & Future by A.R. Capetta and Cori McCarthy, which reimagines King Arthur as a 17-year-old refugee girl, fighting a corporation’s stranglehold on the galaxy with the help of her brother, her maybe-girlfriend, their loyal friends, and a thousand-year-old backward-aging wizard.

Ari Helix has been on the run most of her life, ever since being forced to flee her home planet of Ketch. More recently, she and her adopted brother Kay have been trying to find a way to free their moms from a corporate prison planet, with no success. But then Ari meets Merlin – the actual Merlin of legend, who’s been aging backward for thousands of years as he tries to complete King Arthur’s story. Ari is the most recent reincarnation of the king, and it’s her destiny to wield Excalibur, defeat an ancient evil, and unite all humanity. Now-teenage Merlin sets out to train her for the coming battle, and tries to protect her from her smoldering passion for (who else) Queen Gwenivere. But their enemy, the Mercer Corporation, has a long reach and no mercy for rebellion…

This book has an absolutely breakneck pace and is extremely plot-driven – you never have to slog through angsty introspection or detailed scene descriptions, which makes for a breathtaking and addictive story where lots of things keep happening to hold your attention. But it can also feel a bit rushed, as in some places an event’s emotional consequences don’t feel fully explored because the plot’s too busy moving on. Luckily it’s also packed with humor and heart, keeping it light while engaging vital and heavy issues.

Queer inclusive and gender diverse, with strong chosen family bonds, the cast of characters will capture your heart and never let it go; alongside Ari’s romance with Gwen, Merlin himself finds a surprising attraction forming with Val, the Queen’s trusted adviser and brother of Ari’s old friend Lam, who uses they/them pronouns. It’s so refreshing to read a world where diversity and inclusion are the norm, with prejudice an unimaginable relic of long-forgotten systems.

Definitely check out this book if you like classic retellings with an inclusive, space-faring twist!

Daughter of the Deep by Rick Riordan

If you’ve ever wanted to read a classic book but can’t stand the long-winded scientific descriptions, there’s nothing like a modern retelling, preferably YA, to give it an inclusive and action-packed second life. In this case, middle-grade urban fantasy powerhouse Rick Riordan has written Daughter of the Deep as a skillful homage to Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.

Welcome to Harding-Pencroft School, the science and technology high school that trains some of the world’s best scientists, diplomats, code-crackers, and naval warriors. It’s divided into four “houses” or focuses of study: House Dolphin, communication and cryptology experts; House Shark, warriors and leaders; House Cephalopod, engineers and innovators, and House Orca, experts in medicine, psychology, and memory. Ana Dakkar is a freshman in House Dolphin, about to undergo her end-of-year trials to determine if she has what it takes to continue her program. Harding-Pencroft is her only home after her parents died two years ago, leaving herself and her brother Dev, a House Shark senior, orphaned. Unfortunately, her trials do not go as planned as she and the rest of the freshman class witness a tragedy that plunges them all into a race for their lives – and for a once in a lifetime treasure. It turns out that they and their rival school, Land Institute, have been in a years-long cold war over the legacy of Captain Nemo (as made famous in Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues under the Sea) who, as it turns out, may not have been so fictional after all…

Rick Riordan fans will love his signature quirky, inclusive, tight-knit friend group that makes up the main cast of characters, and Star Trek fans will love their journey into the unknown under a tightly regimented chain of command. I loved how much of an homage it was to Jules Verne’s original, while at the same time adding a more modern perspective – including greater diversity and a more thoughtful engagement with mental health, trauma, and grief. In my opinion, Rick Riordan does a good job balancing exciting action and character development with a deeper message about the importance of science and oceanography.

If you like exciting adventures, undersea exploration, and compelling characters, or you still love Percy Jackson, you won’t want to miss this book.