My Year In Books: 2022

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In 2022 I read 205 books with a total of 66,150 pages.

I gave seven books five-star ratings, two of which (Reaper Man and Small Gods) were re-reads of Discworld novels because of the Disc Coverers podcast. The others were:

She Gets the Girl by Rachael Lippincott and Alyson Derrick

Even though she makes me want to rip my hair out most days… she’s also the only person I’ve ever met and not been related to that I can be completely myself around, without buckling under the weight of my anxiety. I haven’t totally figured out why yet.

I read a lot of queer romcoms this year, and this was probably the best one. In vague outline it’s a remix of She’s All That (popular girl tries to help wallflower achieve social success) but with consistent attention paid to the messages it conveys so it doesn’t end up a regressive mess.

One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston

“Like—okay, I dated this girl who was an artist, right? And she’d do figure drawing, where she’d draw the negative space around a person first, and then fill in the person. And that’s how I’m trying to look at it. Maybe I don’t know what fills it in yet, but I can look at the space around where I sit in the world, what creates that shape, and I can care about what it’s made of, if it’s good, if it hurts anyone, it makes people happy, if it makes me happy. And that can be enough for now.”

I mostly hated Red, White & Royal Blue, but I’m glad I didn’t give up on the author because this was lovely. Lesbians, intergenerational trauma, and a time traveling ghost.

Peter Darling by S. A. Chant

“Can you imagine going back to the dreariness and dread of ordinary life once you’d had the chance to make yourself anew, from scratch, the way you’d always wanted to be? Well, I suppose you have—and I used to, when I was younger. But wherever I came from, it paled in comparison to this place, so I decided to stay.”

A sequel to a version of Peter Pan that doesn’t exist, where Peter is trans and Wendy is just a life he’d rather forget. Where Barrie’s original work presents growing up to conform to society’s expectations or a stagnant life of eternal unchanging childishness as the only options, Chant is able to imagine a third, queerer option for their characters.

Delilah Green Doesn’t Care by Ashley Herring Blake (Bright Falls #1)

She wanted the Delilah hanging up there on the wall to be the real Delilah. Strong and resilient. Battered by the world and circumstances beyond her control, sure, but instead of resentful and angry, that woman was calm. Peaceful. Serene. Grateful. She belonged somewhere, despite years and years of emotional displacement. She’d found something. She’d been found by someone.

I’ve seen a lot of reviewers who dislike the book because they find the characters (particularly Delilah) unlikable, which is fair but somewhat ironic. I love all of my spiky, traumatized queers equally, even if they’re pretending they don’t care.

I am tempted to downgrade this to four stars because reading the sequel threw some of the writing faults that I was willing to overlook in this book into stark relief. That includes stylistic things like constantly dropping in “women and nonbinary people” (but never “men and nonbinary people”) as though nonbinary people are just Woman Lite™, as well as plot things like lack of real consequences for mistakes and the incredibly streamlined pipeline from antagonist → target of emotionally cathartic rant → person who is genuinely trying to repair the relationship.

Nona the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir (The Locked Tomb #3)

“Dust of my dust—such similar star salt—what they did to you and what they wrung from you and what shape they made you fill—we see you still—we seek you still—we murdered—we who murder—you inadvertent tool—you misused green thing—come back to us—take vengeance for us—we saw you—we see you—I see you.”

While Gideon suffered from some unintentional ableism and being overly abstruse even when it wasn’t trying to be, Harrow was beautifully opaque on purpose and also had second-book syndrome where it needed to do a lot of heavy lifting to expand the setting and move pieces around. Nona is able to deliver a focused narrative experience that is recondite only when it wants to be and sets the stage for Alecto without shortchanging itself.


754 Words

2023-01-01 13:00 +0000