Best and Worst of 2022



First Place:            The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea        
Axie Oh

In this Korean myth fantasy, Mina might not be the meekest, sweetest, prettiest girl to become the Sea God's bride, but that doesn't stop her from throwing herself into the sea in order to barter with the God himself. An ethereal spirit world with a dark undercurrent, Axie Oh's prose is evocative and pristinely beautiful with a protagonist who takes charge. Though the true danger of this world might feel malleable and elusive, this short and sweet myth retelling is worth every lyrical word. 

Runner-Up:         Katzenjammer                                          
Francesca Zappia

In this contemporary body horror, High School won't let Cat or her classmates go, and these halls are not safe as everybody twists into something dark, deadly, and new. With the quiet kids in the spotlight, Francesca Zappia spins a macabre and grotesque tale that hits both the high notes and low points of the American high school experience. Though this book must come with a laundry list of content warnings for its graphic body horror, this unsettling tale bleeds the essence of nightmares in the best possible way.

Runner-Up:         The Silent Unseen                       
Amanda McCrina

In this WW2 historical fiction, Maria escapes a Nazi labor camp just to find her home on the border of Poland and Ukraine is gone, her family lost, and the world she once knew overrun by Soviet invaders and nationalist and resistance movements that make telling friend from foe difficult. Highlighting an under-represented piece of World War II history, Amanda McCrina creates a multifaceted narrative steeped in culture and identity. Though character loyalties can be a bit confusing at times, these proactive teenage protagonists bring to life both the internal and external conflict of national and international war. 



First Place:             I'm the Girl                
Courtney Summers

In this contemporary #MeToo story, Georgia finds a body on her way to a job interview and discovers the world doesn't care about girls like her. With an abundance of on-the-page assault and a jumbled narrative frame, Summers creates a book that is more provocative than meaningful. Though this book sets out to highlight the reality of being a desperate girl in a world of uncaring men, it doesn't reflect on its message or its audience. 

Runner-Up:           The Holloway Girls                            
Susan Bishop Crispell

In this contemporary low fantasy, Remi Holloway has her eyes set on one boy in particular, but when she breaks the rules of her family magic, her kiss curses him. Though this book should be lighthearted and fun, it ultimately straddles an uncomfortable line between slut shaming and prude shaming. Crispell's Hallmark-style mystical romance is full of unfortunate secrets and slow-motion plot points as well.

Runner-Up:             Extasia
Claire Legrand

In this witchy apocalyptic horror, Amity can't wait to join the saintly sisterhood of her community... until she catches two of the saints kissing (and possibly conspiring with the devil). Though these futuristic witches could bring a devilish twist to a world ravaged by environmental apocalypse, Legrand's characters feel more exaggerated than empowered. Neo-puritan living is once again set in the spotlight, complete with old-timey words that make little sense in the context, which makes the apocalyptic world of this book fall flat. 


  1. there's too much ww2 historical fiction. idk if I would personally put that in top three


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