Every year I face the daunting task of looking back on a year’s worth of exceptional books—each of them undoubtedly destined to find that special reader who will consider it a personal favorite—and selecting just a few to highlight for our best of the year list. Many 2022 releases are worthy of inclusion here, but I am focusing on 10 titles that are particularly memorable, the sorts of works that linger in readers’ minds because of the emotions they evoke and the connections they inspire.

The Gaps by Leanne Hall (Text, Feb. 8): This complex, thoughtful novel from Australia scrutinizes society’s fascination with—and exploitation of—violence against women. The students at a girls school react to their classmate’s disappearance as they navigate their vulnerability in an often dangerous world.

The Color of the Sky Is the Shape of the Heart by Chesil, translated by Takami Nieda (Soho Teen, April 5): Ginny, a high school student of Korean descent from Japan, struggles to find her place in the world in this highly original story translated from Japanese. Ginny’s figurative and literal journeys between schools and countries highlight themes of alienation and yearning to belong.

Amazona, written and illustrated by Canizales, translated by Sofía Huitrón Martínez (Graphic Universe, May 3): The ongoing struggles of Indigenous people in Colombia who have lost their land and lives to violent, illegal mining ventures are explored in this fictional graphic novel translated from Spanish. It follows Andrea, a young survivor determined to expose the truth.

Confessions of an Alleged Good Girl by Joya Goffney (HarperTeen, May 3): The toxicity of purity culture is at the center of this novel that confronts sensitive topics with a light and inviting touch, drawing readers in as they root for and laugh with Monique, the daughter of a Black Baptist preacher, and her entertainingly unlikely friend group.

See You Yesterday by Rachel Lynn Solomon (Simon & Schuster, May 17): When Jewish college students Barrett Bloom and Miles Kasher-Okamoto cross paths at the University of Washington, it’s not exactly love at first sight—but it is the beginning of a richly developed, heartfelt time-loop romance.

Baby Teeth by Meg Grehan (Little Island, May 31): This beautifully crafted verse novel from Ireland follows Freddie, Henry, and Immy, three vampires unmoored from their individual histories as they are continually reborn, each time reforming their chosen family. Then Immy falls for mortal girl Claudia, changing everything.

The Getaway by Lamar Giles (Scholastic, Sept. 20): This thrilling, un-put-down-able page-turner uses an all-too-easily-imagined near-future setting—an upscale amusement park and resort in Virginia during a time when climate change and socio-economic inequality have wreaked havoc globally—to explore the hazards of technological intrusion and rampant inequity.

The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee (Young Readers Adaptation): Life in Native America by David Treuer, adapted by Sheila Keenan (Viking, Oct. 18): Ojibwe scholar Treuer offers an essential volume that profoundly shifts the ways that Native lives are commonly framed. The book highlights continuity and survival, adds nuance and context to the historical narrative, and charts a path for a better future.

Torch by Lyn Miller-Lachmann (Carolrhoda, Nov. 1): This gut-wrenching novel set in 1969 Czechoslovakia focuses on three teens, each outside the norm and vulnerable for different reasons and each closely connected to Pavol, a boy who dies after setting himself on fire in a protest against harsh government oppression.

We Deserve Monuments by Jas Hammonds (Roaring Brook Press, Nov. 29): This atmospheric, unforgettable story is set in a rural Georgia town where echoes from the past ripple through the generations. It delves into a family’s unraveling and healing, a queer biracial girl’s coming-of-age, and a community’s reckoning with justice.

Laura Simeon is a young readers’ editor.