As we hurtle toward the end of yet another year and celebrations of high-profile 2022 books wind down, anticipation for 2023 releases is already building. However, there’s still time to pick up a fantastic teen read from this year that you might have missed. Here are 10 suggestions; many are ideal adult crossover books as well.
TJ Powar Has Something To Prove by Jesmeen Kaur Deo (Viking, June 7): A Punjabi Sikh Canadian teen reckons with beauty standards that do not make room for naturally hirsute young women in this honest, touching, and frequently hilarious novel. TJ’s questions have a ripple effect on her friendships and romantic and family relationships.
Bad at Love by Gabriela Martins (Underlined, Aug. 30): Brazilian American Sasha, desperate for a scoop that will secure her a college scholarship, fake dates Brazilian pop star Daniel, who is nothing like his bad boy reputation. This charming romance will keep pages turning: Can they move past deception to something real?
Well, That Was Unexpected by Jesse Q. Sutanto (Delacorte, Sept. 27): Sharlot is visiting her Indonesian relatives for the first time. Jakarta boy George is excited about launching his new app. Neither realizes their parents secretly created online dating profiles for them—and the results are every bit as entertaining as you’d expect.
Inuunira: My Story of Survival by Brian Koonoo, illustrated by Ben Shannon (Inhabit Media, Oct. 18): This nerve-wracking true story of wilderness peril traces a caribou-hunting trip in Nunavut during which Koonoo experienced a series of life-threatening misadventures. Beautiful illustrations and photographs enhance his account of using a lifetime’s worth of Inuit survival skills to make it home.
We Are All We Have by Marina Budhos (Wendy Lamb/Random, Oct. 25): This textured, passionate coming-of-age story follows Pakistani American Rania and Mexican American Carlos, undocumented teens who go on the run (with Rania’s little brother in tow), fall in love, unravel secrets from Rania’s family history, and confront uncertain futures.
This Is Our Place by Vitor Martins, translated by Larissa Helena (PUSH/Scholastic, Nov. 1): Eight Sunflower St., a house in a small Brazilian city, narrates this creative, thought-provoking tale of three queer teens. Ana, Greg, and Beto successively inhabit it across the decades from 2000 to 2020, exploring their identities, living through family challenges, and growing into themselves.
Hanged!: Mary Surratt & the Plot To Assassinate Abraham Lincoln by Sarah Miller (Random House Studio, Nov. 8): This riveting account presents a historical case in which many observers—then and now—believe that an innocent woman was executed. Miller models critical investigative skills as she describes how Mary Surratt came to be accused of conspiring with John Wilkes Booth to kill the president.
Reader, I Murdered Him by Betsy Cornwell (Clarion/HarperCollins, Nov. 15): Jane Eyre continues to be widely read, but Cornwell’s bold, dark, and provocative work in conversation with the beloved classic can be appreciated even by readers unfamiliar with Adèle Varens, Mr. Rochester’s ward, who, in this incarnation, is a queer vigilante.
House of Yesterday by Deeba Zargarpur (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Nov. 29): This genre-crossing, genuinely haunting debut centers Sara, an Afghan Uzbek American girl whose life is in upheaval due to painful relationship conflicts. Even as she loses her dear grandmother to dementia, she meets her again in the ghostly form of Bibi jan’s younger self.
Sunburn by Andi Watson, illustrated by Simon Gane (Image Comics, Nov. 29): This sumptuous and atmospheric graphic novel immerses readers in a Greek island summer as a sheltered mid-20th-century English girl, longing for excitement and a change from the ordinary, visits her parents’ childless friends, experiences first love, and has her innocent trust battered.
Laura Simeon is a young readers’ editor.