Feature: Favorite Reads 2023
It’s that time of year…or a little late in the year, but we are here to bring you #TeamBookCrushin’s Favorite Reads of 2023! These are our favorite reads out of the books we read this year, and remember favorite is a qualifier that is personal to each of us, no criteria other than we loved these books when we read them this year! Just because a book is or isn’t on our list, doesn’t discredit how you felt when you read it, or whatever. You can also check out our list on Bookshop!
Christy’s Favorite Reads of 2023
I try not to get sad when I see I only read 73 books when I used to read over 300 each year. There’s always room for improvement, right? I mean, there’s still time for a few more! Anyways, here’s 23 of my 2023 favs – I hope you’ll find something new to read!
- Vampire Weekend by Mike Chen – My yearly tradition has been to start the year off with whatever book Mike has coming out in January and this year was no exception (well, the exception is that I love Mike’s books so much that I broke this tradition and read his 2024 release early haha). I love that Mike takes speculative concepts and applies real life trauma to them. All those vampire stories where it looks so cool to be a vamp? Pfft let’s show you what reality would be like!
- What Lies in the Woods by Kate Alice Marshall – Does KAH ever sleep?! Whatever crossroad demon they made a deal with to gift us 2+ books a year…I like it. I loved Kate’s adult debut and can’t wait for their next one!
- Remind Me to Hate You Later by Lizzy Mason – What’s a year without a good cryfest? This one has layers and layers of tears.
- The Battle of Jedha by George Mann – This *technically* isn’t a book (it’s an audio drama) but a bound script exists so go with it. This story helped turn around The High Republic phase 2 for me and helped me see where the writers wanted the arc to go.
- One Girl in All the World by Kendare Blake – This is the Buffy revival we all need.
- The Hunger Between Us by Marina Scott – I picked this up on a whim because Ruta Sepetys was a comp and was not disappointed.
- I Will Find You Again by Sarah Lyu – This is the cousin to Lizzy’s book above and I can’t recommend these two enough if you want a contemporary story that will keep you completely engrossed (also, bring your tissues).
- Reader, I Murdered Him by Betsy Cornwell – If I could read this book for the first time again, it would be a gift.
- Every Time You Go Away by Abigail Johnson – Would read Abigail’s grocery list and probably still sob, just like all of her books.
- D’Vaughn and Kris Plan a Wedding by Chencia C. Higgins – By far one of my most fav wlw stories.
- Imogen, Obviously by Becky Albertalli – Oof this one hit home in all the best ways.
- Some Shall Break by Ellie Marney – Whyyyyy do we have to wait for book 3!?
- Hawkeye: Bishop Takes King by Ashley Poston – Ashley completely captured Kate’s tone and I came away wanting her to write future comics!
- The Seven Year Slip by Ashley Poston – Would it be too much to put all three of Ashley’s books I read? Because….
- I Loved You in Another Life by David Arnold – You know, we keep letting David write these books that completely break us. And we thank him for it.
- Margo Zimmerman Gets the Girl by Brianna R. Shrum & Sara Waxelbaum: This was a rec and OMG thank you fellow readers.
- The Narrow by Kate Alice Marshall – Another fucking scary banger from my fav horror writer. This one hit the gothic vibes PERFECTLY.
- We’ll Never Tell by Wendy Heard – I have a type…and my type is everything Wendy writes.
- A Quantum Love Story by Mike Chen – I do not regret reading this early but I DO regret that Mike is only one writer and so we don’t get stacks of books from him every year.
- Mr. and Mrs. Witch by Gwenda Bond – The perfect spooky season read if horror is not your vibe.
- You Can Trust Me by Wendy Heard – See above.
- The Violence by Delilah S. Dawson – This story kept me completely engrossed through all 18? hours. EIGHTEEN HOURS. You know I don’t do that.
- Forget Me Not by Alyson Derrick – Anyways yes I love being shattered by queer love stories.
Kelly’s Favorite Reads of 2023
I didn’t read a lot this year (73 books), but I read so many good books it was hard to limit myself to 23 choices overall. My favs are listed in no particular order & with my little pitch for each one – which is mostly just “it was queer and it slaps!”
Young Adult Reads
- Ode to My First Car by Robin Gow – this novel written in verse & epistolary diary entries just really stuck in my head and heart – full of queer and trans rep!
- Imogen, Obviously by Becky Albertalli – this book slayed the ‘queer enough’ discourse and for that alone it tops my favs, but also like it’s really good.
- Painted Devils (Little Thieves #2) by Margaret Owen – a sequel that felt wholeheartedly like its own story, until you hit that ending that smacks you in the face (in a good way).
- If Tomorrow Doesn’t Come by Jen St. Jude – if you like sad books that contain the compelling exploration of what brings you joy when you have no control over the ending…than this book is for you. You know it’s good when I write a full review on the blog!
- You’re Not Supposed to Die Tonight by Kalynn Bayron – 90s slasher movie vibes at a summer camp with a lake and a sketchy past, oh and super queer.
- Your Lonely Nights Are Over by Adam Sass – This is the queer murder mystery that everyone should read!
- Margo Zimmerman Gets the Girl by Brianna R. Shrum & Sara Waxelbaum – I have recommended this book to everyone I can, it’s a wonderful example of neurodivergence and being queer.
- The Dos and Donuts of Love by Adiba Jaigirdar – I love baking and love books with baking plots, oh and it’s also queer!
- The Wicked Bargain by Gabe Cole Novoa – Trans pirates and demons and magic!
- Bianca Torre is Afraid of Everything by Justine Pucella Winans – anxiety rep, full of tackling your fears in this campy queer murder mystery!
- All That’s Left in the World by Erik J. Brown (backlist pub 2022) – the strength and friendship of two guys trying to survive the end of the world together – also it’s queer.
- Always the Almost by Edward Underhill – a beautiful debut trans contemporary with a finding oneself and finding love.
- Hell Followed With Us by Andrew Joseph White (backlist pub 2022) – this book is full of religious trauma at the end of the world add in embracing the monster within wrapped around a trans story. You can feel the queer anger flowing from these pages and I loved it.
- This is Why They Hate Us by Aaron H. Aceves (backlist pub 2022) – a bisexual teen wants to gain some sexual experience meanwhile he struggles with anxiety & depression, as well as being in love with his best friend, a Muslim whose family fled Palestine.
- Assistant to the Villain by Hannah Nicole Maehrer – this book is written in a way that you just cannot put it down, and the tension between our two mains…off the charts!
- Emily Wilde’s Encyclopedia of Faeries by Heather Fawcett – this felt like a cozy blanket, just curl up with some hot cocoa and enjoy.
- The Seven Year Slip by Ashley Poston – has just that hint of magic that takes it from an everyday contemporary romance book to something so special!
- Hell Bent (Alex Stern #2) by Leigh Bardugo – Just a little jaunt through hell and back again…a hobbits journey. Nope whoops wrong book, this is a bit darker.
- Bookshops & Bonedust by Travis Baldree – oh the magic of a prequel…and we get a little current check in at the very end…loved it and need more from this world!
- D’Vaughn and Kris Plan a Wedding by Chencia C. Higgins (backlist pub 2022) – Reality TV show plot that turns into real love. Swoon.
- Vampire Weekend by Mike Chen – All the punk rock references was like a balm for my soul, oh and queer subtext of vampires of course totally hit the mark.
- New Adult by Timothy Janovsky – Sweet, kind, funny, queer romcom! This one has that little bit of magic – that time travel trope – that I LOVE, and it worked so well.
- Pageboy by Elliot Page (nonfiction/memoir) – I’m not one to rate or review a memoir on someone’s life journey, especially one so full of trauma and sadness. I’m so thrilled Elliot is on his path to recovery and this book is hopefully a bridge for so many others whom might be lost.