It’s taking me so long to post my Sonderbooks Stand-outs this year! But at last, I have no tooth pain and I’ve finished reading for the Cybils Awards and the Mathical Book Prize — and a long weekend coming up. I hope to get the whole set posted here and on a webpage before the weekend is done.
Again, Sonderbooks Stand-outs are simply my favorites — the books that stand out in my mind after a full year of reading. I don’t choose them for literary merit or any deeper criteria, but simply go with my heart — which books most warm my heart when I think of them?
The ranking is very subjective and goes back and forth a bit. Please take the ranking as secondary, because I love all of these books.
Many of these do not have their reviews posted yet, especially the ones I read for the Cybils. After I make a page for the Stand-outs, my next priority will be getting all these reviews posted.
Books for Teens were especially difficult this year, because I read more than I have in years. At the start of the year, I was a judge for the 2021 Cybils second round in Young Adult Speculative Fiction, and at the end of this year I was a panelist for the 2022 Cybils first round in the same category. I also think that I’ve had a delayed reaction to being on the 2019 Newbery committee, and for the last couple years have been less interested in reading middle grade books. I still read plenty, but I enjoyed binge-reading for award committees the older level books.
Anyway, I read so many speculative fiction books for teens, I decided to use three categories for teen books: Fantasy (a fantasy world), Paranormal (magic or paranormal activity in our world), and everything else. Here’s how I ranked them in those categories:
Teen Fantasy Fiction
- Little Thieves, by Margaret Owen
- A Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking, by T. Kingfisher
- Moira’s Pen, by Megan Whalen Turner
- Vespertine, by Margaret Rogerson
- The Excalibur Curse, by Kiersten White
- Year of the Reaper, by Makiia Lucier
- The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea, by Axie Oh
- So This Is Ever After, by F. T. Lukens
Teen Paranormal Fiction
- The Mirror Season, by Anna-Marie McLemore
- A Snake Falls to Earth, by Darcie Little Badger
- From Dust, a Flame, by Rebecca Podos
- The Weight of Blood, by Tiffany D. Jackson
- Lakelore, by Anna-Marie McLemore
- Bad Witch Burning, by Jessica Lewis
More Teen Fiction
- Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
- Aristotle and Dante Dive Into the Waters of the World, by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
- A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder, by Holly Jackson
- Good Girl, Bad Blood, by Holly Jackson
- As Good as Dead, by Holly Jackson
- All That’s Left in the World, by Eric J. Brown
- The Many Half-Lived Lives of Sam Sylvester, by Maya MacGregor
- Grand Theft Horse, by G. Neri, illustrated by Corban Wilkin
- Gone to the Woods, by Gary Paulsen
- Revolution in Our Time, by Kekla Magoon
- Welcome to St. Hell, by Lewis Hancox
- Punching Bag, by Rex Ogle
I guarantee some good reading with any of these books! Enjoy!
And here’s my permanent webpage for all my 2022 Sonderbooks Stand-outs!