Another topic today for my Best Reads of 2022: contemporary stories.
I have read lots of adult contemporary stories this year and found several favorites! I can’t choose only one to be honest so get ready to have a whole list below!
You’ll also notice that at least three of them were part of the Goodreads Award this year. Finally something we agree on LOL
The first one is not yet published so it’s a little bit like cheating but I needed to mention Yellowface by RF Kuang! I don’t even know if this is the definitive cover.
That book is brilliant, cutting, sarcastic and so revealing of today’s behavior on social media!
Once again, RF Kuang is so smart that I was left baffled and dazed more than once when she crammed many truths about today’s society in just a few passages!
Rebecca Kuang also writes the best morally grey characters! Juniper should be the villain but you can’t help understand why she stole that work and empathize with her!
I know for a fact that I took a lot of notes and was recognizing some of my nemesis like cancel culture and trolls.
These last years we got a lot of witch hunts on social media. White authors can’t write about people of color without being accused of either misrepresenting some race or culture or profiting from it. And if you are white and don’t have people of color as the main characters, or are straight and don’t write about LGBTQ heroes, then you are not diverse enough and you are racist or homophobic…
That really, really makes me mad!
That’s why I was delighted to realize that Rebecca Kuang wrote a masterpiece about all the complicated world authors are living in right now!
“That reverse racism is okay. That they can bully, harass, and humiliate people like me, just because I’m white, just because that counts as punching up, because in this day and age, women like me are the last acceptable target. Racism is bad, but you can still send death threats to Karens.”
Honestly authors are walking a minefield these days, even with sensitivity readers!
Also, all these observations about writing were fascinating! And felt like déjà vu. Maybe remarks from professors or editors to Rebecca’s previous work? Or something she heard about her colleagues?
The next one is Carrie Soto is Back by Taylor Jenkins Reid. I gave it 6 stars!
Game, set and match.
This might be the best TJR I have read!
Even better than Malibu Rising, Daisy Jones and Evelyne Hugo!
Once again she made me believe that everything was real! That this was like a biography!
And what was even more impressive is that she did that with quite an abrasive heroine! Carrie is certainly no little flower coquettishly claiming that “She didn’t know how she won” at the end of matches! When she wins it’s because : “She was better than her opponent.” Or because “Her opponent played poorly.”
Carrie is more of a badass b!tch , uncompromising with social niceties than a sweet yet strong heroine.
She is confident in her talent, she is brash, dedicated like none other and her life simply is tennis!
Known as ” The Battle Ax”, If dedication and will had a picture in the dictionary, it would be that of Carrie!
And I yet rooted for Carrie from the very first moment.
For two days, I lived for tennis. I breathed tennis. I studied every weakness of her opponents. And I listened to El Jaguar’s advice.
Then we have The Change by Kristen Miller
You know when your mom is dropping by for a visit and you just begin to gush enthusiastically about your latest read that you have a winner!
I had never read anything by Kirsten Miller before but I know now that it won’t be the last of her books that I read!
The story follows three women and alternate point of view, mixing contemporary fiction, magical realism and feminism.
The three women will soon discover that several girls have been murdered and they will go on a hunt to catch the murderer after the local police does nothing to discover the truth.
All suspicion lead them to a gated community designed for the rich and powerful.
What will follow will be a deadly game, filled with dirty secrets, threats, murders, intimidation but above all else, the rise to power of these three women.
That story was powerful and I really loved seeing all these women’s transformation.
This one is a favorite author and is the third one in the series! The Winners by Fredrik Backman.
I took my time reading it because I really wanted to savor the story.
Once again, Backman’s prose is efficient and as sharp as a knife. In just a few sentences, he makes you care for a character that will only have a half page in that story. You can feel that people fascinate Fredrik Backman and that he has a keen sense of observation of human nature. I’d call it a razor sharp prose. Terribly efficient and conveying tons of feeling and wisdom.
You will never be able to hate any character, even the villains, as Fredrik Backman will make you care for each of them in making you see through their eyes and heart.
I also knew right from the start that I would have my heart shredded to pieces. And I did. Oh I did! And I cried so hard!
Now this one is not a very hyped one and yet, it deserves much more praise! The Oceanography of the Moon by Glendy Vanderah
his is my third Glendy Vanderah book and I became a big fan of her unique writing.
She has a way to make you believe in magic and paranormal even if her stories are “simple” contemporary and not fantasy. She also has you really “seeing” her characters and the setting of her story. That’s how gifted she is.
In The Oceanography of the Moon, she again intertwines a double timeline. The two main characters, Riley and Vaughn revisit traumatic events of their pasts, both bearing dark secrets. These secrets are so heavy they can’t go further with their lives. And that’s where we get some life lessons about telling the truth, forgiving yourself of past errors to get on with your life. There is also a big take on the healing power of nature that I truly loved because walking in nature is my favorite self-care and soul therapy.
Riley and Vaughn’s meeting will be the catalyst to change, it will force them to face their nightmare and revisit their respective past.
I wondered for a long time how these two people’s fate were connected and when we got to the big reveal, for both their part, I was shocked! I didn’t expect that and I was also delighted that Glendy Vanderah tricked me!
Once again, that book was the perfect blend of secrets, mystery, family drama, magic and hope. I love Glendy’s prose and I will buy anything she writes.
And this last (but not least) one has been on the Goodreads Awards list: Book Lovers by Emily Henry
I adored everything in the book, beginning with the humor and the banter!
Nora and Charlie or even Nora and Libby’s banter was a true feast of sarcastic remarks and dry humor. I laughed, snickered , giggled or guffawed, you name it!
I wish I could talk with Emily Henry to ask her if she thought about these jabs all by herself or if she volleyed back with her husband or friends or… because it was priceless!
I adored the characters!
The sardonic personality of Charlie Lastra, with his dark clothes, admirable brow, his pout, his cold remarks all hiding someone who cares and wants to do good for his family.
The shark reputation of Nora, with her peloton, high heels, love of New York city, fierce protective instincts for her clients and her sister. In the very first pages, the tone is set as her latest boyfriend is breaking up on the phone, smitten by a comely countryside girl while Nora is being told that she does not even have feelings.
The ice queen. The woman with a list with requirements all her potential dates have to meet.
But of course, under the ice queen veneer hides a woman with many feelings and a trauma that was never totally overcome.
I could rave for hours about the book truly as I also adored the character growth, the romance, the past trauma explaining Nora and Libby’s behavior, the…
Honestly, this is one of my favorite reads so far this year.
Thanks for reading!