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  • Alaysia Jordan

The Independent’s Best YA Books of 2022

Updated: Aug 22, 2023

Sept 30, 2022

"16 best young adult books: From graphic novels to thrillers" cover art featuring three book covers including an illustrated version of THIS PLACE IS STILL BEAUTIFUL, via Independent.
16 best young adult books: From graphic novels to thrillers
Best young adult book on sibling relationships – ‘This Place is Still Beautiful’ by XiXi Tian

The young adult genre may once have been geared for the 12 to 18-year-old crowd, but it’s no secret adults well into their 30s and beyond are also massive fans. And there’s a multitude of reasons as to why YA books have a special place in our hearts.

We never forget our first loves, betrayals and losses, or the feeling of being an outsider desperate to fit in, or figure out who we are. Plus, we can all commiserate with a protagonist who just wants a bit of freedom and to blow off physics class, right? This is a universal feeling, whether the teen is constrained by the rules of their elite prep school… or facing monsters and magic in an altogether different universe.

In 2022, the YA genre is an exciting space for writers to be in… which pretty much guarantees it’s a delight for readers of all ages, especially for those looking for stories centred on diverse protagonists. Topics like identity, race, sexuality, illness and death are being explored in new ways, while authors are using all kinds of writing styles, including narrative poetry and verse novels, to bring issues of grief, mental health, neglect, class and more to the surface.

Whether we’re in a dystopian future or the present day, dealing with fantastical creatures or teen bullies, there are certain ingredients that make a YA book resonate. “A great cast of well-fleshed out characters you want to root for, an interesting journey or quest across sun-drenched deserts or dangerous faerie woodlands, a strong voice to carry the reader along and a compelling plot with twists along the way are just a few examples.” Explains YA book blogger Stephanie, from My Book Throne.

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