Best Books I Read in 2023

Best Books I Read in 2023

Best Books I Read in 2023

I feel like I’ve spent the whole last month scrambling to catch up on the things I didn’t get to in December, which means that my January tasks have also gotten pushed back a little later than normal. But, at last, here we are: talking about the best books I read in 2023.

Last year was a really great one for me in terms of books. I read a lot of books that I very much enjoyed, and even more that I thought were good. I’m hoping to feature even more of them in lists over the next few months. We’ll see how that pans out. But, for now, here’s my list of the best books I read last year.

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Best Books I Read in 2023

My Dear Henry by Kalynn Bayron

My Dear Henry: A Jekyll and Hyde Remix by Kalynn Bayron

ReviewAmazon | Bookshop | Goodreads

My thoughts: This was the first book in the Remixed Classics series that I’d read, and wow. I thought Bayron nailed the style and tense feel of the original story while delivering a novel both fresh and compelling. I loved it.


Stateless by Elizabeth Wein

Stateless by Elizabeth Wein

ReviewAmazon | Bookshop | Goodreads

My thoughts: I love the way this author creates historical fiction centered around women– especially women pilots! This one had me on the edge of my seat and rooting for its characters from start to finish.


The Descendant of the Crane by Joan He

The Descendant of the Crane by Joan He

ReviewAmazon | Bookshop | Goodreads

My thoughts: This book has had quite a journey, so I was delighted to see it find a home with a new publisher. It’s a beautiful, complex story artfully told and my favorite of the author’s work.


Greymist Fair by Francesca Zappia

Greymist Fair by Francesca Zappia

ReviewAmazon | Bookshop | Goodreads

My thoughts: I’d only recently been introduced to Zappia’s writing, but I was hooked, and when I saw this book listed for release last year, I knew I had to read it. The story is broken into parts, each part narrated by a single character. The parts reveal a mystery that threatens the lives of the whole village. I could not put this down.


Spell Bound by F. T. Lukens

Spell Bound by F. T. Lukens

ReviewAmazon | Bookshop | Goodreads

My thoughts: This is definitely not the kind of book I’d grab off the shelf on my own– it reads a bit like a paranormal mystery, but with magic– but I couldn’t get enough of the writing and immediately fell in love with the characters.


Hamra and the Jungle of Memories by Hanna Alkaf cover shows a girl in the bottom center, standing in a jungle. A tiger peeks out from behind a large leaf in the top center.

Hamra and the Jungle of Memories by Hanna Alkaf

ReviewAmazon | Bookshop | Goodreads

My thoughts: I remember seeing a blogger talk about how much they loved Alkaf’s books, so when I got the opportunity to review this one, I squeezed it into my schedule, and I’m so glad I did. This is a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood with Malaysian folklore, and it’s incredible.


Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo cover shows a girl on the left with darker skin and a winding fire escape staircase behind her and a girl on the right with lighter skin and palm leaves behind her separated by the silhouettes of airplanes in the center, nose to nose.

Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo

ReviewAmazon | Bookshop | Goodreads

My thoughts: I bought this when it came out, but by the time I got around to reading it, I’d read WITH THE FIRE ON HIGH and THE POET X and loved them both. I didn’t think Acevedo could top those, and yet here we are! This is a masterful, heartbreaking tale of sisterhood, grief, and courage.


No Perfect Places by Steven Salvatore

No Perfect Places by Steven Salvatore

ReviewAmazon | Bookshop | Goodreads

My thoughts: Steven Salvatore has to be one of the most under-the-radar authors in YA. Every book of theirs I read becomes my new favorite. I laugh. I cry. Every. Time. And every book gets better somehow! In this one, the narrative follows a brother and sister who deal very differently with the death of their father and the existence of a brother they did not know about.


The Shadow Sister by Lily Meade cover shows a girl's face partly obscured by flowers. A butterfly sits on her left eye.

The Shadow Sister by Lily Meade

ReviewAmazon | Bookshop | Goodreads

My thoughts: Okay, I love sister books, so I couldn’t resist this one. Estranged sisters. One goes missing and returns… different. The other scrambles to figure out whether she’s losing her mind or something more sinister is going on. Absolutely brilliant.


Greenwild: The World Behind the Door by Pari Thompson cover shows a girl in overalls, a long braid over her shoulder. A black and white cat sits on her shoulder. She holds a glowing ball in her right hand. A glowing doorway is behind her.

Greenwild: The World Behind the Door by Pari Thomson

ReviewAmazon | Bookshop | Goodreads

My thoughts: This is the kind of portal fantasy you can completely lose yourself in. I loved that the magic involved plants. The characters are amazing, especially the cat! I loved this one.


Something Close to Magic by Emma Mills

Something Close to Magic by Emma Mills

ReviewAmazon | Bookshop | Goodreads

My thoughts: So, I’ve read some contemporary romance by Emma Mills, and I think she’s hilarious– so I was curious but nervous to see her take on fantasy. I shouldn’t have been nervous at all. If you like the kind of fantasy that doesn’t take itself too seriously, this is definitely one you’ll want to read!


Into the Bright Open by Cherie Dimaline

Into the Bright Open: A Secret Garden Remix by Cherie Dimaline

ReviewAmazon | BookshopGoodreads

My thoughts: THE SECRET GARDEN is one of the childhood classics I’ve read more than once, so I was nervous about seeing it redone with some of the plot changes (mainly the possible poisoning). However, once I got into the book, I felt completely immersed. Though many things about the story are different here than in the original, I felt like this story preserves Mary’s personal journey and the power that the garden has in her transformation.


The Forest Grimm by Kathryn Purdie

The Forest Grimm by Kathryn Purdie

ReviewAmazon | BookshopGoodreads

My thoughts: I went into this book expecting another lovely fantasy romance with fairytale vibes, and it has all that. The friends-to-lovers romance was so sweet, and I felt like I was on edge waiting for them to realize their feelings for each other. I loved the dangerous forest and twisted fairytales they encountered.


Furia by Yamile Saied Méndez

Furia by Yamile Saied Méndez

Review to Come | Amazon | Bookshop | Goodreads

My thoughts: I remember wanting to read this back in 2020 when it came out, but I had no idea how powerful a story it was then. It focuses on the journey of a young soccer player in Argentina who keeps her playing a secret because there could be harsh consequences for her otherwise. Filled with powerful storytelling, heartbreak, and triumph. Such a fabulous story.


Give Me a Sign by Anna Sortino cover shows a girl on the left in a tank top and shorts with her hands one on top of the other with her index finger and thumb extended. Sitting next to her is a boy in a hoodie and shorts with his hands in front of his body, his index finger and pinky extended. Tall grass and flowers in the background behind them.

Give Me a Sign by Anna Sortino

ReviewAmazon | BookshopGoodreads

My thoughts: Summer camp stories have a special place in my heart, but this one is at the top of my list. I loved the friendships and romance in the book, but I also really enjoyed the commentary on what it’s like to be Deaf or Hard of Hearing in the world today.


What were the best books you read in 2023?

Now that you’ve seen my list of the best books I read in 2023, it’s your turn to tell me about yours. What were the books you read last year that you couldn’t put down? What changed your life?

Have you read any of the books on my list? What did you think about them?

Leave a comment and let me know. I would love to talk more about what you read and what you thought about it.

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About Kasey

Reads things. Writes things. Fluent in sarcasm. Willful optimist. Cat companion, chocolate connoisseur, coffee drinker. There are some who call me Mom.

One Response to Best Books I Read in 2023

  1. John Clark says:

    I read 227 books last year, mostly YA. Here’s a sample of the best.
    The Ones They Took / Sarah West
    This vicious grace / Emily Thiede
    Green Mountain Academy / Frances Greenslade
    You won’t believe me / Cyn Balog
    It only hurts at first / Allison Rogers
    Tethered to Other Stars / Elisa Stone Leahy
    Starling house / Alix E. Harrow
    Trapped: deep waters, darker secrets / Brook Merrow
    That’s not my name / Megan Lally
    Wrath becomes her / Aden Polydoros
    The liar’s crown / Abigail Owen

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