Happy New Year! I was hoping to finish my 2022 Anticipated Releases series last year, but life got in the way, so we’ll kick off the new year with a list of new releases I’m excited about in 2022.
I don’t know about you, but it doesn’t feel like 2022. If I’ve learned anything during this past year of blogging, it’s that I’m a total mood reader and any attempts to plan or organize my reading life are futile. In an attempt to answer the age-old question of “what should I read next?” I decided to try corral my sprawling TBR, which is really more a concept spanning different accounts and media than an actual list written out anywhere. So here’s a list of twenty-two of my anticipated releases this year!
🆕: debut author
💞: sequel/companion novel
Headed to New York University as an “undeclared” major, Lenore Bennett is feeling the pressure of figuring out what she wants to do in life. It’s a stress heightened by her parents, who want her to be as prepared as possible. On a post-graduation European cruise, she meets Alex Lee, who has the next ten years of his life mapped out. He’s exactly the type of person she’d never be interested in. That is, until the two spend more time together and she finds herself completely, totally falling for him.
If you’ve been following my last two Top Five Tuesday posts, you probably aren’t surprised One True Loves is high up on my anticipated list of books for 2022. Yes, the list is ordered by pub date, but I’m also super excited about Elise Bryant’s sophomore novel. Her debut was my first (almost) five star review of 2021, and I’ve been looking forward to her next book ever since. Mediterranean cruises, mental health convos, and the Cupid Shuffle?! Um, yes please.
From stories of first love, unrequited love, love that surprises, love that’s been there all along, ten of the brightest and award-winning authors writing YA have taken on some of your favorite romantic tropes, embracing them and turning them on their heads. Readers will swoon for this collection of stories that celebrate love at its most humorous, inclusive, heart-expanding, and serendipitous.
I’m a simple person. I see an anthology, and I’ll put it on my TBR, and a collection filled with beloved (or at least familiar) romance tropes with a twist featuring a fantastic lineup of authors (Elise Bryant, Elizabeth Eulberg, Leah Johnson, Anna-Marie McLemore, Marissa Meyer, Sandhya Menon, Julie Murphy, Caleb Roehrig, Sarah Winifred Searle, and Abigail Hing Wen) is my kind of book. Besides, how can you look at that cover art and not want to pick up the book? The colored flowers forming a heart are just perfection.
A captivating debut fantasy inspired by the legend of Chang’e, the Chinese moon goddess, in which a young woman’s quest to free her mother pits her against the most powerful immortal in the realm.
Ten days until this gorgeous cover and this gorgeous cover will be out in the world. (One of my first thoughts of the new year may or may not have been which cover do I buy??) I’m excited I’ll finally be able to talk to other people about Sue Lynn Tan’s debut, but I’m mostly excited because it means we’re that much closer to getting book #2.
After a bloody massacre takes place at court, 17-year-old palace nurse Hyeon and 18-year-old police inspector Eojin must clear the Crown Prince’s name after he is accused of the murders. Set in 1750s Korea, this is based on the tragic relationship between Prince Sado and his father, a well-known story in Korea.
To all my followers who are counting down the days until Jan 25 in the hopes that I’ll finally stop bombarding you with The Red Palace spam, joke’s on you, I’ll probably still be fangirling over TRP after it’s out in the world. I am ridiculously obsessed with June Hur and her gorgeous prose and probably won’t stop fangirling anytime soon (especially because I splurged and bought the FaeCrate edition featuring a special cover by my new favorite cover artist, Kelly Chong @afterblossom_art).
A gut-wrenching, startling window into communist Romania and the citizen spy network that devastated a nation. A historical thriller that examines the little-known history of a nation defined by its secrecy and lies, and the unwavering conviction of the human spirit, even—and especially—in the face of hardship, sacrifice, and war.
Ruta Sepetys is one of my auto-read authors, so adding I Must Betray You to this list is no-brainer. I love her dedication to “giving voice to underrepresented history and those who experienced it” and can’t wait to dive into another one of her books to learn about another period of history I know nothing about. Her books are always well-researched, and her prose and storytelling seem to be getting better and better, so learning about the citizen spy network in communist Romania is definitely high up on my list of things to do in 2022.
A retelling of Jane Austen’s Persuasion featuring a 16-year-old competitive ice dancer who must confront her family’s mounting debt, her current partner’s inexplicable romantic interest, and the reemergence of the partner she left behind as she trains for the biggest competition of her life.
Things I love: modern Austen retellings, Persuasion, and figure skating. I found out about Finding Her Edge early in 2021 and have been waiting impatiently for 2022 to roll around so I could get my hands on this book. The fact that it’ll be released during the Winter Olympics (which I also love) means that I probably won’t get a lot of sleep during the first few weeks of February, but I’m sure it’ll be worth it.
A feminist retelling of the Korean folktale “The Tale of Shim Cheong,” with echoes of Miyazaki. In a town where a girl is sacrificed every year to the sea to stop torrential rains, one brave teen dives in herself to protect a loved one and discovers a spirit kingdom in need of saving.
I know, I know, you’re tired of me going on and on about how excited I am about The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea and its two gorgeous covers. Well, I hate to break it to you, but I won an eARC and am thinking about making it my first read of 2022, so get ready for more fangirling in the future. I love that YA retellings and am glad Asian folktales/mythology is finally getting some love. I don’t know anything about the Tale of Shim Cheong, but I know a whole lot about Miyazaki vibes and am so excited two of my favorite things are meeting in Axie Oh’s latest book.
J.R.R. Tolkien meets Jane Austen in an intimate, character-driven epic fantasy about an age-old conflict between faeries and men, a marriage of convenience, and one man’s choice between saving his family and revenge.
It’s your friendly neighborhood broken record telling you yet again how excited I am that I’ll officially have an author friend in 2022. I read a really early version of The Vermilion Riddle back in the day and have been eagerly awaiting the final product. You know I love me some Austen (and a marriage of convenience,) so I’m pretty sure The Vermilion Riddle would’ve made the cut even if I weren’t writing pals with the author.
STEM-oriented Honey Blackwell has dated the same boy her whole life. And even though everyone thinks they’re adorable soul mates, they aren’t so sure. He wants a small town life, and she wants a big one at her dream college out of state. Honey trusts science, not fate, and together they decide to break up temporarily to date five other people. If they’re truly soul mates, they’ll come back together at graduation. It’s science, after all. What could possibly go wrong?
I’m a science-nerd and a hopeless(ly sarcastic) romantic, so when I saw the synopsis for this STEMy love story and its accompanying cover art–I’m a sucker for polaroids–I was intrigued. The promise of small town vibes and flirty banter doesn’t hurt, but I’m mostly here for the science. I need to know what could possibly go wrong!!
After getting away with literal murder, Meddy can’t wait to settle down and marry the love of her life, Nathan. She’s found the dress, got the dream venue at Christ Church College, Oxford, plus having a destination wedding comes with the added bonus of not having to invite her very large extended family.
Although when her meddling aunties get involved, Meddy knows her wedding is going to be anything but quiet. Even though there’s no dead body hidden in the freezer this time, for better or worse, it’s certainly going to be a day she’s never going to forget…
Dial A for Aunties was a wild ride, and I loved every minute of it. Jesse Sutanto managed to capture the Asian American experience in a chaotic murder mystery that was so ridiculous it was perfect. I’m excited to reunite with our favorite quartet of Asian aunties and see what hijinks they get into this time around. I guess I’m also hoping Meddy and Nathan get their happily ever after when they leave their big day to the Chans, but let’s be real, we’ll all be here for the Aunties.
Ocean’s Eleven meets The Farewell in Portrait of a Thief, a lush, lyrical heist novel inspired by the true story of Chinese art vanishing from Western museums, about diaspora, the colonization of art, and the complexity of the Chinese American identity.
First of all, Grace Li will always have my respect for being a published author and a med student. (What.) Second of all, her prose is so ridiculously gorgeous I wanted to highlight the entire book. I came for a heist story and got a book about the Asian American identity with so many feels I didn’t even care Portrait of a Thief wasn’t the heist story I was looking for. I’m still processing all my thoughts and feelings about her stunning debut (also I’ve just been super brain-dead and lazy,) so my review still isn’t up, but feel free to check out Amanda @ Bookish Brew’s review and/or yell at me to cross reviews off my to-do list.
Romeo and Juliet meets Chinese mythology in this magical novel by the New York Times bestselling author of The Astonishing Color of After where the star-crossed pair, Hunter Yee and Luna Chang, are reincarnations of Chinese gods—Houyi, an archer, and Chang’e, the moon goddess.
I started talking about An Arrow to the Moon in November and feel like I haven’t stopped, but a modern retelling of Chang’e sounds so good I can’t help it. I also have a soft spot for Emily X.R. Pan because I loved the anthology she edited and because her NaNo pep talk helped me avoid a writing slump, but I’m mostly psyched about this because MODERN CHANG’E!!!!
A new swoony YA romance about an indie film star who enrolls in high school under a secret identity, and the girl who will do whatever it takes to convince him to star in her short film.
I feel like I’ve spent most of 2021 waiting for A Show for Two which has been on my TBR since I heard it was inspired y that time Tom Holland was an undercover student to prep for Spiderman: Homecoming. Tashie promises a love-hate-relationship, depression rep, and complex sister relationships, which are all things I love. I haven’t gotten around to writing my review for her debut yet (you can yell at me for that, too), but I’ve since discovered she’s a writer after my own heart and likes sneaking T. Swift references into her works like yours truly.
A YA rom-com about a Korean American girl whose childhood best friend turned K-Pop star returns to their hometown to make good on their pact to go to prom together.
Not me knowing little-to-nothing about K-pop and simultaneously trying to read all the books K-pop. The cover art is what caught my eye initially (pastels, illustrated Asians and the mint green-pink combo will always make me reach for a book.) Then I saw childhood friends-to-lovers trope and the famous/normie trope, and I was sold. I have a physical(!) ARC that I got through one of Kat Cho’s giveaways that I’ve been dying to read but am trying to get through my stack of library books first.
Emma gets a fresh Indian-American twist from award-winning author Sonali Dev in her heartwarmingly irresistible Jane Austen inspired rom com series.
I mean, I’ve only been talking about this since 2019. Dev did such a great job putting her own spin on Pride and Prejudice while still capturing the spirit of Austen’s original (of the fifty or so modern P&P adaptations I’ve read, it has the best reimagining of the Huntsford proposal I’ve even seen.) I’m a little nervous-excited to see how The Emma Project will turn out, especially since I’m not sure how I feel about Naina being our Knightley-equivalent, but fingers crossed!
Return to Tokyo for a royal wedding in Emiko Jean’s Tokyo Dreaming. The sequel to Tokyo Ever After focuses on Princess Izumi’s return to her newfound royal family (and love) in Tokyo.
This list is just turning into a guilt post reminding me of all the reviews I haven’t gotten around to yet 😶 Emiko Jean’s debut was such a fun read, I can’t wait to return to Tokyo for the royal wedding. I’m a little bummed we don’t get to see Izumi’s parents’ relationships develop more, but that doesn’t make me any less excited for the sequel to what’s essentially become the Asian version of The Princess Diaries.
An epic star-crossed love story about first love and not just the will they, won’t they— but why can’t they?
2021 was the year that solidified my love for all things grumpy-and-sunshine, and since 2021 is also the year I discovered that maybe I’m the grump, a story that features a grumpy protagonist and her hopeless romantic love interest is exactly the type of romance I would love. Cynics in love is a subgenre that was made for me, and as soon as I read the synopsis, I knew I needed this book in my hands. When I saw the words “Zyla was a cynic about love,” I had immediate flashbacks to Instructions for Dancing. Here’s hoping this year’s pastel-covered YA contemporary featuring a cynical heroine will turn out just as well!
The first in a debut duology featuring a morally gray witch, a cursed prince, and a prophecy that ignites their intertwined destinies.
Should I just turn this into a Gina Chen fan account since I’m always talking about her book anyway? I really should just write and post my review so I can put all my fangirling in one place, but y’all this book is everything I love. It’s like Gina peeked into my brain, found my secret story wishlist, and wrote a book featuring all of my favorite things. Part of me is excited VMOT is part of duology because that means I get more, but the other part of me is like I have to wait HOW long?! If you’ll excuse me, I’ll just be rereading Gina’s debut and waiting for news about the sequel.
Set during the tumultuous reign of Tsar Ivan the Terrible of Russia, The Witch and The Tsar reimagines the myth of the misunderstood witch and half-goddess Baby Yaga, as she strives to navigate the world of gods and mortals, fight for the people she loves, and find her trueplace and purpose.
As a testament to how much of a mess my TBR currently is I completely missed The Witch and the Tsar while I was writing my lists of anticipated 2022 debuts and retellings. Opps? I don’t know anything about Baba Yaga other than the fact that she’s a witch who’s featured in stories used to frighten frighten, but not knowing the source material has never stopped me from reading reimaginings and that’s not about to change in 2022. Plus, the story features my favorite Grand Duchess, so I have to read it!
The Vermilion Emporium, pitched as if The Radium Girls took place in the world of Howl’s Moving Castle, in which two misfits discover the coveted and deadly secret to weaving lace from starlight inside a magical curiosity shop.
If you make a Howl’s Moving Castle comparison, I’ll read your book. I’m sure there’ll be a few exceptions, but this is the first time I’ve run across a work with the comp that I can actually read, and I’m super excited. Also, two misfits in a magical curiosity shop? I love misfits and magical curiosity shops!
A reimagining of the Chinese military epic Romance of the Three Kingdoms, in which a strategist must help her warlordess to victory against the rival kingdoms to the north and the south while overcoming her fate as written by the gods.
Get ready for eleven months of me fangirling over Joan He as I try not to die of anticipation waiting for her new duology to come out. Strike the Zither is one of my most anticipated releases of 2022, and I’m so excited about this book even though I’m pretty sure the agony of waiting for its pub date is just gonna be replaced by whatever heartbreak Joan is planning to inflict on us 🥲
Pitched as a cyberpunk Six of Crows and set in an alternate history class-divided Beijing, a desperate young thief agrees to help a band of revolutionaries, including a mysterious renegade known only as the Red Yaksha, break out the leader of a failed rebellion.
I discovered Andrea Tang last year and love her distinctive humor and voice. Even if I had no idea who she was, the pitch is more than enough to grab my attention. Cyberpunk Six of Crows? Alternate history Beijing? Found family vibes??I seriously cannot wait to read her next book. I mean, I’d still love a Rebelwing prequel, but “a rollicking new heist novel about a ragtag band of revolutionaries set in an alternate Beijing” is more than enough to tide me over in the meantime.
Related Posts: Top Five Tuesday: Top 5 Sequels You’d Sell Your Soul For
Since I’ve mentioned some of the books in my other posts, I figured I’d throw in some extras. It’s only been a few days, but I’m already ready for Christmas season to come back so I can binge watch cheesy made-for-TV holiday movies. In the meantime, I’m excited I’ll have two books to fill the void.
A rom-com about a hopeful journalist obsessed with Hallmark movies who leaves NYC for a quaint small town only to discover it’s nothing like TV led her to believe—no homemade pie, no fall festival, and the guy working for the real estate magnate she wanted to bring down is surprisingly charming.
The synopsis sounds straight out of a Hallmark movie and I am here for it. I love the idea of taking the familiar, formulaic plot and turning it on its head. You mean small towns are full of fall festivals and a plethora of hot, single men? I’m gonna need a refund on my one-way ticket to Middle-of-Nowhere, USA.
The holiday-themed YA rom-com follows Chloe Kang, Santa’s Village photographer, whose rivalry with her nemesis Peter Li escalates when he opens a North Pole virtual reality experience next door. But when they learn their mall is in danger of being demolished, they must work together to save it—and save Christmas.
Suzanne Park’s next book is apparently going through a title change at the moment, but that doesn’t make me any less excited about her upcoming book. I love YA and holiday rom-coms and Suzanne Park and rivals-to-allies-to-lovers, so this went on my TBR as soon as I saw it.
What books are you looking forward to reading in the new year?