Guntersville Public Library

Best and Worst of 2022


A River Enchanted by Rebecca Ross

So lovely. This felt like a cross between Outlander and The Witch’s Heart. Deeply developed characters, multiple layered love stories, spirits, haunting atmosphere, and the audiobook’s Scottish narrator was *chef’s kiss*. Its sequel is awaiting me in my Audible library and I can’t wait to get to it. – Leigh Ann


The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea by Axie Oh

I’m not one to see books come to life in my mind, but the scenery in this beautiful Korean tale floats off the page into your imagination in this fantastical underwater adventure. Highly recommended for anyone who enjoys folk and fairy tale reimaginings or fans of Studio Ghibli films. – Cassandra

*Bonus Rec-This was also Leigh Ann’s close second for best of the year!


Gender Queer: A Memoir by Maia Kobabe

I had heard about this graphic novel being controversial, but it was also very highly reviewed, so I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. What I found was 1) the fuss was an overreaction, and 2) the book was full of information I needed. Through the eyes and experience of this author, I learned a great deal about the inward and outward struggles of the nonbinary community, got a well-explained lesson in pronouns, and discovered the little-talked-about science behind DNA and gender-determination. This book gave me a greater understanding, compassion, and respect for those trying to be themselves who are thrown into a tug-of-war with the expectations of others. – Mandy


The Last of the Moon Girls by Barbara Davis

I enjoy books about families who have troubles but learn to solve them through perseverance with a little bit of magic thrown in. Lizzy, the main character, is a strong person who has had a lot of problems to deal with in her lifetime, including two unsolved murders. – Debbie


 If You Tell: A True Story of Murder, Family Secrets, and the Unbreakable Bond of Sisterhood by Gregg Olsen

The best book I read this year was a true story of hope, resilience, and overcoming extreme hardships.  I love to escape the mundane of my everyday life through books, usually murder mysteries.  This story captivated me from the beginning, but I loved the fact that there is a good ending.  I walked away shaken and more alert and aware after experiencing this book. – Jill


Dancing at the Pity Party: A Dead Mom Graphic Memoir by Tyler Feeder

I pulled this book off the shelf in a hurry to find something to read. I hadn’t even read the spine until I sat down and I’m terribly glad I picked this one. A college student loses her mother to cancer and has written this book to remember her mother. I, a college student, recently lost my mother and this book helped with the early death of a parent. It made me smile, cry and gave me the comfort that no one else could provide. The pictures were beautiful and the ending showed me that even though my mother is no longer here, there are many in the same boat as me so I don’t have to face it alone. – Savannah



The Ogress and the Orphans by Kelly Barnhill

It is really hard for me to give this such a low rating. I absolutely loved The Girl Who Drank the Moon by this author. I’m a sucker for lyrical fantasy with morals, but this….was not that. The repetitive political rhetoric in this is so heavy-handed. This book feels like a first draft of what could be a beautiful story on kindness and the power of books and truth, but instead it’s a long-winded complaint with contrived dialogue. – Leigh Ann


The Edge of In Between by Lorelei Savaryn

On the flipside of retellings, The Edge of In Between was marketed as a fantasy reimagining of a personal childhood favorite, The Secret Garden. It fell quickly short, resulting in a superficial copy missing the heart of what made Mary Lennox and The Secret Garden respectively a beloved character and a long-lasting classic. – Cassandra


Beautiful World, Where Are You by Sally Rooney

I chose to read this early in the year because it was on all the lists of highly anticipated books of 2022. While there were some nice moments, I didn’t get the hype. There were some downright unlikable characters that I think I was meant to warm up to, but I did not. The first half drew me in – the second half spit me out. Rooney is a beautiful writer, but this was a miss for me. – Mandy

Agent 6 by Tom Rob Smith

My pick for the worst book is Agent 6 by Tom Rob Smith, only because I feel it is a waste of time to read about details of guns and war. I enjoy some historical fiction, but not all the details about what kind of gun it is and how it works. It would be wonderful for people who enjoy that kind of book but not for me. – Debbie

Two Little Girls by Laura Jarrett

I had to put this book down after a couple chapters.  While I love murder mysteries, I don’t like graphic depictions of the actual act.  In this story, a mother is forced to choose life or death between her two daughters.  It was just uncomfortable reading from the start.  I was not a fan.- Jill


The Weight of Blood by Tiffany D. Jackson

I was very excited to see a modern day rewrite of Stephen King’s classic Carrie because I love to see other people’s takes on other stories. I had this book for an hour (yes, literally) and it was just horrible. First off, it felt like a cheap copy of Carrie but without the main character suffering from harassment and an abusive home life. Second, it deals with racism, an already difficult topic, in all the wrong ways. I actually felt guilty for not being able to read it but it just wasn’t handled in the right way. I might not be the target audience for this book but I probably wouldn’t recommend it for anyone.  – Savannah




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  • Guntersville Public Library

    1240 O'Brig Avenue
    Guntersville, Al 35976
    (256) 571-7595