The big fiction books for 2022

The fiction books you can’t miss in 2022

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The breakout books you’ll be reading next year from fiction’s biggest and newest names. 

Welcome to the biggest fiction for 2022. It is a jam-packed year of big-name writers, breakout authors and debuts jostling for your ‘to be read’ lists. Leading the way is Hanya Yanagihara’s highly ambitious and anticipated To Paradise which follows up her iconic A Little Life. There are also new books from much-loved authors, including Candice Carty-Williams with People Person, Monica Ali, Nina Stibbe, Marian Keyes and Lucy Foley. Other books that everyone will be talking about include the entertaining and uplifting Black Cake by Charmaine Wilkerson, the heartbreaking Take My Hand by Dolen Perkins-Valdez, the addictive Moonlight And The Pearler’s Daughter by Lizzie Pook and the groundbreaking Nightcrawling by Leila Mottley. 

Thrillers, coming-of-age stories, comedies, romance and historical fiction – 2022 has it all. There are books that tackle the things that are affecting us right now (career burnout in Careering and arguments over vaccination in The Herd) plus gothic and horror novels that’ll leave you unnerved and uncertain at 4am. There are also some really funny reads that will transport and uplift you – which we’re very in favour of – so start pre-ordering now. These are the 40 books you’ll want to read this year. 

  • To Paradise by Hanya Yanagihara

    Fiction for 2022: To Paradise by Hanya Yanagihara
    Fiction for 2022: To Paradise by Hanya Yanagihara

    It’s coming… one of the most anticipated books of 2022 – if not the decade – is Hanya Yanagihara’s follow-up to her blockbuster A Little Life. At 701 pages, it’s a sweeping, ambitious novel that starts out as speculative fiction in the drawing rooms of old New York, evoking the worlds of Edith Wharton and Henry James, and ends in a bleak 2093. Prepare to weep in public and be utterly transformed (out 11 January). 

    Shop To Paradise by Hanya Yanagihara (£20, Picador) at Bookshop 

  • Black Cake by Charmaine Wilkerson

    Fiction for 2022: Black Cake by Charmaine Wilkerson
    Fiction for 2022: Black Cake by Charmaine Wilkerson

    Black Cake starts off in a lawyer’s office as two estranged siblings, Byron and Benny, come together for the reading of their mother’s will only to discover an audio recording that will upend their lives… and a recipe for legendary Caribbean cake. You can’t help but fall in love with this book (out 3 February). 

    Shop Black Cake by Charmaine Wilkerson (£14.99, Michael Joseph) at Bookshop

  • Idol by Louise O’Neill

    Fiction for 2022: Idol by Louise O’Neill
    Fiction for 2022: Idol by Louise O’Neill

    How much is it possible to love Louise O’Neill? A brilliant writer who’s never afraid of going to darker places, Idol takes on influencer culture as the boundary-pushing and celebrated Samantha writes about her sexual awakening only for her former friend Lisa to call out her “truth” (out 12 May). 

    Shop Idol by Louise O’Neill (£14.99, Doubleday) at Foyles

  • Thirty Things I Love About Myself by Radhika Sanghani

    Fiction for 2022: Thirty Things I Love About Myself by Radhika Sanghani
    Fiction for 2022: Thirty Things I Love About Myself by Radhika Sanghani

    A fresh and joyful take on the romcom that’s essential reading to kick off 2022, Nina Mistry spends her 30th birthday in a prison cell with only a self-help book for company, sparking what will become the story of one woman’s chance to find love – with herself (out 20th January). 

    Shop Thirty Things I Love About Myself by Radhika Sanghani (£14.99, Headline) at Bookshop

  • Moonlight And The Pearler's Daughter by Lizzie Pook

    Fiction for 2022: Moonlight And The Pearler's Daughter by Lizzie Pook
    Fiction for 2022: Moonlight And The Pearler's Daughter by Lizzie Pook

    Love immersive storytelling, a rollicking mystery and a take-no-prisoners heroine? Of course you do. Moonlight And The Pearler’s Daughter is the story that will send you into the stultifying heat of 19th century Western Australia, full of bad people doing terrible things in the name of colonisation, and one smart woman, Eliza, unravelling it all. It’s set to be everywhere this year (out 3 March). 

    Shop Moonlight And The Pearler’s Daughter by Lizzie Pook (£14.99, Mantle) at Bookshop

  • Take My Hand by Dolen Perkins-Valdez

    Fiction for 2022: Take My Hand by Dolen Perkins-Valdez
    Fiction for 2022: Take My Hand by Dolen Perkins-Valdez

    “A year never passes without me thinking of them. India. Erica. Their names are stitched inside every white coat I have ever worn. I tell this story to stitch their names inside your clothes, too.” From this devastating (and soon-to-be classic) opening line comes a story that’s based on real-life events exploring the horrifying link between racism and medical ethics. Also shot through with spirit and hope, it’s one hell of a book (out 12 May). 

    Shop Take My Hand by Dolen Perkins-Valdez (£14.99, Phoenix) at Bookshop

  • The Maid by Nita Prose

    Fiction for 2022: The Maid by Nita Prose
    Fiction for 2022: The Maid by Nita Prose

    Soon to be starring the perfectly cast Florence Pugh, The Maid is an instantly gripping and delightful whodunnit featuring Molly the maid who gets caught up in the killing of a high-profile guest in the hotel where she works (out 20 January). 

    Shop The Maid by Nita Prose (£14.99, HarperFiction) at Bookshop

  • Our Wives Under The Sea by Julia Armfield

    Fiction for 2022: Our Wives Under The Sea by Julia Armfield
    Fiction for 2022: Our Wives Under The Sea by Julia Armfield

    The debut novel from the critically acclaimed author of Salt Slow, Our Wives Under The Sea is gaining traction with preview readers who are describing it as utterly magnetic and creepy. Leah returns to her wife after a deep-sea mission goes wrong but things have changed forever… (out 3 March). 

    Shop Our Wives Under The Sea by Julia Armfield (£16.99, Picador) at Bookshop

  • Wahala by Nikki May

    Fiction for 2022: Wahala by Nikki May
    Fiction for 2022: Wahala by Nikki May

    Ronke, Simi and Boo are three Nigerian-British friends who’ve known each other since childhood, but the arrival of interloper Isobel throws their lives into disarray. Full of food, humour and pitch-perfect observation, it’s currently under adaptation by Rocks writer Theresa Ikoko (out 6 January). 

    Shop Wahala by Nikki May (£14.99, Transworld) at Bookshop

  • Again, Rachel by Marian Keyes

    Fiction for 2022: Again, Rachel by Marian Keyes
    Fiction for 2022: Again, Rachel by Marian Keyes

    She’s back. The heroine from Keyes’ breakout book, Rachel’s Holiday (which was one of the first bits of culture to place misbehaving women centre stage), returns in this new novel exploring how life is always ready to throw you a new curveball. Keyes’ writing is just a total treat: funny, insightful and wise and we’re on countdown for this (out 17 February).

    Shop Again, Rachel by Marian Keyes (£20, Penguin) at Bookshop

  • Five Days Missing by Caroline Corcoran

    Best fiction for 2022: Five Days Missing by Caroline Corcoran
    Best fiction for 2022: Five Days Missing by Caroline Corcoran

    A tense feminist thriller that underlines the power of support networks: Romilly goes missing hours after giving birth, leaving her loving husband Marc and her family desperately trying to track her down. Upending conventional tropes of the genre, this is the thinking mystery you’ve been waiting for (out 17 February).  

    Shop Five Days Missing by Caroline Corcoran (£8.99, HarperCollins) at Bookshop

  • Send Nudes by Saba Sams

    Fiction for 2022: Send Nudes by Saba Sams
    Fiction for 2022: Send Nudes by Saba Sams

    In 10 quickfire stories, Brighton-born Saba Sams conjures up the spaces between lovers, the visceral attraction and the damning rejection. Read in one sitting and you’ll be transported to moments in your past, to scenes you instantly recognise but may have deliberately forgotten; a must-read for 2022 (out 20 January). 

    Shop Send Nudes by Saba Sams (£14.99, Bloomsbury) at Bookshop

  • Nightcrawling by Leila Mottley

    Fiction for 2022: Nightcrawling by Leila Mottley
    Fiction for 2022: Nightcrawling by Leila Mottley

    This is going to be one of the big books of 2022. Written when Mottley was just 17, this is a story that’s based on a true-life case and explores the world of Kiara – a Black teenager who enters the world of sex work before taking the stand in a shocking trial (out 24 May). 

    Shop Nightcrawling by Leila Mottley (£14.99, Bloomsbury) at Bookshop

  • Here Again Now by Okechukwu Nzelu

    Fiction for 2022: Here Again Now by Okechukwu Nzelu
    Fiction for 2022: Here Again Now by Okechukwu Nzelu

    Achike is an actor who finds himself in a good place as things are beginning to come together with his father, his work and his closest friend, Ekene. And then the story takes an unexpected turn… Nzelu’s debut book, The Private Joys Of Nnenna Maloney, won a Betty Trask Award and his second book will be one to watch this year (out 10 March). 

    Shop Here Again Now by Okechukwu Nzelu (£14.99, Dialogue) at Bookshop

  • Mona by Pola Oloixarac (translated by Adam Morris)

    Fiction for 2022: Mona by Pola Oloixarac (translated by Adam Morris)
    Fiction for 2022: Mona by Pola Oloixarac (translated by Adam Morris)

    Arriving covered in plaudits, Mona is a novella by Buenos Aires-born Oloixarac, who weaves together the story of writer and lecturer Mona, who’s heading to a small town in Sweden for a literary festival – knocking back pills and trying to avoid facing up to the truth behind an act of violence (out 3 February).

    Shop Mona by Pola Oloixarac (£12.99, Serpant’s Tail) at Bookshop

  • Olga Dies Dreaming by Xochitl Gonzalez

    Fiction for 2022: Olga Dies Dreaming by Xochitl Gonzalez
    Fiction for 2022: Olga Dies Dreaming by Xochitl Gonzalez

    Two siblings – Olga, a wedding planner for Manhattan’s power brokers, and her brother Prieto, a rising congressman with the support of the Latinx community – come face to face with the truth about their lives as their mother Blanca returns (out 6 January). 

    Shop Olga Dies Dreaming by Xochitl Gonzalez (£16.99, Fleet) at Bookshop

  • Hope And Glory by Jendella Benson

    Fiction for 2022: Hope And Glory by Jendella Benson
    Fiction for 2022: Hope And Glory by Jendella Benson

    Set to be everywhere in 2022, Benson’s debut is about Glory, who returns from LA to Peckham after the death of her father only to discover her family is falling apart and resentful but examining her past uncovers unexpected surprises… (out 7 April). 

    Shop Hope And Glory by Jendella Benson (£14.99, Trapeze) at Waterstones

  • Maps Of Our Spectacular Bodies by Maddie Mortimer

    Fiction for 2022: Maps Of Our Spectacular Bodies by Maddie Mortimer
    Fiction for 2022: Maps Of Our Spectacular Bodies by Maddie Mortimer

    Lyrical and beautiful, this is a novel unlike anything else, telling the story of a dying mother but in a totally unexpected way. Described by author Sarah Moss as “playful and profound”, keep an eye out for this on the prize shortlists (out 31 March). 

    Shop Maps Of Our Spectacular Bodies by Maddie Mortimer (£14.99, Picador) at Bookshop

  • bitter by akwaeke emezi

    Fiction for 2022: bitter by akwaeke emezi
    Fiction for 2022: bitter by akwaeke emezi

    A companion book to Akwaeke Emezi’s Pet, this YA novel centres on Bitter, who’s come through foster care and landed a spot at Eucalyptus – a school for creative teenagers. Safe inside, there are major events unfolding in the world outside that begin to pull on Bitter and her friends (out 15 February). 

    Shop Bitter by Akwaeke Emezi (£7.99, Faber) at Bookshop

  • The Family Chao by Lan Samantha Chang

    Best fiction for 2022: The Family Chao by Lan Samantha Chang
    Best fiction for 2022: The Family Chao by Lan Samantha Chang

    An addictive read, The Family Chao starts with the discovery of a restaurant owner frozen to death in his own meat freezer and spirals into a tale of corruption and racism inspired by The Brothers Karamazov (out 3 February).  

    Shop The Family Chao by Lan Samantha Chang (£16.99, Pushkin Press) at Bookshop

  • Welcome To Your Life by Bethany Rutter

    Fiction for 2022: Welcome To Your Life by Bethany Rutter
    Fiction for 2022: Welcome To Your Life by Bethany Rutter

    A fun and life-affirming story told with verve, Welcome To Your Life is author Rutter’s adult debut and features Serena Mills, who walks out on her wedding to find a love and life she truly deserves (out 31 March). 

    Shop Welcome To Your Life by Bethany Rutter (£14.99, HarperCollins) at Bookshop

  • A Terrible Kindness by Jo Browning Wroe

    Fiction for 2022: A Terrible Kindness by Jo Browning Wroe
    Fiction for 2022: A Terrible Kindness by Jo Browning Wroe

    Full of emotion, this is the story of William Lavery – his childhood, his work and how his efforts in the wake of the Aberfan tragedy in 1966 affected his life. A debut book that’ll stay with you for a long, long time (out 20 January). 

    Shop A Terrible Kindness by Jo Browning Wroe (£14.99, Faber) at Bookshop

  • At Certain Points We Touch by Lauren John Joseph

    Fiction for 2022: At Certain Points We Touch by Lauren John Joseph
    Fiction for 2022: At Certain Points We Touch by Lauren John Joseph

    Described as “a stone-cold masterpiece – The Line Of Beauty retooled for the 21st century” by writer Olivia Laing, this is the story of a destructive love affair played out over years and cities that’s going to be an essential read (out 3 March). 

    Shop At Certain Points We Touch by Lauren John Joseph (£14.99, Bloomsbury) at Bookshop

  • The Raptures by Jan Carson

    Fiction for 2022: The Raptures by Jan Carson
    Fiction for 2022: The Raptures by Jan Carson

    From acclaimed writer Jan Carson, one young girl in the town of Ballylack is looking forward to summer when her classmates start succumbing to a mysterious disease and the community begins to crack (out 6 January). 

    Shop The Raptures by Jan Carson (£14.99, Doubleday) at Waterstones

  • The Gosling Girl by Jacqueline Roy

    Fiction for 2022: The Gosling Girl by Jacqueline Roy
    Fiction for 2022: The Gosling Girl by Jacqueline Roy

    This psychological thriller explores institutional racism as Michelle Cameron is released from prison, trying to leave behind a horrific crime in childhood. As Michelle becomes a suspect following another murder, it falls to Detective Constable Natalie Tyler to questioning everything around her (out 20 January). 

    Shop The Gosling Girl by Jacqueline Roy (£14.99, Simon & Schuster) at Bookshop

  • Little Wing by Freya North

    Fiction for 2022: Little Wing by Freya North
    Fiction for 2022: Little Wing by Freya North

    Inspired by the author’s own restorative experience of the Outer Hebrides, North’s story examines what happens when one pregnant teenage girl is sent to the remote island of Harris and how redemption can still find a way (21 January). 

    Shop Little Wing by Freya North (£12.99, Welbeck) at Bookshop

  • The Herd by Emily Edwards

    Fiction for 2022: The Herd by Emily Edwards
    Fiction for 2022: The Herd by Emily Edwards

    With echoes of The Slap, this book tackles the most emotive and divisive issues of our time: to vaccinate or not to vaccinate as two friends find themselves at the heart of the issue after one little white lie (out 3 February). 

    Shop The Herd by Emily Edwards (£14.99, Transworld) at Bookshop

  • Brown Girls by Daphne Palasi Andreades

    Fiction for 2022: Brown Girls by Daphne Palasi Andreades
    Fiction for 2022: Brown Girls by Daphne Palasi Andreades

    Set in Queens, this is the transporting and energising story of a group of girls – Nadira, Gabby, Naz, Trish and Angelique – growing into women. By debut author Daphne Palasi Andreades, it’s not to be missed (out 3 February). 

    Shop Brown Girls by Daphne Palasi Andreades (£12.99, Fourth Estate) at Bookshop

  • Careering by Daisy Buchanan

    Fiction for 2022: Careering by Daisy Buchanan
    Fiction for 2022: Careering by Daisy Buchanan

    We are so ready for this book. Exploring the exhausting push-pull of trying to pin down a career you love but that doesn’t love you back, Buchanan’s book is set to capture the zeitgeist as so many of us question we’re where at (out 10 March). 

    Shop Careering by Daisy Buchanan (£14.99, Sphere) at Bookshop

  • Love Marriage by Monica Ali

    Fiction for 2022: Love Marriage by Monica Ali
    Fiction for 2022: Love Marriage by Monica Ali

    As Yasmin Ghorami approaches her wedding to fellow doctor Joe Sangster, things begin to unravel as their two families cross paths and ideals. Monica Ali is one of Britain’s most cherished and delightful writers so get this pre-ordered now (out 3 February). 

    Shop Love Marriage by Monica Ali (£18.98, Virago) at Bookshop

Images: courtesy of publishers

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Francesca Brown

Francesca Brown is books editor for Stylist magazine and Stylist Loves; she also compiles the Style List on a weekly basis. She is a self-confessed HBO abuser and has a wide selection of grey sweatshirts. Honestly, you just can’t have enough. @franabouttown