When I finish a book I love, the first thing I do is look up other books by the author I can devour, and if they don’t exist, I look up what books are similar in mood and feel. Lately, I’ve been on a fantasy romance kick, inspired by Hafsah Faizal’s Sands of Arawiya series. Combing through new releases for similar books has led to a host of truly marvelous reads. So I took a look at some of the most beloved 2021 releases to find what 2022 titles might be similarly wonderful.
If you loved Last Night At The Telegraph Club by Malinda Lo, try The Most Dazzling Girl In Berlin by Kip Wilson:
This book is a National Book Award winner for Young People’s literature and for good reason. Its a marvel of historical fiction, about a young Chinese American woman discovering her sexuality in 1950s San Francisco. If you like sapphic historical fiction, you should definitely check out The Most Dazzling Girl In Berlin (Out in March 2022). Like in Telegraph, Kip Wilson’s sophomore novel is about a young woman exploring her sexuality during a time when it wasn’t necessarily safe to do so in public and is set at a club that attracted anyone who saw themselves as different. The backdrop is tumultuous 1930s Berlin when things are changing at an alarming rate and war is on the horizon, an echo of The Last Night In Telegraph where San Francisco’s Chinatown is shadowed by the McCarthyism era and the intolerance that stemmed from it.
If you loved The Ones We’re Meant To Find by Joan He, try The Ivory Key by Akshaya Raman:
It was hard to ignore the buzz for The Ones We’re Meant To Find by Joan He, a lush and beautiful sli-fi novel about sisters and the pressing reality of climate change. Cee has been trapped on an island for three years, without any memory of her life before or how she got there. She can only cling to the knowledge that she has a sister, Kay, out there and she has to find her. Across the ocean, Kay lives in an eco-city, designed to help save the planet and protect the residents against the deadly environment. Kay believes her sister Celia is dead but is willing to trace her last steps in the hope of finding answers. This thrilling book has rave reviews for its originality and surprising twists. Readers desperate for more breathtaking books featuring sibling relationships should consider picking up The Ivory Key by Akshaya Raman (available now). This debut is a highly anticipated book for 2022 about estranged royal siblings who must work together to find a source of magic before the invading forces take control. And, just like The Ones We’re Meant To Find, this debut is fast-paced, thrilling, and full of sibling angst.
If you loved You Have A Match by Emma Lord, try The Name She Gave Me by Betty Culley:
You Have A Match was one of our favorite books of 2021. Emma Lord writes banter like a ’90s rom-com and I love all her characters. The tension of Abby having a Parent Trap-like camp experience with a sister she didn’t know she had and also her relationship to the best friend she’s been in love with forever, was both delightful and fun to read. If you like complicated family stories, you might enjoy The Name She Gave Me by Betty Culley (out in June 2022), about a young woman desperate to find out information about her birth family and the younger sister she uncovers in the process. This thoughtful novel is the perfect next read for anyone who lovedYou Have A Match.
If you loved In Deeper Waters by F.T. Lukens, try Spin Me Right Round by David Valdes:
A kidnapped prince with forbidden magic abilities. A roguish and mysterious stranger who may be the prince’s only hope in stopping a war and saving his life. In Deeper Waters by F.T. Lukens is adventurous and delightful, swoon-worthy, and epic. All the things you want in a novel, if I’m being honest. Likewise, Spin Me Right Round by David Valdes (available now) involves two queer teens and one tasked with saving the other. It’s less fantasy and more science fiction. Think Back To The Future over Pirates Of The Caribbean. Like In Deeper Waters, it’s entertaining and queer and totally worth the read.
If you loved The Dead and The Dark by Courtney Nichols Gould, try The Many Half-Lived Lives of Sam Sylvester by Maya MacGregor:
This atmospheric novel for fans of Rory Power is the type of book that climbed to the top of my TBR so fast. Small town, mysterious stories are my jam, especially anything that has an apparent supernatural element to it. If you loved this book for its creepy vibe and twisty elements, you might love The Many Half-Lived Lives of Sam Sylvester (out in May 2022). It’s a queer, engaging mystery and has characters that are just as enigmatic as The Dead And The Dark.
If you loved Fast Pitch by Nic Stone, try Coming Up Short by Laurie Morrison:
I love a good sports book. Teams create the best camaraderie in characters (like The Mighty Ducks or The Sandlot) and offer a great setting for young characters working through issues. Nic Stone’s Fast Pitch is about a softball team captain whose family secrets start to affect her on the field. The book tackles racism in sports and what it means to be a girl in athleticism, as well as family legacies and history. Coming Up Short by Laurie Morrison (out in June 2022) may not deal with the nuances of being Black and playing sports but it does focus on a young softball player with her own complicated family dynamic. Bea’s father is embroiled in a scandal and is no longer allowed to practice law. It’s hard for Bea to remember being a happy family, especially when she can’t forgive her dad, and it’s hard not to let this all take away from her focus on the field. Heartfelt and family-focused, any sports fan will find a lot to love about both books.
If you loved The Legend of Auntie Po by Shin Yin Khor, try Squire by Nadia Shammas and Sara Alfageeh:
Graphic novels provide some of the best reading experiences because they offer stories in both written and visual form. The Legend of Auntie Po is a story of perseverance, found family and friendship. The glimpse it gave about a point in history I wasn’t really familiar with, also provided understanding and depth to the story. If you love big-hearted, important graphic novels like Shin Yin Khor’s, you’ll enjoy Squire by Nadia Shammas and Sara Alfageeh (out March 2022). Though this is fantasy rather than historical fiction, this book is as stunning and timely as The Legend of Auntie Po and deserving of all the praise.
If you loved A Marvellous Light by Freya Marske, try High Times In The Low Parliament by Kelly Robson:
A Marvellous Light scratched an itch that A Gentlemen’s Guide To Vice and Virtue and Red, White and Royal Blue had caused. I was desperate for a sweeping queer romance with a spark. I loved the world-building and slow burn between the two characters and found it even more delightful on audio. Though its far out toward the end of summer 2022, I think High Times In The Low Parliament (out in August 2022), which feels reminiscent to the politics and tradition in A Marvellous Light and might be a fun read. Add in a possible queer fairy romance and I think readers enamored with Freya Marske’s debut will find much to love about this novella.
If you loved Light From Uncommon Stars by Ryka Aoki, try The Book Eaters by Sunyi Dean:
It’s a bit hard to explain Light From Uncommon Stars except to say that it’s charming, intelligent, and really well written. I loved the quirky characters and span of the multiple point-of-views. One of the most original books I read this year, I’m looking forward to finding something that matches the creativeness of its story. Maybe a book from the same publisher, The Book Eaters by Sunyi Dean (out in August 2022) will do it. Set in the Yorkshire Moors, the book follows a group of people for whom books are food. When Devon, a book eater born to The Family of legacy book eaters, learns that her son’s hunger is focused not on books but human minds, she must put her child first and go on the run to protect him. Adventurous and fast-paced, The Book Eaters is also a tale of motherhood and queer identity that should be at the top of the TBR list for any reader that loved Light From Uncommon Stars.
If you loved The Spanish Love Deception by Elena Armas, try The Roughest Draft by Emily Wibberly and Austin Siegmund-Borka:
This romance seemed to blow up on social media feeds in 2021. And why not? It’s an enemies to lovers romance set in Spain. Add fake dating and slow-burn to the mix and I cannot resist it. Desperate to find more swoon-worthy enemies to lovers (it really is the best trope), I remembered that YA rom-com authors, Emily Wibberly and Austin Siegmund-Borka, have their first adult romance novel, The Roughest Draft, set to come out January 25, 2022. This also deals with forced proximately and is bookish (the two protagonists used to write together and now they have to collaborate on a romance novel)! Get ready to pre-order if you’re looking for your next great romance read!