LIST: 2022 reads that emotionally WRECKED me

Personally, 2022 contained a mixed bag of reads for me. I read so many mediocre books and disappointments that I was starting to despair that it was me who was the problem. But that’s a whole other post (literally: I will have a post talking about these books next week); today, we’re talking about all of the reads that emotionally wrecked me!

As much as I read so many flops, I also read a lot of books that messed me up. It’s about even with the number in last year’s list, so I’m glad I’m still clearly experiencing joy (and pain, but in a good way) while reading. As usual, I only include books that I read for the first time this year, no rereads.

TABLE OF CONTENTS:

in order of read date

  1. Little Thieves (Little Thieves #1) by Margaret Owen
  2. One True Loves (Happily Ever Afters #2) by Elise Bryant
  3. Foul Lady Fortune (Foul Lady Fortune #1) by Chloe Gong
  4. The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea by Axie Oh
  5. Nora Goes Off Script by Annabel Monaghan
  6. If You Could See the Sun by Ann Liang
  7. Ophelia After All by Racquel Marie
  8. I Kissed Shara Wheeler by Casey McQuiston
  9. Only a Monster (Monsters #1) by Vanessa Len
  10. Book Lovers by Emily Henry
  11. Furysong (Fireborne #3) by Rosaria Munda
  12. Strike the Zither (Kingdom of Three #1) by Joan He
  13. Everyone Hates Kelsie Miller by Meredith Ireland
  14. The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches by Sangu Mandanna
  15. Eight Nights of Flirting by Hannah Reynolds
  16. The Stars Undying (Empire Without End #1) by Emery Robin
  17. Gideon the Ninth (The Locked Tomb #1) by Tamsyn Muir
  18. Harrow the Ninth (The Locked Tomb #2) by Tamsyn Muir
  19. As Yet Unsent (The Locked Tomb #2.5) by Tamsyn Muir
  20. The Mysterious Study of Doctor Sex (The Locked Tomb #0.5) by Tamsyn Muir
  21. Nona the Ninth (The Locked Tomb #3) by Tamsyn Muir

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Little Thieves (Little Thieves #1) by Margaret Owen

little thieves by margaret owen cover

Release Date: October 19, 2021
My Rating: 4.5 stars
Emotional Damage: 4.25 / 5

My first (non-reread) book of this year! I bought this last year in Barnes & Noble’s weird 50% off all hardcovers sale (which. really, I think they were just trying to clear their stock for their new bogus stores carrying virtually nothing policy), which was out-of-character for me because I typically try not to buy books I haven’t read or by authors I haven’t read before. But the glory of the sale caught up with me, and I had heard so many good things about this book that I decided to give it a try. And luckily I ended up really loving it! The first half was good but it wasn’t till the second half that I really couldn’t put it down. Sometimes a romance is a thief and a junior detective whom she tells to chase her…


*** This is a HarperCollins title. Please note that the HarperCollins Union has been on strike since 11/10/22 to get a fair contract for their workers. Visit their linktree to learn how you can support their fight for a fair contract: https://linktr.ee/hcpunion ***

One True Loves (Happily Ever Afters #2) by Elise Bryant

one true loves by elise bryant cover

Release Date: January 4, 2022
My Rating: 4.25 stars
Emotional Damage: 4 / 5

I liked the first book well enough but I fell so hard for this book! Very adorable romance; I loved how Lenore and Alex get to know each other over the course of the book, despite being complete opposites. Also, Lenore’s character arc was so good, and I teared up a little bit with her struggle to get her family to understand her.


Foul Lady Fortune (Foul Lady Fortune #1) by Chloe Gong

foul lady fortune by chloe gong cover

Release Date: September 27, 2022
My Rating: 5 stars
Emotional Damage: 5 / 5

When Chloe graciously sent me an ARC and I immediately dropped everything to read it…in January…then had to sit in silence for months as I experienced every human emotion towards this book. Seriously though, I cried and laughed so many times while reading; Foul Lady Fortune quickly made its way into my heart and remains my favorite Chloe Gong book so far! Just the juxtaposition of Rosalind’s and Orion’s characters…how they’ve both sacrificed their lives to make things right…and how they slowly fall in love against the backdrop of a reluctant partnership and a fake marriage…I’m literally about to read this book for a third time now 😭.


The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea by Axie Oh

the girl who fell beneath the sea by axie oh cover

Release Date: February 22, 2022
My Rating: 4.5 stars
Emotional Damage: 4.5 / 5

Every single Axie Oh book ever has made me cry, and this one was no exception. She really just weaves love into every book she writes; the scene that I particularly had a breakdown at was the ending, which I won’t get too into because of spoilers but iykyk. Gorgeous gorgeous prose, a soft-hearted romance, and “I’d do anything for you” family dynamics; I was meant to love this book!!


Nora Goes Off Script by Annabel Monaghan

nora goes off script by annabel monaghan cover

Release Date: June 7, 2022
My Rating: 4.25 stars
Emotional Damage: 4 / 5

Books that are at the intersection of romance and women’s fiction usually aren’t my thing, but a friend recommended Nora Goes Off Script to me and I quickly fell in love with it. It’s a bit fast-paced (which makes sense, since it’s relatively short) but made for a fun quick read. I liked the romance, and how central Nora’s family is to her.


If You Could See the Sun by Ann Liang

if you could see the sun by ann liang cover

Release Date: October 11, 2022
My Rating: 5 stars
Emotional Damage: 4.5 / 5

This book was one of my most anticipated releases this year, and I’m so glad it lived up to my expectations and then some! If You Could See the Sun is the only book I’ve read three times this year (as of writing this post), and it really hits every time I read it. Besides the romance (which was so cute, my dumbass kids!), I also loved Alice’s and Henry’s characters, how determined and stubborn they are. Liang’s prose is also so gorgeous, and certain lines just really knew how to damage me. I’ve been screaming about this book all year and will continue to do so until everyone reads it!!


Ophelia After All by Racquel Marie

ophelia after all by racquel marie cover

Release Date: February 8, 2022
My Rating: 4 stars
Emotional Damage: 4 / 5

I had seen a lot of praise for this book before going in, but I still wasn’t fully prepared for the emotional journey it took me on. Ophelia’s journey — realizing that she’s queer and coming to terms with the fact that there will always be new parts of herself to discover — was just so compelling. I genuinely cried at the climax of this novel; Marie’s writing just made it so that you really felt Ophelia’s turmoil and distress. Definitely a writer to look out for, and I’m so excited to read her next book!


I Kissed Shara Wheeler by Casey McQuiston

i kissed shara wheeler by casey mcquiston cover

Release Date: May 3, 2022
My Rating: 4.5 stars
Emotional Damage: 4.25 / 5

Admittedly, I wasn’t going to read this book at first…then couldn’t resist the thrill of a read now on Netgalley lmao. I’m so glad I did end up reading it though because this book was just so full of heart and love. I had a lot of fun with Chloe’s narrative and all the antics she gets up to with Smith and Rory, and I just really loved the character arcs and the writing. I mean, I’m still crying over this part:

screenshot reading:
"Chloe,
There was this one weekend, a million summers ago, when I sat on the shore drinking a frozen limeade, and I realized the only thing I wanted to look at was the way the sun hit the girls swimming in the lake.
The problem has always been this: When I look at you, I taste lime, and I see light on the water."

*** This is a HarperCollins title. Please note that the HarperCollins Union has been on strike since 11/10/22 to get a fair contract for their workers. Visit their linktree to learn how you can support their fight for a fair contract: https://linktr.ee/hcpunion ***

Only a Monster (Monsters #1) by Vanessa Len

only a monster by vanessa len cover

Release Date: February 22, 2022
My Rating: 5 stars
Emotional Damage: 5 / 5

For the most part, I don’t read many books that are super hyped if I didn’t previously have an interest in it before, just because I feel like my tastes skew so differently from what I see on my timeline now. However, Only a Monster was thankfully an exception to that, and I’m so glad you guys kept pushing it. I had a whole emotional crisis when I finished this book because, seriously, that ending. Joan’s character arc is also done so well, where she both grapples with the horrors of being a monster while not being able to let go of her family. I can’t wait to read more from Len, but why does book 2 have to be so far away 😭


Book Lovers by Emily Henry

book lovers by emily henry cover

Release Date: May 3, 2022
My Rating: 5 stars
Emotional Damage: 4.75 / 5

Look, I knew going in that I would love this book, but it still shocked me just how much I adored it. I started it and then couldn’t stop reading. Even when I would stop to turn back to my responsibilities, I’d end up just abandoning my homework to pick up this book again. Something about Henry’s romances just really speak to me, and I am always an emotional mess at the end of it. I just really loved Nora and Charlie’s banter and how they just get each other. Writing this makes me want to read for a third time now…


Furysong (Fireborne #3) by Rosaria Munda

furysong by rosaria munda cover

Release Date: August 9, 2022
My Rating: 5 stars
Emotional Damage: 5 / 5

The finale of one of my favorite series ever!! Like, I knew this book was going to crush me but I did not anticipate this; if we’re keeping track, I think this one is the book that most emotionally WRECKED me honestly. Rosaria Munda really did not pull any punches. I somehow read this almost 500 page book in one sitting, like seriously I would look up and had somehow read 25% and an hour or so had passed and then I would just go back to reading.

There’s just so much to unpack with this book, but obviously the majority of what I want to say is spoiler-y. I loved the culmination of the character arcs, and seeing how Annie and Lee will always understand and pick each other. The addition of Delo’s point-of-view was also perfect; I loved seeing his inner turmoil as he chooses Griff and what’s right over tradition and what his family wants.


Strike the Zither (Kingdom of Three #1) by Joan He

strike the zither by joan he cover

Release Date: October 25, 2022
My Rating: 4.75 stars
Emotional Damage: 4.5 / 5

If there’s one constant in a Joan He book, it’s that you know you’re in for a wild ride. Strike the Zither was shorter than I expected, but it didn’t waste any of that time at all. The midway twist! And that ending!! I’m so excited for the sequel and to see more of Zephyr and Crow.


Everyone Hates Kelsie Miller by Meredith Ireland

everyone hates kelsie miller by meredith ireland cover

Release Date: October 11, 2022
My Rating: 4.5 stars
Emotional Damage: 4.5 / 5

Gorgeous, gorgeous book. I related to Kelsie so much; reading this book felt like I was getting a glimpse of my teenage self. Meredith Ireland just really nailed what it’s like being a teenage girl and losing your best friend, how you blame yourself and can’t stop thinking about what you did wrong. And the characterizations!! Like I said in my review, “enemies/rivals to lovers” is usually so hyped then amounts to nothing in the book itself, but I really liked how in this book, Kelsie’s hatred of Eric ties in with her own flaws. This is like the millionth time I’ve said this but now I want to reread :’).


The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches by Sangu Mandanna

the very secret society of irregular witches by sangu mandanna cover

Release Date: August 23, 2022
My Rating: 4.5 stars
Emotional Damage: 4.5 / 5

Sangu Mandanna’s Celestial Trilogy is one of my favorite series ever, so I was so excited for her adult debut! I just really loved this book and the characters. I might’ve teared up multiple times :’). This book was just such a warm hug, perfect to cozy up with.


Eight Nights of Flirting by Hannah Reynolds

eight nights of flirting by hannah reynolds cover

Release Date: October 25, 2022
My Rating: 4.5 stars
Emotional Damage: 4.5 / 5

I requested this book on a whim and oh my god I’m so glad that I did. This book was so good!! The romance, the tension, between Shira and Tyler…chef’s kiss honestly. I screamed at that one kitchen scene, and the last chapter was just so cute. I loved all the characters and can’t wait to read more from this author!


The Stars Undying (Empire Without End #1) by Emery Robin

the stars undying by emery robin cover

Release Date: November 8, 2022
My Rating: 4.5 stars
Emotional Damage: 4 / 5

Look, the fact that I read this 500+ page book in 3 days despite being unable to read any book over 400 pages and/or adult fantasy lately just speaks to how good The Stars Undying is. The writing was just so compelling; I couldn’t look away from both Gracia’s and Ceirran’s chapters and their very fucked-up relationship. When I finished this book, I just sat there staring at the screen for a hot minute thinking about how the ending refactors what I thought about the entire narrative, which was fun.


Gideon the Ninth (The Locked Tomb #1) by Tamsyn Muir

gideon the ninth by tamsyn muir cover

Release Date: September 10, 2019
My Rating: 4.25 stars
Emotional Damage: 4 / 5

I spent years ignoring everything about this series honestly, but I was recently exposed to a few trusted people’s think pieces on the books so I was like FINE I will begrudgingly give it a try. And then I saw what everyone was talking about because woah. Honestly, this book would barely be on this list if not for the emotional consequences of it refactoring after you’ve read the rest of the books. Gideon did mess me up, don’t get me wrong, but once you’ve read Harrow, you start thinking more about this book. Anyways, yes I did include the rest of the books and the short stories in this list because I became single-mindedly obsessed with this series soon after finishing this book, which I’ll get into next.


Harrow the Ninth (The Locked Tomb #2) by Tamsyn Muir

harrow the ninth by tamsyn muir cover

Release Date: August 4, 2020
My Rating: 4.5 stars
Emotional Damage: 4.5 / 5

We are rising in emotional damage score here, do you see? Going in, I knew the narrative of Harrow was messed up (based on the aforementioned think pieces I saw on my tumblr dashboard), but weirdly that made me even more excited to read this book?? Except that I was a few weeks away from my library hold coming in, so I had to stalk the page to see if/when it appeared in the lucky day collection (where you can check out popular books for a more limited hold time). The pure joy I experienced FINALLY catching it on there after checking the page dozens of times for at least 5 days…

Anyways this book was confusing as fuck (I was still vibing!), but the last third..that last third really locked me in. I literally started doing a deep dive on theories and wiki pages (while skirting Nona spoilers, of course) as soon as I finished reading this book. I haven’t been this obsessed with something, especially a book series with such an established fandom, in soooo long; I really felt like I was reliving 2015 times.


As Yet Unsent (The Locked Tomb #2.5) by Tamsyn Muir

Release Date: September 21, 2021
My Rating: 4 stars
Emotional Damage: 4 / 5

This was at the end of my ebook of Harrow, so I didn’t think anything of it when I went in (the ebook of Gideon also had some extras). This was a short story, but Tamsyn Muir packs so much subtext and character background into here, it’s insane. I did not think getting Judith’s point-of-view would mess me up so much but yeah…that last line…


The Mysterious Study of Doctor Sex (The Locked Tomb #0.5) by Tamsyn Muir

Release Date: June 2, 2020
My Rating: 4 stars
Emotional Damage: 4.25 / 5

This short story really prepared me for the amount of love and pain I felt over Camila and Palamedes in Nona :’) (I’m lying: it did not). I really loved seeing how in tune they’ve been together ever since they were 13 (and before then too!). Honestly, I don’t even know how to put into words how insane this story made me feel, I really don’t. The last lines alone made me sit in a corner with my head in my hands:

Palamedes remembers everything: That was his problem.

I always remember him. That’s mine.


Nona the Ninth (The Locked Tomb #3) by Tamsyn Muir

nona the ninth by tamsyn muir cover

Release Date: September 13, 2022
My Rating: 4.5 stars
Emotional Damage: 4.75 / 5

If you haven’t been able to tell already, the amount of brain rot I’ve experienced over the Locked Tomb series is at an all-time high. And then I read Nona. Truthfully, yeah, I think some of the first half could’ve been condensed a bit, but I still loved every moment of this book. The amount of love that Nona holds, that she feels for other people and that other people feel for her…I’m unwell!! And what we learn throughout the book from [redacted]…fucked up, man. I am going to be kicking screaming crying until Alecto the Ninth comes out.

Also, like I mentioned before, I was DEVASTATED over Camila and Palamedes’s whole thing. I took screenshots of some of my favorite lines, and I often find myself rereading them like they’re letters from a lost love I haven’t seen in ages. I want to reread the whole series already but I think that will break my brain even more and also I want to wait till I have physical copies of all of them.

What books emotionally wrecked you this year?

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