Best young adult books of 2022

Every year our staff vote for their favourite books of the past 12 months. Here are the best young adult books of the year, as voted for by Readings’ staff, and displayed in no particular order.

A Walk in the Dark by Jane Godwin

Four students are thrown together for an overnight hike in the Otways with no adult supervision. They must find their way out on their own, with only a compass, a map and some flashlights – that is until they lose them. When everything goes wrong on this night-time adventure, these very different teenagers discover a great deal about themselves and each other.

This is an utterly thrilling, heart-pounding adventure story.

Ages 11 and up.

The Upwelling by Lystra Rose

This highly original fantasy novel by First Nations author Lystra Rose is a time-travel mystery that takes readers back to a pre-colonisation Australia.

When Kirra surfs a big wave and ends up in an ancient past, she must work together with two other teenagers – a dolphin caller and a language unweaver – to help save the clan from a malevolent spirit. Strong characterisation, fascinating depictions of culture and beautiful writing make this book a stand-out.

Ages 12 and up.

Unnecessary Drama by Nina Kenwood

When Brooke moves into a share house in her first year of uni, she is told the main rule is ‘no unnecessary drama’. That proves tricky when her other new housemate is her high-school nemesis, Jesse, who she has refused to speak to for many years ...

This is an absolutely hilarious rom-com about finding out who you are and what you want during that challenging first year living out of home.

Ages 13 and up.

Daughter of the Moon Goddess by Sue Lynn Tan

Inspired by the Chinese legend of the moon goddess, this is epic fantasy at its finest and the first book in a duology.

Xingyin and her mother have been exiled to the moon by the powerful Celestial Emperor for stealing his elixir of immortality. But Xingyin must flee her home when her magical powers are discovered, travelling incognito into the heart of the Celestial Kingdom itself, which becomes the catalyst for a thrilling and romantic adventure.

Ages 14 and up.

Only a Monster by Vanessa Len

This time-travelling fantasy debut is set in a world where monsters and humans are in constant battle while ordinary people remain oblivious. The main character, Joan Chang-Hunt, discovers she is part of a family of monsters, and must come to terms with this knowledge, particularly when the boy she has a crush on is actually a monster-hunter.

Set in a compelling world, this brilliant fantasy adventure also features a hint of romance.

Ages 14 and up.

The Hidden Girl by Louise Bassett

A young Melbourne girl, Melati, discovers a diary that claims an Indonesian girl is being held by human traffickers. Determined to save her, Melati travels to Indonesia in search of answers, putting herself and others in terrible danger.

This heart-pounding contemporary thriller will have readers desperate to find out what happens.

Ages 14 and up.

The Killing Code by Ellie Marney

During the Second World War, a group of young women work as codebreakers in the US to help the war effort. When Kit, who has secrets of her own, discovers her vanished roommate is only the latest in a spate of missing women, she and her new friends from the codebreaking unit set out to catch the killer.

This is thrilling historical crime filled with intelligent and complicated women.

Ages 14 and up.

The Agathas by Kathleen Glasgow & Liz Lawson

In the town of Castle Cove live some very rich people in some very rich houses with stunning views, but they are also awash with bad boyfriends and missing girls. Armed with the complete works of Agatha Christie to help them, two young women, Iris and Alice, will endeavor to discover who – or what – is making the girls of Castle Cove disappear.

This is an entertaining murder mystery in the grand old tradition of Christie herself, filled with beautiful houses and beautiful – but deadly – people.

Ages 13 and up.

What We All Saw by Mike Lucas

Set in a dark English wood in the 1960s, this story of four friends and the day that changed them forever will have you keeping the lights on late at night. When a boy disappears over the edge of the old quarry in the woods, no-one is quite sure what happened even though the four friends were right there. Are there witches in the woods?

Shortlisted for the Readings YA Prize in 2022, What We All Saw is a brilliantly spooky horror story.

Ages 13 and up.

I Kissed Shara Wheeler by Casey McQuiston

Chloe is determined to become valedictorian at her school and beat prom queen Shara Wheeler, the principal’s perfect daughter. But a month before graduation, Shara kisses Chloe and vanishes. As Chloe hunts for her, alongside two boys Shara also kissed, she discovers a whole lot more about her town and Shara herself.

Hilarious and heartfelt, this is a delightful rom-com and mystery rolled into one.

Ages 14 and up.

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Cover image for A Walk in the Dark

A Walk in the Dark

Jane Godwin

In stock at 5 shops, ships in 3-4 daysIn stock at 5 shops