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27 Best Fiction Books of 2022 (So Far)

Whether you're in the mood for a gritty suspense novel, a lighthearted rom-com, or thoughtful literary fiction, there are fiction books for you releasing in the first half of 2022.

Every editorial product is independently selected, though we may be compensated or receive an affiliate commission if you buy something through our links. Ratings and prices are accurate and items are in stock as of time of publication.

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Fiction books to get you through 2022

After two years of living through a global pandemic, we all crave a little relaxation. And what better way to chill out than with a great book? Fiction books help us escape no matter where we’re curled up reading: a cozy armchair, the beach, or even on the train or bus during a busy morning commute. Even if you have a soft spot for classic novels, there’s a special joy that comes from anticipating a new release from your favorite author—or even a debut author whose book blurb piqued your interest.

That’s why we narrowed down a list of some of the best fiction books released (or soon to be released) in the first half of 2022. These titles span several genres and are handpicked based on recommendations from Reader’s Digest editors. Along with new novels from previous award-winning authors, we’ve also added a few debut novels that have generated positive buzz from advanced readers.

With everything from romance novels, mystery books, fantasy books, beach reads, feminist books, and future best books of all time (or at least the best books of 2022!), there’s sure to be one you’ll want to crack open soon.

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1. The Maid by Nita Prose

Release Date: January 4, 2022

Nita Prose’s debut novel has the perfect Clue-like beginning: A grand hotel. A motley cast of personality-rich characters. And, of course, a murder. The story’s protagonist is a hotel maid named Molly Gray, who quickly becomes a suspect in the case. Molly sees things a little differently. She notices details that others might miss, but she also struggles to follow social rules that others find natural. Fans of cozy mysteries, locked-room investigations, books for women, and Agatha Christie fiction books will fall head over heels for The Maid.

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2. Olga Dies Dreaming by Xochitl Gonzalez

Release Date: January 4, 2022

Another much-anticipated debut novel, Olga Dies Dreaming is the perfect new fiction book for fans of witty rom-com that aren’t afraid to ask complex questions or tackle tricky topics beneath the veneer of sparkling humor. Set in New York and anchored in time by Puerto Rico’s devastating hurricane Maria, the story follows Olga, a Latinx wedding planner, as she grapples with her own less-than-fairy-tale love story and the return of a long-lost mother. Author Xochitl Gonzalez gives readers a modern romance complete with themes of race, identity, political corruption, and the American dream. This one seems destined to be a top pick for online book clubs and book subscription boxes.

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3. To Paradise by Hanya Yanagihara

Release date: January 11, 2022

To Paradise takes place in an alternate New York reality that can be seen as utopian or dystopian, depending on the person’s position in society. Readers will meet characters in 1893, 1993, and 2093. From these disparate times and versions of America, characters survive crises like the AIDS epidemic and totalitarian rule as well as personal, intimate tragedies. Despite the varying plotlines, a common thread pulls every scene together: the question of what makes us human and what makes us love.

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4. Violeta by Isabel Allende

Release Date: January 25, 2022

If you prefer sweeping historical fiction to page-turning beach reads, you’ll want to leave a space for Violeta on the nightstand. It’s one in a long line of beautiful fiction books from acclaimed Latinx author Isabel Allende, author of The House of Spirits and Eva Luna. This new book release is told in the form of a letter to someone deeply loved. Violeta’s life is marked by a series of cataclysmic, far-reaching events: the Spanish flu pandemic, the Great Depression, World War II, the Cuban Revolution, and even the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Through it all, Violeta survives with passion and determination.

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5. The Magnolia Palace by Fiona Davis

Release Date: January 25, 2022

Fiona Davis’s latest historical fiction mystery whisks readers away to the Frick mansion, a palace of political power, secret trysts, and tangled family histories. Told in dual timelines, the book follows art model Lillian Carter in the 1920s and mod model Veronica Weber in the 1970s as the two become embroiled in the dramas of the Frick residence. The Magnolia Palace is the full package: mystery, history, rich characters, and lavish details about art, money, and high society in days gone by.

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6. The Fields by Erin Young

Release Date: January 25, 2022

A body. A newly appointed investigator. A second body. Ghosts of a dark past. The story of Sergeant Riley Fisher, a new crime investigator in a small farming town, simmers with tension and the niggling fear that there’s something dangerous just around the corner. If you love cracking open crime procedurals or page-turning thriller books, Erin Young’s debut crime novel will have you clamoring for more from the author. The best part? The Fields is set to be the first in a series, so get ready for the next installment!

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7. The Violin Conspiracy by Brendan Slocumb

Release Date: February 1, 2022

Here’s another crime-fueled page-turner for you! But Brendan Slocumb’s The Violin Conspiracy is far from a formulaic mystery. It’s the story of Ray, a Black violinist whose love of music finally blossoms after discovering that his great-great-grandfather’s old fiddle is a world-renowned violin. But when the priceless heirloom is stolen from him just before a major performance, the musician must race to trace a random note and recover his life’s work. This is one of those fiction books set to take its genre to the next level. It’s a literary thriller rife with themes of art, history, racism, and overcoming adversity.

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8. Our American Friend by Anna Pitoniak

Release Date: February 15, 2022

Shake up political drama, international espionage, and potentially tyrannous female friendship. What do you get? Anna Pitoniak’s latest novel. In Our American Friend, you’ll meet USSR-born First Lady Lara Caine and jaded journalist Sofie Morse. When Lara inquires after Sofie to write her biography, the two strike up an unlikely friendship. But what is Lara’s motive? And what does it mean for Sofie to be caught in a strategic political game of international proportions? Whether you love mystery, interpersonal drama, or friendship books, this is a new release you won’t be able to put down.

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9. The Night Shift by Alex Finlay

Release Date: March 1, 2022

Alex Finlay’s twisty new thriller follows the intersecting lives of two victims of murder attempts. One narrowly escaped a tragic night shift at a Blockbuster on the eve of Y2K. The other lives through a harrowing night shift at an ice cream parlor in the same town 15 years later. Are the attempted slayings connected? What are the police missing? And is reliving the traumatic stories worth it to find out? Encompassing the genres of thriller, mystery, and horror, The Night Shift is a novel that will stick with you.

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10. Girl in Ice by Erica Ferencik

Release Date: March 1, 2022

Though not a vampire book, Girl in Ice bears echoes of the undead. In the chill of the Arctic Circle, a researcher discovers a young girl frozen in ice. When the ice thaws, she begins to speak. Thus, protagonist Valerie “Val” Chesterfield, a linguist specializing in dead Nordic languages, is summoned. But though Val is willing to help, returning to arctic waters unleashes memories of her twin brother’s mysterious death by exposure to the elements.

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11. Run, Rose, Run by James Patterson and Dolly Parton

Release Date: March 7, 2022

You read that right. One of the most anticipated fiction books of the year was coauthored by the country music queen herself, Dolly Parton. The powerhouse writing duo’s tale of a young singer-songwriter escaping to Nashville will appeal to young readers as much as longtime bibliophiles and Dolly fans. It’s as much the story of AnnieLee Keyes leaving an abusive past behind as it is a hard-knocks tale of relying on grit and creativity to achieve a dream. Fun fact: While this is the songstress’ first novel, it’s not her first book. In the ’90s, her autobiography hit the best-seller list.

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12. Like a Sister by Kellye Garrett

Release Date: March 8, 2022

Sharp, smart, and heartbreaking is the story of reality TV star Desiree Pierce. The morning after her 25th birthday, she is found dead by an apparent overdose. But Desiree never visited that part of town. And besides that, the police were too quick to declare the Black woman’s death a closed case when several loose ends remain. Like a Sister follows Desiree’s half-sister, Lena, as she hunts for the truth about what happened. But will the pursuit of justice—and the discovery of dark, buried family secrets—be the death of her too? Next, discover more riveting fiction books from Black authors you should know.

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13. The Golden Couple by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

Release Date: March 8, 2022

Part domestic psychological drama, part cat-and-mouse page turner, The Golden Couple is one of those fiction books you might expect to devour in a weekend. Readers will get to know three main characters: posh married couple Marissa and Matthew Bishop and their unlicensed therapist, Avery. When the Bishops’ picture-perfect life starts to crumble, who will take the fall? The twisty tale of lies, lies, and more lies is perfect for fans of Liane Moriarty and Paula Hawkins.

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14. The Cartographers by Peng Shepherd

Release Date: March 15, 2022

Peng Shepherd does it again. While The Book of M gave readers a dark, futuristic, speculative thriller, The Cartographers delves into the mysteries of the past. The story (also available as an audiobook) follows Nell Young, a cartographer with a complicated relationship with her father. When he is found dead, she uses a map found in his desk to seek answers. The plot unfolds fast and furiously, covering academic drama, science and art, and a dark family secret.

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15. Remember Me Gone by Stacy Stokes

Release date: March 22, 2022

Imagine being able to forget your worst, most embarrassing moments. Would you? In Remember Me Gone, Stacy Stokes’s young adult fiction debut, Lucy’s father has the power to take away memories. That’s why folks swarm their little Texas town: They want help forgetting something or other. But when Lucy becomes old enough to learn his skill, she witnesses one of her dad’s memories—one she wasn’t meant to see. This fast-paced paranormal thriller blends science fiction, fantasy, and a touch of adolescent romance. But what makes it stand apart are the deep, thought-provoking questions woven into the story. What would you choose to forget? And what secrets are worth remembering?

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16. What Happened to the Bennetts by Lisa Scottoline

Release Date: March 29, 2022

Yet another much-anticipated suspense novel, What Happened to the Bennetts presents readers with a classic conundrum: What if you had to choose between following the law and finding true justice? In this fast-paced book, a carjacking changes the lives of the Bennetts forever. They’re shuttled into witness protection, where they begin to crumble under psychological stress, chronic uncertainty, and complete lack of control over their own paths. But when the father gets wind of what really precipitated that one random act of violence, he decides to take matters into his own hands.

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17. Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel

Release Date: April 5, 2022

In a flood of new book releases, Emily St. John Mandel’s work always stands out. Whether you loved the sci-fi book Station Eleven or fell for Vincent in The Glass Hotel, you’ll be swept away by the author’s mind yet again in Sea of Tranquility. This time, she takes us to the wilds of North American forests and the stark artificiality of a moon colony. It’s a novel about human grit through literal space and time—a multidimensional, multi-timeline story for readers who like to sink their teeth into a good book.

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18. Young Mungo by Douglas Stuart

Release date: April 5, 2022

The author of Shuggie Bain returns with an LGBTQ book centered on romance in religious communities where such relationships are hidden or damned. The book takes place in working-class Glasgow, Scotland, where Protestant Mungo and Catholic James forge a friendship that deepens to something more. When Mungo is forced away by his parents, he experiences a frightening encounter with two strange men—one that makes him realize he and James need to find their way back to each other and to safety.

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19. Pay Dirt Road by Samantha Jayne Allen

Release Date: April 19, 2022

Welcome to Garnett, Texas, where locals gather for gossip and drinks at the honky-tonks and investigator Annie McIntyre cuts her teeth on a missing-person mystery. Author Samantha Jayne Allen paints a detailed picture of small-town Texan life and invites readers along on a crime-solving adventure full of deepening family relationships and life lessons.

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20. Trust by Hernan Diaz

Release Date: May 3, 2022

Straddling the line between literary and historical fiction, Trust invites readers into New York City in the 1920s. Meet Benjamin and Helen Raks, a Wall Street suit and aristocratic darling. Of course, everything is not as it seems, but when has it ever been? Enter a world of power, money, and glittering facades to find out just how they’ve made their fortune and what it means for the people they’ve invited into their fold. Next, check out these stellar Kindle Unlimited books and read for free.

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21. Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt

Release Date: May 3, 2022

Did you love A Man Called Ove? What about the 2020 Netflix original My Octopus Teacher? Shelby Van Pelt’s Remarkably Bright Creatures ripples with similarities to the two acclaimed works while staying wholly original. This debut novel follows a lost widow who takes a night shift job at the local aquarium. It’s a way to stay busy. It’s a way to pass the time. But soon her nights are brightened by an unlikely friend: Marcellus, the aquarium’s giant octopus. The warm, quirky novel, which includes perspectives from Marcellus himself, is sure to reel in rave reader reviews and inspire you to pick up a nonfiction book about octopuses.

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22. Book of Night by Holly Black

Release Date: May 3, 2022

This dark, deeply imaginative adult urban fantasy novel from veteran young adult author Holly Black follows con artist Charlie Hall’s foray into the underground world of trading with shadow selves—the separated shadows that harbor everyone’s deepest, darkest secrets. It’s a story steeped in secret societies, magic thieves, and plain human trauma. In other words, it’s poised to be one of the next great adult fantasy hits. When you’re done, you’ll want to gobble up Black’s teen book series for more intricate world-building.

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23. Book Lovers by Emily Henry

Release Date: May 3, 2022

Emily Henry’s newest romance thrums with enemies-to-lovers vibes. Heroine Nora Stephen is a literary agent who agrees to go on a trip with her sister to Sunshine Falls, North Carolina. It’s meant to be a blissful girls’ getaway. Instead, she runs into a rival literary acquaintance, who is also taking time away from the city. It’s the perfect setup for a spring romance novel or summer beach read. Not sure what to read after you binge Book Lovers? Try picking your next book based on your zodiac sign.

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24. The Lioness by Chris Bohjalian

Release Date: May 10, 2022

When two Hollywood stars arrive in Tanzania for their honeymoon, they expect wildlife sightings with a side of wine and charcuterie. Instead, they’re in for a deadly kidnapping and life-changing ordeal in unfamiliar territory. It’s a sweeping story with a full cast of characters, endless suspense, and themes of race, fame, and love.

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25. This Time Tomorrow by Emma Straub

Release Date: May 17, 2022

In This Time Tomorrow, prolific author Emma Straub plays with time travel. On the eve of her 40th birthday, protagonist Alice reflects on life—then suddenly wakes up on the morning of her Sweet 16. The book explores memories, longing, and some of life’s big questions, like what you might do differently if you could go back.

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26. You Made a Fool of Death with Your Beauty by Akwaeke Emezi

Release Date: May 24, 2022

Our list of much-anticipated 2022 reads wouldn’t be complete without this lush novel from Akwaeke Emezi. Our hero, Feyi Adekola, is still healing from the tragic death of her partner. She’s ready to ease into the dating scene again but is plunged, all at once, into the deep end. A rooftop party leads to a summer fling, which leads to a potential long-term relationship. But if she’s so happy, why does she feel so attracted to the one person she’s not allowed to love?

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27. Lapvona by Ottessa Moshfegh

Release Date: June 21, 2022

In a medieval village, an abused motherless boy finds solace in the company of the local midwife, whose mystical gifts scare some of the other neighbors. But when an incident with the town priest and prevailing feudal lord occurs, the boy becomes part of a violent clash of forces—new and old, natural and spiritual, and the very natures of life and death. Find more great fiction on this list of banned books that everyone needs to read.

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Leandra Beabout
Leandra is a lifestyle writer covering health, travel, and literature. A former high school English teacher, she covers books, words, and grammar for RD.com. When she’s not on deadline, you can find her curled up with a new library book or road-tripping through Europe or the American West.