Favorite books of 2023

Published 12:25 pm Tuesday, January 2, 2024

I read 99 books in 2023! I already listed some of my favorites back in July when I did a mid-year “best of 2023” column, but here are the rest. I had other favorites (Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt, The Color Purple by Alice Walker), but these are the ones I really loved that were published in 2023.


The Drowning Woman by Robyn Harding

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Two women meet and become friends, and one convinces the other to help her disappear to escape her husband. This was a quick read and my second favorite thriller of the year, after All the Sinners Bleed by S.A. Cosby.


Everyone Here Is Lying by Shari Lapena

William gets in a fight with his nine-year-old daughter Ella, and then she goes missing. What happened to her? That is the central question of this story where everyone is a suspect and the reveal is perfect.


In the Form of a Question by Amy Schneider 

I am a big Jeopardy fan which is why this book interested me, so if you like the show and rooted for Amy, I think you will enjoy her memoir! She has lots of great stories and the ending was beautiful. 


Bright Young Women by Jessica Knoll

A fictionalized account of the Ted Bundy sorority murders, told through the eyes of the victims. This book debunks the myth that Bundy was intelligent and charming. It was very character driven, and the way the women were treated was abhorrent but true to that time period.


The Woman in Me by Britney Spears 

If you’re a Britney fan, you’ve probably already read it. If you’re not a fan, you still should read it. This book broke my heart, made me cry, and made me angry. Her memoir really changed my perspective and made me see her with compassion and empathy. 


None of This Is True by Lisa Jewell

Two women with the same birthday become friends when they meet on their birthday. Then one of them disappears, leaving a terrifying legacy in her wake. I loved the way this one was written with Netflix documentary descriptions, podcast recordings, and multiple character perspectives. 


Blood on Their Hands by Mandy Matney 

I really liked the perspective that Mandy offered on the Alex Murdaugh case. I have not listened to her podcast but I appreciated her point of view in this book as the first journalist on the case, and enjoyed the part memoir / part true crime format.


Gone Tonight by Sarah Pekkanen

Catherine is ready to spread her wings, move from home, and begin a new career. Her mother, Ruth, will do anything to prevent that from happening. I loved how the mystery slowly unfolded and throughout the book you learned more of the truth. 


The Leftover Woman by Jean Kwok 

An evocative family drama and a riveting mystery about the ferocious pull of motherhood for two very different women. Started a little slow but then I was totally engrossed. I was very invested in the fates of Jasmine and Fiona. Perfect ending!


Jen Pace Dickenson is the Youth Services Librarian for Polk County Public Libraries. For information about the library’s resources, programs, and other services, visit polklibrary.org or call (828) 894-8721.