23 books I want to read in 2023

by Gigi Griffis
Books: The Girls I've Been, Vicious, Orleans, Bad Witch Burning, Dead End Girls, Let the Mountains Be My Grave

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What’s that? I haven’t talked about books in a little while?

You’re right! It is time to get excited and nerdy. From lady pirates to creepy sister stories to comedy-horror, I’ve got a long to-read list this year. Here are 23 of the books highest up on my list (and if you are making your own list, may I suggest adding my YA debut to the mix? The Wicked Unseen publishes in June!):

Deep as the Sky, Red as the Sea

Did someone say historical fiction about the world’s most prolific pirate queen? You know I am all in. I have an advance copy of this book and I am 100% sure I’m going to love it. It officially publishes in June. 

There’s No Way I’d Die First

I’ve recently fallen in love with comedy-horror a la FREAKY or READY OR NOT, so when I saw this comedy horror centering on a deadly game of tag, I was immediately intrigued. Also, fabulous title! This one comes out in September.

Sing Me to Sleep

Firstly, Gabi is hilarious. (Check out her TikTok.) Secondly, siren assassins? Yes and yes, please. This book sounds dark and tense and compelling. (Plus, for those who like a forbidden romance a la The Empress, Gabi’s got you covered.)

Shanghai Immoral

Ok, I’m cheating a little bit with this one because I’ve read it before. But it comes out in 2023 and supposedly an advance copy of the final version is on its way to me early in the year. Plus, I wanted to let y’all know how good this book is. If you love snarky, irreverent unlikable female characters, chaotic adventures, and fantasy that feels grounded, this one’s for you. Coming June 1.

The Shadow Sister

From the description: “This YA speculative thriller follows the intertwined stories of two sisters after one disappears…then returns, changed in ways that trauma alone can’t explain.” I am a sucker for a sister disappearance story (fun fact: I wrote one myself and hopefully one day you’ll get to read it!) so this one went instantly up my to-read list. Coming in June!

If I Have to Be Haunted

Miranda’s book description had me at ghosts and multi-generational feuds. Coming in June!

The Taking of Jake Livingston

This one is out now and you can start reading right this instant if you want. Apparently I am on a ghost kick because this is another vengeful ghost story. A friend I trust has recommended it several times and so it’s up high on my list for 2023.


You already know I am a Jessica Lewis stan. I will read anything that woman writes. She’s one of those writers whose stories just delight me every time. So I’m super happy that I can now start screaming my love for her next novel, coming in October! This one is for those who love angry girls, pacts with the devil (or, in this case, a giant snake), all things revenge, and towns with dark secrets.

Reader, I Murdered Him

A teenage vigilante in Victorian England sounds so very much my jam! This one came out in November and is very high up my to-read list for the new year.

Dead End Girls

I loved Wendy Heard’s previous YA thriller (She’s Too Pretty to Burn) and I cannot wait to get to this one. I already own it and it is calling out to me from my bookshelf. The book follows two girls who stage their deaths…and put themselves in deeper danger. Out now!


This dystopian YA is one of those books that I’ve been meaning to read forever and this is me promising myself I’m finally going to get to it. Because it sounds amazing and I don’t know why the universe conspires against me every time I intend to pick it up. The story is set in a gulf ravaged by fever and cut off from the rest of the world in quarantine. The description feels very Wilder Girls meets Hunger Games and I am here for it.

Where Oceans Rise

Coming in May, this Little Mermaid story with a Filipino folklore twist sounds so extremely good. Timeline jumps, mythological creatures made real, and traumatized girls finding their voices? Let’s go! 

Camp Scare

I must confess that I bought this one for the cover. How fabulous is the marshmallow skull? (See below.) Since I’m a big old chicken, I’m thinking middle grade horror might be the right amount of scary for me when I need a break from scaring myself senseless with YA.

100 Animals That Can F*cking End You

About half the books I read each year are non-fiction and this is probably the top of that list right now. The author is a hilarious TikTok star and I cannot wait for his humorous exploration of the animal kingdom. Available now!


Another historical YA thriller, Torch is set in USSR-controlled Czechoslovakia. When their friend unalives himself in protest of the USSR, three friends are forced to decide between staying or running – both decisions dangerous. Out now!

The Witchery

Wolves and witches and close friendships? This one made my to-read list the moment I heard about it and it now graces my bookshelf in paperback. I expect to dive in early in the year. Out now!

Kismet: A Thriller

Described as “a viciously funny thriller about wellness—the smoothies, the secrets, and the deliciously deadly impulses” and set in Sedona, Arizona, this one sounds like a romp.

As Long As the Lemon Trees Grow

A speculative novel set during the Syrian revolution, this one sounds gorgeously written and sad. I’m ready. And it’s out now, so you can read immediately if you so desire.

Their Vicious Games

Described as Ace of Spades meets Squid Game, this intense YA thriller sounds intense in the best way. It comes out this July!

Small Game

A survival reality show gone wrong? INJECT IT DIRECTLY INTO MY VEINS. I will literally read anything about a reality show gone wrong (Hide and Patricia Loves to Cuddle are two recent reads). Out now!

Give Me a Sign

I’m cheating again because I’ve already read this, but it comes out in ’23 so re-read time! This sweet summer romance is set at a Deaf and HoH camp. A perfect vacation book for your summer travels. Out in July!

Fake Dates & Mooncakes

Coming in May, this rom-com is a collision of worlds and forbidden romance all rolled together. 

The Light of Eternal Spring

Coming in April, this literary exploration of magic and grief made a friend I trust weep. Looking forward to my own tear-jerker moment. 

What books are you most looking forward to?

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