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The best books of 2023

This list is part of the best books of 2023.

We've asked 1,560 authors and super readers for their 3 favorite reads of the year.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

My favorite read in 2023…

Book cover of The Last Unicorn

Evelyn Benvie Why did I love this book?

I grew up on a steady diet of fantasy books and movies, perhaps none so beloved as the 1982 classic The Last Unicorn. And it was my absolute love and childhood devotion to this movie that led to me putting off reading the book it was based on for so long.

Wow, was that a mistake.

I will never not love the movie, but the book is excellent and now just as beloved, a much deeper and moving story than the movie had the time to be. And the language of the book is just beautiful, so full of poetic turns of phrase that a unicorn’s journey deserves. I highly recommend it, whether you were obsessed with the movie as a kid or not.

By Peter S. Beagle,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked The Last Unicorn as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

INCLUDES A NEW INTRODUCTION BY PATRICK ROTHFUSS

Experience one of the most enduring classics of the twentieth century and the book that The Atlantic has called “one of the best fantasy novels ever.”

The unicorn lived in a lilac wood, and she lived all alone...

...so she ventured out from the safety of the enchanted forest on a quest for others of her kind. Joined along the way by the bumbling magician Schmendrick and the indomitable Molly Grue, the unicorn learns all about the joys and sorrows of life and love before meeting her destiny in the castle of a…


My 2nd favorite read in 2023…

Book cover of Little Mushroom: Judgment Day

Evelyn Benvie Why did I love this book?

I don’t usually read post-apocalyptic stories, as I tend to find them too dreary and sad for my taste.

But I heard too many good things about Little Mushroom to not give it a chance, and I am so glad I did. Despite the worryingly high body-count and literal end-of-days plot, the story is so full of hope and love for the future of humanity that I actually felt uplifted by the end of it.

I read this book and its sequel in a ridiculously short amount of time, losing sleep to finish them, and even now months after finally putting them down I still find myself thinking about the plot. It’s the kind of story I wish I could read again for the first time.

By Shisi, Xiao (translator), Carm (illustrator) , Molly Rabbitt (editor)

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Little Mushroom as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Until the day humanity falls."

In the year 2020, Earth's magnetic poles disappeared and humankind was nearly wiped out by cosmic radiation. Within the span of a hundred years, living creatures began to mutate and devour each other while the remaining humans, numbering in the tens of thousands, struggled bitterly in their man-made bases.

In the Abyss, home to the mutated xenogenics, there lived a sentient little mushroom. Because it had been nourished by the blood and flesh of the deceased human An Ze, not only did it take on a similar-looking human form, but a similar name as well:…


My 3rd favorite read in 2023…

Book cover of Cemetery Boys

Evelyn Benvie Why did I love this book?

This book got me back into reading novels after a depressive slump.

Though geared towards young adults, the themes of fighting for what you believe in and for a place to fit in, even within your own family, are so strong and universal. Plus, the plot is just plain old ghost-busting fun.

By Aiden Thomas,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked Cemetery Boys as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

Yadriel has summoned a ghost, and now he can't get rid of him.

When his traditional Latinx family has problems accepting his true gender, Yadriel becomes determined to prove himself a real brujo. With the help of his cousin and best friend Maritza, he performs the ritual himself, and then sets out to find the ghost of his murdered cousin and set it free.

However, the ghost he summons is actually Julian Diaz, the school's resident bad boy, and Julian is not about to go quietly into death. He's determined to find out what happened and tie off some loose…


Plus, check out my book…

I Am Not Your Chosen One

By Evelyn Benvie,

Book cover of I Am Not Your Chosen One

What is my book about?

Kell Hồ Sinh Porter is twenty-six years old and desperate to leave his unhappy life and his dead-end town. One night his wish is granted—though not in any way he would've imagined—and he finds himself in the semi-magical land of Allune where everyone thinks he’s the “Chosen One.”

Is this destiny or just bad luck? Magic is dying, the stars are calling him, and somehow this is his responsibility now? As if.

Can he escape the destiny that’s been forced upon him? And, as he spends more and more with this world and its people, does he really want to?