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The best books of 2023

This list is part of the best books of 2023.

We've asked 1,681 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 If Tomorrow Doesn't Come

Gigi Griffis Why did I love this book?

This powerful, emotional book explores depression, first love, queerness, and connection against the backdrop of a catastrophic, world-ending event to come.

On the day the main character plans to end her life, instead she discovers that the entire earth only has a short time left to live. And so she moves toward the people she loves instead of away, wrestling with deeply relatable feelings of failure, loneliness, unworthiness, and disconnection. 

I cried multiple times and wanted to hold every character close.

By Jen St Jude,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked If Tomorrow Doesn't Come as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 14, 15, 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

We Are Okay meets They Both Die at the End in this YA debut about queer first love and mental health at the end of the world-and the importance of saving yourself, no matter what tomorrow may hold.

Avery Byrne has secrets. She's queer; she's in love with her best friend, Cass; and she's suffering from undiagnosed clinical depression. But on the morning Avery plans to jump into the river near her college campus, the world discovers there are only nine days left to live: an asteroid is headed for Earth, and no one can stop it.

Trying to spare…

My 2nd favorite read in 2023…

Book cover of She Who Became the Sun

Gigi Griffis Why did I love this book?

Rich! Poetic! Brutal! Feminist! Queer! This gorgeous historical novel had everything I love – from rich prose to unexpected perspectives.

As a child, the main character watches as her brother receives a prediction: he will be somebody important. Her own destiny? It’s nothing. But when her brother passes, she wonders if she can slip into his, trick the gods into letting her be the important one. What follows is an epic and heart-wrenching journey.

By Shelley Parker-Chan,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked She Who Became the Sun as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

British Fantasy Award Winner
Lambda Literary Award Finalist
Two-time Hugo Award Finalist
Locus Award Finalist

"Magnificent in every way."—Samantha Shannon, author of The Priory of the Orange Tree

"A dazzling new world of fate, war, love and betrayal."—Zen Cho, author of Black Water Sister

She Who Became the Sun reimagines the rise to power of the Ming Dynasty’s founding emperor.

To possess the Mandate of Heaven, the female monk Zhu will do anything

“I refuse to be nothing…”

In a famine-stricken village on a dusty yellow plain, two children are given two fates. A boy, greatness. A girl, nothingness…


My 3rd favorite read in 2023…

Book cover of Shanghai Immortal

Gigi Griffis Why did I love this book?

This book is a romp! In the upside-down, quirky version of Shanghai that is Hell, a half-vampire half-fox spirit with a saucy disposition is tasked with escorting a human through hell.

The problem is that everything in hell kind of wants to eat him. Not to mention that there’s more going on than meets the eye. This book is fast-paced, irreverent, hilariously funny, and creative as hell. 

By A. Y. Chao,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?


'The must-read debut of 2023' Tasha Suri

'Bursting with personality' Xiran Jay Zhao

Half vampire. Half fox-spirit. All trouble.

Pawned by her mother to the King of Hell as a child, Lady Jing is half-vampire, half-hulijing fox-spirit and all sasshole. As the King's ward, she has spent the past ninety years running errands, dodging the taunts of the spiteful hulijing courtiers, and trying to control her explosive temper - with varying levels of success.

So when Jing overhears the courtiers plotting to steal a priceless dragon pearl from the King, she seizes her chance…

Plus, check out my book…

Book cover of The Wicked Unseen

What is my book about?

To say sixteen-year-old Audre doesn't fit in would be an understatement. She's a city kid who's found herself in a rural town. The only girl at school who'd rather kiss a girl than a boy. Not to mention that the whole town believes there's a secret Satanic cult conducting rituals in the nearby woods—and Audre is a born skeptic.

When the preacher's daughter and Audre's secret crush, Elle, goes missing on Halloween weekend, the town is quick to point fingers—in Audre's direction. While they harass Audre's family for being newcomers and nonbelievers, Audre realizes she might be the only person here who can find her friend. The deeper she goes, though, the weirder it gets. What happened to Elle—and is the evil this town is hiding really what Audre thinks it is?