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The best books of 2023

This list is part of the best books of 2023.

We've asked 1,552 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 Hummingbird

Laura Renauld Why did I love this book?

Natalie Lloyd is a master storyteller. If any writers are struggling with voice, look no further than Olive, the main character in Hummingbird, to give you a tutorial. It doesn’t get much better than “I love you all more than Taco Tuesday.”

She is not only the protagonist of this book but also the most joyful main character I have ever read. The supporting characters are delightful, quirky, and well-developed.

I especially love the magical realism-infused storyline that parallels Olive’s journey of self-discovery. I have already read it twice!

By Natalie Lloyd,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Hummingbird as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 9, 10, 11, and 12.

What is this book about?

A Schneider Family Book Award Honor Book

From the bestselling author of A Snicker of Magic comes a heartfelt story about a girl who -- armed with her trusty, snazzy wheelchair -- refuses to let her brittle bone disease stand in the way of adventure

Twelve-year-old homeschooled Olive is tired of being seen as “fragile” just because she has osteogenesis imperfecta (otherwise known as brittle bone disease) so she’s thrilled when she finally convinces her parents to let her attend Macklemore Elementary. Olive can’t wait to go to a traditional school and make the friends she’s always longed for, until…


My 2nd favorite read in 2023…

Book cover of Remarkably Bright Creatures

Laura Renauld Why did I love this book?

I’m a sucker for multiple storylines that dip and dive and intertwine. And one of the threads in Remarkably Bright Creatures is an octopus!

I highly recommend listening to this audiobook. The voice actor for the octopus is just perfect. And I love Tova. She is smart, pragmatic, and hurting, having never come to terms with her son’s disappearance 30 years before.

This incredible story is filled with life, death, mystery, grief, choices, heartbreak, and healing—and don’t forget...an octopus.

By Shelby Van Pelt,

Why should I read it?

19 authors picked Remarkably Bright Creatures as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

THE INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER BBC RADIO 2 BOOK CLUB PICK 'Full of heart and humour . . . I loved it.' Ruth Hogan 'Will stay with you for a long time.' Anstey Harris 'I defy you to put it down once you've started' Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney After Tova Sullivan's husband died, she began working the night cleaner shift at the Sowell Bay Aquarium. Ever since her eighteen-year-old son, Erik, mysteriously vanished on a boat over thirty years ago keeping busy has helped her cope. One night she meets Marcellus, a giant Pacific octopus living at the aquarium who…


My 3rd favorite read in 2023…

Book cover of The Lost Library

Laura Renauld Why did I love this book?

The Lost Library is a middle-grade novel with a mystery at its center: who is responsible for the town’s library burning down so many years ago? Evan, a fifth grader, looks for clues; a few ghosts, including Al, haunt the History House, and their cat, Mortimer, redirects the mice while trying not to scare the chatty creatures.

It is through the intersecting storylines of Evan, Al, and Mortimer that The Lost Library unfolds. As they face their fears, a community contributes to a new Little Free Library, and the town learns to move past the disaster that has defined them for so long.

Intimate, humorous, and full of heart, I was captivated from the very first page.

By Rebecca Stead, Wendy Mass,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Lost Library as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

When a mysterious little free library (guarded by a large orange cat) appears overnight, eleven-year-old Evan plucks two books from its shelves, never suspecting that his life is about to change. Evan and his best friend Rafe discover a link between one of the books and a long-ago event. The two boys start asking questions whose answers will transform not only their own futures, but the town itself.

Told in turn by a ghost librarian named Al, an aging (but beautiful) cat named Mortimer, and Evan himself, The Lost Library is a timeless story from award-winning authors Rebecca Stead and…


Plus, check out my book…

Book cover of Porcupine's Pie

What is my book about?

Already a Thanksgiving classic, Porcupine's Pie is a heartwarming story about embracing thankfulness and generosity when things don't go as planned.

Porcupine can't wait to share Fall Feast with her woodland friends, so when everyone she greets is unable to bake their specialty due to a missing ingredient, Porcupine generously offers staples from her pantry. When Porcupine discovers that she, too, is missing a key ingredient, the friends all work together to create a new Fall Feast tradition.

Porcupine's Pie will inspire children ages 4-8 to act generously. A recipe for "friendship pie" can be found at the end of the book.