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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 She Started It

Lena Derhally Why did I love this book?

This book surprised me in a good way. Sian Gilbert is a debut author, and I loved the premise - a “locked room” mystery but on a swanky Caribbean Island with really diabolical and nasty characters at a bachelorette party who start getting picked off one by one.

I loved this because I love a good revenge thriller - and this one took many different twists and turns that kept unfolding as the book went on. Although the major twist isn’t the most shocking I’ve read, I still loved it and thought it was really well done.

I don’t want to say too much more about it because this book is best going into it not knowing much, but if you like really nasty characters with dirty secrets being held accountable for their horrific actions from their past, this is for you. I had expectations for this book, and it happily exceeded them, which is rare. 

By Sian Gilbert,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked She Started It as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A hot, twisty summer debut thriller about a Caribbean bachelorette party that takes a sinister turn. It’s Lord of the Flies meets And Then There Were None...but with Instagram and too much prosecco.

The party of a lifetime is nothing like what they expected...

Annabel, Esther, Tanya, and Chloe are best friends—or were, as children. Despite drifting apart in adulthood, shared secrets have kept them bonded for better or worse, even as their childhood dreams haven’t quite turned out as they’d hoped. Then one day they receive a wholly unexpected—but not entirely unwelcome—invitation from another old friend. Poppy Greer has…


My 2nd favorite read in 2023…

Book cover of Spare

Lena Derhally Why did I love this book?

This was the only nonfiction book I read this year. And yes, I am a nonfiction author, but I prefer to read fiction! I thought this was a deeply personal and emotional book that made me cry many times throughout.

As a therapist who works with clients with trauma, I thought this was a poignant and bittersweet way of showing how trauma shows up in our lives, and the hard work we have to do to get through it. Harry also shows us that vulnerability isn’t a bad thing, sometimes we just need to tell our truth and our story.

While this book is controversial because the royal family is polarizing, I was very moved in the ways Harry worked to heal the wounds of the loss of his mother and find unconditional love through his wife and children.

By Prince Harry,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked Spare as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

It was one of the most searing images of the twentieth century: two young boys, two princes, walking behind their mother's coffin as the world watched in sorrow-and horror. As Princess Diana was laid to rest, billions wondered what Prince William and Prince Harry must be thinking and feeling-and how their lives would play out from that point on.

For Harry, this is that story at last.

Before losing his mother, twelve-year-old Prince Harry was known as the carefree one, the happy-go-lucky Spare to the more serious Heir. Grief changed everything. He struggled at school, struggled with anger, with loneliness-and,…


My 3rd favorite read in 2023…

Book cover of Dead of Winter

Lena Derhally Why did I love this book?

This is a locked room type mystery set on a remote mountain where seemingly random strangers are trying to survive the elements while also trying to survive a sadistic serial killer type. This is another one where I don’t really want to reveal the plot, but I think Darcy Coates is absolutely brilliant.

The atmosphere is so eerie and creepy, and the twists and the way the plot comes together at the end is so fantastic. It can be a bit far-fetched at times, but that’s what makes it really fun.

If you like a gory thriller with a whodunnit twist, this is absolutely the book for you.

By Darcy Coates,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From bestselling author Darcy Coates comes Dead of Winter, a remote cabin in the snowy wilderness thriller that will teach you to trust no one. There are eight strangers. One killer. Nowhere left to run.

When Christa joins a tour group heading deep into the snowy expanse of the Rocky Mountains, she's hopeful this will be her chance to put the ghosts of her past to rest. But when a bitterly cold snowstorm sweeps the region, the small group is forced to take shelter in an abandoned hunting cabin. Despite the uncomfortably claustrophobic quarters and rapidly dropping temperature, Christa believes…


Plus, check out my book…

The Facebook Narcissist: How to Identify and Protect Yourself and Your Loved Ones from Social Media Narcissism

By Lena Derhally,

Book cover of The Facebook Narcissist: How to Identify and Protect Yourself and Your Loved Ones from Social Media Narcissism

What is my book about?

A comprehensive guide for understanding how narcissism on social media impacts our mental health, how to protect ourselves and our children from those affects, as well as from narcissists, and how to use social media more mindfully.

The Facebook Narcissist is the first book dedicated to exploring the relationship between narcissism and social media. Lena Derhally, a licensed psychotherapist certified in Imago therapy, delves into how social media enhances individual and cultural narcissism and how it may create or exacerbate toxic narcissistic tendencies in people who use it.

Readers will discover case studies and real examples of narcissists and how they present on social media.

My 9-year-old's favorite read in 2023…

Book cover of Matilda

Lena Derhally Why did they love this book?

My kids love the dark and witty humor of Dahl's books.

There is something a bit morbid about his work, but not morbid enough to scare them or give them nightmares. They also love the absurdity and the vivid imagination behind all his plots. Their favorite is Matilda.

By Roald Dahl, Quentin Blake (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

11 authors picked Matilda 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?

Puffin Audiobooks presents Roald Dahl's Matilda, read by Kate Winslet. This audiobook features original music and sound design by Pinewood film studios.

Matilda Wormwood is an extraordinary genius with really stupid parents.

Miss Trunchbull is her terrifying headmistress who thinks all her pupils are rotten little stinkers.

But Matilda will show these horrible grown-ups that even though she's only small, she's got some very powerful tricks up her sleeve . . .

Kate Winslet's award-winning and varied career has included standout roles in Titanic, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Finding Neverland, Revolutionary Road and The Reader, for which she…


Explore all books for 9-year-olds