Author Author Psychologist Cat Lover Scottish Reading Obsessive
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 The Ugly Truth

Philippa East Why did I love this book?

I love psychological thrillers and read dozens of them per year, and I thought The Ugly Truth was a brilliant innovation in this genre – something I’m always looking for!

Written in a very modern “epistolary” style, the whole story is told in the form of interview transcripts, social media chats, and text exchanges – which I loved. It’s such a clever way to tell this really fresh and contemporary story about celebrity fame, super fans, and family control.

By L.C. North,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Ugly Truth as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'The Ugly Truth is fresh, compelling and searing in its exploration of the toxicity of social media and the reality of modern celebrity. Not to be missed!' Lisa Jewell, bestselling author of THE FAMILY UPSTAIRS

'#FreeBritney meets The Appeal in this addictively unique thriller' Jack Jordan, bestselling author of Do No Harm

"I'm a prisoner. I'm not allowed to leave. There is someone watching me every minute of the day."

Melanie Lange has disappeared.

Her father, billionaire business tycoon Sir Peter Lange, says she is a danger to herself and has been admitted to a private mental health clinic.

Her…


My 2nd favorite read in 2023…

Book cover of The Beach Party

Philippa East Why did I love this book?

The Beach Party is a brilliant ‘destination thriller’ set in the exotic world of Mallorca – plus it has a brilliant retro feel with the ‘past’ narrative set in 1989.

I adore books about friendship dynamics and explosive secrets, so this was right up my street! Nikki Smith’s books are always great page turners, but also beautifully written, with sophisticated charaterisation and plotting – which is exactly the kind of psychological thriller I’m after.

By Nikki Smith,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Beach Party as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Bound to be the hit thriller of the summer!' T. M. Logan, The Holiday

-----

Six friends.
The holiday of their dreams.
One night that changed it all . . .

1989: The tunes are loud and the clothes are louder when a group of friends arrives in Mallorca for a post-graduation holiday of decadence and debauchery at a luxury villa.

A beach party marks the pinnacle of their fun, until it isn't fun any longer. Because amidst the wild partying - sand flying from dancing feet and revellers leaping from yachts - an accident happens. Suddenly, the night of…


My 3rd favorite read in 2023…

Book cover of The Things We Do to Our Friends

Philippa East Why did I love this book?

The Things We Do To Our Friends is set in Edinburgh, which is where I spent much of my childhood and teenage years – so I was immediately hooked!

It’s a story about the twisted and toxic dynamics that can develop in intensive friendships, which is something I love to explore in my own writing too. I loved the atmospheric writing and the relentless slow-burn Heather Darwent sets up as this disturbing story unfolds.

By Heather Darwent,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Things We Do to Our Friends as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Satisfyingly dark, cleverly plotted and pleasingly Donna Tarttish' Emma Flint, Little Deaths
'Seamlessly blends Gone Girl and Promising Young Woman. Smart, sophisticated, seductive' S J Watson, Before I Go To Sleep
'A deeply compelling story of friendships turned rotten' Rosemary Hennigan, The Truth Will Out

*Sunday Times Bestseller*
*Shortlisted for the Bloody Scotland Crime Debut of the Year 2023*
*Longlisted for the McIlvanney Prize*
*Top Ten eBook bestseller*
*One of Cosmopolitan's Best Books for 2023*
*One of Apple's Best of the Month*
*One of FT's Best New Debut Fiction*
*Heat Book of the Week*

------

In there, them, us, it's…


Plus, check out my book…

A Guilty Secret

By Philippa East,

Book cover of A Guilty Secret

What is my book about?

A Guilty Secret is the gripping new suspense novel from the bestselling author of Little White Lies.

At exclusive boarding school St Michael’s, Carrie and her friends are used to getting away with anything. Until one night, their recklessness goes too far…

They swore to keep what happened a secret. They swore to protect each other. But sixteen years on, someone is about to break that promise.