Author Passionate reader Keen swimmer Outdoor yoga lover Piano player
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 We Could Be Something

Verity Croker Why did I love this book?

This cleverly crafted young adult novel takes us on a journey of self-discovery for two young men written from a dual point of view.

It examines a relationship breakdown, but ultimately love shines through. It’s also an Australian immigrant story about a Greek family, set in Sydney. I loved the twist I didn’t see coming, but then on reflection could see the clues all the way through. As a writer, I enjoyed analyzing how the author had managed to construct this story.

By Will Kostakis,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked We Could Be Something 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?

'The enormous heart of We Could Be Something beats with a rare, thrilling authenticity. Every funny, smart, tough word of it rings true. I loved this book.' - Patrick Ness, bestselling author of A MONSTER CALLS and the CHAOS WALKING series

Part coming-out story.

Part falling-in-love story.

Part falling-apart story.

Harvey's dads are splitting up. It's been on the cards for a while, but it's still sudden. Woken-by-his-father-to-catch-a-red-eye sudden. Now he's restartinghis life in a new city, living above a cafe with the extended Greek family he barely knows.
Sotiris is a rising star. At seventeen, he's already achieved his…


My 2nd favorite read in 2023…

Book cover of My Spare Heart

Verity Croker Why did I love this book?

Teenage Phoebe moves with her father from the city to the countryside for a new life. Missing her friends, basketball, and everything she is familiar with, she still wants to help her mum who is struggling with alcohol addiction and becoming ever more unreliable.

This story explores racism, consequences of addiction, and yearning to belong. Having moved around a lot in my life, I can relate to how strange a new place can feel and how unsure of yourself you are when you’re trying to fit in, even as an adult. This relatable novel would ultimately give teens (and older readers!) hope for dealing with their own struggles when having to make a fresh start due to family issues.

By Jared Thomas,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked My Spare Heart as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 13, 14, 15, and 16.

What is this book about?

SHORT-LISTED: 2023 QLD Literary Awards, Griffith University Young Adult Book Award

I mean, Mum didn't drink that much. All of my friends' parents loved their champagne or whatever. Everyone drank in The Village, too. I'd only been there for about a month and there'd already been five wine and food festivals. Mum's drinking wasn't a big deal. Right?

Phoebe's non-Indigenous mother, a busy event manager, and her father, an Aboriginal man and uni lecturer, have split up and she's moved to sleepy old Willunga with him and his new health-obsessed girlfriend. It's only a few kilometres from Phoebe's old friends…


My 3rd favorite read in 2023…

Book cover of The Edge of Limits

Verity Croker Why did I love this book?

This young adult novel is about consent.

A group of teenagers are on a survival trip to the wilderness where the harsh realities of battling the physical environment force the main character, Sam, to question his own inner struggles. Should he speak about what he saw that night, or remain silent and complicit?

I loved this novel as it gives insight into how teens think, especially boys, and leaves us wondering about what will happen after the truth is exposed.

Plus, check out my book…

May Day Mine

By Verity Croker,

Book cover of May Day Mine

What is my book about?

Life in a small mining town can be like living in a fishbowl—with everyone knowing everybody else's business. Fifteen-year-old Jodi's mother wants her father to quit his binge-drinking and his dangerous job at the mine—even more so after a collapse leaves two miners dead and three trapped deep underground. As tensions escalate both at home and around the town, Jodi seeks comfort with her friends, but soon faces a double betrayal.

As Jodi struggles to gain autonomy over her life, she begins to discover the person she really is. But with everything around her spiraling out of control, it may not be the right time to let her family, friends, and ultimately the whole town know—no matter how much she wants to.

My book recommendation list