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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.

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My favorite read in 2023…

Book cover of Bitters

Zena Shapter Why did I love this book?

The intoxicating promise of such an elaborately different world to our own immediately drew me in from the cover. What was this gigantic statue, and who were the people living beneath it?

The history of the ‘metal man’, as revealed in the first few pages, was enough to make me want to read more, but the character of McNubbin kept me there. After noticing ‘broken girl’ after ‘broken girl’, he’s driven to speak up and take action, as we all should in an ideal world. I love writing characters who take action myself! The ending is beyond perfect.

By Kaaron Warren,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The giant metal man has stood for hundreds of years, head tilted back, mouth open. All the dead of the town are disposed of this way, carried up the long, staircase that winds around him and tipped in. At his toe emerges the Bitters, the lifeblood of the town, keeping them healthy and prosperous as the sick and needy come to buy and drink.

McNubbin is a happy man with all he wants in life. He’s carried the bodies up since he was 14, a worthwhile, respected job. But when he notices broken girl after broken girl, he can’t stay…

My 2nd favorite read in 2023…

Book cover of The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes

Zena Shapter Why did I love this book?

I’m a big fan of the Hunger Games trilogy, from its gripping concept and what the history of its world says about humanity, to the violent challenges Katniss must face if she’s to protect the ones she loves.

I adore writing strong female leads in violently challenging worlds too! So I wasn’t sure how engaged I would be reading from the perspective of the struggling-with-appearances Coriolanus Snow. I was so glad I gave it a go! Some stories need you to trust them with a couple of chapters of reading, but then they capture you, just like this one did!

By Suzanne Collins,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

Ambition will fuel him.Competition will drive him.But power has its price.

It is the morning of the reaping that will kick off the tenth annual Hunger Games. In the Capitol, eighteen-year-old Coriolanus Snow is preparing for his one shot at glory as a mentor in the Games. The once-mighty house of Snow has fallen on hard times, its fate hanging on the slender chance that Coriolanus will be able to outcharm, outwit, and outmaneuver his fellow students to mentor the winning tribute. The odds are against him. He's been given the humiliating assignment of mentoring the female tribute from District…

My 3rd favorite read in 2023…

Book cover of Where the Crawdads Sing

Zena Shapter Why did I love this book?

I love writing and reading stories about women who stand up for themselves, whether that’s through direct confrontation or subtle strategic planning.

The main character of Kya does both in this incredible book, and her perspective is so perfectly reflected in the novel’s vivid and exotic natural world setting. Along with a page-turning pace, it was impossible to put down, and I loved how all the characters got what they deserved in the end.

By Delia Owens,

Why should I read it?

46 authors picked Where the Crawdads Sing as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


For years, rumours of the 'Marsh Girl' have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be…

Plus, check out my book…

When Dark Roots Hunt

By Zena Shapter,

Book cover of When Dark Roots Hunt

What is my book about?

Don’t go out onto the lake. Wyann trees search the shallows to spear passing prey with their roots. Giant water-ants hunt anything that moves on the water-skin. Sala’s village survives hidden behind a wall of poisonous ivy, because everyone agrees: don’t go out onto the lake. But then a strange comet crosses the night sky, throwing Sala and her pet pointer into a race through wyann-infested swampland that has her risking it all, unearthing long-hidden truths and stirring rivalries into a terrifying conflict set to change the world of Palude forever. Sala must do whatever it takes to face the truth of who she is: to save her village, to save her family, to save herself.

If only they had listened.