Niamh’s 12 Days of Christmas ~ Best books of 2022

On the 12th day of Christmas my true love gave to me… Rainbow Grey in a pear tree (again because the second book came out this year! Hooray!). I’m back again with more amazing book recommendations to buy for Christmas this year! These books are mainly aimed at 9–12-year-olds but some of them are suitable for older and younger readers. 

  1. Like a Charm by Elle McNicoll – This isn’t just one of my favourite books of 2022 but one of my favourite books ever! The story follows Ramya, wearing her trademark beret, as she encounters different mythical creatures like vampires, kelpies, sirens and fae around Edinburgh. In Elle’s own words, the main characters in her books (and Elle herself) are “unapologetically neurodivergent” and in this book Ramya’s dyspraxia doesn’t stop her from saving the day. I can’t wait for the final book, Like a Curse, out next year!
  1. Frankie’s World by Aoife Dooley – Being normal is boring. Just like me, Frankie is the only person in her class who listens to rock music, does karate and loves creating art. However, Frankie’s classmates call her names like freak and weirdo, and she feels like an alien compared to everybody else. She sets out to find her dad to see if he’s different like her and discover more about herself. It’s illustrated in a fun, comic style and the book is inspired by the author and illustrator’s own experiences of being autistic.
  1. Escape Room by Christopher Edge – This is no ordinary escape room! In this escape room you may not ever scape! The main character Ami must work with her teammates to solve the puzzles or face fatal consequences. And who is the mysterious Host and why do they need to “Find the answer. Save the world”?! A thrilling, adventure with a brilliant twist at the end. My lips are sealed!
  1. Loki: A Bad God’s Guide to Taking the Blame (book 2) by Louie Stowell – Loki is back and still trapped in the body of an 11-year-old boy! This time Loki must protect Earth from fearsome Frost Giants and clear his name after Thor’s hammer, Mjolnir, goes missing. The book is written and drawn in the form of Loki’s diary and is absolutely hilarious. I can’t wait for book 3 next year! Read my Book Nook Review Crew verdict here.
  1. Spooked: The Theatre Ghosts by Steven Butler (illustrated by Claire Powell) – As a big fan of The Nothing to See Here Hotel series, I was delighted Steven had brought out a new book in time for Halloween! Just like the main character Ella, I loved getting to know the ghosts of the Hippodrome Theatre in Cod’s Bottom. I particularly liked fortune teller Madame Grebble and her random predictions, and Veronica Ratsinger is a character you love to hate! I also enjoyed how Claire Powell brought the ghosts to life with her illustrations.
  1. Libby and the Parisian Puzzle by Jo Clarke (illustrated by Becka Moor) – I love a good detective story and this one didn’t fail! Attending her aunt’s travelling school, Libby must help her new friend Connie find her missing jewellery and clear her aunt’s name, after she’s accused of stealing them. It’s fun trying to solve the mysteries along with Libby and Connie, and I enjoyed the Parisian setting because of all the fantastic food they get to eat and landmarks they visit!
  1. The Colour of Hope by Ross MacKenzie – Just like his Nowhere Emporium series, this book is filled with excitement, magic and dark moments (including some gory bits!). In a world of no colour because the Emperor and his aunt, the Necromancer, stole all the colour for themselves, everyone else must live in grey. However, a miracle child is born and everything she touches fills with colour. The Ripper Dogs and Blacks Coats that work for the Emperor will do anything to stop her! Wow, this book is as amazing as it sounds!
  1. Magicborn by Peter Bunzl – An enchanted adventure that travels from Kensington Palace to the fairy realm. Filled with danger, magic and mystery, I enjoyed following Tempest on her journey to finding out her true identity and making new friends and family on the way. My favourite character was the talking robin Coriel and how she ends all of her sentences with bird names, like “What’s the plan, little kingfisher?”, and dog names when she’s turned into a dog! I’m looking forward to the sequel! You can read my full Book Nook Review Crew review here.
  1. Rainbow Grey: Eye of the Storm by Laura Ellen Anderson – Having come into her powers as a rainbow weatherling in the last book, Ray finds it’s going to take some practice to control her powers! When all the cloud creatures start to disappear and she’s blamed, Ray must clear her name and find the creatures quick! Funny, adventurous and beautifully illustrated, this book is a must to read. And Nim the cloud cat is once again adorable! The final book in the series is out next year! You can read my review of the first book in the series here.
  1. The Great Fox Illusion by Justyn Edwards – Flick must compete in a television magic trick competition to win the legacy of a famous magician, called The Great Fox. However, Flick has a secret and is also searching for the mysterious Bell System trick to bring her missing dad back. Featuring real-life magic tricks, you can try to solve the challenges at the same time. It’s also very inspiring that the main character has a prosthetic leg and the story tells you about the challenges of having a disability. My full Book Nook Review Crew review can be read here.
  1. Greta and the Ghost Hunters by Sam Copeland (illustrated by Sarah Horne) – Another fantastic ghost book out this year! Can you tell I like the TV series Ghosts too?! After a near death experience that leaves her afraid to leave the house, Greta finds she’s living with more people than just her parents, brother and grandma! My absolute favourite ghost is Percy, who wants to play traditional games like “thrash a boy” and “stick push a poo”! A laugh out loud book with some touching moments and an uplifting message at the end.
  1. The Underpants of Chaos by Sam Copeland and Jenny Pearson (illustrated by Robin Boyden and Katie Kear) – Sam Copeland gets the honour of being featured twice! This is a very different book, where Sam is joined by Jenny Pearson in telling the story of the unexplained events that are happening at Little Strangehaven Primary, like everyone growing a beard, the stone building gargoyles coming to life, or underpants trying to smother you! And as if two authors weren’t enough, there are two illustrators taking turns to draw the chapters! A brilliant, hilarious book!