Today, Amazon announced its picks for 2023’s Best Books of the Year So Far, naming Ann Napolitano’s novel Hello Beautiful as the No. 1 selection, with Amazon editors calling it “big-hearted and addicting.” They go on to say that “Napolitano writes with gusto and compassion about the transition from idyllic youth to the complexities of adulthood; love and loss; and the secrets that hold people together and tear them apart.”
The other top picks are All the Sinners Bleed by S.A. Cosby, who proves what a master storyteller he is in this standout Southern Gothic mystery that takes readers—and one courageous sheriff—to dark corners of a small-town in Southern Virginia; Jean M. Twenge’s Generations: The Real Differences Between Gen Z, Millennials, Gen X, Boomers, and Silents—and What They Mean for America’s Future, a captivating look at the six living generations in the U.S. that will change the way you see yourself and everyone you know; and Dave Eggers’ middle-grade book The Eyes and the Impossible, a heartwarming story of friendship and community—featuring a lovable dog that can run like the wind—which tops the children’s books category.
Throughout the year, Amazon Books editors pore over thousands of pages and hundreds of books to determine the Best Books of the Month, Best Books of the Year So Far, and Best Books of the Year, discussing and debating new releases across various categories.
After reading titles released from January through June, Amazon Books editors selected the overall top 20 Best Books of the Year So Far, as well as the top 20 in popular categories like literary fiction; mystery and thrillers; romance; history; biographies and memoirs; cookbooks; and children’s books.
“The Amazon Books Editors are passionate about connecting readers to books they love. Whether you’re a narrative nonfiction lover, someone looking for a book that will keep you up all night, or a devout reader of juicy romances, this list has something for everyone,” said Sarah Gelman, editorial director, Amazon Books.
After being told Hello Beautiful was Amazon Books’ top pick for the first half of 2023, Napolitano said, “I’m deeply grateful for this recognition of Hello Beautiful. I wrote this novel because I was looking for a glimmer of hope during a difficult time, and immersing myself in the world of William and the Padavano sisters felt like a way to heal. I’ve been so moved hearing from readers that the story has given them some of that same comfort.”
Gelman said, “Hello Beautiful was, by far, our team’s favorite book for the first half of the year. This deeply touching and gorgeously written book about relationships—familial, romantic, friend—will root itself in your heart and refuse to leave, which is why we knew it had to be our number one pick. I ached for the characters long after I finished the last page. You will too.”
Here are the Amazon Books Editors’ Top 10 picks of 2023 so far:
1. Hello Beautiful: A Novel by Ann Napolitano
With gusto and compassion, Ann Napolitano crafts a tear-jerker of a story that centers on the Padavano sisters, who are thick as thieves—until they aren’t. Hello Beautiful offers big emotion, and that’s exactly what makes it so powerful and so page-turning, which is why we named it the Best Book of 2023 So Far.—Al Woodworth, Amazon editor
2. All the Sinners Bleed: A Novel by S.A. Cosby
This Southern Gothic serial killer mystery comes out of the gate dark, and S.A. Cosby rarely takes his foot off the gas—but his storytelling: lean but vivid, and emotionally intelligent, nails every beat, and I couldn’t read it fast enough.—Vannessa Cronin, Amazon editor
3. Generations: The Real Differences Between Gen Z, Millennials, Gen X, Boomers, and Silents—and What They Mean for America’s Future by Jean M. Twenge
Mind-changing revelations, fascinating facts—Jean M. Twenge’s compulsively readable book will transform the way you see yourself and everyone you know (and finally put all those tired tropes about baby boomers, millennials, and more, to rest). You’ll quote it every day.—Lindsay Powers, Amazon editor
4. Weyward: A Novel by Emilia Hart
Though divided by centuries, three women, who share a unique connection to the natural world and to one another, tell their fascinating stories of persecution, danger, and resilience in a beautifully written novel that is a fierce and dazzling read.—Seira Wilson, Amazon editor
5. You Have to Be Prepared to Die Before You Can Begin to Live: Ten Weeks in Birmingham That Changed America by Paul Kix
This is the best kind of narrative nonfiction: your heart will pound, your blood will boil, you’ll feel the rush of adrenaline as Paul Kix tells the history—complete with the unsung heroes, villains, and funders— of how Martin Luther King Jr., his team, and thousands of children in Birmingham, Alabama changed America.—Al Woodworth, Amazon editor
6. Pomegranate: A Novel by Helen Elaine Lee
Sorry/not sorry for the simile: This empathy-expanding novel, a sly paeon to the power of great fiction and its ability to be a Trojan horse delivering the truth, is like a pomegranate—open it and you’ll find a treasure trove inside.—Erin Kodicek, Amazon editor
7. Age of Vice: A Novel by Deepti Kapoor
Power, pleasure, drugs, and violence collide in this page-turner with Crazy Rich Asians, Narcos, and The Godfather vibes. From extreme wealth to extreme poverty, and narrated by a cast of characters on both sides of the spectrum, Deepti Kapoor’s juicy novel centers on a sprawling Indian family that controls—or attempts to control—all that’s around them, and at any cost.—Al Woodworth, Amazon editor
8. The Wager: A Tale of Shipwreck, Mutiny and Murder by David Grann
Batten down the hatches, this true story of mayhem and murder, adventure and reckless ambition, on the high seas is a thrill to read. You can almost feel the salt spray on your skin as the HMS Wager and its hurly-burly crew fight the elements and each other in pursuit of fame and fortune. David Grann, once again, has made history come alive.—Al Woodworth, Amazon editor
9. The Covenant of Water: A Novel by Abraham Verghese
We didn’t want this book to end—told over the course of three generations, Abraham Verghese weaves a magnetic story of how cultural, social, and racial politics play out in the lives of wives, doctors, and artists who strive to find a home and purpose in a world that is ever-shifting and ever-dangerous. Filled with characters who love deeply and dream big, this novel will sweep you off your feet.—Al Woodworth, Amazon editor
10. Happy Place: A Novel by Emily Henry
Emily Henry’s latest has all the feels! More than your standard second-chance romance, Happy Place is about the beauty, pain, and joy that come with biological families, chosen families, growing up and apart, and how – as adults – we deal with this thing called life.—Kami Tei, Amazon editor
To celebrate their appearances on the annual list of Best Books of the Year So Far, three of the authors—Ann Napolitano, Angeline Boulley (Warrior Girl Unearthed), and Curtis Sittenfeld (Romantic Comedy)—will appear on the Amazon Live Author series with Sarah Gelman on June 14 at 1 p.m. ET to discuss their stories, their favorite books of the year so far, and more. Viewers can watch, listen, and join the conversation by visiting Amazon Live.
To view the complete list covering children’s, romance, science, mysteries, business, history, and more, visit Amazon’s page on the Best Books of the Year So Far.
On the Amazon Book Review customers can find book reviews, author interviews, celebrity picks, and book round-ups including Most Anticipated Books of Summer, Page-turning LGBTQIA+ young adult books to celebrate Pride, and A decade of Best Books of the Year So Far. You also can follow the Amazon Book Editors team recommendations and conversations on Amazon Books’ Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.