Last year, I posted the Top 10 Things I Consumed, and well, it just feels right to continue the trend again this year.
#10. The Haunting of Hill House
Synopsis: Flashing between past and present, a fractured family confronts haunting memories of their old home and the terrifying events that drove them from it.
Genre: Horror, Drama, Mystery
Number of Seasons: 1
Episode Length: 1 hour, but some episodes run longer or shorter
Where to Watch: Netflix
Review: This show was recommended to me by a coworker, and it was SO intense. The jump scares got me almost every time, and it had my sister and I lowkey huddled next to each other on the couch. Overall, it’s pretty scary and painful to watch, but also really full of heart and family and grief, which shines through in all the best ways.
Favorite Quote: “A ghost can be a lot of things. A memory, a daydream, a secret. Grief, anger, guilt. But, in my experience, most times they’re just what we want to see.”
Content/Trigger Warnings: Since the list of triggering/disturbing content is quite extensive for this show, I have decided to link to the IMDB Parents Guide for this one. Proceed with caution or ask a parent, friend, or trusted adult to review it if you are worried about it being too triggering for you.
Episodes that have Graphic Content: I would say that almost every episode of this show contains disturbing or graphic content.
#9. The Idhun Chronicles
Synopsis: A boy suddenly orphaned fights his parents’ killer to save a planet, and discovers a new world of danger — and wonder.
Genre: Anime, Action, Adventure
Number of Seasons: 2
Episode Length: 27 minutes
Where to Watch: Netflix
Review: I watched the first season with my sister forever ago. Then, they released season 2 this year and my sister freaked out (no, I mean it. She screamed for me and I ran into the room thinking that she was dying, but then she just said there was a new season). Obviously, that meant we had to rewatch season 1 and then binge season 2. It has both the best-friends-to-lovers and the enemies-to-lovers tropes, so it’s a good fit for everyone.
Content/Trigger Warnings: Violence (not graphic), death of parents
Episodes that have Graphic Content: None
#8. Midnights by Taylor Swift
Description: This is a collection of music written in the middle of the night, a journey through terrors and sweet dreams. The floors we pace and the demons we face. For all of us who have tossed and turned and decided to keep the lanterns lit and go searching – hoping that just maybe, when the clock strikes twelve…we’ll meet ourselves.” (Taylor Swift)
Genre: Pop, Alternative
Length: 1 hour, 9 minutes
Review: I really didn’t like this album upon my first time hearing it. This one needed some time to grow on me, but it has and I’m OBSESSED.
Favorite Songs: Midnight Rain, The Great War, Bigger Than the Whole Sky, and Would’ve, Could’ve, Should’ve
Favorite Lyric: The entirety of The Great War. I can’t choose a favorite lyric because it’s a cohesive piece that deserves more recognition.
Songs that are Explicit: Lavender Haze, Maroon, Snow on the Beach, Question…?, Vigilante Shit, and Karma.
Synopsis: In the forgotten town of Carp, Texas, Panic is the only way out. Every summer the graduating seniors risk their lives competing in a series of challenges for the chance to win life-changing money. After the death of two players the stakes – and danger—have never been higher. This summer twenty-three players will enter the game. All of them will be changed. Only one will win. Let the games begin.
Genre: Drama, Adventure, Crime, Thriller
Number of Seasons: 1
Episode Length: 45 minutes
Where to Watch: Amazon Prime
Review: This show was my everything for about a month. I watched it and then convinced my sister to watch it, and then watched it a third time with the rest of my family. The enemies-to-lovers trope is STRONG with this one, and it was incredibly satisfying to watch everything play out.
Favorite Quote: “I’m dead weight. And that’s bad news for a girl with wings.”
Content/Trigger Warnings: Alcohol, teenage partying, smoking, bullying, frequent and strong cursing, sexual jokes, sexual dialogue, a naked woman is seen on a poster, passionate kissing, two scenes of implied sexual activity (no nudity shown, but it’s implied that the characters are about to engage in sexual activity in both scenes), one scene where two characters almost have sex and briefly discuss having sex, a strip club is shown briefly (scantily clad women are shown), cheating/affair, domestic abuse, child abuse (recounted and shown), most of the characters in this show participate in dangerous and deadly games throughout the show, blood, recounting of suicide,
Episodes that have Graphic Content: S1E4 (passionate kissing), S1E5 (sexual content), S1E6 (sexual content).
#6. Charlie by Charlie Puth
Length: 33 minutes
Review: This is probably the most relatable album that came out this year. Every single song was exactly what I needed and the opening/closing songs are truly remarkable.
Favorite Songs: That’s Hilarious, When You’re Sad I’m Sad, Tears on my Piano, and No More Drama
Favorite Lyric: “Don’t give your heart to a girl who’s still got a broken one.”
Songs that are Explicit: That’s Hilarious and Tears on my Piano
#5. These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong
Synopsis: The year is 1926, and Shanghai hums to the tune of debauchery. A blood feud between two gangs runs the streets red, leaving the city helpless in the grip of chaos. At the heart of it all is eighteen-year-old Juliette Cai, a former flapper who has returned to assume her role as the proud heir of the Scarlet Gang—a network of criminals far above the law. Their only rivals in power are the White Flowers, who have fought the Scarlets for generations. And behind every move is their heir, Roma Montagov, Juliette’s first love…and first betrayal. But when gangsters on both sides show signs of instability culminating in clawing their own throats out, the people start to whisper. Of a contagion, a madness. Of a monster in the shadows. As the deaths stack up, Juliette and Roma must set their guns—and grudges—aside and work together, for if they can’t stop this mayhem, then there will be no city left for either to rule.
Genre: Fantasy, Romance, Retelling, Young Adult
Pages: 449 (hardcover)
Review: I initially wasn’t sure if I would enjoy this book because I’d heard it was quite violent, but now I’m completely sold and ready to defend these characters WITH MY LIFE. At the end of the day, this is a gritty, violent book about enemies who used to be lovers, a mysterious and disturbing plague, and two rival gangs who will do anything to stay on top. If that’s your cup of tea, I’d highly recommend this book. Click here to read my full review.
Favorite Quote: “Don’t you dare,” Roma said. “Don’t you dare fall apart now, dorogaya.”
Content/Trigger Warnings: Blood, violence, gore, character deaths, explicit description of gouging self (not of their own volition), murder, weapon use, insects, alcohol consumption, parental abuse. For more information about potentially triggering content, click here.
#4. You’ve Reached Sam by Dustin Thao
Synopsis: Seventeen-year-old Julie has her future all planned out—move out of her small town with her boyfriend Sam, attend college in the city, spend a summer in Japan. But then Sam dies. And everything changes. Heartbroken, Julie skips his funeral, throws out his things, and tries everything to forget him and the tragic way he died. But a message Sam left behind in her yearbook forces back memories. Desperate to hear his voice one more time, Julie calls Sam’s cellphone just to listen to his voicemail. And Sam picks up the phone. In a miraculous turn of events, Julie’s been given a second chance at goodbye. The connection is temporary. But hearing Sam’s voice makes her fall for him all over again, and with each call it becomes harder to let him go. However, keeping her otherworldly calls with Sam a secret isn’t easy, especially when Julie witnesses the suffering Sam’s family is going through. Unable to stand by the sidelines and watch their shared loved ones in pain, Julie is torn between spilling the truth about her calls with Sam and risking their connection and losing him forever.
Genre: Romance, Contemporary, Young Adult
Pages: 296 (hardcover), 296 (paperback)
Review: This is a heartbreaking story about grief, second chances, and the hope that lingers in between the broken shards of a life we planned with such care. This is probably the most painful story I’ve ever read because there have been times in my life when I was Julie…when I wanted a chance to say goodbye…when I didn’t know how to let go and move forward. But I’ve learned that no matter how much time passes, grief never truly goes away… It is such a universal feeling that affects everyone differently, which is why these kind of stories are so important. When we’re in the midst of our grief, we think we’re alone and that nobody understands. But it’s stories like this one that reach into our darkness and remind us that we are known…that we are never alone…and that those we love will always be with us. Click here to read my full review.
Favorite Quote: “But the truth is, no one experiences grief the same way, and we all come out of it differently.”
Content/Trigger Warnings: Death, grief, car accident, racism, cursing, alcohol, bullying, brief descriptions of kissing, and a side character comes out as gay to a friend.
#3. We Could Be Villains by Megan McCullough
Synopsis: Seventeen-year-old fangirl Rosemary Collins lives for VIGIL & ANTE Studios movies. From action-packed superhero fights to sweet character moments, she’s here for it all. But in a real-life crossover no one saw coming, the fandom’s heartthrob supervillain, Ironfall, isn’t as fictional as the film studio wants her to believe. Beyond the glamorous red carpet lies the government’s most guarded secret: the movies are real. Armed with a devilish grin and a wit as sharp as his knives, Ironfall needs her help, and refusing means he’ll kill her parents. Her only other option involves spying on him for the government’s secret superhero division. Suspended between fact and what she thought was fiction, Rosemary must join her heroes and create an impenetrable web of lies—or guarantee her parents’ safety as she watches the world burn at its adored villain’s hand.
Genre: Contemporary, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Pages: 346 (paperback)
Review: This book is basically the most fun ride with well-rounded characters that make everything meaningful. The conflict and stakes are set up immediately, and I adored every second of this book.
Favorite Quote: “How could anyone not love you?”
Content/Trigger Warnings: Gun violence, death, murder, blood, injuries, stalking, gaslighting, grief, and panic attacks.
#2. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
Synopsis: Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone… A convict with a thirst for revenge. A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager. A runaway with a privileged past. A spy known as the Wraith. A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums. A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes. Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 495 (paperback), 465 (hardcover)
Review: Kaz is my everything. Inej is the treasure of MY heart. Nina deserves the world. Matthias is my favorite little fascist. Jesper is the most chaotic bean and I love him. Wylan is actually a cinnamon roll.
Favorite Quote: “She’d laughed, and if he could have bottled the sound and gotten drunk on it every night, he would have. It terrified him.”
Content/Trigger Warnings: Haphephobia, death, violence, blood, a person’s eye is ripped out, injuries, mentions of human trafficking, mentions of a character being forced to work as a prostitute, brief but strong cursing, and it’s implied that two main characters are gay.
#1. Top Gun: Maverick
Synopsis: After thirty years, Maverick is still pushing the envelope as a top naval aviator, but must confront ghosts of his past when he leads TOP GUN’s elite graduates on a mission that demands the ultimate sacrifice from those chosen to fly it.
Genre: Action, Adventure, Romance
Runtime: 2 hours, 10 minutes
Where to Watch: Amazon Prime
Review: I actually watched this like 4-5 times in theaters. I’m not kidding. If you haven’t seen this movie, go watch it right now. It’s truly the most heartbreaking, bittersweet, lovely, and intense movie of the year that I love with my ENTIRE heart.
Favorite Quote: “It’s what my dad would have done.”
Rating: PG-13 for sequences of intense action, and some strong language
Content/Trigger Warnings: Alcohol, implied sex, strong cursing, aerial combat, death (not shown).
What was the best thing you consumed this year? Which books, movies, albums, and TV shows would make your top 10? Let’s talk all things stories from 2022 in the comments!