The 2023 Goodreads Choice Award winners are set to be announced next week. The Awards have been running annually since 2009, and as far as I can tell, they’re one of the largest people’s choice awards in the literary world. While a win might not have the cachet of a Booker Prize or a Pulitzer, it does guarantee exposure and a bump in sales, which is why so many of them go on to become best-sellers (if they weren’t already). So, all things considered, it’s better than a poke in the eye. Here are 30+ Goodreads Choice Award winners from the last 14 years.

30+ Goodreads Choice Award Winners - Book List - Keeping Up With The Penguins
You’ll be a winner in my eyes if you make a purchase through one of the affiliate links on this page.

Columbine by Dave Cullen

Columbine - Dave Cullen - Keeping Up With The Penguins

Nonfiction Goodreads Choice Award 2009

Average rating: 4.28 stars

Blurb: “What really happened April 20, 1999? The horror left an indelible stamp on the American psyche, but most of what we “know” is wrong. It wasn’t about jocks, Goths, or the Trench Coat Mafia. Dave Cullen was one of the first reporters on scene, and spent ten years on this book, Columbine – widely recognized as the definitive account.”

Room by Emma Donoghue

Room - Emma Donoghue - Keeping Up With The Penguins

Fiction Goodreads Choice Award 2010

Average rating: 4.07 stars

Blurb: “Told in the inventive, funny, and poignant voice of Jack, Room is a celebration of resilience—and a powerful story of a mother and son whose love lets them survive the impossible.” Read my full review of Room here.

The Immortal Life Of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

The Immortal Life Of Henrietta Lacks - Rebecca Skloot - Keeping Up With The Penguins

Debut Author Goodreads Choice Award 2010 and Nonfiction Goodreads Choice Award 2010

Average rating: 4.11 stars

Blurb: “Intimate in feeling, astonishing in scope, and impossible to put down, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks captures the beauty and drama of scientific discovery, as well as its human consequences.” Read my full review of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks here.

Divergent by Veronica Roth

Divergent - Veronica Roth - Book Laid on Wooden Table - Keeping Up With The Penguins

Young Adult Fantasy & Science Fiction Goodreads Choice Award 2011

Average rating: 4.15 stars

Blurb: “Tris has a secret, one she’s kept hidden from everyone because she’s been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves… or it might destroy her.” Read my full review of Divergent here.

Wild by Cheryl Strayed

Wild - Cheryl Strayed - book laid on wooden table - Keeping Up With The Penguins

Memoir & Autobiography Goodreads Choice Award 2012

Average rating: 4.05 stars

Blurb: “Told with suspense and style, sparkling with warmth and humor, Wild powerfully captures the terrors and pleasures of one young woman forging ahead against all odds on a journey that maddened, strengthened, and ultimately healed her.” Read my full review of Wild here.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Gone Girl - Gillian Flynn - Book Laid Face Up On Wooden Table - Keeping Up With The Penguins

Mystery & Thriller Goodreads Choice Award 2012

Average rating: 4.13 stars

Blurb: “Who are you? What have we done to each other? These are the questions Nick Dunne finds himself asking on the morning of his fifth wedding anniversary when his wife Amy suddenly disappears. The police suspect Nick. Amy’s friends reveal that she was afraid of him, that she kept secrets from him. He swears it isn’t true. A police examination of his computer shows strange searches. He says they weren’t made by him. And then there are the persistent calls on his mobile phone. So what did happen to Nick’s beautiful wife?” Read my full review of Gone Girl here.

The Fault In Our Stars by John Green

The Fault In Our Stars - John Green - Book Laid On Wooden Table - Keeping Up With The Penguins

Young Adult Fiction Goodreads Choice Award 2012

Average rating: 4.14 stars

Blurb: “Insightful, bold, irreverent, and raw, The Fault in Our Stars is award-winning author John Green’s most ambitious and heartbreaking work yet, brilliantly exploring the funny, thrilling, and tragic business of being alive and in love.” Read my full review of The Fault In Our Stars here.

Life After Life by Kate Atkinson

Life After Life - Kate Atkinson - Book Laid on Wooden Table - Keeping Up With The Penguins

Historical Fiction Goodreads Choice Award 2013

Average rating: 3.78 stars

Blurb: “On a cold and snowy night in 1910, Ursula Todd is born to an English banker and his wife. She dies before she can draw her first breath. On that same cold and snowy night, Ursula Todd is born, lets out a lusty wail, and embarks upon a life that will be, to say the least, unusual. For as she grows, she also dies, repeatedly, in a variety of ways, while the young century marches on towards its second cataclysmic world war. Does Ursula’s apparently infinite number of lives give her the power to save the world from its inevitable destiny? And if she can – will she?” Read my full review of Life After Life here.

I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai

I Am Malala - Malala Yousafzai - Keeping Up With The Penguins

Memoir & Autobiography Goodreads Choice Award 2013

Average rating: 4.15 stars

Blurb:I Am Malala is the remarkable tale of a family uprooted by global terrorism, of the fight for girls’ education, of a father who, himself a school owner, championed and encouraged his daughter to write and attend school, and of brave parents who have a fierce love for their daughter in a society that prizes sons.”

All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

All The Light We Cannot See - Anthony Doerr - Book Laid On Wooden Table - Keeping Up With The Penguins

Historical Fiction Goodreads Choice Award 2014

Average rating: 4.32 stars

Blurb: “From the highly acclaimed, multiple award-winning Anthony Doerr, the stunningly beautiful instant New York Times bestseller All The Light We Cannot See about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II.” Read my full review of All The Light We Cannot See here.

Yes Please by Amy Poehler

Yes Please - Amy Poehler - book laid on a wooden table - Keeping Up With The Penguins

Humour Goodreads Choice Award 2014

Average rating: 3.84 stars

Blurb: “In Amy Poehler’s highly anticipated first book, she offers up a big juicy stew of personal stories, funny bits on sex and love and friendship and parenthood and real life advice (some useful, some not so much), like when to be funny and when to be serious. Powered by Amy’s charming and hilarious, biting yet wise voice, Yes Please is a book full of words to live by.” Read my full review of Yes Please here.

The Martian by Andy Weir

The Martian - Andy Weir - book laid on wooden table - Keeping Up With The Penguins

Science Fiction Goodreads Choice Award 2014

Average rating: 4.41 stars

Blurb: “Mark isn’t ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills — and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit — he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?” Read my full review of The Martian here.

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

We Were Liars - E Lockhart - Book Laid Flat on Wooden Table - Keeping Up With The Penguins

Young Adult Fiction Goodreads Choice Award 2014

Average rating: 3.68 stars

Blurb:We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from New York Times bestselling author, National Book Award finalist, and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart. Read it. And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE.” Read my full review of We Were Liars here.

The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins

The Girl on the Train - Paula Hawkins - book laid on wooden table - Keeping Up With The Penguins

Mystery & Thriller Goodreads Choice Award 2015

Average rating: 3.96 stars

Blurb: “‘Jess and Jason,’ she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. If only Rachel could be that happy. And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Now Rachel has a chance to become a part of the lives she’s only watched from afar. Now they’ll see; she’s much more than just the girl on the train…” Read my full review of The Girl On The Train here.

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

The Underground Railroad - Colson Whitehead - Keeping Up With The Penguins

Historical Fiction Goodreads Choice Award 2016

Average rating: 4.06 stars

Blurb: “As Whitehead brilliantly re-creates the unique terrors for black people in the pre-Civil War era, his narrative seamlessly weaves the saga of America from the brutal importation of Africans to the unfulfilled promises of the present day. The Underground Railroad is at once a kinetic adventure tale of one woman’s ferocious will to escape the horrors of bondage and a shattering, powerful meditation on the history we all share.” Read my full review of The Underground Railroad here.

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

When Breath Becomes Air - Paul Kalanithi - Keeping Up With The Penguins

Memoir & Autobiography Goodreads Choice Award 2016

Average rating: 4.40 stars

Blurb: “Paul Kalanithi died in March 2015, while working on this book, yet his words live on as a guide and a gift to us all. ‘I began to realize that coming face to face with my own mortality, in a sense, had changed nothing and everything,’ he wrote. ‘Seven words from Samuel Beckett began to repeat in my head: ‘I can’t go on. I’ll go on.” When Breath Becomes Air is an unforgettable, life-affirming reflection on the challenge of facing death and on the relationship between doctor and patient, from a brilliant writer who became both.”

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

Little Fires Everywhere - Celeste Ng - Book Laid on Wooden Table - Keeping Up With The Penguins

Fiction Goodreads Choice Award 2017

Average rating: 4.08 stars

Blurb: “When old family friends attempt to adopt a Chinese-American baby, a custody battle erupts that dramatically divides the town – and puts Mia and Elena on opposing sides. Suspicious of Mia and her motives, Elena is determined to uncover the secrets in Mia’s past. But her obsession will come at an unexpected and devastating cost…” Read my full review of Little Fires Everywhere here.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

The Hate U Give - Angie Thomas - Book Laid on Wooden Table - Keeping Up With The Penguins

Debut Author Goodreads Choice Award 2017 and Young Adult Fiction Goodreads Choice Award 2017

Average rating: 4.48 stars

Blurb: “Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed. Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, The Hate U Give is a powerful and gripping YA novel about one girl’s struggle for justice.” Read my full review of The Hate U Give here.

Talking As Fast As I Can by Lauren Graham

Talking As Fast As I Can - Lauren Graham - Keeping Up With The Penguins

Humour Goodreads Choice Award 2017

Average rating: 3.95 stars

Blurb: “In Talking as Fast as I Can, Lauren Graham hits pause for a moment and looks back on her life, sharing laugh-out-loud stories about growing up, starting out as an actress, and, years later, sitting in her trailer on the Parenthood set and asking herself, “Did you, um, make it?” She opens up about the challenges of being single in Hollywood (“Strangers were worried about me; that’s how long I was single!”), the time she was asked to audition her butt for a role, and her experience being a judge on Project Runway (“It’s like I had a fashion-induced blackout”).”

Educated by Tara Westover

Educated - Tara Westover - Keeping Up With The Penguins

Memoir & Autobiography Goodreads Choice Award 2018

Average rating: 4.47 stars

Blurb: Educated is an account of the struggle for self-invention. It is a tale of fierce family loyalty and of the grief that comes with severing the closest of ties. With the acute insight that distinguishes all great writers, Westover has crafted a universal coming-of-age story that gets to the heart of what an education is and what it offers: the perspective to see one’s life through new eyes and the will to change it.” Read my full review of Educated here.

I’ll Be Gone In The Dark by Michelle McNamara

I'll Be Gone In The Dark - Michelle McNamara - Keeping Up With The Penguins

Nonfiction Goodreads Choice Award 2018

Average rating: 4.12 stars

Blurb:I’ll Be Gone in the Dark—the masterpiece McNamara was writing at the time of her sudden death—offers an atmospheric snapshot of a moment in American history and a chilling account of a criminal mastermind and the wreckage he left behind. It is also a portrait of a woman’s obsession and her unflagging pursuit of the truth. Framed by an introduction by Gillian Flynn and an afterword by her husband, Patton Oswalt, the book was completed by Michelle’s lead researcher and a close colleague. Utterly original and compelling, it is destined to become a true crime classic—and may at last unmask the Golden State Killer.” Read my full review of I’ll Be Gone In The Dark here.

The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang

The Kiss Quotient - Helen Hoang - Keeping Up With The Penguins

Romance Goodreads Choice Award 2018

Average rating: 3.91 stars

Blurb: “Stella Lane thinks math is the only thing that unites the universe. She comes up with algorithms to predict customer purchases—a job that has given her more money than she knows what to do with, and way less experience in the dating department than the average thirty-year-old. It doesn’t help that Stella has Asperger’s and French kissing reminds her of a shark getting its teeth cleaned by pilot fish. Her conclusion: she needs lots of practice—with a professional. Which is why she hires escort Michael Phan. The Vietnamese and Swedish stunner can’t afford to turn down Stella’s offer, and agrees to help her check off all the boxes on her lesson plan—from foreplay to more-than-missionary position…” Read my full review of The Kiss Quotient here.

Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

Red White And Royal Blue - Casey McQuiston - Keeping Up With The Penguins

Debut Novel Goodreads Choice Award 2019 and Romance Goodreads Choice Award 2019

Average rating: 4.11 stars

Blurb: “First Son Alex Claremont-Diaz is the closest thing to a prince this side of the Atlantic. With his intrepid sister and the Veep’s genius granddaughter, they’re the White House Trio, a beautiful millennial marketing strategy for his mother, President Ellen Claremont. International socialite duties do have downsides—namely, when photos of a confrontation with his longtime nemesis Prince Henry at a royal wedding leak to the tabloids and threaten American/British relations. The plan for damage control: staging a fake friendship between the First Son and the Prince.” Read my full review of Red, White & Royal Blue here.

Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Daisy Jones And The Six - Taylor Jenkins Reid - Keeping Up With The Penguins

Historical Fiction Goodreads Choice Award 2019

Average rating: 4.22 stars

Blurb: “The making of that legend is chronicled in this riveting and unforgettable novel, written as an oral history of one of the biggest bands of the seventies. Taylor Jenkins Reid is a talented writer who takes her work to a new level with Daisy Jones & The Six, brilliantly capturing a place and time in an utterly distinctive voice.” Read my full review of Daisy Jones & The Six here.

The Five by Hallie Rubenhold

The Five - Hallie Rubenhold - Keeping Up With The Penguins

History & Biography Goodreads Choice Award 2019

Average rating: 4.12 stars

Blurb: “Polly, Annie, Elizabeth, Catherine and Mary-Jane are famous for the same thing, though they never met. They came from Fleet Street, Knightsbridge, Wolverhampton, Sweden and Wales. They wrote ballads, ran coffee houses, lived on country estates, they breathed ink-dust from printing presses and escaped people-traffickers. What they had in common was the year of their murders: 1888. Their murderer was never identified, but the name created for him by the press has become far more famous than any of these five women. In this devastating narrative of five lives, historian Hallie Rubenhold finally gives these women back their stories.” Read my full review of The Five here.

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

The Silent Patient - Alex Michaelides - Keeping Up With The Penguins

Mystery & Thriller Goodreads Choice Award 2019

Average rating: 4.18 stars

Blurb: “Theo Faber is a criminal psychotherapist who has waited a long time for the opportunity to work with Alicia. His determination to get her to talk and unravel the mystery of why she shot her husband takes him down a twisting path into his own motivations—a search for the truth that threatens to consume him… The Silent Patient is a shocking psychological thriller of a woman’s act of violence against her husband—and of the therapist obsessed with uncovering her motive.” Read my full review of The Silent Patient here.

Such A Fun Age by Kiley Reid

Such A Fun Age - Kiley Reid - Keeping Up With The Penguins

Debut Novel Goodreads Choice Award 2020

Average rating: 3.80 stars

Blurb: “A striking and surprising debut novel from an exhilarating new voice, Such a Fun Age is a page-turning and big-hearted story about race and privilege, set around a young black babysitter, her well-intentioned employer, and a surprising connection that threatens to undo them both.” Read my full review of Such A Fun Age here.

The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

The Midnight Library - Matt Haig - Keeping Up With The Penguins

Fiction Goodreads Choice Award 2020

Average rating: 4.01 stars

Blurb: “Between life and death there is a library, and within that library, the shelves go on forever. Every book provides a chance to try another life you could have lived. To see how things would be if you had made other choices… Would you have done anything different, if you had the chance to undo your regrets? A novel about all the choices that go into a life well lived.” Read my full review of The Midnight Library here.

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

The Vanishing Half - Brit Bennett - Keeping Up With The Penguins

Historical Fiction Goodreads Choice Award 2020

Average rating: 4.15 stars

Blurb: “Weaving together multiple strands and generations of this family, from the Deep South to California, from the 1950s to the 1990s, Brit Bennett produces a story that is at once a riveting, emotional family story and a brilliant exploration of the American history of passing. Looking well beyond issues of race, The Vanishing Half considers the lasting influence of the past as it shapes a person’s decisions, desires, and expectations, and explores some of the multiple reasons and realms in which people sometimes feel pulled to live as something other than their origins.” Read my full review of The Vanishing Half here.

Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo

Clap When You Land - Elizabeth Acevedo - Keeping Up With The Penguins

Young Adult Fiction Goodreads Choice Award 2020

Average rating: 4.25 stars

Blurb: “In a novel-in-verse that brims with grief and love, National Book Award-winning and New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth Acevedo writes about the devastation of loss, the difficulty of forgiveness, and the bittersweet bonds that shape our lives.”

Empire Of Pain by Patrick Radden Keefe

Empire Of Pain - Patrick Radden Keefe - Keeping Up With The Penguins

History & Biography Goodreads Choice Award 2021

Average rating: 4.54 stars

Blurb: “The Sackler name adorns the walls of many storied institutions: Harvard, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Oxford, the Louvre. They are one of the richest families in the world, known for their lavish donations to the arts and sciences. The source of the family fortune was vague, however, until it emerged that the Sacklers were responsible for making and marketing OxyContin, a blockbuster painkiller that was a catalyst for the opioid crisis. Empire of Pain is a masterpiece of narrative reporting and writing, exhaustively documented and ferociously compelling.” Read my full review of Empire Of Pain here.

The Final Girl Support Group by Grady Hendrix

The Final Girl Support Group - Grady Hendrix - Keeping Up With The Penguins

Horror Goodreads Choice Award 2021

Average rating: 3.53 stars

Blurb: “Lynnette Tarkington is a real-life final girl who survived a massacre twenty-two years ago, and it has defined every day of her life since. And she’s not alone. For more than a decade she’s been meeting with five other actual final girls and their therapist in a support group for those who survived the unthinkable, putting their lives back together, piece by piece. That is until one of the women misses a meeting and Lynnette’s worst fears are realized-someone knows about the group and is determined to take their lives apart again, piece by piece. But the thing about these final girls is that they have each other now, and no matter how bad the odds, how dark the night, how sharp the knife, they will never, ever give up.”

Lessons In Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus

Lessons In Chemistry - Bonnie Garmus - Keeping Up With The Penguins

Debut Novel Goodreads Choice Award 2022

Average rating: 4.31 stars

Blurb: “Elizabeth’s unusual approach to cooking (“combine one tablespoon acetic acid with a pinch of sodium chloride”) proves revolutionary. But as her following grows, not everyone is happy. Because as it turns out, Elizabeth Zott isn’t just teaching women to cook. She’s daring them to change the status quo. Laugh-out-loud funny, shrewdly observant, and studded with a dazzling cast of supporting characters, Lessons in Chemistry is as original and vibrant as its protagonist.”

The Maid by Nita Prose

The Maid - Nita Prose - Keeping Up With The Penguins

Mystery & Thriller Goodreads Choice Award 2022

Average rating: 3.79 stars

Blurb: “A Clue-like, locked-room mystery and a heartwarming journey of the spirit, The Maid explores what it means to be the same as everyone else and yet entirely different—and reveals that all mysteries can be solved through connection to the human heart.”