You know what the best feeling is?! Falling in love with a new author.
Or, if you’re me, going straight from “hm, this seems like a good book” over to “GOING TO OBSESS ABOUT THIS DRAMATICALLY TILL 2029 THX.” Chill? There is no chill to be had. There is only INTENSE BOOK FEELINGS.🔥
I’m doing a lot of “best of” lists as this year ends, partially because I do those end of year wrap up posts and never get to mention everyone! And partly because…I have no posts ideas so you get to (gloriously) listen to me rant about my faves. But usually my lists end up being a line up of old favourite authors and sequels I already knew I’d adore. So I want to be sure to highlight the new authors I’ve discovered too!
These aren’t all necessarily debuts, but they all came out in 2019!!
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1. Gideon The Ninth by Tamsyn Muir
I’m just going to straight up tumble off a cliff with my appreciation and also intense need to SCREAM at this book. It’s an adult sci-fi so it was definitely heavier in style/world building than I was used to and I was confused, quite a bit. But it was also phenomenal. Clever. Mindblowing. Powerful. Queer necromancers in space!!! I want book two…I think my soul just fell out but I WANT BOOK TWO SO BADLY I just–
2. Slay by Brittney Morris
This is also a debut and may I just go heart-eyes over the writing, the plot, the characters (!!!), the way it made me sort of miss the fact I never playedvideo games growing up?! This book was so good 😭Sister bonds. Deep friendships. It had amazing themes that were discussed with such nuance, and had a bit of a thriller and mystery feel at times with the plot. There’s a lot of Black Pride here too and definitely an #ownvoices not to be missed! (I felt privileged to be able to read this.)
3. Wicked Fox by Kat Cho
Debut!! I really really loved this one 😍It had a lot of the “good ol’ paranormal YA vibes” which, to be quite frank, I absolutely freaking love. 😂It’s dramatic and angsty and the teens can be little deluded donuts while they batter away their feelings and maybe, nearly, eat each other. It’s all “WHAT MAKES YOU A MONSTER”, cue dramatic crying in the rain. And I am freaking here for it. Grumpy girl. Soft boy. Set in Korea. Nine-tailed fox legends. Yes thanks, I’ll take ten.
4. Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim
Let me just pile another book into the growing stack in your arms but this one? tHIS ONE. Again, one of my favourite ships of 2019. (If I read anything with a chatty sunshine boy and the girl who is firmly focused on achieving her goals, but he keeps flirting with her…then I will ship them until my heart explodes.) It’s also a bit of a Mulan retelling, set in an with Imperial Chinese fantasy world, where a girl must dress up a her brother to be the royal tailor and sew dresses out of the sun, moon, and stars. Also DEMONS. Good, good.
5. The Surprising Power of A Good Dumpling by Wai Chim
Okay finally we put a contemporary on this list. And this isn’t a debut, but it was my first time reading a Chim book and, oh, did I just absolutely fall in love. Anna was just so easy to sympathise with and adore, as she tries to keep her family together while her mum has serious mental illness struggles and her dad pretends it’s not happening. Also it had some really loving discourse about depression that both broke and healed my heart.😭💛I love this one so so hard.
6. All Of Us With Wings by Michelle Ruiz Keil
Alright this one was controversial in the book community, and I truly think it should have been marketed as adult! It raised a lot of concerns about the romance (teen falling in love with a 30+ year old man), but I think the book was about why that was a concern. It’s a magical realism, so deeply #ownvoices for trauma and POC Latinx experiences, and it’s about healing. But the book does cover a lot of darkness to get to that healing. So it’s not a tidy book, but it made me think a LOT.
7. Shadow Frost by Coco Ma
Back to fantasy (apparently this is where I just EXIST) but omg this was one of those good YA fantasy romps, where it’s all demons and epic kickass sassy heroines and elemental magic. This was so much fun! It also had some fab unsuspecting twists and dialogue you can cackle quietly to. 👀 It also has some wholesome side-character queer rep, I kind of adore Harry completely, and Asterin’s quips (and intense love of cake) made my day!! (Also this is a debut and the author is only 18!!)
8. Mooncakes by Suzanne Walker and Wendy Xu
Brb I just found the most adorable, wholesome, and lovely graphic novel!!!! I still keep thinking about this one and how much I want more?! At least 12 more volumes, thanks so much. It’s all werewolves and witches, but QUEER. And so so soft. Both main characters are Chinese-American, and Nova is Deaf and wears hearing aids! Tam is nonbinary and also a werewolf…as sometimes happens to us. And it’s about love and found family. The art is SO CUTE. Addictively amazing. There’s also so so much food, which is how I define a good novel. “Does it have food? Yes? FIVE STARS.”
9. Tarot by Marissa Kennerson
I want to squish this one on because it’s such a unique and original story — and I so admire that! It’s like a magical realism x fairy tale x magical kingdom classic. Basically Anna is locked in a tower and makes tapestries…but turns out they’re portals to other worlds. And when she escapes the evil kind, she falls into one, and finds a soft and gentle community of young people who aren’t ready for the war Anna may be bringing their way. The commune was all very loving (but with their strifes) and it was nice to see Anna just finding love. 😭
10. Jack of Hearts (And Other Parts) by Lev A.C. Rosen
Oh this was AMAZING and honestly why isn’t it talked about more, hmm? 👀This isn’t a debut, but it came out this year! So it fits my list. 😌Basically it’s about a queer teen who accidentally ends up writing a relationship and sex advice column for school. It’s anonymous, but…eh not so much. Jack actually ends up enjoying helping other queer kids, until he winds up with a manipulative and terrifying stalker. And he has NO idea how to deal with it as the stalker further and further takes over his life. The whole book was an explosion of glittery love and queer empowerment…but also with such a dark undertone with the stalker?! I nearly cried for Jack SO many times. But gah this book is so so good.
who are some new authors you discovered in 2019?!? doesn’t have to be a debut, but has to be published this year!!