We are in the midst of my favorite season to be a book blogger: the season when all the favorite lists and book awards come out.
I read 22 debut novels this year, which is more than I would have guessed. It's fun to discover new authors just as their books are
coming out and to be part of the excitement that comes from that first
publication. We also love participating in That Artsy Reader Girl's Debut Author Challenge.
A big congratulations to all the first-time authors we were able to
feature on Intellectual Recreation this year! Here are some of my favorites.
The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden:
A story that blends Russian fairy tales and folklore with history, The Bear and the Nightingale is the perfect winter read, so curl up with a cozy blanket and a warm drink and crack this one open. (featured here)
Caraval by Stephanie Garber:
I loved the magic in Caraval.
The dreamlike setting has Scarlett questioning what is real and what is
not, and the reader is right beside her asking those same questions.
What a fun and mysterious debut. (featured here)
A List of Cages by Robin Roe:
After five years, Adam reconnects with his former foster brother, Julian. This story just about wrecked me. Be prepared to have to have lots of feelings.
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas:
This is the debut everyone has been talking about. Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, Angie Thomas really delivered with this heartbreaking and provocative debut.
The Chilbury Ladies' Choir by Jennifer Ryan:
One of my favorite reads of the year. Set in England during the early years of
World War II, this book is a great choice for fans of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. (featured here)
Saints and Misfits by S.K. Ali:
This classic coming-of-age story is set within a Muslim community. This story is such a lovely and important addition to the YA scene. I'm always happy when I find a book that
treats faith and faith communities with realism and respect. (featured here)
Daughter of the Burning City by Amanda Foody:
I love the mix of fantasy and mystery (always a good combination for me) in Amanda Foody's debut.
Sorina, her illusions, and the other residents of Gomorrah have this
intriguing strangeness that is both otherworldly and beautiful. (featured here)
A Short History of the Girl Next Door by Jared Reck:
The story of Matt and his best friend and secret crush took a turn that I did not see coming. I don't want to spoil it. Don't read any reviews. Just read it.