As a book blogger of three-and-a-half years (and someone who aspires to work in publishing), I try to stay on top of literary trends. I love reading books before they become popular, predicting which authors and novels will make it to the top of the New York Times bestseller list, and analyzing which genres readers will gravitate toward in the coming years. And as a result, there are few popular authors (aside from those who write outside of my preferred genres) whose books I haven't tried.
But sometimes, due to my business, my reluctance to step out of my comfort zone, or another factor entirely, I wait months or even years to read a book by a particular author—and then I wonder why I waited so long. The following are seven such new-to-me authors—authors whose books I belatedly read and loved in 2015—along with three new-to-everyone debut authors who I could not resist including.
1. Nova Ren Suma // The Walls Around Us
I've been hearing about Suma's atmospheric and chilling writing for years, but I didn't test the claims for myself until October, when I picked up The Walls Around Us. Suma's prose is stunning, and I need the rest of her books immediately.
2. Marcus Sedgwick // The Ghosts of Heaven
I first heard of Sedgwick when Midwinterblood won the Printz Award in 2014. But it took me until this summer to try The Ghosts of Heaven; now the rest of his YA books are on my TBR list.
3. Kirsten Hubbard / Like Mandarin and Wanderlove
Many of my favorite bloggers have lauded the stunning imagery in both of these books—especially Wanderlove, which follows a protagonist who backpacks through Central America. I can now confirm these praises; I feel like I myself have traversed Guatemala and Belize.
4. Leslye Walton // The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender
Magical realism is such a strange genre—and a difficult one to execute well. In fact, a sophomore year English assignment turned me off completely, which was why it took me so long to read Walton's debut. But once the praise piled up and I finally caved, Ava's story changed my opinion of the entire genre. How often does that happen?
5. Jeanne Birdsall // The Penderwicks series
This series, long-praised by Bella of Ciao Bella!, has now made my list of all-time favorite middle grade books—right after The Mysterious Benedict Society. From its stunning New England setting to its sometimes heartbreaking but mostly heartwarming family dynamic, this series was worth spending the larger part of September binge-reading.
6. Cat Winters // The Cure For Dreaming
A feminist protagonist and plot + a deeply-developed historical time period complete with real pictures + magical and mysterious hypnosis = a captivating story that was made for me. I haven't read any of Winters's other books, but I cannot wait to do so.
7. Jenny Hubbard // And We Stay and Paper Covers Rock
Willa from Willa's Ramblings raved about And We Stay when it first released, but I was a year behind. However, I fell in love with the author's quietly beautiful style and found myself a copy of Paper Covers Rock as quickly as I could.
8. Becky Albertalli // Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda
When this book's movie adaptation releases (the rights were recently sold, and the film had better be produced), I'll be proud to say I was on the original bandwagon of fans. If you haven't read this one yet, stop what you're doing right now and go find a copy. I promise all the praise you've heard it true (and not to get too fangirly, but I ship Simon and Blue more than I've ever shipped a fictional couple before).
9. Aisha Saeed // Written in the Stars
I could attribute my love of this book merely to its terrifying subject matter—the dangers of non-consenting arranged marriages. But I also adored Saeed's emotional writing that brings her characters and plot to life.
10. Jasmine Warga // My Heart and Other Black Holes
I have a chronic tendency to bond with fictional characters more than I should, but while reading this book I grew to care about the protagonist as if she were my best friend. I loved Warga's empathetic approach to discussing depression, and I loved the way she put a physics-related spin on the story. I can't wait to meet more of her (hopefully science nerd) characters.
What new authors did you discover in 2015?