Top 10 of 2018: Debut and New-to-Me Authors

Posted December 26, 2018 by Madalyn || 11 Comments

Hi, y’all! I hope you had the best Christmas yesterday. Welcome back for day two of Top 10 of 2018! Top 10 of 2018 is a week-long blog event hosted by KimberlyFaye Reads that gives us the chance to look back on bookish favorites from the past year.

Today’s topic is our top ten new or new-to-us authors. I discovered a lot of new author favorites this year, and I can’t wait to share them with you!

madalyn’s top ten

Debut Authors

Author: Hank Green | Book read: An Absolutely Remarkable Thing

I had been anticipating Hank’s debut for a while, but I was also apprehensive about it. Sci-fi isn’t a genre I typically pick up, and there weren’t many early reviews of this one to give me a hint as to how people were feeling about it prior to its release. However, I was absolutely hooked from the first page! AART is one of the most compulsively readable books I’ve read in quite some time; I never wanted to stop reading. I also loved the main character, April May, and all her many flaws, as well as the discussion of internet fame. Basically, this was SO FUN, but also discussed lots of timely issues. I need book two!

Author: Helen Hoang | Book read: The Kiss Quotient

Like everyone else in the book community, I fell in love with The Kiss Quotient this year. It’s one of the best romances I’ve read in ages. It perfectly delivers on an excellent premise. The characters jump off the pages. The tension, the swooniness, the steamy scenes (of which there are many, please be advised), the vulnerability… Helen Hoang described it all in such delicious detail. I genuinely had butterflies while reading this book. SO GOOD.

Author: Mark Oshiro | Book read: Anger Is a Gift 

Anger Is a Gift was a complete gut punch, but a necessary, realistic one. Mark Oshiro tackled systemic oppression with so much care and nuance in this book. Anger Is a Gift doesn’t pretend to have all the answers or solutions, and that’s exactly what I love about it. It recognizes the vast scope of this problem. The cast of characters is incredibly diverse, but they all feel like three-dimensional people, as opposed to tokenistic rep. I simply loved this and think it’s a must-read.

New-to-Me Authors

Author: Katrina Leno | Books read: Summer of Salt; Everything All at Once

After reading an ARC of Katrina Leno’s 2018 release, Summer of Salt, she immediately became a new favorite author. I also managed to get to one of her backlist titles this year, which I also loved. All of her books deal eloquently with large issues like grief and trauma; plus, her prose is unbelievably beautiful, and her settings are some of the most vivid I’ve ever read.

Author: Jennifer Wright | Books read: Get Well Soon; It Ended Badly; Killer Fashion

If you had told me that I would discover a new all-time favorite author in the last month of the year– and that it would be a nonfiction author, no less– I probably wouldn’t have believed you. BUT HERE WE ARE, and I’m all the happier for it. Jennifer Wright writes about history in such an accessible way, but you never feel like the content is being dumbed down or that you’re being condescended to. Get Well Soon will absolutely end up among my year-end favorites. The subjects she writes about are fascinating, and her writing is so witty and compulsively readable. Basically, if you’re looking to read more nonfiction, give her books a try; I promise you won’t be disappointed!

Author: Deb Caletti | Book read: A Heart in a Body in the World

It’s strange that it took me until 2018 to read Deb Caletti, who has been writing YA for 10+ years, but this masterpiece of a book cemented her place as a new favorite. I knew about a third of the way through A Heart in a Body in the World that it would be almost impossible to top this book as my favorite of the year, and that has held true. I’m in awe of the amount of care Caletti took in telling this story– not to mention, the prose is stunning. This story touched me in ways I can’t articulate. It’s a book that somehow encapsulates all of the best and worst things about humans in under 400 pages. I cannot wait to revisit this story and to go back and explore Deb Caletti’s backlist.

Author: Tessa Gratton | Book read: Strange Grace

Strange Grace is outside my normal reading wheelhouse, but wow, did this knock my socks off. It’s incredibly atmospheric and immersive, with beautiful prose that brings the setting to life. The characters are also some of my favorites I read about this year, and the three of them form one of my new favorite ships (yes, there is also polyamory!!!). I love everything about this book and will be looking into Gratton’s backlist in 2019 for sure!

Author: Roxane Gay | Book read: Hunger

I’m honestly ashamed it has taken me this long to read something by Roxane Gay (well, to be fair, I’ve read short pieces she’s published online for years; it just took me until now to pick up an actual book by her). Hunger is one of the most memorable memoirs I’ve ever read. Her description of what it’s like to be fat in America today really struck a chord for me, and her personal story was heartbreaking. I foresee myself picking up all of Gay’s other published work in the near future.

Author: Carlie Sorosiak | Books read: Wild Blue Wonder; If Birds Fly Back

Similar to Katrina Leno, I loved Carlie Sorosiak’s 2018 release (Wild Blue Wonder) so much that I sought out her backlist ASAP. Sorosiak’s writing is lovely, and her books deal with larger themes like loss and grief. Wild Blue Wonder also had some wonderfully-incorporated fabulist elements, which I’m hoping Sorosiak explores even more in the future! And I love her even more after finding out that she lives in Atlanta and meeting her in person this fall!

Author: Madeline Miller | Book read: Circe

(I know; I know. I need to pick up The Song of Achilles. IT WILL HAPPEN SOON.)

I’ve heard people in the book community sing Madeline Miller’s praises for years, but it finally reached a fever pitch when Circe was released this year and received nothing but rave reviews. Still, though, it took me months to get to this– I felt like it could never live up to the hype. Well, the joke’s on me, because Circe was all I hoped it would be and more! What finally inspired me to pick this up was actually meeting Miller at the Decatur Book Festival this year and hearing her speak about Circe! I gained a lot of insight from her talk that informed my reading experience with this story. Circe is honestly a masterpiece– the scope is epic and sweeping, but Miller manages to keep the feeling so intimate. The writing is also beautiful. It’s a quiet story that makes you think, and it’s a new all-time favorite.

Which authors did you discover this year? Do we share any favorites!

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11 responses to “Top 10 of 2018: Debut and New-to-Me Authors

  1. LOVE Siorosiak! I absolutely adored both her books. Can’t wait until we get more, and Helen Hoang!!!! She definitely brought something special to romance.

  2. What a great list!! Yes to Helen Hoang for sure. I still need to read An Absolutely Unremarkable Thing. I love Katrino Leno and need to read Summer of Salt. I will have to try Hunger again. I tried audio and couldn’t get into it. I did live Bad Feminist though.

  3. I’m so happy to see that Caletti’s new novel is so great. I’ve read a couple of her novels in teen years, but I’m really looking forward to this one. I also haven’t read Roxanne Gay yet. But I really want to change that in 2019. I’m on hold for the “Not That Bad” audiobook at my library. Hunger sounds so groundbreaking and I’m happy to hear it stuck with you so much! I also haven’t read “The Song of Achilles”, but I did enjoy “Circe” this year. Great list!

  4. I CAN’T BELIEVE I HAVEN’T READ AN ABSOLUTELY REMARKABLE THING YET. I too was hesitant about it at first because I’m not a sci-fi person, and this is Hank’s first novel. But all the rave reviews have gotten me so excited to read it!

    I found a ton of great new authors this year, but Donna Tartt, Hieu Minh Nguyen, Allison Tebo, Sue Monk Kidd, and Amor Towles are the ones that first come to mind.

    Eleanor | On the Other Side of Reality

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