The Fiction Fox
Updated: Oct 27, 2019
Many booklovers will be able to relate to that feeling of excitement you get when you hear a new book announced, that sounds just perfect to you. Many of those same people will also know that nervous pinch you feel once you realize that that list of anticipated releases is becoming a little bigger than either your limited shelf-space or your wallet can support… Nonetheless, most of us will have a few authors that, for one reason or another, seem to have a free pass to skip those scruples, and find their way into your pre-order cart no matter what. I, of course, have such a list of my own as well, that I’d like to share with you today. I chose 10 of them to talk about, ranging from very well known, to completely underrated, but all of them deserving of a little more love.
1. Kirsty Logan When the idea of this post first appeared in my mind, there was one name that immediately attached itself to it. If nothing else, I was going to mention Kirsty Logan. If you’ve been with me for some time you might know Kirsty Logan has been a constant factor on both my yearly favorites lists, as well as my all-time favorite list, for the past 2 years. She writes low-fantasy/magical realism stories with beautifully written characters, that are often have an ocean- or sea-side element to them. Her stories deal with themes of grief, family, and finding your place in the world whilst being different in some way, whether it be sexuality, heritage or even a physical disfigurement. Not many authors have the power to string words together in the way that just moves something in my soul. Sofar: Kirsty Logan does. I’ve adored everything she’s written before and am eagerly anticipating everything to come after.
Favorite book by this author: The Gloaming Upcoming release: Things We Say in the Dark (October 3rd 2019, Harvill Secker)
2. Laini Taylor You might notice that the YA-authors are a little underrepresented on this list, which is mostly due to the fact that I pick my YA books based on their synopsis, more so than the author. If the plot sounds like something that I won’t enjoy, I’ll probably not pick it up, no matter who wrote it. An exception to that rule is Laini Taylor: I will read this woman’s extended grocerylist, just for her prose. For me, it strikes the perfect balance of being lyrical, without turning to obnoxious purple prose. Laini Taylor is very well known in the YA-community for her debut series The Daughter of Smoke and Bone and her Strange The Dreamer Duology. She writes highly original fantasy stories, with distinct characters that I’ve come to love as all-time favorites. If you are, like me, tired of seeing the same story-arc, and the same worldbuilding in YA over and over again, trust me: you won’t have that problem with Laini Taylor. Favorite book by this author: Strange the Dreamer No upcoming releases announced
3. Celeste Ng Another very well known author, that barely needs an introduction, but this time in the literary fiction category. Celeste Ng gained a lot of attention with both her debut Everything I Never Told you, as well as her sophomore novel Little Fires Everywhere. Personally: I absolutely loved both of them. Celeste Ng writes about family dynamics and parental relationships like nobody else. Little Fires Everywhere is a mosaic of different mother-daughter relationships clustered in a suburban neighborhood, whilst Everything I Never Told You focusses on a single family and how parental expectations can impact not just the life of that family but everybody around them. Ng shows an incredible intelligence and insight into these complex relations, that sets it apart from other works in this genre. Favorite book by this author: Everything I Never Told You No upcoming releases announced
4. Sarah Moss Sarah Moss was an author I’d never heard from, until half way throught 2018, when I heard Jen Campbel mention her on her Youtube channel. On a whim, I picked up The Tidal Zone, and I was blown away by it. Sarah Moss, just like Celeste Ng, is at her best with stories about relationships, whether they be familial, marital or friendly. I still have her duology Bodies of Light and Signs for Lost Children left to read, but am already on the lookout for anything new she comes out with. Favorite book by this author: The Tidal Zone No upcoming releases announced
5. Emily St. John Mandel Even though I’ve only ever read one of her books, that one book already made enough of an impression on me to add Emily St. John Mandel to this list. She writes literary fiction with a twist of another genre mixed in. For example: Station Eleven is literary fiction set in a post-apocalyptic world, and Last Night in Montreal has a thriller element woven into it. But above all, her stories are about the character, which is what draws me to her work. Not only am I keeping an eye out for anything new she releases, I’m also planning on reading her debut novel Last Night in Montreal very soon. Favorite book by this author: Station Eleven Upcoming releases: The Glass Hotel (To be announced, 2019, Picador)
6. Erin Morgenstern Speaking of authors I trust based off reading a single book of theirs, the following 3 entries on this list are debut-authors that have only released one book so far, but are for sure destined for great things if you ask me. First and most well-known is Erin Morgenstern, author of best-selling and award-winning novel The Night Circus. With a debut that strong, my expectations (and those of the rest of the world) of course are pretty high. Her newest book The Starless Sea comes out in October of 2019, and is so far the only book this year for which I have a pre-order out on the hardcover. I’m trying not to “overhype” this in my own head, but in all honesty: I can’t wait to read this. Favorite book by this author: The Nightcircus Upcoming releases: The Starless Sea (October 5th, Harvil Secker)
7. Emily X.R. Pan Less well-known, but with an equally strong debut, we have Emily X.R. Pan, author of The Astonishing Color of After. This incredibly beautiful magical realism novel hit very close to home for me with its themes of depression and grief over the loss of a parent. A year after finishing it, this still remains a very special book, and all-time favorite to me. If you can describe grief in a way that hits me that hard, and got very close to making me cry, than you’ve got my complete faith in your extraordinary abilities as an author. Favorite book by this author: The Astonishing Color of After Upcoming releases: Little Brown Publishing has acquired the rights to a second standalone by this author. No further details have been announced yet.
8. Daisy Johnson Another favorite, just based on her debut novel. But what a debut novel that was. Everything Under made its way onto my favorite of 2018 list, for its stunning prose, its themes and symbolism, and simply how many much it manages to cover in just over 250 pages. This is as close to a perfect debut as you’re going to get. It had everything that needed to be there: nothing more, nothing less. I have nothing but respect for a 28-year old woman who manages to do that on her debut, and expect nothing but greatness of her in the future. Again: this is an author of which I would read a grocery-list, just to enjoy her prose. Favorite book by this author: Everything Under No upcoming releases announced
9. Anna-Marie McLemore Speaking of beautiful prose: Anna-Marie McLemore might as well take out a patent on lyrism. Her writing is some of the most lush and flowery I’ve ever read, and in the hands of any other author, or in any other genre, I’d probably dislike it. In Anna-Marie McLemore’s skillful hands, woven into whimsical and lush magical realism stories, it works like a charm. I always struggle during the first few pages to get a hang of her unique style, but McLemore always manages to cast her magic on me in the end. Favorite book by this author: When the Moon was Ours Upcoming releases: Dark and Deepest Red (January 14th 2020, Feiwel & Friends)
10. Lindsay Eagar Last but not least, we have the only middle grade author on this list. I hadn’t read any middlegrade since I passed the age of 12, until I picked up Lindsay Eagars The Hour of Bees in 2016, and had my eyes opened to what this genre can do. Eagars can pull younger readers in with elements of magic and whimsey, but underneath that, they cover deeper subjects like grief, family and growing up. Eagar is one of those authors that doesn’t underestimate the situations that young people can (and sometimes have to) understand and deal with. Her stories are approachable, helpful and meaningful, not just for middle-graders, but for anyone who remembers what the world felt like at that age.
Favorite book by this author: The Hour of Bees Upcoming releases: Candlewick Press has acquired the rights to 2 upcoming books, scheduled for release in 2020 and 2021.
I hope I helped put some of these people on your radar, and I’d love to hear if you’ve read any of their books and what you think of them. Let me know if you’d like me to add to this list in the future, or if you’d like to hear of more authors who’s name spark my interest when they appear in a new release-list. For now: I wish you all happy reading, and hope to see you in my next post.