books

20 2021 debuts you can not miss out on!

Hello everyone! Debuts are of course a very important book for most authors – they determine how how much the publishers think their future books will sell and form a base for their writing career. Invariably, they are also the hardest books to get readers to pick up since they are new and untested and you don’t know if you will like the writing style of the author and hence, the book, so today I’m sharing 21 books from 2021 debuts authors I’ve either read and loved or have heard great things about and will definitely be picking up sometime soo

NOTE: these are books that I loved or am excited for and there are obviously a lot of excellent debuts out there that I might have missed because they unfortunately didn’t pop up on my radar. Also, this is mainly Fantasy and Romance since those are the two genres I prefer to read.

She Who Became The Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan

Genre: Fantasy
Audience: Adult

Mulan meets The Song of Achilles in Shelley Parker-Chan’s She Who Became the Sun, a bold, queer, and lyrical reimagining of the rise of the founding emperor of the Ming Dynasty from an amazing new voice in literary fantasy.

–> this book was so amazing and if you’ve read my review of it, you’ll know exactly how much I love it! the writing, the characters, the plot – everything is fantastic and I highly recommend this book so go pick it up if you haven’t already!

Goodreads | My review | Interview with the author

Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao

Genre: Fantasy
Audience: Young Adult

Pacific Rim meets The Handmaid’s Tale in this blend of Chinese history and mecha science fiction for YA readers. With East Asian inspired mythology and inspired by China’s only female emperor, Wu Zetian this book follows a girl bent on smashing the patriarchy.

–> Fast paced and thrilling, this book had me hooked from the first page. I loved the characters and their determination and getting to know the core of them as layers were pealed away. ALSO that ending omg.

Goodreads | My Review

The Unbroken by C L Clark

Genre: Fantasy
Audience: Adult

In an epic fantasy unlike any other, two women clash in a world full of rebellion, espionage, and military might on the far outreaches of a crumbling desert empire.

–> Sapphic + disability rep and it sounds so so cool? Can not wait to get my hands on it!

Goodreads

Jade Fire Gold by June CL Tan

Genre: Fantasy
Audience: Young Adult

Ferocious action, shadowy intrigue, and a captivating romance collide in June CL Tan’s debut, a stunning homage to the Xianxia novel with a tender, beating heart, perfect for fans of The Bone Witch and We Hunt the Flame.

–> this book was so much fun! It took a little time to understand what was going on but after that I really enjoyed reading it and I really hope we get a sequel or spin off to this book!

Goodreads

The Boy With Fire by Aparna Verma

Genre: Fantasy
Audience: Adult

Dune meets The Poppy War in Aparna Verma’s The Boy with Fire, a glorious yet brutal tour-de-force debut that grapples with the power and manipulation of myth in an Indian-inspired epic fantasy.

–> I absolutely loved the writing of this book! While the story took some time to pick up, it was fun and interesting and I’m excited to see where it goes in the sequel!

Goodreads

The Lady or The Lion by Aamna Qureshi

Genre: Fantasy
Audience: Young Adult

Retells “The Lady or the Tiger?” against a Pakistan-inspired world of forbidden love and court intrigues.

—> honestly this book just sounds so cool and I’ve heard that the prose is amazing so I can not wait to read it!

Goodreads

Wings of Ebony by J Elle

Genre: Fantasy
Audience: Young Adult

In this riveting, keenly emotional debut fantasy, a Black teen from Houston has her world upended when she learns about her godly ancestry and must save both the human and god worlds. Perfect for fans of Angie Thomas, Tomi Adeyemi, and The Hunger Games!

Goodreads

Blood Like Magic by Liselle Sambury

Genre: Fantasy
Audience: Young Adult

A rich, dark urban fantasy debut following a teen witch who is given a horrifying task: sacrificing her first love to save her family’s magic. The problem is, she’s never been in love—she’ll have to find the perfect guy before she can kill him.

—> First of all, look at that cover?? the colours and the vibes are just so amazing! Secondly, I love the concept and I just can not wait to read this book!

Goodreads

A Dark and Hollow Star by Ashley Shuttleworth

Genre: Fantasy
Audience: Young Adult

The Cruel Prince meets City of Bones in this thrilling urban fantasy set in the magical underworld of Toronto that follows a queer cast of characters racing to stop a serial killer whose crimes could expose the hidden world of faeries to humans.

Goodreads

Witches Steeped in Gold by Ciannon Smart

Genre: Fantasy
Audience: Young Adult

This Jamaican-inspired fantasy debut about two enemy witches who must enter into a deadly alliance to take down a common enemy has the twisted cat-and-mouse of Killing Eve with the richly imagined fantasy world of Furyborn and Ember in the Ashes.

–> this sounds so amazing and I loved An Ember in the Ashes which is one of the comps for this book so you know I need to read this soon!

Goodreads

Within These Wicked Walls by Lauren Blackwood

Genre: Fantasy
Audience: Young Adult

Within These Wicked Walls is described as an Ethopian inspired Jane Eyre retelling and I am a big fan of Kane Eyre so I can’t wait to read this book and see it’s take on that story!

Goodreads

The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna

Genre: Fantasy
Audience: Young Adult

The Gilded Ones is a bold and immersive West African-inspired and empowering feminist fantasy story that follows 16-year-old Deka living in Otera, a deeply patriarchal ancient kingdom. There, a woman’s worth is tied to her purity, and she must bleed to prove it. But when Deka bleeds gold – the color of impurity, or that of a demon – she faces a consequence worse than death. She’s saved by a mysterious woman who tells Deka of her true nature: she is an Alaki, a near-immortal with exceptional gifts. The stranger offers her a choice: fight for the Emperor, with others like her, or be destroyed.

Goodreads

Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley

Genre: Mystery
Audience: Young Adult

Firekeeper’s Daughter follows 18-year-old Daunis Fontaine, a half-native, half-white former hockey player/aspiring scientist who never feels fully settled in either her reservation or the outside world. She finds herself even more torn when she witnesses her best friend’s murder and is pulled into an FBI investigation centered on a lethal new drug running wild among her friends and family. It doesn’t help that she’s falling for the mysterious Jamie, a new player on her brother’s hockey team who (spoiler alert) turns out to be an undercover FBI agent who asks her to be an informant on the case.

Goodreads

American Betiya by Anuradha D. Rajurkar

Genre: Contemporary
Audience: Young Adult

Fans of Sandhya Menon, Erika Sanchez and Jandy Nelson will identify with this powerful story of a young artist grappling with first love, family boundaries, and the complications of a cross-cultural relationship.

–> This book is so so good. It discussed fetishisation and micro aggressions and how a teen is struggling to deal with it all and I adored it.

Goodreads | My review

Honey Girl by Morgan Rogers

Genre: Contemporary
Audience: Adult

Honey Girl tells the story of Grace Porter, a 28-year-old queer, Black woman. Fresh out of a PhD program, Grace embarks on a celebratory Vegas trip with her friends. The novel opens with Grace hungover and recalling a hazy memory of marrying a woman whose name she doesn’t remember. This leads her on a wild adventure spanning from Portland to New York City to Florida to discover her mystery bride and, ultimately, herself.

—> Such beautiful writing + honest discussions of mental health + finding yourself?? This book exceeded all expectations.

Goodreads

Fifteen Hundred Miles from the Sun

Genre: Contemporary
Audience: Young Adult

A poignant, funny, openhearted novel about coming out, first love, and being your one and only best and true self.

–> this book sounds exactly like something I’d fall in love with so I can not wait to get my hands on a copy of it and find a new favourite once I have read it!

Goodreads

Meet Cute Diary by Emery Lee

Genre: Romance
Audience: Young Adult

Felix Ever After meets Becky Albertalli in this swoon-worthy, heartfelt rom-com about how a transgender teen’s first love challenges his ideas about perfect relationships.

–> Fun and cute with complicated and messy teens who fall in love this was a cute and enjoyable book!

Goodreads

The Charm Offensive by Alison Cochrun

Genre: Romance
Audience: Adult

In this witty and heartwarming romantic comedy—reminiscent of Red, White & Royal Blue and One to Watch—an awkward tech wunderkind on a reality dating show goes off-script when sparks fly with his producer. 

Goodreads

The Jasmine Project by Meredith Ireland

Genre: Romance
Audience: Young Adult

Jenny Han meets The Bachelorette in this effervescent romantic comedy about a teen Korean American adoptee who unwittingly finds herself at the center of a competition for her heart, as orchestrated by her overbearing, loving family.

Goodreads

Ace of Spades by Faridah Abike-Ayimide

Genre: Mystery
Audience: Young Adult

An incendiary and utterly compelling thriller with a shocking twist that delves deep into the heart of institutionalized racism, from an exceptional new YA voice. 

–> Absolutely brilliant and one of the best books I’ve read! This book truly deserves all the love it gets and if you somehow still haven’t picked it up, you really should!

Goodreads

Have you read any of these? What’d you think of them? Are you planning to read any of these? What are some 2021 debuts you loved? Let me know in the comments below!

18 thoughts on “20 2021 debuts you can not miss out on!

  1. I haven’t read any of these books, but so many are on my TBR! Glad to see you loved iron widow so much, because I am honestly SO EXCITED for it! I love this list so much, thank you for all the recs!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Such good books! I loved The Gilded Ones, Honey Girl, and The Unbroken, and managed to read Iron Widow and She Who Became the Sun!
    Now I’ve just got to read all of the other books you mentioned in this list!

    Liked by 1 person

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