I honestly can’t even think about the fact that 2019 is almost over. What happened?! I’m not ready for 2020. At all.
2019 was a mixed year, full of both bad things and good things, but one thing that significantly brightened it was all of the amazing debut novels that were released. Reading debut novels is one of my favorite ways to discover new authors, and 2019 brought in a lot of amazing new authors. So, naturally, I wanted to highlight some of my favorites.
Now, this will be split into 2 sections. The first will include all of my favorite debut novels I’ve read that were released this year, and the second section will include 2019 debuts that I really wish I got to read, but unfortunately haven’t had the chance (yet).
Also, if you’re looking for a list of my top non-debut 2019 releases, stay tuned!! I should have that out to you guys soon. To make sure you don’t miss it, click the button (or enter your email) in the sidebar to follow my blog!
[ Related: Top 18 Best 2018 Releases ]
* these are in no particular order *
Books I’m Dying To Read
A multi-POV fantasy following five main characters: an exiled prince, a killer, a leader, a gambler, and a dying girl. The Seven Prophets guided humanity, until they disappeared, leaving behind one final prophecy that speaks of an Age of Darkness, and a new Prophet who could save them all, or destroy everything.
If you’re looking for some new books to read, keep reading for all of my recommendations!
“On the edge of town a beast haunts the woods, trapped in the Gray, its bonds loosening…” (Goodreads). This book following five teens who are descendants of the founders of their town. When bodies start appearing in the woods, they must solve the town’s mystery, and understand their part in it.
This book is often described as feminist horror and, honestly, same. Hetty’s private school has been placed under quarantine after a mysterious disease started infecting the students and teachers.
I Wish You All The Best is an ownvoices novel following a nonbinary teen who is thrown out of their house and forced to move in with their sister. They struggle with anxiety and try to survive senior year unnoticed, until they begin to fall for the charismatic and funny guy who took them under their wing.
I’ve heard a lot of people say this book is the YA Game of Thrones, so I’m excited to read it. It follows a princess thrust into power after her father is killed. Desperate to find his killer, she enlists the aid of a soothsayer, despite magic being outlawed for centuries,and an investigator who is a convicted criminal himself.
This book is a retelling of The Twelve Dancing Princesses. When four of Annaleigh’s sisters die tragically, rumors spread that her family is cursed. However, after a series of ghostly visions, Annaleigh is convinced there is more to her sisters’ deaths.
Rosa Santos has always been told she is cursed by the sea. However, she simply feels caught, between cultures and choices. As her college decision looms, she meets a mysterious boy who whose family owns the marina. “With her heart, her family, and her future on the line, can Rosa break a curse and find her place beyond the horizon?” (Goodreads).
Lesbian necromancers, need I say more? Gideon the Ninth is the first novel in a new adult series that everyone has been raving about. I’m so excited to see for myself how this book lives up to the hype.
Blood Heir is a fantasy retelling of Anastasia, following a princess with a secret blood Affinity. When she is framed for her father’s murder, she must flee. With the help of cunning crime lord, she must find her father’s true killer and clear her name.
Books I’ve Read & Recommend
Well Met is an enemies-to-lovers romance where the main character must decide what is real, the suave pirate who flirts with her character on the Renaissance Faire grounds, or the man that plays said pirate, who she clashes with outside of the Faire . This book is so cute, I swear. It was everything I wanted it to be and so much more, and I can’t wait for Jen DeLuca to write more in this world!!
Oh my god this book. You know I adore a book when I happen to mention into every single post I make, which was definitely the case with Red, White, and Royal Blue. This book has an enemies-to-lovers romance between the first son of the United States and the Prince of Wales. It’s adorable, funny, and damn it hits you right in the feels.
Small Town Hearts is an adorable contemporary novel dealing with toxic friendships, a budding relationship between an artist who is visiting town for the summer and a girl who lives in a lighthouse, and the main character is bi!!
This book follows a princess, suffering from depression after her kingdom is attacked and their magical Crows killed. When she finds a Crow egg that survived, she and her sister create a plan to take back what they lost. I loved this book for its amazing portrayal of mental illness. It was so refreshing to see a fantasy novel openly talk about mental health!!
This book actually made me like country music, so that’s pretty impressive. You’d Be Mine follows the daughter of two country music legends, who despite wanting to stay in the shadows, agrees to join the tour of a music superstar. I was really impressed by how this book handled really dark subjects, like depression, grief, addiction, alcoholism, and trauma. Be prepared, this book will take you on an insane emotional roller-coaster.
Crier’s War is a F/F slowburn enemies-to-lovers fantasy following a human servant desperate for revenge against the Automae, and the Automae Sovereign’s daughter who discovers there is much about her kingdom, and herself, that she doesn’t know.
This book. Oh my god. The writing is absolutely stunning, the characters are iconic, and the plot? Amazing. We Hunt the Flame follows Zafira, the Hunter who is sent on a mission to find something that will bring magic back to her world, and an assassin prince, Nasir, who is sent to retrieve the artifact and kill the mysterious Hunter.
I had to list this one after We Hunt The Flame, because if you loved that book, you’ll love The Tiger At Midnight as well. This book centers around an enemies-to-lovers romance, as our two main characters – a legendary assassin and a dedicated soldier – find themselves in a cat and mouse game. Despite the higher page count, this book flies by and is absolutely captivating.
Listen, I knew I would like this book, but damn did I not expect how much I would adore it. I could not put it down, and only managed to make this 500+ page book last two days due to sheer force of will. This book follows a witch and a witch hunter, who are forced to get married. You can guess where this book might be going *wink wink*. Serpent and Dove is a romance heavy (definitely upper-YA) fantasy novel with a strong magic system, and fantastic characters.
Wicked Saints killed me. I am dead because of this book. It follows three main characters, caught between two warring countries. Nadya can hear the gods in her head, and they grant her magic. Malachiasz is a heretic blood mage who promises to help her kill the king and stop the war. Serefin is a prince who doesn’t know if his father, the king, wants him dead or if he’s been drinking too much. Or both. Trust me, you don’t want to miss this epic novel.
Bonus: More Fantastic 2019 Debuts!
The only reasons these are on the lists above are: 1) I haven’t read these yet and I couldn’t fit them on my “Dying to Read” list because 2) I was trying to stick to the whole “19 in 2019” gimmick
- The Candle and the Flame by Nafiza Azad (5/14/2019)
- The Merciful Crow by Margaret Owen (7/30/2019)
- An Affair of Poisons by Addie Thorley (2/26/2019)
- We Set The Dark on Fire by Tehlor Kay Mejia (2/26/2019)
- Four Dead Queens by Astrid Sholte (2/26/2019)
- Crown of Feathers by Nicki Pau Preto (2/12/2019)
- Enchantee by Gita Trelease (2/5/2019)
- Nocturna by Maya Motayne (5/7/2019)
- Beyond the Black Door by A.M. Strickland (10/29/2019)
- Fireborne by Rosaria Munda (10/15/2019)
- Crown of Coral and Pearl by Mara Rutherford (8/27/2019)
- Tarnished Are the Stars by Rosiee Thor (10/15/2019)
- The Library of Lost Things by Laura Taylor Namey (10/8/2019)
- Reverie by Ryan La Sala (12/3/2019)
- Dangerous Alliance by Jennieke Cohen (12/3/2019)
And there it is!! All of my favorite 2019 debuts, and those I wish I was able to read!! I swear 2020 will be a busy year, keeping up with all of these authors, catching up on what I missed this year, plus reading fantastic 2020 debuts!!
What was your favorite debut novel of 2019? Are there any on my tbr that you think I should prioritize?
Here’s a nice, shareable graphic I made, highlighting all of my favorite debuts of the year!