Thanks to everyone shouting out about the awesome books below, but especially Hux, who's done an incredible job of getting stuff onto the spreadsheet that me and Debbie started years ago but are rarely able to find time to update any more. Much appreciated, Hux!
Ten Books I'm Most Excited For In The First Half Of 2020
Dangerous Remedy by Kat Dunn (Zephyr) - These aren't really in any order, apart from this one, because seeing this hit shelves is something I've been desperate for for TWO YEARS. At Christmas 2017 I offered to beta-read Kat's book and was quickly drawn into her magical world of 18th century Paris, a wonderful found family, and a mysterious girl who the Royalists and the Revolutionaries are both desperate to get their hands on. I'm excited to see what's changed since that early version (even if I'm kinda hoping the answer is "NOTHING", given my feedback was "OMG HURRY UP AND GET THIS PUBLISHED NOW IT IS INCREDIBLE I LOVE EVERYONE!!!) It's been awesome seeing my Twitter timeline fill up with early readers who are praising it to the hilt, and I'm definitely reading my proof very soon, but I'm thrilled at the thought of readers in all bookshops being able to get their hands on this outstanding novel.
Deathless Divide by Justina Ireland (Titan) - Dread Nation is one of my favourite series starers in years, introducing the wonderful characters of Jane McKeene - successful student at Miss Preston’s School of Combat for Negro Girls where she trains to fight against the zombie hordes and Katherine Deveraux, her rival turned ally. The duo are outstanding, as is Justina's world-building, and I'm so excited for the next instalment in the series to arrive next month!
The Love Hypothesis by Laura Steven (Electric Monkey) - LGBT romcom from the author of The Exact Opposite Of Okay, which was breathtakingly good, sounds incredible! It's about a girl who discovers a questionable scientific breakthrough which will make everyone around her want her, and sounds like hilarious zany fun.
The Henna Wars by Adiba Jaigirdar (Page Street Kids) - F/F romance between two childhood friends who've just reconnected when their school starts a business competition which sees both of them want to showcase their skills as henna artists sounds like a completely original and gorgeous read. Early reviews from a couple of people I know who've read it are really positive.
Every Little Piece Of My Heart by Non Pratt (Walker) - (Dammit I wrote this then just checked and found it's August 2020. I'm using 'First Half of 2020' more loosely than a maths teacher should, okay?) As far as genres go, YA contemporary is my absolute favourite. As far as YA contemporary authors go, Non Pratt is one of the most reliably excellent around. This novel about a girl receiving letters from the best friend who left town unexpectedly, addressed not to her but to people on the periphery of her life, sounds intriguing!
Find Your Truth by Angie Thomas (Walker) - One of my ambitions for the year is to try and get back into writing fiction, so a creative writing journal definitely sounds like it would be helpful. A guided journal written by the author of The Hate U Give, one of my favourite books of the last decade and almost certainly the most important YA of that time period? SUPER-excited for this!
The Enigma Game by Elizabeth Wein (Bloomsbury) - Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein was one of my favourite books of the last decade, as mentioned in last week's post. I also adored her recent prequel, The Pearl Thief. So this story, which brings in Jamie Beaufort-Stuart from those two books and Ellen McEwen from The Pearl Thief, has my attention just from the characters involved. The plot - an orphan of mixed-race heritage takes a job looking after an old lady with a dark past, while traveler Ellen is held hostage by a German pilot with a terrible secret, as Jamie's squadron is posted to a nearby airfield - also sounds incredible, though.
Mina and the Mansion of the Macabre by Amy McCaw (Uclan Publishing) - I'm also not 100% sure on release date for this, but it sounds INCREDIBLE and Amy is a friend of mine and super knowledgeable about YA so I have extremely high hopes for it. It's a Nineties-set novel about a girl entangled in a murder mystery during a vampire festival, which sounds so up my street it could practically be my next-door neighbour.
Harley in the Sky by Akemi Dawn Bowman (Ink Road) - This novel about an aspiring trapeze artist who runs away FROM the circus her parents own to join a rival troupe sounds fantastic and I love things set in the world of the performing arts. I thought Akemi Dawn Bowman's Starfish was gorgeously lyrical, and am excited to read more by her.
We Are Totally Normal by Rahul Kanakia (HarperTeen) - Rahul Kanakia's Enter Title Here, about a girl trying to write a YA novel about the type of popular kid that she's never actually been, is one of my favourite ever contemporaries with an enthrallingly unlikeable protagonist. We Are Totally Normal, billed as perfect for fans of Becky Albertalli (one of my favourite YA writers) sounds like another fantastic read. It's about a guy falling for another boy for the first time, and the resulting anxiety he has about his sexuality and what his friends will think about it. It sounds like a difficult topic to do justice to but in the hands of someone as incredibly talented as Rahul Kanakia I'm confident it will be done brilliantly.