Top 10 Tuesday: New-to-Me Authors I Read in 2020

Welcome to Top 10 Tuesday! This is a weekly challenge hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, and this week’s challenge is about authors I read that were new to me in 2020.

I was really excited to put together a list for this challenge! I appreciate how the focus is on authors that are new to me, but not necessarily new in 2020. For instance, I read Bram Stoker’s Dracula for the first time last year, but Bram Stoker certainly isn’t a new author! I tend to prioritize older books that I’ve been meaning to read for a while, rather than new releases each year. It’s not that I don’t read more current releases, it just isn’t usually what I prioritize. On this list, you’ll find a mix of authors that were new to me in 2020 as well as authors that were new to everyone last year! These were all authors that were not only unfamiliar to me, but whose work I truly loved. Here is my top ten (in no particular order)!

1. Renée Watson

Amazon.com: Piecing Me Together (9781681191058): Watson, Renée: Books

Piecing Me Together was one of the last books I read in 2020, and one of the best books I’ve ever read. I’m committed now to reading every book she’s written thus far and everything she writes after! Her newest YA book, Love Is a Revolution, is coming out in February and I can’t wait!!

Her writing is just so lyrical. It’s simple but powerful, and the stories she tells are so important.

You can find the Goodreads synopsis of Piecing Me Together HERE.

2. Elizabeth Acevedo

Amazon.com: The Poet X (9780062662804): Acevedo, Elizabeth: Books

The Poet X is another one that I read at the end of 2020, but that will stick with me forever. I own With the Fire on High and it is very high up on my TBR list due to how much I loved her debut novel. I’m also hoping to be able to read Clap When You Land in the near future.

Like with Renée Watson, I’m planning on reading anything and everything written by Elizabeth Acevedo. The Poet X was such a powerfully and beautifully written novel-in-verse, I felt so many different emotions while reading it. Yet again, powerful and important stories being written in beautiful and memorable ways.

You can find the Goodreads synopsis for The Poet X HERE.

3. Leah Johnson

Amazon.com: You Should See Me in a Crown (9781338503265): Johnson, Leah:  Books

This book keeps showing up in my themed weekly posts, and I’m not sorry about it! You can expect it to continue to show up on my blog because it was just that good.

Leah Johnson was a debut author in 2020. And her YA novel You Should See Me in a Crown was, in my opinion, a game-changer in the world of YA. I read a lot of YA fiction, but I had never read anything that moved me like this before. I loved her realistic and empathetic portrayal of mental illness (specifically anxiety), as well as her raw yet still optimistic portrayal of teen friendships.

I will read anything Leah Johnson writes, and I’m looking forward to her follow-up novel, Rise to the Sun, in July!

You can find the Goodreads synopsis of You Should See Me in a Crown HERE.

4. Lisa Jewell

Then She Was Gone: A Novel: Jewell, Lisa: 9781501154645: Amazon.com: Books

Then She Was Gone!! I’m kind of new to the thriller genre, and this one was so intense. I listened to this as an audiobook, and it kept me feeling on-edge the whole time.

I also read I Found You later in the year, and it was another solid thriller! I think Lisa Jewell is now one of my go-to authors when I’m looking for something new to read! If I saw one of her books on a shelf, I wouldn’t hesitate to add it to my cart.

You can find the Goodreads synopsis of Then She Was Gone HERE.

5. Louise Erdrich

The Birchbark House: Erdrich, Louise: 9780786814541: Amazon.com: Books

I read The Birchbark House last year and really enjoyed it! I can’t remember having read many books that feature Native American characters, culture, and/or history, so this book was really powerful for me. I see books from this author pop up everywhere, and I love that she writes for both adults and children. I read this one with my students in mind, but I’m looking forward to checking out some of her books geared toward adults as well!

You can find the Goodreads synopsis of The Birchbark House HERE.

6. Dean Atta

Amazon.com: The Black Flamingo (9780062990297): Atta, Dean: Books

The Black Flamingo was another novel-in-verse I read last year that was really powerful. It was such a unique and important story to tell, and I’m excited to see what Atta does next.

You can find the Goodreads synopsis of The Black Flamingo HERE.

7. Adrian Tchaikovsky

Amazon.com: Children of Time (9780316452502): Tchaikovsky, Adrian: Books

My goal of reading more sci-fi last year helped me discover something important about myself as a reader: I’m not a huge fan of the sci-fi genre. However, that doesn’t mean I’m ruling it out entirely! It’s just very hit-or-miss for me.

Children of Time was one of the best sci-fi books I read last year, and one that I’m still thinking about several months after reading it! I thought the concepts and themes were really clever and original, and I’m excited to see what else Tchaikovsky comes up with!

You can find the Goodreads synopsis of Children of Time HERE.

8. Jasmine Warga

Amazon.com: Other Words for Home (9780062747808): Warga, Jasmine: Books

Other Words for Home was the first book I read in 2020, and it ended up being one of my favorites of the whole year!

I was reading this one with my students right before quarantine started, so we unfortunately never got to finish it in class. However, the conversations this story sparked in the classroom were so powerful, and it helped my students learn about an experience, culture, and part of the world that was entirely unfamiliar them prior to reading this book. I loved seeing how they were able to make so many connections with the main character and the story as a whole.

I’ll be keeping an eye out for Jasmine Warga’s follow-up novel, The Shape of Thunder, coming out in May!

You can find the Goodreads synopsis of Other Words for Home HERE.

9. Chanel Miller

Know My Name: A Memoir: Miller, Chanel: 9780735223707: Amazon.com: Books

When I started reading Know My Name, I knew the story would be powerful. What I didn’t know was just how incredible the writing would be.

Chanel Miller is not only an inspiring, strong, and courageous woman, but she is also an incredibly talented writer.

I can’t remember where exactly I read this (in the book or maybe online), but I remember reading that she would like to write children’s books one day. When she does, I will be buying two copies each without hesitation: one for my classroom and one for my own personal library.

You can find the Goodreads synopsis of Know My Name HERE.

10. Amy Tan

The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan (1990) Mass Market Paperback: Amazon.com: Books

New to me, but definitely not new to the rest of the world! I technically started reading The Joy Luck Club in fall of 2019, but life got busy and I didn’t end up finishing it until March of 2020 (little did I know that life would be slowing down pretty drastically, and I would finally have time to finish it!). Even though I read it in sporadic bursts, it was still a really memorable read. To me, this speaks volumes about how well it was written; not even my unfortunate reading circumstances (a few pages here and there over the course of a few months) could deter me from falling in love with this story.

It’s a modern classic for a reason, and I can’t wait to check out some of her other work!

You can find the Goodreads synopsis for The Joy Luck Club HERE.

Have you read any of these books? What would your top ten be?

Let me know in the comments!

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