If your book club is struggling to find their next read, consider putting these debut authors on your radar for 2024. For fans of fantasy, The City of Stardust will take you on a journey to break a centuries-old curse and Fathomfolk will bring you into an imaginative world centered around the tensions between humans and fathomfolk. Mistakes We Never Made, a classical will-they-won’t-they, will tug at your heartstrings. The books in this list will surely spice up your next book club meeting.
For centuries, the Everlys have experienced a curse—their best and brightest taken as punishment for a crime no one remembers. Penelope, their tormentor, never ages, never gets sick, and never forgives a debt. When Violet Everly mother leaves to break the curse, Penelope issues an ultimatum: Violet has ten years to find her mother or she will take her place. As the last of the Everly line, she will be the last to suffer unless she can break the curse. This quest leads her down a lush world of magic, stardust, and monsters.
Sunday Forrester lives a careful life: eating only white foods most days and using her etiquette handbook to guide her through confusing social situations. The only thing out of her control is her sixteen-year-old daughter Dolly. Their lives get turned around when a couple, Vita and Rollo, move next door and break all of Sunday’s rules. As the couple pushes themselves into Sunday’s life, a darker motive is revealed, for Sunday has something Vita has always wanted—a daughter.
In Tiankawi, humans are living literally at the top, peering down from shining towers and aerial walkways on the fathomfolk—sirens, seawitches, kelpies, and kappas—who live in the polluted waters below. Mira, half-siren, already has a hard time earning the trust and respect of her human colleagues. Everything is put in jeopardy when a know-it-all water dragon and fathompolk princess, Nami, is exiled to the city, under Mira’s watch. When extremists sabotage a city festival, violence erupts, restricting fathomfolk rights. Inspired by East Asian mythology and ocean folk tales, this is a novel about magic, rebellion, and change.
Annabelle unexpectedly takes a collect call from Lee County Jail. She isn’t prepared to hear her mother’s voice, saying she had shot someone who messed with her mangos. This begins a complicated, poignant memoir of growing up as a mixed-race Filipina in suburban Florida while reckoning with tangled branches of Annabelle’s life. While trying to trace her own journey of belonging, she must reckon with her erratic father’s untimely death and her fiery mother’s yearning for the country she left behind.
Reclusive E.’s beautiful discovery outside her window prompts a correspondence with renowned scholar Henerey Clel. The letters are filled with passion for their mutual interests, then transforming inevitably for each other. Together, they uncover a mystery that’ll transform the underwater world. A year later, Sophy, E.’s sister, and Vyerin, Henerey’s brother, are left to piece together their letters and field notes to learn what their siblings’ disappearance might mean for life as they know it. This romantasy is a great next pick for your book club.
Emma Townsend and Finn Hughes’ situationship is a story of “almost” and nearlys”. Now, they can’t stand to be in the same room with each other. When one of their mutual friends gets married, they’ll have to pretend they don’t remember how disastrous it was the last time they were in a room together. Suddenly the bride goes missing. With two days before the wedding, they’ll need to hit the road to salvage someone else’s happily-ever-after, but old feelings start to spark. The Bachelorette star and New York Times bestselling author Hannah Brown gives us an an amazing debut novel full of irrepressibly funny moments that will make you question whether risking your heart is ever really a mistake.
Seventh-grader Reese lives in rural North Carolina with his hardworking mom and charismatic dad. His world turns upside down one day when he finds his dad on the floor, lips turning blue, overdosed. Again, Reese gets his dad out of danger, but instead of going on as before, his mom announces she and Reese are leaving until his dad gets real help with his addiction. Now, outside of town, Reese meets Meg and Charlie. The trio’s friendship grows as they explore the blackwater river nearby, and Reese discovers new beauty and joy in nature. His dad also does better and is talking to his mom again. But how long can the good times last?
Emily Hoang is a writer and editor, who is obsessed with haunted houses, ghosts, and dreams. More info can be found on her website.