There is no way in my wildest dreams I could ever have enough creativity to write my own novel. I love to read, I love to write, but it’s just a skill set I know I do not have. So everyone and anyone who writes a book, published or not, is immediately a hero in my eyes. One of my favorite things about a new year is not only just all the new books we get, but the debut books. I love watching videos of first-time authors opening their boxes of hard copies or reviewer copies and seeing the joy on their faces. I can’t imagine how exciting that must be — to hold the result of so much labor and love in your hands.
This was so hard to cull down! Obviously, there are more than ten debuts being published in 2022 (there’s probably more than ten in January alone), so this list is more of a knee-jerk “these are the books that immediately caught my eye” roundup. I’ve got a mix of age ranges from middle grade to adult, and a variety of genres. I hope that you also find a new title in here that you want to add to your “To Read” pile!
Please note that these publishing dates are always subject to change.
Daughter of the Moon Goddess by Sue Lynn Tan (January 11)
This debut fantasy is inspired by the legend of a Chinese moon goddess named Chang’e. Xingyin has been living on the moon, but doesn’t know it’s because her mother fears retaliation after stealing a prized elixir from the Celestial Emperor. But after Xingyin’s magic begins to develop, she is forced to leave her mother and her home. Disguising her identity, Xingyin makes her way to the Celestial Kingdom in order to learn what she needs to do to save her mother from the Emperor’s wrath. Also, that COVER?!
How High We Go in the Dark by Sequoia Nagamatsu (January 18)
So, first things first — there’s a possibility this book will hit a little too close to home. We’re in the year 2030 and the book centers on the aftermath of a global plague. How High We Go In the Dark spans hundreds of years and tells a story in multiple voices as humanity attempts to rebuild after the devastating pandemic. The stories of the characters join and intertwine and it’s a really beautiful look at the resilience of humanity.
What the Fireflies Knew by Kai Harris (February 2)
This coming-of-age story is told through the eyes of KB, an 11-year-old girl whose life is forever changed one summer. After the death of their father, KB and her sister Nia are sent to live with their estranged grandfather while their mother takes time to grieve. KB is forced to grow up quickly and she learns that hard truth that sometimes our loved ones are deeply flawed people.
Tripping Arcadia by Kit Mayquist (February 22)
The author himself has described the book as an “eat-the-rich, contemporary Gothic” and if that’s not enough of a sell, I don’t know what is. Lena is strapped for cash — she is a med school dropout who is attempting to support her parents after her father is unexpectedly laid off. She is offered a position working for one of Boston’s elite families, and even though it’s not her first choice, she takes the job. But Lena soon learns that the gold and glamour is just a farce and the secrets the Verdeaus hold could be deadly.
A Novel Obsession by Caitlin Barasch (March 15)
Naomi is a struggling writer trying to find inspiration for her big break. But things start to look up when she meets Caleb, a guy who feels too good to be true. That’s when his ex Rosemary re-enters his life. Naomi can’t help but notice that she shares similarities with Rosemary and begins to wonder if they have something else in common other than their interest in Caleb. Looks like she finally has the subject for her novel. Her suspicions quickly turn to paranoia and obsession, and she’ll stop at nothing to finish the story.
A Little Bit Country by Brian D. Kennedy (May 31)
This book has the potential to put me in my feels and I’m so excited to check it out. Meet Emmett, who dreams of becoming the next big country musician. To pursue his dreams, Emmett plans to spend his summer performing at an amusement park owned by his idol, Wanda Jean Stubbs. It’s there that he meets Luke, a disgruntled restaurant worker at the park, who hates country music and isn’t fond of Wanda Jean.
A Botanist’s Guide to Parties and Poisons by Kate Khavari (June 7)
Ok, so I fully admit that what initially drew me to this book was its title. After reading up on this book and learning more about the plot, I am so excited to read this! When Saffron attends a dinner party for the University College of London, the night is unexpectedly cut short when one of the professors’ wives suddenly dies, seemingly having been poisoned. All signs point to Dr. Maxwell, Saffron’s mentor and friend. She becomes determined to help clear his name, no matter the cost.
The Final Strife by Saara El-Arifi (June 23)
The first book in a planned trilogy, The Final Strife is an African-inspired epic fantasy whose social hierarchy is determined by blood. Our story is told through three voices: three women who belong to the three different divisions of the Empire, where the red-blooded reign, blue-blooded work, and the translucent-blooded are forced to be servants. Say hello to hella strong female characters and excellent world-building.
The Book Eaters by Sunyi Dean (August 9)
Welcome to the Yorkshire Moors, where there is a group of people who rely on books for sustenance: the eponymous Book Eaters. The books taste like their contents: for example, a romance novel would be similar to a dessert. And after ingesting, these people retain all of the book’s content. Devon has had some inklings that her son is different, but her worst suspicions are confirmed when she learns he has a different kind of hunger — not hunger for books, but for human minds.
The Last Hope in Hopetown by Maria Tureaud (Fall 2022)
I am so excited for this middle grade fantasy! We’re in a world where vampires and humans live in harmony — as an example, our heroine, 12-year-old Sophie, has been adopted by her two vampire moms. Sophie feels completely safe and loved by them, but even then, a vampire can slip up. And this is what happens to one of her parents. Hating to see her mother this way, Sophie sets off to find a cure and bring her “real” mother back. Along for the journey is Sophie’s best friend, Delphine, who is also a vampire.
Again, this is just a very small list of debuts happening in 2022! There will be so many more interesting titles to come. Looking for some more content to prep your 2022 reading year? Check out these articles: