(Bonus Note: I raged for 20 minutes and almost started rewriting this post when I couldn't find it anywhere, until I realized I'd accidentally 'scheduled' it for this date in 2020. The perils and pitfalls of being able to backdate...)
Anyway, this is always a fun prompt! In 2020, I read books from at least 55 different authors who are new to me (give or take a few for co-authors I didn't spot when I counted by sorting Goodreads), but after some intense scrutiny I have narrowed it down to a top 10, chosen via secret algorithm that weighs the quality of their book(s) against how interesting their other books look to me. Listed in alphabetical order for simplicity's sake/so I don't have to actually choose my favorite.
1. Sylvia Cassedy (Behind The Attic Wall)
A well renowned children's author who is nevertheless perhaps not quite so well known now as she was 20 years ago, and that's a shame.
2. Katherine Center (Everyone Is Beautiful; The Lost Husband; Happiness for Beginners)
Now I know where to go for some real solid contemporary women's fiction.
3. Heather Vogel Frederick (The Mother-Daughter Book Club)
Much like Laura Schaefer, a true delight on the upper end of middle grade.
4. Emylia Hall (The Swiss Affair)
Appears somewhat in the neighborhood of Katherine Center -- not exactly like her style, but in terms of being women-driven fiction with a side of romance; albeit perhaps a bit more serious -- but over in Europe.
5. Janice Lynn Mather (Learning To Breathe)
Truth be told, I don't read a lot of diverse YA because the plots always look exhaustingly dependent on struggles with racial/cultural identity, but this one was just a compelling story of a girl (set in the Bahamas, which I think might have helped it dodge the identity issues), and I'm so excited to see this author has a second release out there. The low number of ratings on Goodreads for her debut had me worried.
6. Hannah Richell (The Shadow Year)
Joining an increasingly long line of authors who make a career of novels featuring big old houses and/or dual timelines/family secrets, where I'm like I WANT TO READ ALL OF THESE AT ONCE and then never read a second one from. But still eager to think I might!
7. Alden G. Stevens (Lion Boy's White Brother)
Author of an obscure and largely forgotten collection of midcentury tales about boys' adventures in the wilds of Africa, written after living on the continent for six years.
8. Jo Sykes (Saddle a Thunderbolt)
Speaking of midcentury juvenile lit greats, this one's an author of old horse/dog/other adventure books out in ranch country, one of which is in my top 5 for the year. Can't wait to find more.
9. Doreen Tovey (Cats in the Belfry; The Coming of Saska)
You wanted an extensive line of pet memoirs focused on Siamese cats living on a quaint British estate? Maybe not, but I definitely do.
10. K.A. Tucker (Burying Water)
Many of her books do not appeal to me, but the ones that do appear to offer me an avalanche of beautiful settings and the sort of romance tropes I secretly love, provided I approve of the pairing first (she's got a real issue of generally making either the male or female lead The Worst. JUST MAKE THEM BOTH NORMAL AND NOT ~SEXY BAD BOY~ OR ~WILD REBELLIOUS LADY~).
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