Well, folks, it’s officially December. What a year 2021 has been! Among all the many other things 2021 has brought us, it also brought us the MuggleNet FART challenge! It has been a whole year of pushing our reading habits in new and exciting spaces. For the last challenge of the year, we’re reading Debut – an author’s very first book. Here’s a selection of debuts released in 2021 that we loved at MuggleNet.
Crying in H Mart: a memory by Michelle Zauner
She is raw, ugly and honest when she writes about cancer and her mother’s eventual death, and how she cries as she urgently learns to cook the Korean dishes she grew up eating. As a former fan of his music, it was heartbreaking to read things like his family dog, Julia, wandering around the house after her mother died and revisiting lyrics like “The dog is confused / She’s doing them. a hundred paces all day / She sniffs your empty room ‘I’ve been listening to for years.
—Meg Scott, Copy Editing Coordinator
A dark hollow star by Ashley Shuttleworth
A dark hollow star is an urban fantasy novel starring well-developed and well-written LGBTQ + main characters. This novel is set in Toronto with the four teenagers – Arlo, Nausicaä, Vehan, and Aurelian – trying to figure out who and why someone is killing half-fae. This novel was well written, had a complex plot that left me guessing until the end, and all of the characters were fully developed. I continued to raving about this book to anyone who wanted to listen to it. The sequel is expected to be released in the summer of 2022.
—Kaitlyn Csenkey, Web Content Editor
Ariadne by Jennifer Saint
If you like tales from Greek mythology, strong female characters, and sisterly relationships, this book is for you. It is about the sisters’ struggles to free themselves from the grip and punishment of men and to learn to become their own.
—Amy Parikka, video producer
For the wolf by Hannah Whitten
It’s a dark fantasy where the second born daughter of the royal family is to be sacrificed to the wolf in the woods to help save the kingdom. When this happens to the protagonist Red, she realizes that the myths and stories maybe all wrong and that there is more going on than everyone else thinks.
—Jess Thompson, columnist
Delicious girl by Morgan Rogers
Delicious girl is about a woman who travels to Las Vegas and ends up marrying a stranger. She has just obtained her doctorate and is struggling to find a suitable job. She therefore leaves for New York to live with his new wife. This book is beautifully written and really touched me because it is about a person my age who gets lost and goes on a journey to find love, a new relationship with her parents and herself.
—Rachel Dechert, Editor-in-Chief
We’ll sing a song in the depths by Andrew Kelley Stewart
I went through this novel in one sitting, then passed it on to my mother, who did the same. Strange, musical and disturbing, We’ll sing a song in the depths is attached to a slowly breaking down nuclear submarine that remains from the Cold War. She has a warhead left, and the brainwashed crew waits for a sign from God to shoot it.
—Fiona McTaggart, Creative Editorial Manager
The lost apothecary by Sarah Penner
The lost apothecary by Sarah Penner is a historical fiction novel with a double timeline. In a secret alley in London 1791, Nella sells well-disguised poisons to desperate women who would kill to free themselves from the men in their lives. When one of his clients is a young girl, an unexpected friendship sets off a series of life-changing events. These days Caroline finds a vial when she walks along the Thames. She begins to investigate and finds a link to the unsolved “apothecary murders” that haunted London over two centuries ago. I was immediately invested in Nella’s story and how she distributed poisons to the apothecary. I have never read historical novels like this.
—Kaitlyn Csenkey, Web Content Editor
Fifteen hundred miles from the sun by Jonny Garza Villa
It’s a contemporary queer YA / coming of age romance full of hope, love and joy that made me cry openly at one in the morning.
—Richa Venkatraman, Creative Editorial Manager