Recently, Kirkus editors listed the trends we’d like to see disappear forever. I said the New York Times’ practice of ignoring self-published books needs to go. If sifting through the 1.7 million independently published books was the obstacle, the Gray Lady is welcome to use our pages as a resource starting in 2020. Here are five recently published, starred titles that warrant coverage in the new year.
Ms. Never by Colin Dodds:“Existential dread takes on new meaning in a fantastical tale of shifting realities, second-chance romance, and unwanted business partners,” says our reviewer.
Things They Buried by Amanda K. King and Michael R. Swanson:This debut SF/fantasy series launch “uses dazzling worldbuilding and a hodgepodge of characters, cultures, and fantastic species to tell a powerful, human story.”
There You Are by Mathea Morais: In her novel, “Morais conjures a very specific milieu—urban St. Louis in the 1980s and ’90s—in a way that makes it feel lived-in, and she populates the setting with a panoply of rich characters who express themselves with varying degrees of forthrightness.”
Frontal Matter by Suzanne Samples:Sick lit is alive and well. In her memoir about brain cancer, Samples writes “smoothly written vignettes that manage to be frightening, sad, and humorous all at once. At one point, for example, a nurse confuses her asymmetrical haircut for brain-surgery prep gone wrong.”
The Theoretics of Love by Joe Taylor:“As these various mysteries and relationships unfold, are solved, remain obscure, or end in violence or romance, characters consider the nature of chance and patterns. Along the way, Taylor tells an entertainingly complicated, interwoven story that is, by turns, funny, horrifying, and tender.”
Karen Schechner is the vice president of Kirkus Indie.