Spotlight on 2020 Debuts

2020 has been a rough year for all of us for a variety of reasons — but one thing we all missed out on was being able to go celebrate new debuts in public! This was a tough year for debut authors, so I wanted to take some time to show them how much we appreciate them and their books! Below you’ll find a short list of some 2020 debuts, so if you’re looking for a last minute holiday gift, or are going to be buying more books with the gift cards you get…look no further! Please leave the titles and authors of more 2020 debuts in the comments below, and I’ll add them to the overall post!

“She’s With Me” – Jessica Cunsolo

A new town, a new love, another chance to stay alive.

Arriving in another new town, Amelia Collins vows to fit in and finish her senior year drama free. There can’t be any mistakes. Staying under the radar is what keeps Amelia one step ahead of the man who is trying to find and destroy her.

But when she’s befriended by a group of students who make her feel safe and loved, Amelia struggles to maintain her distance, especially when faced with her feelings for Aiden Parker, whose piercing gray eyes and strength weaken her resolve.

When Aiden’s ex-girlfriend threatens Amelia in ways that make her easy to find, she has to act quickly. Feeling crushed by her desire for a normal life and not wanting to leave her friends behind, Amelia has an impossible choice to make between survival or the chance at real love.

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Release Date: January 7th, 2020

Publisher: Wattpad Books

Genre: YA Contemporary Romance

Author Bio:

Jessica Cunsolo’s young adult series, With Me, has amassed over one hundred million reads on Wattpad since she posted her first story, She’s With Me, on the platform in 2015. The novel has since won a 2016 Watty Award for Best Teen Fiction, and has been published in French by Hachette Romans and in Spanish by Grupo Planeta. Jessica lives with her dog, Leo, just outside of Toronto, where she enjoys the outdoors and transforming her real-life awkward situations into plotlines for her viral stories. You can find her on Twitter @AvaViolet17, on Instagram, @jesscunsolo, or on Wattpad @AvaViolet.

“Together We Caught Fire” – Eva V. Gibson

Lane Jamison’s life is turned upside down the week before her senior year when her father introduces her to his new fiancée: mother of Grey McIntyre, Lane’s longtime secret crush. Now with Grey living in Lane’s house, there’s only a thin wall separating their rooms, making it harder and harder to deny their growing mutual attraction—an attraction made all the more forbidden by Grey’s long-term girlfriend Sadie Hall, who also happens to be Lane’s friend.

Torn between her feelings for Grey and her friendship with Sadie—not to mention her desire to keep the peace at home—Lane befriends Sadie’s older brother, Connor, the black sheep of the strict, evangelical Hall family. Connor, a metalworking artist who is all sharp edges, challenges Lane in ways no one else ever has. As the two become closer and start to open up about the traumas in their respective pasts, Lane begins to question her conviction that Connor is just a distraction.

Tensions come to a head after a tragic incident at a party, forcing Lane to untangle her feelings for both boys and face the truth of what—and who—she wants, in this gripping and stunningly romantic debut novel.

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Release date: February 4, 2020

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Genre: YA dark contemporary romance with heavy subject matter – book contains a content warning

Author bio:

Eva V. Gibson is the author of contemporary YA novels Together We Caught Fire (February 2020) and Where Secrets Lie (April 2021).

A bookworm since early childhood, she has routinely gravitated to the dark and gritty, reading, then writing, stories with grim themes and flawed, complicated characters.

She lives in Northern Virginia with her family, and spends most of her time brooding, baking, creating, and parenting, awaiting the day her kids read her books with equal parts excitement and trepidation.


“If You Only Knew” – Prerna Pickett

A boy recently released from jail and the daughter of a prosecutor fall for each other against the odds in Prerna Pickett’s YA novel, If You Only Knew.

Corey has just been released from jail, and all he wants is a new beginning. But when his former gang comes knocking, Corey agrees to vandalize the home of Kent Hopper, the prosecutor who put him away.

To erase the guilt she carries from getting away with a crime, Tessa spends most of her nights riding her motorcycle. When she catches Corey destroying her father’s car, she doesn’t see a criminal: She sees a way to finally right her own wrongs. So instead of turning Corey over to the police, she convinces her father to give Corey a second chance.

As Tessa and Corey spend more time with each other, it becomes difficult to ignore the pull between them. But they’re both keeping secrets, and when those secrets come to light, they’ll each have to face their demons in order to have a future together.

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Release Date: February 11th, 2020

Publisher: Swoon Reads / Macmillan

Genre: YA Contemporary Romance

Author Bio:

Prerna Pickett believes in magic, fairy tales, and unicorns. Writing was always her dream job and now she gets to live the dream. When Prerna isn’t writing, she can usually be found daydreaming about writing, or at the library helping her five kids choose books. If You Only is her debut novel and is published with Swoon Reads/ Macmillan. 

“If We Were Us” – K.L. Walther

Everyone at the prestigious Bexley School believes that Sage Morgan and Charlie Carmichael are meant to be….that it’s just a matter of time until they realize that they are actually in love.
When Luke Morrissey shows up on the Bexley campus his presence immediately shakes things up. Charlie and Luke are drawn to each other the moment they meet, giving Sage the opportunity to steal away to spend time with Charlie’s twin brother, Nick.

But Charlie is afraid of what others will think if he accepts that he has much more than a friendship with Luke. And Sage fears that things with Nick are getting too serious too quickly. The duo will need to rely on each other and their lifelong friendship to figure things out with the boys they love.

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Release Date: June 2nd, 2020

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Genre: YA Contemporary Romance

Author Bio:

K.L. Walther was born and raised in the rolling hills of Bucks County, Pennsylvania surrounded by family, dogs, and books. Her childhood was spent traveling the northeastern seaboard to play ice hockey. She attended a boarding school in New Jersey and went on to earn a B.A. in English from the University of Virginia. She is happiest on the beach with a book, cheering for the New York Rangers, or enjoying a rom-com while digging into a big bowl of popcorn and M&Ms.

“The Sky Is Mine” – Amy Beashel

The Sky Is Mine is a contemporary YA exploring issues around domestic abuse and consent. Described by Jennifer Niven as one of her favourite YA books ever and with a sound track inspired by Desert Island Discs, The Sky Is Mine is a call to young women everywhere to discover the power of their own voice. 

Izzy feels invisible. Trapped under the weight of expectation and censored by shame.

Her mum Steph and best friend Grace have always been there to save her. But with one under the control of her stepfather and the other caught in the throes of new love, Izzy is falling between the cracks.

As threats to her safety grow, Izzy wants to scream. But first she must find her voice.

And if the sky is the limit, then the sky is hers.

[This book contains material which some readers may find distressing, including discussions of rape, coercive behaviour, domestic violence and abuse.]

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U.S. Release Date: July 14th, 2020

Publisher: Rock the Boat

Genre: Contemporary YA

Author Bio:

Amy Beashel, who swore she’d never have pets or live north of London, lives in Shropshire with her family and their two dogs and a cat. When she’s not writing, she’s probably thinking (or crying) about writing. A Guinness-World-Record holder for space hopping a mile in just over 17 minutes, Amy is obsessed with books, podcasts and Nutella.

“Augur of Shadows” – Jacob Rundle

Synopsis: 

Grief-stricken, seventeen-year-old Henri moves to New York City after he loses his father. Vivid dreams and visions lead him to meet a wise young man, Simeon, someone who means more to him than he wants to admit. He also reconnects with an old friend, Etlina. The three of them venture on a journey to fulfill their intertwined destinies in order to bring forth a cataclysmic event that’s meant to hold back the Primordial Evil. With guidance from supernatural beings, Henri and his friends will do what is needed to save the world from the Old Ones.

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Release date: August 13th, 2020

Publisher: THREE FURIES PRESS 

Genre: YA Urban Fantasy/LGBTQIA+

Author Bio:

Jacob John Rundle was born on September 27, 1985, in Galesburg, IL. He attended Knox College, earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Russian Language and Literature. He served eight years in the United States Navy as a Nuclear Mechanic. 

After finishing his time with the Navy, he moved to New Orleans, pursuing his dream of being a writer. Currently residing in upstate New York, he works endlessly as a social worker, and in his spare time, works as a book blogger and reviewer.

“Where Dreams Descend” – Janella Angeles

In a city covered in ice and ruin, a group of magicians face off in a daring game of magical feats to find the next headliner of the Conquering Circus, only to find themselves under the threat of an unseen danger striking behind the scenes.

As each act becomes more and more risky and the number of missing magicians piles up, three are forced to reckon with their secrets before the darkness comes for them next.

The Star: Kallia, a powerful showgirl out to prove she’s the best no matter the cost

The Master: Jack, the enigmatic keeper of the club, and more than one lie told

The Magician: Demarco, the brooding judge with a dark past he can no longer hide

Where Dreams Descend is the startling and romantic first book in Janella Angeles’ debut Kingdom of Cards fantasy duology where magic is both celebrated and feared, and no heart is left unscathed.

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Release Date: August 25th, 2020

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Genre: YA Fantasy

Author Bio:

Janella Angeles is a Filipino-American author who got her start in writing through consuming glorious amounts of fanfiction at a young age–which eventually led to penning a few of her own, and later on, creating original stories from her imagination. A lifelong lover of books, she’s lucky enough to be working in the business of publishing them on top of writing them. She currently resides in Massachusetts, where she’s most likely to be found listening to musicals on repeat and daydreaming too much for her own good. WHERE DREAMS DESCEND is her debut novel. You can visit her online at http://www.janellaangeles.com or follow her on Twitter and Instagram @janella_angeles.

“Blazewrath Games” – Amparo Ortiz

Experience the World Cup with dragons in this debut fantasy, set in an alternate contemporary world, in which riders and their steeds compete in an international sports tournament. 

Lana Torres has always preferred dragons to people. In a few weeks, sixteen countries will compete in the Blazewrath World Cup, a tournament where dragons and their riders fight for glory in a dangerous relay. Lana longs to represent her native Puerto Rico in their first ever World Cup appearance, and when Puerto Rico’s Runner―the only player without a dragon steed―is kicked off the team, she’s given the chance.

But when she discovers that a former Blazewrath superstar has teamed up with the Sire―a legendary dragon who’s cursed into human form―the safety of the Cup is jeopardized. The pair are burning down dragon sanctuaries around the world and refuse to stop unless the Cup gets cancelled. All Lana wanted was to represent her country. Now, to do that, she’ll have to navigate an international conspiracy that’s deadlier than her beloved sport.

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Release date: October 6th, 2020

Publisher: Page Street Kids

Genre: YA Contemporary Fantasy

Author Bio:

Amparo Ortiz was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and currently lives on the island’s northeastern coast. Her short story comic, “What Remains in The Dark,” appears in the Eisner Award-winning anthology PUERTO RICO STRONG (Lion Forge, 2018), and SAVING CHUPIE, her middle grade graphic novel, comes out with HarperCollins in Winter 2022. She holds an M.A. in English and a B.A. in Psychology from the UPR’s Río Piedras campus. When she’s not teaching ESL to her college students, she’s teaching herself Korean, devouring as much young adult fiction as she can, and writing about Latinx characters in worlds both contemporary and fantastical. Her debut novel, BLAZEWRATH GAMES, hits shelves on October 6, 2020 from Page Street Kids.

“Surrender Your Sons” – Adam Sass

Connor Major’s summer break is turning into a nightmare.

His SAT scores bombed, the old man he delivers meals to died, and when he came out to his religious zealot mother, she had him kidnapped and shipped off to a secluded island. His final destination: Nightlight Ministries, a conversion therapy camp that will be his new home until he “changes.”

But Connor’s troubles are only beginning. At Nightlight, everyone has something to hide from the campers to the “converted” staff and cagey camp director, and it quickly becomes clear that no one is safe. Connor plans to escape and bring the other kidnapped teens with him. But first, he’s exposing the camp’s horrible truths for what they are— and taking this place down.

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Release Date: September 15th, 2020

Publisher: Flux

Genre: YA Fiction / LGBTQ+ / Thriller/Suspense

Author Bio:

Adam Sass began writing books in Sharpie on the backs of Starbucks pastry bags. He’s sorry it distracted him from making your latte. Raised in an Illinois farm town, his desire for a creative career took him to Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, and currently, North Carolina, where he lives with his husband and dachshunds.

His short story “98% Graves”was nominated by Writer’s Digest for Best Science Fiction Story of 2015.

A gay geek, he is also a recurring co-host on the popular Buffy the Vampire Slayer podcast Slayerfest98, alongside such special guests as Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. producer Drew Z. Greenberg and RuPaul’s Drag Race winner Trixie Mattel.

His debut YA novel SURRENDER YOUR SONS will release September 15, 2020 by Flux. He is represented by Eric Smith of P.S. Literary.

(I’ll be doing a post like this again for 2021 authors, so if that’s you or someone you know, please email me at buriedinabookshelf@gmail.com with your cover, title, genre, release date, publisher, and synopsis!)

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