Eight 2015 Debut Novels That Shouldn’t Be Missed

As I’ve done in previous years I wanted to highlight some of my favorite debut novels of the year! I always make it a point to read a lot of debut novels and I’ve really enjoyed, over the past 5 years, giving a debut novel a chance and watching over all these years a career propel forward. You just never know which debut novelist will become a favorite and I can say I’ve had this happen quite a few times.


Shoutout to Becky Albertalli’s Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda who was on my overall top 2015 releases and is MY FAVORITE BOOKS OF 2015. So obviously it makes this list!



Mosquitoland David Arnold

1.Mosquitoland by David Arnold: Honestly this was one of my favorite books this year and the only reason I didn’t put it on my overall top 2015 releases is because I knew I would put it on this list and there were some non-debuts I wanted to also get some attention! This book was like nothing I ever read and was really something special! (my review of Mosquitoland)


Underneath Everything

2. Underneath Everything by Marcy Beller Paul: This one was so unsettling the way this relationship between two (toxic) best friends is explored. There was something about it that was so different than anything I’ve ever read in terms of how a toxic friendship was explored. Plus the writing was great! (my mini book talk of Underneath Everything)

Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed

3. Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed: This book was amazing and riveting and oh man I can’t recommend it enough. I didn’t think my heart would be racing as much as it did when I first started this but from the moment her parents try to take her away from who she loves and force her into a marriage I couldn’t put it down. (My review of Written in the Stars)


An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

4. An Ember in Ashes by Sabaa Tahir: What a brutal and intense fantasy novel! I put it off because of the hype but finally read it this Fall and OH MAN. Could not put it down or get it out of my mind. Cannot wait for the sequel! (My review of An Ember in Ashes)
None of the Above by IW Gregorio
5. None of the Above by I.W. Gregorio: Definitely one of the most important books published in 2015 plus I was so absorbed into the story and the MC’s journey finding out she is intersex and then trying to reconcile who she thought she was vs. who she is. (My review of None of the Above)


Under A Painted Sky by Stacey lee review

6. Under A Painted Sky by Stacey Lee: Historical fiction represent! Gender-bending! Oregon Trail! I was so invested in this dangerous adventure novel and Stacey Lee’s writing is so excellent…cannot wait for her next novel! (my review of Under A Painted Sky)


My Heart & Other Black Holes

7. My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga: Okay cheating a little because I actually read it last year but it’s too wonderful not to. This one was heavy and super emotional but also so full of life and hope despite the sadness crying out from the pages. The two main characters both have some awful things that have happened to them and they feel the burden is just too much and that transferred on to me as a reader.  It’s so hard to read as they plot their mutual suicide and, as the countdown until the day it is supposed to happen, you just so desperately want them to find that one shred of hope to turn back from the plan especially as they start to truly form a bond. Warga deftly explores depression and suicide in a way that just haunts you.  (my review of My Heart and Other Black Holes)


All The Bright Places

8. All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven: This book, man. By the end I was gutted. I mean, I don’t think a book in 2015  truly emptied every tear from my body like this one did. I felt everything. Like I lived it right with them. I felt hopeful but I also felt like I just wanted to collapse because my muscles and my heart and everything within me had been overworked while experiencing this one. But I will be honest…as much as I loved this one…I did have a couple semi-problematic things (for me) to work through in regards to it. But like still really recommend it because I think it is one that shouldn’t be missed….and then you should talk to me about it because I still have feelings about things that happened.



Tell me the debut novels that blew you away this year! I don’t want to miss them!!


PS. Check out my top ten 2015 releases and the new-to-me authors I discovered this year!

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About Jamie

Jamie is a 30 year old married lady who is in denial that she’s actually that old. When she’s not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating ice cream, listening to music with oversized headphones and having adventures with her husband and dog.


  1. My Heart & Other Black Holes is one of those books I have on my list of books that I hope to get round to in 2016. Although heavy, the plot sounds amazing and a little edgier for a YA read, which is what I tend to lean to when it comes to YA books. Also, there has been so much positive feedback about that particular book.

    Thank you for sharing these recs, as well as all the wonderful titles you’ve shared over the year. I look forward to many more in 2016!

  2. I’ll have to go back and see what other debuts I read other than None of the Above, All the Bright Places, and How to Be Brave. I definitely recommend How to Be Brave.

  3. Thank you for the recommendations! I already had All The Bright Places on my to read list and thanks to you I added Under a Painted Sky.

    I’m a new subscriber and have been loving your end of the year posts! I plan on posting a round up of everything I read this year on the 28th.

  4. I’ve never even heard of Mosquitoland, but I just read the premise and it sounds amazing. I added it to my TBR on Goodreads. Underneath Everything and My Heart and Other Black Holes both sounds freaking wonderful too. Obviously, I tend to prefer the heavier, more heartbreaking reads. I love that you’re giving the debut authors their own post!

  5. I have read three of these, and loved each one. I have two others from your list on my goodreads wishlist and keep checking to see if my library has gotten them -so far yes to None of the Above, but I’m still waiting for Underneath Everything. Turns out you’re the place for me to go if I wanted to find out about books I’d like. We seem to have similar tastes. 😉

  6. I also read Written in the Stars, None of the Above, My Heart and Other Black Holes, and All the Bright Places — and LOVED them! I’m not even a huge fan of contemporary YA fiction, but those ones really impressed me (and My Heart and Other Black Holes made it on my Favorites of the Year list!). I also read Mosquitoland (which, sadly, I really didn’t like) and An Ember in the Ashes (which was fine, but didn’t blow me away). Great list, Jamie! It’s always fascinating to see everyone’s end of year lists! 😀

  7. I really need to read Mosquitoland. You’ve convinced me!

  8. I loooved An Ember in the Ashes!! I actually DNFed All the Bright Places, I just couldn’t get into it sadly. I haven’t read any others though because I don’t pick up many contemporaries…I may have to look into them, though!

  9. I LOVED All the Bright Places, and I am not yet officially decided, but I do think it was my favorite read of the year! I love your list, and there are a couple on there that I still want to check out – None of the Above and Mosquitoland. Some other debuts that I enjoyed – The Creeping by Alexandra Sirowy, More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera, Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon, The Good Girl by Mary Kubica, The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins. I guess I’m a fan of debuts as well :). Happy Holidays to you!