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Ten exciting books that are guaranteed to start your year off with a bang

We don’t know about you, but there’s something special about getting all snug with a blanket and a cup of tea as you dive right into a gripping book. There have been some spectacular books released recently with so many of them still for us to discover.

If one of your New Year’s Resolutions is to read more, then you’ve come to the right place. We’ve rounded up some of our current favourites alongside our most anticipated for 2019 books, ranging from memoirs to poetry to other-worldly fiction. Hopefully, this selection of books will really get your reading off to a kick start. Just a heads up, this post contains affiliate links. For more information, see our disclosure page.

L.C. Rosen – Jack of Hearts (And Other Parts)

Described as being “unapologetically honest, refreshingly bold, and gloriously celebratory” by Simon James Green (author of ‘Noah Can’t Even’), ‘Jack of Hearts’ is a confidently queer story that breaks away from the stereotypes to create refreshing and relatable characters.

17-year-old Jack is unapologetically queer. He doesn’t care how he comes across, he’s sexually active, he wears make-up and he loves spending his money. Thanks to his bold attitude, his schoolfriends convince him to start a dating advice column. As the column starts to rise in popularity, so does attention on Jack. And it’s true what they say, not all attention is good attention.

Jack starts to receive anonymous love letters in his locker. What once seemed like a fun joke takes a sinister turn when the notes get more threatening and dark. It’s perhaps the only book that blends school life with a detective case and sex advice but we absolutely love it for it. This is the book our teenage selves would have LIVED for.

Buy from Waterstones or Amazon.

Fiona Mozley – Elmet

As a debut novel, Mozley’s ‘Elmet’ has all the qualities of a modern-day classic and shows a writer with a distinctive voice.

Told through the magical feel of an old folktale, ‘Elmet’ follows a family in a corner of Yorkshire as they come to realise their life isn’t what it seems. As children, Cathy and Daniel are expected to roam the woods freely and play, yet are forced by a turn of events to quickly grow up in order to protect themselves.

Shortlisted for the Man Brooker Prize 2018, ‘Elmet’ won the Polari First Book Prize 2018 and is a sense of something really special. Lyrically beautiful, it’s a timeless story of family loyalty and life on the margins.

Buy from Waterstones or Amazon.

Melanie Brown – Brutally Honest

If you’re one of the thousands that have bought tickets to the hugely-anticipated Spice Girls UK tour, then ‘Brutally Honest’ by Scary Spice herself is a must-read. The book is a tough read at times, as it chronicles Melanie Brown’s history with drugs and abusive relationships, but it’s also a necessary one and shows the importance in coming out stronger and wiser from it all.

In a recent interview with Allison Kugel, Brown said of being in an abusive relationship: “When you’re in this situation, you think it’s only happening to you. It’s only when you get out and get to safety that you realize how bad this relationship was, how wrong it was.”

This will provide any diehard Spice Girls fan with a look behind the showbiz curtain of pop superstardom that we often never get a glimpse at – warts and all.

Buy from Waterstones or Amazon.

Lauren Bravo – What Would the Spice Girls Do?

Speaking of the Spice Girls, this book by Lauren Bravo is a must-have for any fan of the band but also anyone interested in feminism and “girl power”.

The Spice Girls showed us how girl power can be about girls working together and the power of friendship. With a little bit of zig-a-zig-ah, ‘What Would the Spice Girls Do’ is an interesting read on the power the band had on a generation of fans and how that particular brand of feminism continues to be relevant today. If you were around in the 90s, grab yourself this slice of nostalgic power.

Buy from Waterstones or Amazon.

Greg Howard – The Whispers

According to Greg Howard himself, this is the most personal story he’s ever written.

It’s a coming-out story that will resonate with readers as much as it will astound and excite them. Before his mother disappeared, Riley’s mother would tell him stories of the Whispers, mysterious creatures that live in the wood with magical powers.

Of course, it was just a fairy tale then… But, could there be something more real to it than Riley could have ever imagined? Described as being timeless yet progressive for its treatment of themes such as religion and sexuality, ‘The Whispers’ is rightfully creating a lot of buzz ahead of its release in early January.

Buy from Waterstones or Amazon.

Andrea Gibson – Lord of the Butterflies

Non-binary poet, activist and artist Andrea Gibson brings together a vivid collection of poetry spanning across emotions and poignant moments in life.

‘Lord of the Butterflies’ brings together Andrea’s unique and delicate vision of gender, romance, loss and family and is a delight to behold. Andrea’s poetry is likely to strike to the core with anyone who can find the beauty and power within words. It’s an emotional breath of air to anyone needing to know they’re not alone in the world.

Buy from Waterstones or Amazon.

Kate Davies – In At The Deep End

Three words to describe this book are flirty, filthy, and fun.

Having not had sex for three years, Julia is about to encounter a whole chain of events that will see her ‘In at The Deep End’. From being accused of breaking a one-night stand’s penis (!!) to wondering whether trimming her pubes makes her a bad feminist, Julia is about to discover that she could have been looking in the completely wrong direction in her quest for love as a sexually-confident lesbian comes into her life.

‘In At The Deep End’ may be Kate Davies debut novel, but if it’s anything like the first reviews are indicating then it could be a confident introduction to promising new talent.

Buy from Waterstones or Amazon.

M.K. England – The Disasters

Praises for its representations of Muslim, South Asian, trans, and bisexual characters, ‘The Disasters’ is a sci-fi delight for YA readers that’ll prove that it’s more than okay to be regarded as something a little bit different.

Marketed as a mix between ‘The Breakfast Club’ and ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’, ‘The Disasters’ is set in 2194 and follows pilot Nax Hall as he’s kicked out of the notorious Ellis Station Academy. Encountering a terrorist attack at the Academy, he steals a shuttle alongside three other Academy washouts. That’s, however, the least of the newly-formed gang’s worries as they’re now being framed for the attack and need to step up and show their worth in order to save the day.

Buy from Waterstones or Amazon.

Joe Heap – The Rules of Seeing

Two women meet by chance and are drawn into each other’s lives in more ways than one. Nova has been blind since birth and has arrived at a hospital for radical surgery which could give her sight back, it’s here where she meets Kate, an architect in a dysfunctional marriage with an abusive husband.

As cliche as it may sound, ‘The Rules of Seeing’ is a beacon of light and has the power to change perceptions by looking further than you may imagine possible. It’s a mesmerising, riveting, and addictive read.

Buy from Waterstones or Amazon.

Kate Atkinson – Transcription

‘Transcription’ has been getting rave reviews since its release in the summer, but if you’ve not yet read Kate Atkinson’s latest then you should really give it a go – it’ll be hard to put down.

Focusing on a young woman, Juliet Armstrong, as she works for MI5 during the Second World War, the book is surprisingly light and charismatic. As the tension builds, we start to suspect that not is all as it seems and that there could be a case of identity theft going on.

It’s a gripping read that puts identity into question and while it may make you suspect everyone and everything in real life, it’ll be worth it for the thrill.

Buy from Waterstones or Amazon.

Got any top reads that you think we should know about? Share your suggestions!

Written by QWEERIST editor

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