For all those bookworms out there, we have curated a diverse list of literature by Texans to suit any bookshelf. From a middle grade coming-of-age story by a Frisco author, to a true crime novel by one of the state’s most prolific journalists, these are 10 novels written by Texans that we recommend.
Tigers, Not Daughters, Samantha Mabry
Marby’s magical realism narrative focused on the four Torres sisters who are desperate to escape their father, neighborhood, and expectations. But when the one sister falls to her death, the others are haunted by her memory—and possibly, her ghost.
Stick a Fork in Me, Dan Jenkins
The late Dan Jenkins’ final novel is a hilarious reflection on the life of an old-school football coach, who lands his dream job at a large university, only to find he can’t stand the place. Now the only dream left is retirement.
The Midnight Assassin: Panic, Scandal, and the Hunt for America’s First Serial Killer, Skip Hollandsworth
Skip Hollandsworth chronicles his true crime obsession: the Midnight Assassin, who terrorized Austin, Texas in the mid 1880s. Hollandsworth captures the city of Austin at its birth when it was gripped by the fear of an indiscriminate, brutal killer.
The Other Half of Happy, Rebecca Balcárcel
Rebecca Balcárcel offers an evocative story about a girl caught between the two halves of her heritage: one-half Guatemalan, one-half American. This debut novel captures the difficult beauty of coming of age.
Revenge of the Star Survivors, Michael Merschel
Former Dallas Morning News editor Michael Merschel’s fiction debut follows an eighth grader who views life through the lens of his favorite sci-fi show, Star Survivors. It’s his guide and source of strength when he transfers to a new school.
Ain’t Nobody Nobody, Heather Harper Ellett
Heather Harper Ellett, a Dallas therapist, spins a sharp, nuanced murder mystery set in the strange, outlandish otherworld of East Texas, where a disgraced former sheriff investigates the strange death of a stranger.
Cult of Glory: The Bold and Brutal History of the Texas Rangers, Doug J. Swanson
A chronicle of the Texas Rangers, both their acts of valor, and the way racial power structures in Texas bred corruption in their ranks. It’s a true tale of how the West was won from a former Dallas Morning News reporter.
Just Like Me, J. Tillman
J. Tillman, a native of Garland wrote this picture book to give children of color a source of empowerment and acceptance. In a world with a narrow, homogenous idea of beauty, Just Like Me tells a story of love and celebration.
The Big Finish, Brooke Fossey
A funny, good-hearted book about a man who feels he has wasted the first 80 years of his life, and a young woman who needs a new lease on life. Their unlikely friendship becomes an exercise on leaving a legacy and changing your ways for the better.