For your 2021 reading, we have curated a diverse list of literature by Texans to suit any bookshelf. From a Denton author’s dystopian debut and a historical spy thriller, to the lively followup to Crazy Rich Asians, these are 10 books written by Texans that we heartily recommend. 

Nights When Nothing Happened, Simon Han

Han’s debut novel follows the Chengs, an immigrant family who settle in Plano, Texas in 2003. But when one of their children begins sleepwalking at night, the veil of the peaceful suburbs is lifted, and family history comes to light. It was named 2020’s Best Book of the Year by TIME, The Washington Post, and Harper’s Bazaar.

Standoff, Jamie Thompson

With on-the-scene reporting, Thompson takes readers back to the 2016 shooting at a Black Lives Matter rally in Dallas, which gripped the city and left five policemen dead. Thompson’s interviews with protestors, police, paramedics, even the hostage negotiator paint a clear and painful picture of the clashes between race and policing.

The Sandcastle Empire, Kayla Olson

A dystopian thriller and Denton author’s debut, The Sandcastle Empire follows Eden, a once-wealthy girl who has lost everything to a powerful and cruel group called the Wolfpack, which now controls the earth and its resources.

Courtesy of Penguin Random House

The Secrets We Kept, Lara Prescott

An immersive thriller where secretaries become spies, inspired by the CIA plot to infiltrate the hearts of Soviet Russia with nothing but a book: Doctor Zhivago. Emotional and captivating, Lara Prescott’s debut novel is impossible to put down.

Jane Against the World, Karen Blumenthal 

The late Dallas journalist and children’s book author Karen Blumenthal’s final chapter. Jane Against the World is a passionate, clear-voiced book. It looks at the riveting history of the fight for reproductive rights in the United States.

Ring Shout, P. DjèlÍ Clark 

A chilling novel set in the American South in the 1920s, Ring Shout can be compared to Lovecraft Country. From a Houston-raised author, Ring Shout features a battle with Klan members who are not only racist—they’re actually demons. 

Sex and Vanity, Kevin Kwan

This novel is Kevin Kwan’s followup to his instant hit Crazy Rich Asians. Sex and Vanity is a clear and hilarious modern love story—and homage to A Room with a View—caught up in a balancing act between two cultures.

Courtesy of Flatiron Books

I’m Not Missing, Carrie Fountain 

Fountain’s young adult novel follows a young woman coping in the wake of her best friend’s disappearance. It tackles all the complications of first love, family ties, and the choices an adolescent girl has to make about her future.

On a Sunbeam, Tillie Walden

Set in space, this science-fiction web-comic turned graphic novel traverses space and follows two different timelines. A girl travels to the ends of the universe to find long lost love, and understand the past. 

Dare to Lead, Brené Brown

In her latest revelation, the woman Texas Monthly once dubbed America’s Therapist says, “Leadership is not about titles or the corner office. It’s about the willingness to step up, put yourself out there, and lean into courage.”

Alexandra Cronin

Alexandra Cronin is Local Profile's senior editor. She has been with the company since 2016. She loves great coffee, good food, and average wine.