If you’re ready for a new year—and a new digital you—add these authors to your social lineup! For our roundup of authors we love to follow on social media, we’ve compiled fresh voices with perspectives that brighten our newsfeed, and, as a bonus, the writers often include amazing book recs.
Heather’s Pick #1: Jenny Han
It’s an exciting time to be a Jenny Han fan, and her Instagram perfectly encapsulates why. The beloved YA author turned Hollywood producer is also a social media pro, using IG to share news, answer fan questions, dish up recipes and cooking tips, and offer tantalizing glimpses of her upcoming TV adaptation of The Summer I Turned Pretty trilogy. I first came to her feed for behind-the-scenes content on the To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before movies (based on the popular book series), but these days I am entranced by the whole Jenny Han Cinematic Universe.
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is now a major motion picture streaming on Netflix!
A Time Best YA Book of All Time (2021)
Lara Jean’s love life gets complicated in this New York Times bestselling “lovely, lighthearted romance” (School Library Journal) from the bestselling author of The Summer I Turned Pretty series.
What if all the crushes you ever had found out how you felt about them…all at once?
Sixteen-year-old Lara Jean Song keeps her love letters in a hatbox her mother gave her. They aren’t love letters that anyone else wrote for her; these are ones she’s written. One for every boy she’s ever loved—five in all. When she writes, she pours out her heart and soul and says all the things she would never say in real life, because her letters are for her eyes only. Until the day her secret letters are mailed, and suddenly, Lara Jean’s love life goes from imaginary to out of control.
Heather’s Pick #2: Mary Laura Philpott
“Soothing” is the first word that comes to mind when I think of Mary Laura Philpott’s Instagram, which makes sense because “soothed” is also how I felt when reading her memoir-in-essays I MISS YOU WHEN I BLINK. Between the cute photos of her dog Eleanor Roosevelt, insights into her writing process, and her reflections on picking up a new hobby (pottery), Philpott’s posts are often a welcome respite from the gloomy news I’ve just read on Twitter.
A charmingly relatable and wise memoir-in-essays by acclaimed writer and bookseller Mary Laura Philpott, “the modern day reincarnation of…Nora Ephron, Erma Bombeck, Jean Kerr, and Laurie Colwin—all rolled into one” (The Washington Post), about what happened after she checked off all the boxes on a successful life’s to-do list and realized she might need to reinvent the list—and herself.
Mary Laura Philpott thought she’d cracked the code: Always be right, and you’ll always be happy.
But once she’d completed her life’s to-do list (job, spouse, house, babies—check!), she found that instead of feeling content and successful, she felt anxious. Lost. Stuck in a daily grind of overflowing calendars, grueling small talk, and sprawling traffic. She’d done everything “right” but still felt all wrong. What’s the worse failure, she wondered: smiling and staying the course, or blowing it all up and running away? And are those the only options?
Taking on the conflicting pressures of modern adulthood, Philpott provides a “frank and funny look at what happens when, in the midst of a tidy life, there occur impossible-to-ignore tugs toward creativity, meaning, and the possibility of something more” (Southern Living). She offers up her own stories to show that identity crises don’t happen just once or only at midlife and reassures us that small, recurring personal re-inventions are both normal and necessary. Most of all, in this “warm embrace of a life lived imperfectly” (Esquire), Philpott shows that when you stop feeling satisfied with your life, you don’t have to burn it all down. You can call upon your many selves to figure out who you are, who you’re not, and where you belong. Who among us isn’t trying to do that?
“Be forewarned that you’ll laugh out loud and cry, probably in the same essay. Philpott has a wonderful way of finding humor, even in darker moments. This is a book you’ll want to buy for yourself and every other woman you know” (Real Simple).
Sharon’s Pick: Roxane Gay
I’m not exaggerating when I say that Roxane Gay’s reviews are my favorite part of using Goodreads. As the author of HUNGER, she is one of my most trusted book authorities, and any book that she rates five stars is an automatic addition to my TBR. I also love the candid and oftentimes humorous manner in which she reviews books—not only does she have immense literary talent, she also has the gift of providing accessible and detailed reviews, which make me feel like I would enjoy conversations with her about books.
Kaitie’s Pick #1: Morgan Matson
I’ve been a long-time reader of Morgan Matson, and one of my favorite books of hers is THE UNEXPECTED EVERYTHING because it’s a story about finding yourself in the chaos of life. I’ve also loved following her on Instagram (especially throughout the pandemic) because she shares so much with her audience. Her followers get insight into her writing process, lots of great dog content (hi, Murphy!), and sneak peeks of her upcoming works when we’re lucky!
Andie must learn to embrace the beauty in chaos in this New York Times bestselling novel about friendship, finding yourself, and all the joys in life that happen while you’re busy making other plans.
Andie has a plan. And she always sticks to her plan.
Future? A top-tier medical school.
Dad? Avoid him as much as possible (which isn’t that hard considering he’s a Congressman and he’s never around).
Friends? Palmer, Bri, and Toby—pretty much the most awesome people on the planet, who needs anyone else?
Relationships? No one’s worth more than three weeks.
So it’s no surprise that Andie has her summer all planned out too.
Until a political scandal costs Andie her summer pre-med internship, and lands both she and Dad back in the same house together for the first time in years. Suddenly she’s doing things that aren’t Andie at all—working as a dog walker, doing an epic scavenger hunt with her dad, and maybe, just maybe, letting the super cute Clark get closer than she expected. Palmer, Bri, and Toby tell her to embrace all the chaos, but can she really let go of her control?
Kaitie’s Pick #2: Alisha Rai
Alisha Rai is a queen on TikTok, and I will hear no arguments. Her content is hilarious, relatable, and shows us who she is as a writer and as a person. I can’t recommend following Alisha (or reading her books) enough! If you’re looking for where to start, THE RIGHT SWIPE is a sizzling novel in which two rival dating app creators find themselves at odds in the boardroom but in sync in the bedroom.
Emily’s Pick #1: Jessica Knoll
I’m very particular about who I follow on Instagram—and the ones who usually make the cut include pet content, delicious recipes, book recs, and the occasional witty commentary on pop culture events. Jessica Knoll meets all these criteria and more. Catching up on her IG stories is something I look forward to every day. Plus, she includes fun behind-the-scenes adventures of filming the upcoming THE LUCKIEST GIRL ALIVE, which are so fun to get a sneak peek of!
Ani FaNelli is the epitome of young, modern women. And that’s not a good thing. Image-obsessed, cruel, and deceptive, Ani isn’t crazy so much as extraordinarily damaged from two traumatic high school events that are expertly revealed, piece by piece, in this masterful debut. I loved the anger in this political, well-observed novel, made more powerful by the reveal that Knoll’s own sexual assault contributed to its creation. Contemporary and timely: believe the hype.
Crazy like: Carrie Bradshaw with a cleaver.
Best crazy moment: Ani’s choice of porn. (Ouch.)
Emily’s Pick #2: Shea Ernshaw
Shea Ernshaw’s Instagram never fails to put me in a cozy mood whenever her pictures pop up. Photos of snow-covered pine trees, for instance, and of beautiful coffee mugs, and the most aesthetically pleasing graphics for her new book THE HISTORY OF WILD PLACES. It’s a tense story with a plot involving a reclusive community and a macabre children’s book author who mysteriously disappears.
“What a wonderful rabbit hole to fall down.” —Erika Swyler, author of Light from Other Stars and The Book of Speculation
“A terrifying and timely book.” —Erica Ferencik, bestselling author of The River at Night and Into the Jungle
“As spine-chilling as it is beautifully crafted.” —Ruth Emmie Lang, author of Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance
The New York Times bestselling author of The Wicked Deep weaves a richly atmospheric adult debut following three residents of a secluded, seemingly peaceful commune as they investigate the disappearances of two outsiders.
Travis Wren has an unusual talent for locating missing people. Hired by families as a last resort, he requires only a single object to find the person who has vanished. When he takes on the case of Maggie St. James—a well-known author of dark, macabre children’s books—he’s led to a place many believed to be only a legend.
Called Pastoral, this reclusive community was founded in the 1970s by like-minded people searching for a simpler way of life. By all accounts, the commune shouldn’t exist anymore and soon after Travis stumbles upon it…he disappears. Just like Maggie St. James.
Years later, Theo, a lifelong member of Pastoral, discovers Travis’s abandoned truck beyond the border of the community. No one is allowed in or out, not when there’s a risk of bringing a disease—rot—into Pastoral. Unraveling the mystery of what happened reveals secrets that Theo, his wife, Calla, and her sister, Bee, keep from one another. Secrets that prove their perfect, isolated world isn’t as safe as they believed—and that darkness takes many forms.
Hauntingly beautiful, hypnotic, and bewitching, A History of Wild Places is a story about fairy tales, our fear of the dark, and losing yourself within the wilderness of your mind.
Emily’s Pick #3: Chloe Gong
As a TikTok-obsessed millennial, I’m always looking for authors to follow to keep quality BookTok content on my For You Page, and Chloe Gong is one who just gets it. Her TikTok posts often feature creative sound and film techniques and almost always make me laugh out loud. She’s also great at engaging with her fans about her book THESE VIOLENT DELIGHTS—offering up giveaways, unboxings, fun author adventures, and other funny content that fans especially will get a kick out of.
An Instant New York Times Bestseller!
A BuzzFeed Best Young Adult Book of 2020
Perfect for fans of The Last Magician and Serpent & Dove, this heart-stopping debut is an imaginative Romeo and Juliet retelling set in 1920s Shanghai, with rival gangs and a monster in the depths of the Huangpu River.
The year is 1926, and Shanghai hums to the tune of debauchery.
A blood feud between two gangs runs the streets red, leaving the city helpless in the grip of chaos. At the heart of it all is eighteen-year-old Juliette Cai, a former flapper who has returned to assume her role as the proud heir of the Scarlet Gang—a network of criminals far above the law. Their only rivals in power are the White Flowers, who have fought the Scarlets for generations. And behind every move is their heir, Roma Montagov, Juliette’s first love…and first betrayal.
But when gangsters on both sides show signs of instability culminating in clawing their own throats out, the people start to whisper. Of a contagion, a madness. Of a monster in the shadows. As the deaths stack up, Juliette and Roma must set their guns—and grudges—aside and work together, for if they can’t stop this mayhem, then there will be no city left for either to rule.
Emily’s Pick #4: Lisa Olivera
Lisa Olivera’s Instagram is filled with inspiring quotes on self-reflection and positivity, and those same messages are reflected in her upcoming book: you’re already enough. In an often-toxic social media field, her graphics offer a refreshing outlook and a constant reminder to be self-loving. Her new book explains how she developed such a healthy outlook—after many years of therapy. After looking back on painful moments of her past, which instilled in her a sense of unworthiness, Olivera learned how to reframe the narrative. She offers up advice, lessons, and kind mantras she’s learned, which readers will find helpful.
Identify, understand, and reframe your life story with this essential guide for self-acceptance from Lisa Olivera, a therapist, writer, and creator of a wildly popular Instagram account.
When Lisa Olivera was just a few hours old, her birth mother abandoned her behind a rock near Muir Woods in Northern California. She was found and later adopted.
Growing up, Lisa knew she was adopted. She later learned she was abandoned. Like with many adopted children, this led Lisa to wonder: why did her mother leave her behind? Without answers, Lisa came up with her own: something must be wrong with her. Lisa came to believe she was not enough. This story wasn’t true, but it made sense of a confusing experience. It allowed her to move forward. It felt like the only way. Until, with the help of a therapist, Lisa began to tell herself a better story.
If you have ever felt like you didn’t belong, or like you weren’t worthy, or like you weren’t enough, just as you are...it might be time for you to rewrite your story, too. Now a therapist herself, Lisa shows you how.
In Already Enough, Lisa explores how our stories affect us—often much more than we realize. She guides us through reframing our stories so we can remember that we are already enough, just as we are. And she invites us to join her on a transformative journey to healing. Tender, hopeful, and inspiring, Already Enough is a powerful reminder that we are the authors of our own stories. The sooner we decide to write a better story, the sooner we can live a more whole, more meaningful, more nourishing life.
Molly’s pick #1: Emma Straub
Emma Straub is a unique person to follow on Twitter and Instagram because not only is she a bestselling author, she’s also the owner of Books Are Magic, an independent bookstore in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn. She probably spends more time recommending other authors’ books than she does promoting her own work! Over the holidays she was a one-woman recommendation engine on Instagram stories, causing my TBR list to expand once again. She also shares relatable musings about her work—authors, they’re just like us! Above all, Emma is authentic and genuine and uses her platform to share her love of literature. I can’t wait for her newest book THIS TIME TOMORROW to come out in May.
Molly’s Pick #2: Shea Serrano
As a four-time New York Times bestselling author (along with his collaborator, illustrator Arturo Torres, they are the first Mexican-American authors to achieve this feat), Ringer staff writer, San Antonio Spurs and Oregon Ducks Women’s Basketball superfan, and Mexican-food aficionado, there’s no one realer than Shea Serrano. Following Shea’s Twitter is fun because he’s endlessly humorous (he’s always making jokes, often at his own expense), but he’s also created a community that helps each other out. Shea’s corner of the internet—on Twitter of all places—is good. Whenever his followers need extra cash for bills, gas, food, whatever, he helps out, and his other followers rush to contribute as well. People have donated so much money that Shea has been able to make sizable donations to charitable organizations and has even started a few school scholarships. He uses his success to lift others up, and it’s always inspiring to see. He’s fun and funny and brings lightness to an often-dark place—and his pop culture-oriented books like HIP-HOP (AND OTHER THINGS) hold the same amount of humor and care.
Molly’s Pick #3: Jasmine Guillory
Jasmine Guillory is one of my favorite romance authors. Her novels are smart and sexy, and she has a unique talent for describing food (I’m still thinking about the enchiladas Carlos makes in THE PROPOSAL). Her Instagram is equally delightful. With over thirty-five thousand followers, she still manages to make it feel like I’m following a friend. She shares books, lipsticks, vacations, and recipes, and occasionally offers pep talks and conducts AMAs, plus she posts advice for burgeoning authors to her profile. Jasmine seems truly lovely, and I get a lot of joy from her Instagram account.
Photo credit: iStock / Alina Rosanova