TTT: Top Ten Debut Novels I’ve Read in the Past 3 Years

This week’s top ten Tuesday will highlight 10 favorite debut novels (in no particular order) I’ve read in the past few years.  This meme is usually hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, however, they are taking a break.  So, this one is blogger’s choice.  I love reading debut novels!  It’s always a gamble, but it can be so satisfying to find a new author’s work to love.  Have you read any of these?  What are your recent favorite debut authors/books?

 

  1.  Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi – A family in Ghana divided by slavery, sweeping over 300 years.  (2016)

 

 

Yaa Gyasi, born in Ghana and raised in Huntsville, Alabama.  She spent 7 years writing this novel which was published when she was only 26 years old and has won numerous awards for it.

 

2. Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng– A Chinese American family searches for the reasons behind their daughter’s death. (2014)

Celeste Ng grew up Pittsburgh, PA and Shaker Heights, OH.  She graduated from Harvard and from the MFA program at the University of Michigan.

 

 

 

3. The Enchanted by Rene Denfeld– A fantastical novel exploring death row and the humanity of an inmate there. (2014)

Rene Denfeld had authored several non-fiction works prior to this first fictional novel.  She is a death penalty investigator and a mother to 3 children adopted from foster care.

 

 

 

4.  The Animators by Kayla Rae Whitaker – A novel about the power of art to heal. (2017)

Kayla Rae Whitaker has received a BA from University of Kentucky and an MFA from NYU.  After living in Brooklyn for many year, she and her husband have returned to her home state, Kentucky.

 

 

 

5. I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh – A thriller with twists, so the less said the better.  (2015)

Clare Mackintosh spent 12 years working for the police, including time on the CID.  She left in 2011, and now writes full time.

 

7.  Red Rising by Pierce Brown – A dystopian novel of epic proportions.  (2014)

Pierce Brown grew up in seven different states.  He graduated from Pepperdine University in 2010.  He wrote 6 novels and face rejection from over 120 agents prior to selling Red Rising.

 

 

7.  Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho – A magical, fantastical world set in England containing politics, romance and diversity.  (2015)

Zen Cho was born and raised in Malaysia, but currently lives in England.  She writes full time.

 

 

8.  The Most Dangerous Place on Earth by Lindsey Lee Johnson – A novel about the dangers lurking within in a wealthy Marin high school, particularly cyberbullying. (2017)

Lindsey Lee Johnson grew up in Marin County.  She currently resides in Los Angeles with her husband.  She holds a professional writing degree from the University of Southern California.

 

 

 

 

9.  Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler – A novel about the secret thrilling life of waitstaff inside one of NYC’s most famous restaurants. (2016)

Stephanie Danler waitressed in NYC after graduating from Kenyon college.  She later obtained a MFA at the New School and drew on her waiting experience in the writing of this novel.

 

 

10.  Ways to Disappear by Idra Novey  – A quirky, humorous mystery novel set in Brazil. (2016)

Idra Novey grew up in a small mining town in Pennsylvania, but has lived in Chile and Brazil.  She has translated the work of several Brazilian authors prior to publishing this book.

 

16 thoughts on “TTT: Top Ten Debut Novels I’ve Read in the Past 3 Years”

  1. I love hearing stories about people facing rejection after rejection without ever giving up on themselves or their dreams. Imagine all those 120 agents kicking themselves that they missed out on such a massively successful book! Never give up!

  2. Hi Marie,
    It’s super awesome that you’ve included so many people of color here. *Thumbs up* You read such a wide variety of things. it’s inspiring.

    1. Thank you! I noticed that too. I also noticed that I’m very heavy on female writers here.. not sure if that’s because I read more of them or those or just the books I enjoy more. Probably a little of both.

  3. Excellent topic! There have truly been some brilliant debut novels to come out in recent years. I just finished Homegoing and I think that would make the top of my list as well. I loved The Animators as well.

  4. Thank you! Yes, Homegoing and The Animators were both 5 stars reads for me. It’s amazing to me when the happens on the author’s first published book!

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