With spring just around the corner, we’re all excited about a fresh start, in life and in literature. It’s time to let go of the old, and breathe in the new.
Spring clean your bookshelf and fill it with these spectacular, unforgettable debut novels that will leave you feeling refreshed and ready for more.
Emily X.R. PanAfter her mother’s suicide, Leigh Chen Sanders, who is half Asian and half white, travels to Taiwan to meet her maternal grandparents for the first time. Leigh is certain that after her death, her mother turned into a bird, and she’s determined to find her. In her search, Leigh uncovers long-hidden family secrets, and sees her grandparents in a new light. Leigh learns to cope with her mother’s passing, and forgive herself for things that were never her fault in the first place. This breathtaking debut is about loss, love, grief, forgiveness, and the resilience that resides within everyone after a tragedy.Out 3/20
Daniel Abendt’s comfortable Upper East Side life is upended when one of his therapy patients commits suicide. At first, it seems that her suicide stemmed from the obvious: she suffered from drug addiction and depression. But a cryptic note full of ominous clues leaves Daniel wondering if there was more to it, and when his daughter disappears a few days later, he finds himself entirely swept up in a web of questions and lies, racing to save his daughter’s life. Lovers of suspenseful reads will not want to miss this one.
Hero De Vera comes to America to put her haunted past in the Philippines behind her. Her uncle offers her a fresh start, and she stays with him in the Bay Area, confident he will leave the past in the past. His daughter is not so respecting of Hero’s secrets, however, and soon her questions bring Hero’s past to the surface. In America is Not the Heart, Elaine Castillo explores what it means to start again, and to bring your past with you.
When Eleanor Costello is found hung in her quiet Dublin home, Detective Chief Superintendent Frankie Sheehan thinks “suicide,” but the autopsy reveals details previously unseen, that prevent this from being an open-and-shut case. Eleanor’s body shows signs of prolonged and severe abuse, and what’s more, her husband is nowhere to be found. As Frankie’s suspect list continues to grow, she realizes that the only way to understand how Eleanor got here is to understand who she was when she was alive.
Rebecca L. Brown
Flying at Night is a novel about family. Piper is a fiercely devoted, doting mother to her autistic son Fred, determined to be a better parent than her father was to her. But when her father suffers a heart attack that leaves him with a brain injury, Piper finds herself caring for two family members who cannot care for themselves, all on her own. What follows is a story that explores just how deep the bonds of family go, from generation to generation and beyond.
Perfect for Fans of “Younger” and The Devil Wears Prada, A Lady’s Guide to Selling Out tells the story of Casey Pendergast, previously a bookish English major, currently the latest member of a top ad agency. Casey’s bosses love that she knows how to tell a good story, and she tried to quell the feeling that she’s selling out by using her storytelling abilities to create advertisements. But when she’s assigned a campaign that pairs literary authors with corporations and sees how easily even her idols cave when faced with corporate money, Casey decides she may need to confront the nagging she’s felt since the very beginning of her career.
This ambitious and compassionate debut follows the life of Leda, from her time in college to her elderly years. As a young woman, Leda decides she wants to read Noam Chomsky, so she promptly buys a book and never – ever – reads it. From that point forward, we follow Leda throughout her lifetime, and go through every hilarious, heartbreaking moment with her. The Girl Who Never Read Noam Chomsky is a tale of womanhood in the modern world – the perfect book for fans of Virginia Woolf, Rona Jaffe, and Maggie Shipstead.
Zulema Renee Summerfield
This debut is set in 1988 in the sun-scorched suburbs of southern California, and centers on a character named Nenny – an imaginative girl trying to cope with her new life after her parent’s divorce. When Nenny moves in with her new stepfather and his kids, her anxieties intensify and her wildest fears haunt her everyday. And when her creeping premonition that something terrible will happen comes true, her life changes in more ways than she could ever imagine.
When an agent’s cover gets blown on a mission, CIA desk jockey Zac Miller volunteers to take his place to keep a surveillance mission from being scrubbed. He’s thrown into the action, without any formal field training, facing more danger than he’s ever seen before. But Zach is capable of so much more than everyone thinks, including himself. He embarks on a harrowing journey through the mountains of Iran to the Persian Gulf and across Europe, only relying on himself and his instincts.
This remarkable debut collection contains eleven interconnected stories that take place in the United States and Japan, with unforgettable characters who establish powerful relationships with one another. The Island Dwellers explores the reshaping of identity and sexuality, family and home. Jen Silverman evokes the landscape of a whole life in a single subtle phrase – vital, human truths that you may find yourself using as a map to your own heart.
Lucy had always lived a very constant life. For nine years, she worked on her dissertation and was in a steady relationship. But when she and her boyfriend broke up in a dramatic fight, everything turned upside down. Broken-hearted, Lucy moved to Venice Beach hoping for an escape – what she found was so much more. An attractive swimmer weaves his way into her heart, but his hidden secrets and true identity pose a threat to their relationship. The Pisces is about the meaning of love, and its ability to transcend even the biggest boundaries.