Each month, Debutiful will recommend a handful of buzzworthy and under-the-radar debut books for you to read.
Spring is upon us and all of our to be read piles are heating up. The working list of debuts to read that are publishing this month was 14 and that, I’m sure, doesn’t even scratch the surface. Expect another list shortly called ‘6 more debut books from Winter 2020 you should read.’ There have been an insane amount of stellar debuts published so far this year.
The six selected feature books about technology, uncovered secrets, and the absurdity of day jobs.
These Ghosts Are Family by Maisy Card (Simon and Schuster; 3/3)
A generational saga set in Jamaica reveals how a decade old secret can tear a family apart. The revelation that the dying patriarch Stanford Solomon is actually another man named Abel who previously faked his death. The result is a breathtaking story that sweeps across continents and time.
This Town Sleeps by Dennis E. Staples (Counterpoint; 3/3)
At the heart of this novel is a gay man in a secret relationship with a closeted man. They were former classmates in a small town on a reservation in northern Minnesota. In present day, they grapple with masculinity and sexuality in ways they never could have imagined. There is also a supernatural element and a mystery that ties their lives together.
Temporary by Hilary Leichter (Coffee House; 3/3)
An unnamed narrator navigates temporary jobs and questions how jobs shape who we are and why we put up with 9-5 jobs that seem meaningless. Leichter’s observations and ability to lean into the absurd make this brief novel very impactful.
New Waves by Kevin Nguyen (One World (3/10)
A cynical twenty-something grapples with loss and devastation while coming of age. Set against the world of tech start-ups, Lucas lost Margo in a heist gone wrong. He begins to investigate and unearths secrets he was never meant to discover. Nguyen’s debut introspective novel tightly constructed.
You Will Never Be Forgotten by Mary South (Farrar, Straus and Giroux; 3/10)
South’s stories explore technology in a humorous way. Each of the stories is wholly unique and build one of the most memorable collections from start to finish. A stand out, which is reminiscent of something Carmen Maria Machado would do, is a frequently asked question section gone awry. That’s “Frequently Asked Questions About Your Craniotomy.” Then there is “Camp Jabberwocky for Recovering Internet Trolls,” which is the frontrunner for best story of the year.
Days of Distraction by Alexandra Chang (Ecco; 3/31)
A young woman comes into womanhood in the tech journalism world. The unnamed character sees the problems at her job. Sees the problems with her boyfriend. Sees the problems with the country. For too long she’s stayed silent, but now she’s ready to begin asking questions. Told through a series of vignettes, the novel reveals how an entire generation thinks about our current society.
Chang will be March’s podcast guest. Find previous episode’s and subscribe here.