10 debut books you should read this August

Each month, Debutiful will recommend a handful of buzzworthy and under-the-radar debut books for you to read.

Last month, The-All Night Sun by Diana Zinna came out and was erroneously left off July’s list. Debutiful would like to acknowledge the book here and now by calling your attention to our interview with Zinna.

This month, ten more must-read debuts are hitting the shelves. Led by a handful of memoirs, the waning month of the Pandemic Summer is filled with laugh out loud stories, down-to-earth revelations, and unique twists on literary favorites. And get ready… Half of them come out August fourth.


Luster by Raven Leilani (Farrar, Straus & Giroux ; 8/4)
Leilani’s book is one of the most anticipated books of the year. A twenty-something woman living in Bushwick is tired of the same old drama. Her wish for a change comes in the worst way possible: unemployment and living with a friend. Leilani is a voice America desperately needs and Luster delivers.

Tomboyland by Melissa Faliveno (Topple; 8/4)
These essays explore queerness, place, femininity, nature, and so much more. Faliveno ability to dive into a small subject at the beginning of an essay and then spiral out to a unique point of view makes her collection so wonderful to read. Faliveno gives a masterclass in what the essay form can do.

True Story by Kate Reed Petty (Viking; 8/4)
This psychological thriller is fast-paced, gripping, and unforgettable. It follows the fallout of a fifteen year old rumor that derailed so many lives. If it’s not already being adapted, expect news soon. This is going to be a favorite book of 2020 and a binge-worthy series in a few years.

Being Lolita by Alisson Wood (Flatiron; 8/4)
Wood’s memoir explores a dark romance between herself and a teacher. Wood’s ability to unload emotionally on the page while making reader’s hang on every word is exceptional. You won’t soon forget what you read in the pages of Being Lolita.

Every Bone a Prayer by Ashley Blooms (Sourcebooks; 8/4)
Appalachian sisters learn how to heal and find hope in Blooms’ poetically written debut. It is one of the most heavy books ever featured on Debutiful, and, if you follow the monthly recommendations, that’s saying something.

Love After Love by Ingrid Persaud (One World; 8/4)
A Trinidadian family chases love and happiness while running from hatred and violence. As the family finds their way to America, they must navigate their lives as undocumented immigrants while fighting to keep their family from falling apart.

The Standardization of Demoralization Procedures by Jennifer Hofmann (Little, Brown; 8/11)
Set in 1989, a Stasi officer begins a mad descent into the waning years of his spy career. As the Berlin Wall falls, so does the facade he has built up in his mind to justify what he has done in his past.

This House is a Body by Shruti Swamy (Algonquin; 8/11)
In this story collection, you’ll find everything form forbidden romance to domestic drama and everything in between. Set in India and America, Swamy explores small but intense moments in her characters’ lives. She connects readers with a wide variety of characters who offer insight into a new world.

Born to Be Public by Greg Mania (Clash; 8/25)
Greg Mania is one of the funniest people writing. Full stop. His interviews have a bite that makes you want to reread them. His tweets will have you clutching your chest. His memoir will have you rolling on the floor. Born to Be Public is big, gay, and hilarious.

Winter Counts by David Heska Wanbli Weiden (Ecco; 8/25)
This brooding vigilante thriller follows a Native American hunting down the truth on his reservation and beyond. It’s a gripping social commentary on many things, including a focus on the heroin epidemic in this country.

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