10 debut books you should read this April

Ah, spring cleaning. As the weather warms up and we look to re-organize our lives, what better way to cleanse your palette than discovering debut authors. April offers up a wide variety of books from an uplifting book about rock n roll to a meditative memoirs.

Whatever your flavor of the month is, Debutiful has you covered.

The Final Revival of Opal & Nev by Dawnie Walton (37 Ink; March 30)

This book came out in the waning days of March but is one you need to snag ASAP. On the surface, it’s an oral history of a 1970s rock duo. It is an immersive world built to show how race was viewed in the industry – and society at large – over the past handful of decades. Walton offers up a very fun read that is also a searing commentary.

The Elephant of Belfast by S. Kirk Walsh (Counterpoint; April 6)

Inspired by true events, Walsh’s debut follows a young zookeeper during the Blitz as she does everything she can to protect an elephant. What follows is a tender and endearing story about an unlikely bond. It’s tender on every page. Walsh has managed to show humanity at its strongest while many were trying to tear it down.

Paradise, Nevada by Dario Diofebi (Bloomsbury; April 6)

In this audacious debut, Diofebi follows a group of ragtag and powerful Las Vegas players as their lives intersect. It’s a fast and furious novel that tackles race, immigration, money, power, and so much more. It feels, much like Vegas itself, like a fever dream. With this novel, we’ve found our literary Frank Sinatra.

Gold Diggers by Sanjena Sathian (Penguin Press; April 6)

Using some magical realism, Sathian provides a coming-of-age tale set in Bush-era Atlanta. At the center is a Neil, who discovers his neighbor holds a secret “lemonade” that is more of a secret potion that harnesses power. The story is a keen observation on breaking the myths of how to make it in American.

Caul Baby by Morgan Jerkins (Harper; April 6)

Morgen Jerkins is a known entity in the literary world. Her essay collection This Will Be My Undoing should be required reading. Now, with her fiction debut, Caul Baby, Jerkins has elevated her writing yet again. It is a powerful drama about a family filled with secrets and betrayal. A tinge of magic floats through the novel breathing fresh air into this soon to be classic family drama.

Low Country by J. Nicole Jones (Catapult; April 13)

Growing up, Jones teetered between the extreme wealth of her volatile grandfather and extreme poverty as her parents struggled to make ends met. Subtitled a Southern Memoir, this memoir examines her own life and family, but widens the scope and examines the area she grew up in and how the region was just as messy as her family. It’s a gripping and unforgettable story that will make you want to binge the book cover to cover in one sitting.

Open Water by Caleb Azumah Nelson (Grove; April 13)

An intimate and tender novel about two young Black artists who meet in a crowded London pub and fall in love. Nelson writes with such poetic beauty and does so much in such a short amount pages. He balances their tender love with the explosive violence that surrounds them. Coming in at less than 200 pages, this book is one that has a lot of bang for your buck.

What Comes After by JoAnne Tompkins (Riverhead; April 13)

Propelled by the death of two teenage boys, What Comes After is a story of grief as well as hope. A small community is ripped apart by the deaths, but the families see hope in a mysterious pregnant woman who arrives as they grieve. As the book progresses, the mystery of the boys’ death looms large on the pages, but it is the quieter mystery of how we recover from trauma that makes this a poignant story.

Everything is Fine by Vince Granata (Atria; April 27)

Granata’s memoir is filled with grief. It’s more of a personal diary as he grapples with the tragedy that ripped his family apart: his brother, with undiagnosed schizophrenia, killed his mother. The memoir balances Granata grieving for his mother and the ramifications her death has on his family, but also trying to continue to love his brother as he examines the disease that caused the tragic event.

Meet Me in Another Life by Caroline Silvey (William Morrow; April 27)

Silvey offers an inventive novel about intertwined faith and love. Two strangers meet in this sci-fi infused novel and their lives become tangled even after death and resurrection. It’s a love story told life after life and the lovers must figure out how to stay together in every version of themselves.

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