Considering the record heat waves America is currently suffering through, it would be tacky to talk about how these books are hot, yeah?
These ten debuts, mostly from July but also some June debuts you can’t miss are must reads. They range from introspective magical realism to coming-of-age comedies; from memoirs to books in translation. These ten debut books are guaranteed to make you forget about the oppressive heat.
Nightbitch by Rachel Yoder (Doubleday; July 20)
What happens when a mom may or may not turn into a dog at night? Rachel Yoder wants you to find out. Her debut is inspired by her time as a stay-at-home mom, loosely. Pretty sure she never turned into a dog. It’s a fresh, smart, and off-beat look into motherhood and family.
Ghost Forest by Pik-Shuen Fung (One World; July 13)
Fung’s debut is about a woman reflecting on her family’s history and the complicated relationship she had with her father. Decades ago, her family moved to Canada while the father stayed in Hong Kong as an “astronaut parent.” The book feels meditative
The Brittanys by Brittany Ackerman (Vintage; June 15)
Coming of age is hard. Coming of age in the early 2000s was… weird. Coming of age with a handful of friends all with your same name is what Brittany Ackerman explores in her hilarious debut novel. She has a knack for both laugh out loud humor and subtle jokes that hit you days later.
Give My Love to the Savages by Chris Stuck (Amistad; July 6)
The stories in Stuck’s debut take readers through modern history of Black America. From the 1992 L.A. Riots to being a minority in small towns, Stuck reveals the microagressions faced by young people of color in our current society. His writing will punch you in the gut with how powerful and raw it is. Nothing is held back.
Nobody, Somebody, Anybody by Kelly McClorey (Ecco; July 6)
Kelly McClorey’s book is an introspective look into being a millennial stuck in a pattern they desperately want to escape. This book will have you rolling on the floor as characters take desperate measures to break out of their funk. This book is the comic book of the summer.
A Touch of Jen by Beth Morgan (Little, Brown and Company; July 13)
Fans of the film Ingrid Goes West will gobble this up. It revolves around two friends obsessed with a social media influencer who happens to be staying in their town. While humorous, it’s also filled with psychological tension as their obsession becomes less of a bonding experience into something scarier. Morgan’s writing is explosive.
God Spare the Girls by Kelsey McKinney (William Morrow; June 22)
Family secrets are at the center of McKinney’s novel. Two sister’s view their famous preacher father in different light and once they learn a shocking truth, the two flee to a family ranch to reevaluate everything they knew about their lives. The intimacy of the novel is bolstered by McKinney’s elegant writing.
The Bachelor by Andrew Palmer (Hogarth; July 20)
The perfect commentary on our current obsession with reality television. Palmer’s book is filled with sharp observations of what makes reality TV so addictive and how ambition (especially of the romantic flavor) can consume us. Palmer’s wry humor and intelligence makes The Bachelor an unlikely page-turner.
Magma by Thora Hjörleifsdóttir, trans. by Meg Matich (Grove; July 13)
A young student finds herself falling for a man who turns out abusive. The book follows her as she loses herself as Hjörleifsdóttir bluntly provides dark moments that make readers question everything they know about abuse. Matich’s translation highlights the starkness of the original Icelandic of Magma perfectly.
Somebody’s Daughter by Ashley C. Ford (Flatiron; June 1)
Ashley C. Ford already has a storied career and her debut memoir just proves she is here to stay. Ford unflinchingly allows readers to discover the shocking truth behind her father’s incarceration and how it influenced her life. Simply put: Ford’s writing is powerful.