Every month, Debutiful selects 10 buzzworthy and under the radar debut books for readers to discover.
This month, things get thrilling. There’s also introspective tales that will make readers question their own beliefs. If you’re looking for “the next Sally Rooney” you have another option here. Whatever you’re looking for, it’s publishing in September. Let’s take a look at the debuts readers can discover this month.
A Play For The End of the World by Jai Chakrabarti (Knopf; Sept 7)
In Chakrabarti’s debut, A survivor of a Warsaw Ghetto is now living in New York City has to go to rural India to collect the ashes of his oldest friend. The novel uses a play that was performed years ago in Poland that is now being performed in India as a way to explore political turmoil through time. It’s a haunting novel with interesting layers that unfold in unexpected ways as the plot progresses.
Assembly by Natasha Brown (Little, Brown and Company; Sept 14)
This is a slim novel you can finish in a day, but you might not want to. You may want to make this last as long as possible. Brown’s book is narrated by a Black British woman who is about to face an extravagantly posh party. She reflects on who she is and how she assembles herself. It forces readers to reflect on their own thoughts of class, race, colonialism, microagressions, and so much more.
Fault Lines by Emily Itami (Custom House; Sept 7)
Set in modern Tokyo, Itami’s story about living in two separate worlds and finding yourself while managing how to find love. It’s a vivid story with a dramatically beautiful background. Itami captures the location, the emotions, and the struggle of being true to yourself so perfectly on every page.
Beautiful Country by Qian Julie Wang (Doubleday; Sept 7)
Wang’s memoir about her family immigrating from China to America in 1994 is essential reading. She beautifully showcases what it’s like to see her parents who were professors in China relegated to sweatshops in America because… well, America. Wang’s writing is beautiful and poetic, yet it doesn’t shy away from the tragedies she saw in this coming-of-age story.
Several People are Typing by Calvin Kasulke (Doubleday; Aug 31)
An absurd satire about office culture will either make you laugh out loud or cry because of how on the nose it is. It’s told primarily through Slack communication, which may or may not be every reader’s cup of tea. But look past that. It’s the modern Office Space or The Office. In book form! With emojis!
Snowflake by Louise Nealon (Harper; Sept 7)
Nealon’s coming-of-age campus story can easily be billed as in the vein of Sally Rooney. Here, a young girl learns to navigate an unfamiliar world where she herself is constantly changing. Whether you’re looking for the next Rooney or not doesn’t matter here. Nealon proves writing about young people in Ireland isn’t a monopoly. She’s a gem of a writer with a promising career ahead of her.
Brothers on Three by Abe Streep (Celadon; Sept 7)
Abe Streep’s book is more than a story about a state championship winning basketball team. It’s about friendship, being Native in Montana, and becoming adults. What makes this book special is Streep’s ability to make this a gripping sports drama as well as an emotional introspective story within the same page.
Nice Girls by Catherine Dang (William Morrow; Sept 14)
In this dark and thrilling book, Dang follows a smart and devious girl who was kicked out of her Ivy League school for mysterious reasons as she returns to her small hometown. There we meet a myriad of locals, including the girl’s best friend who has disappeared. It’s a new and refreshing twist on the small town mystery that readers have been dying for.
A Girl Called Rumi by Ari Honarvar (Forest Avenue Press; Sept 21)
This eye-opening debut follows a spiritual adviser who begins reliving her past as a child in war torn Iran. Honarvar gives readers a lush and layered book about the terrors often underreported in a country American media has vilified over the past few decades.
Summer Sons by Lee Mandelo (Tor; Sept 28)
An apparent suicide kicks off a story about a graduate student and a new, mysterious roommate. Throughout the page turning novel, Mandelo offers a taut story that offers breadcrumbs of an unfolding mystery at the absolute perfect pace.