Each month, Debutiful picks buzzworthy and under-the-radar debut books you should read.
Some news ahead of this list. Debutiful’s founder, Adam Vitcavage (hi) became the Director of Events for Colorado’s largest independent bookstore, Tattered Cover. This doesn’t mean Debutiful is going away. It just means through the end of the year, Debutiful will be a little light on author interviews. The plan is, starting in 2022, Debutiful will be back up and running at full capacity.
It’s Debutiful’s mission to continue to spread the word of delectable debuts that readers need to discover.
Now, onto the list!
My Monticello by Jocelyn Nicole Johnson (Henry Holt; Oct 5)
Multiple characters face modern day racism and injustice in Johnson’s unflinching portrayal of America. Her characters are warm and full, despite the turmoil they face on a daily basis. In it, we find a descendant of Thomas Jefferson and her neighbors ran out of their community by a white militia. We also meet a professor studying racism and a mother facing the unfairness of buying a home. Together, these stories make for one of the most unforgettable novels of the year.
The Boundaries of Their Dwelling by Blake Sanz (University Of Iowa Press; Oct 15)
In this award-winning debut story collection, Sanz offers stories about immigration and family set in the American South and Mexico. The second half focuses on a specific character through linked stories, which are a highlight of the collection. Sanz’s stories are varied and have strong voices in each story of the collection. It’s a must read book for those who want to better understand America’s border and beyond.
The House of Rust by by Khadija Abdalla Bajaber (Greywolf; Oct 19)
If you’re looking for a magical realism coming of age story, look no further than The House of Rust. Set in Mombasa, Kenya, the story is about a young girl whose father goes missing. Drawing heavily from Swahili and Hadrami culture, Bajaber’s book is one of a kind. She is a voice that will be with us for a long time.
Go Home, Ricky! by Gene Kwak (The Overlook Press; Oct 19)
In one of the best books of the year, an amateur wrestler on the verge of the big show gets injured which sends him into a spiral. Kwak’s knack for sharp prose and tight plot are on full display throughout the entire book. It’s the kind of book you envision so vividly in your mind because Kwak’s writing. Everything about Ricky is perfect. From the cover design to the plot to the writing. Go Home, Ricky! is a must read.
The Book of Mother by Violaine Huisman; translated by Leslie Camhi (Scribner; Oct 19)
In this coming of age story, a young woman finds herself while maintaining a relationship with her difficult mother. It is darkly funny with an emotional gut punch. Camhi’s translation of this French award-winning novel highlights the powerful language that propels this story.
I Will Die in a Foreign Land by Kalani Pickhart (Two Dollar Radio; Oct 19)
Set in Ukraine during a pivotal winter, Pickhart follows four individuals during the Euromaidan protests. The four cannot be more different, but they are united by the same desires to survive and make something of themselves. While expansive, this is an intimate portrait of the human condition, proving that even in the darkness, there is hope.