Looking to discover a debut author? Here are the best debuts from the year that Debutiful read and covered.
The 2021 Debutiful Dozen
A melodramatic masterpiece about cis and transgender people in a love triangle. Torrey Peters wrote an enlightening book about trans people and trans love filled with beautiful and powerful prose.
Hands down the best short story collection of the year. Dantiel W. Moniz has a master’s grasp on plot, character, tone, mood, and pace. Her stories are so complete that you’ll want to study them forever.
The pitch: “a mother turns into a dog at night… maybe” is just the tip of the iceberg for this book. Rachel Yoder’s ability to play with language and toy with readers is mesmerizing.
Gene Kwak uses wrestling to explore masculinity, family, and identity in this book that is unputdownable. He ties in humor during even the most dramatic moments in exactly the right way.
The Four Humors by Mina Seçkin
Family secrets (and bodily fluids) spill off the page in this tender and melancholic book. Mina Seçkin perfectly encapsulates what it means to be a millennial in today’s mucked up world.
Isle McElroy understands humor. Their book is about social media influencers creating a getaway for shitty men. It is the perfect novel for a post-Trump world where we can start reckoning with our recent past.
Kyle Lucia Wu’s coming-of-age novel is quiet and subtle. She fills the book with perfectly crafted sentences and offers insight into growing up biracial and never feeling like you fit in.
This is the saddest book of the year. Hands down. Jamie Figueroa’s book follows a family trying to break a cycle of turmoil yet never truly being able to do so.
The only non-fiction in the Debutiful Dozen is a perfectly crafted and eye-opening account of Brian Broome’s life. While his story will draw you in, expect to be blown away by how he very openly reveals the truths of how he became the man he is today.
Ellie Eaton’s book can easily be described as “Mean Girls in the U.K. during the 1990s.” What she does with time and place in the novel is breathtaking. She explores what a novel can do with a breezy plot. This book is a very fun read.
Afterparties by Anthony Veasna So
The world lost a great mind and writer when Anthony Veasna So passed away prior to his book coming out. His short stories were excellent and they’re a clear indication of the type of stories we could have had
Open Water by Caleb Azumah Nelson
This slim novel packs a punch the size of a 400-page novel in less than 200. Caleb Azumah Nelson is poetic and vulnerable on every page.
The Rest of the Best (2021)
Assembly by Natasha Brown
Beasts of a Little Land by Juhea Kim
Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zaunder
Eternal Night at the Museum by Tyler Barton
Gold Diggers by Sanjena Sathian
Of Women and Saly by Gabriella Garcia
A Play For the End of the World by Jai Chakrabarti
The Prophets by Robert Jones, Jr.
Rainbow Milk by Paul Mendez
Revival Season by Monica West
The Rock Eaters by Brenda Peynado
The Teller of Secrets by Bisi Adjapon
Walking on Cowrie Shells by Nana Nkweti