12 can’t-miss debut books you should read this July

Every month, Debutiful helps readers discover debut authors who are releasing can’t-miss books!

Night of the Living Rez by Morgan Talty (Tin House; July 5)

Across a dozen stories, Talty writes about what life is like to be indigenous in the modern world. Set in the Penobscot community in Maine, Talty expertly reveals the complexities of his characters in each story. Each cast feels completely realized within the confines of each story.

Florida Woman by Deb Rogers (Hanover Square; July 5)

Filled with offbeat and dark moments, Deb Rogers provides a vivid portrait of a woman trying to start fresh after hilarious mishaps shaped her life. Rogers weaves in eerie, kooky, and laugh-out-loud moments with such ease.

Brother Alive by Zain Khalid (Grove; July 5)

Khalid’s book tells the story of three adopted brothers (one Nigerian, one Korean, on from the Middle East) and their father, an imam living in Staten Island. The book is as much about faith as is it about family. Khalid’s prose dances on the page and refuses to play by any literary genre’s rules.

NSFW by Isabel Kaplan (Henry Holt; July 5)

Set in the pre-#MeToo era, a young woman attempts to navigate a soulless Hollywood. Kaplan, who previously wrote the YA novel Highland Park, shifts gears to write a searing and darkly funny modern workplace commentary.

1,000 Coils of Fear by Olivia Wenzel; translated by Priscilla Layne (Catapult; July 5)

This translated novel about a Black German during the 2016 American Presidential election is a strong meditation on belonging and place. Wenzel’s voice, translated brilliantly by Layne, is a powerhouse.

Sirens and Muses by Antonia Angress (Ballantine; July 12)

In this sensual and sexy novel set in an exclusive art school, a young woman navigates class, money, status while balancing the desire to produce brillaint art. Angress is a master storyteller. She balances characters and plots with ease with beautiful prose that leaps off the page.

Groupies by Sarah Priscus (William Morrow; July 12)

This 1970s rock novel is one hell of a ride. It’s fun on every page even when it’s exploring the pitfalls of coming-of-age, stardom, and obsession. Priscus absolutely slays this novel which is sure to be a runaway hit.

Other Names For Love by Taymour Soomro (Farrar, Straus and Giroux; July 12)

What makes Soomro’s Pakistan-set coming-of-age novel stand out is the dynamics between the father and son. Familial relationships are hard to make complex and realistic; however, Soomro captures the tenderness and explosiveness of this relationship exceptionally well.

Big Girl by Mecca Jamilah Sullivan (Liveright; July 12)

This beautifully told coming-of-age story about a young Black girl from Harlem (who is taken to Weight Watchers by her mother) that attends a predominantly white school in the Upper East Side will break your heart as well as give you hope. Sullivan’s 1990s-set novel weaves in nostalgia and heart to explore what it means to fit in while staying true to yourself.

Dirtbag, Massachusetts by Isaac Fitzgerald (Bloomsbury; July 19)

Fitzgerald is a name known to many. He’s a picture book author, famed editor, and an overall sparkling literary figure in the community. His solo adult debut memoir told in essays is just as sparkling. Fitzgerald’s brilliance shines through in these honest and raw stories of his very complicated live.

Calling For a Blanket Dance by Oscar Hokeah (Algonquin; July 26)

The voices in Hokeah’s multigenerational saga explore the obstacles faces of a Native American family. Heritage and tradition anchor this novel as the main character tries to become his own man while his family wants him to be molded in a different light.

An Honest Living by Dwyer Murphy (Viking; July 26)

If you’re looking for the perfect crime novel of 2022, look no further than Murphy’s debut. Following a Private Investigator’s attempts to find a seller of rare books, Murphy balances a page-turning whodunnit with an introspective ode to the early 2000s Brooklyn.

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