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

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

If I Survive You by Jonathan Escoffery (MCD; September 6)

The linked stories in Escoffery’s book are masterfully written. Each is a perfect rise and fall that can stand alone. Together, they are a masterclass in family drama and trauma. The relationships in this book, especially the one between father and son, are so expertly crafted. Escoffery clearly understands the human psyche and experience.

Solito by Javier Zamora (Hogarth; September 6)

Zamora’s memoir about his and his family’s migration from El Salvador to America is breathtaking. The story of their lives is gripping and the fact that Zamora’s prose is equally as gripping catapults this into an absolute must read. It is easily one of the best memoirs of the millennium.

What We Fed to the Manticore by Talia Lakshmi Kolluri (Tin House; September 6)

The stories in Manticore are vivid and exciting. They are the type of stories that will take readers to new experiences they never knew existed. Kolluri offers a unique flavor for each of the nine stories in her collection.

Lungfish by Meghan Gilliss (Catapult; September 13)

Lungfish is a heartbreaking story about addiction. Gilliss moves through this novel in short vignettes that explore a myriad of topics in such a moving way. It feels very personal and lived in on every single page.

All That’s Left Unsaid by Tracey Lien (William Morrow; September 13)

A shocking crime is the backbone of Lien’s novel, but the heart and soul are the explorations of race and the bonds (or lack thereof) within a community. This book is thrilling and suspenseful but it’s the meditative moments that make this book shine.

Thistlefoot by GennaRose Nethercott (Anchor; September 13)

Dark, twisted, and wholly originally. Nethercott’s debut novel is a ghost story married to ancient folklore that elevates her stronghold on poetry (see 2018’s The Lumberjack’s Dove) and runs loose with it. This sprawling story is unlike anything you’ll ever encounter.

Jollof Rice and Other Revolutions by Omolola Ijeoma Ogunyemi (Amistad; September 13)

This book of interconnected short stories is set in both Nigeria and America and features a strong cast of women at its core. It is an intimate portrait of how the world shapes us and how we can shape each other. Ogunyemi’s rich narrative weaves in and out of these women’s lives with profound precision.

Imposter by Bradeigh Godfrey (Blackstone; September 13)

If you’re looking for a shocking, page-turning thriller, look no further than Bradeigh Godfrey’s debut. This has it all from family secrets to a dark and twisted setting. Godfrey is a writer who will captivate readers for years to come.

The Witch and the Tsar by Olesya Salnikova Gilmore (Ace; September 20)

In this breathtaking novel, folklore and history collide for an unforgettable epic tale. Set in the times of Ivan the Terrible, a folk hero rises up to protect everything she loves. This is a book that will please all kinds of readers seeking something new and memorable.

Three Muses by Martha Anne Toll (Regal House; September 20)

Set in the aftermath of WWII, Three Muses is a deeply moving story about how we experience and overcome grief and trauma. Throughout the book, there is a delicateness to Toll’s writing as she navigates some of humanity’s darkest moments.

Sweet, Soft, Plenty Rhythm by Laura Warrell (Pantheon; September 27)

Warrell takes an expected story – a womanizing musician seeks to change his ways – and flips it on its head. Warrell uses a multitude of voices to give the women oft overlooked in these types of stories to give them unforgettable voices. Plenty Rhythm is also a novel whose writing should be studied. The language sings in every sentence

Sinking Bell by Bojan Louis (Graywolf; September 27)

The stories in this debut collection are gritty and will stare readers right in the eye. They feature hard-to-swallow but exquisitely written moments. There’s an uneasiness to these stories, but they need to be digested.

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