Some of my favorite books are debut novels—that is, the first novel published by a novelist. Discovery is such a fun part of the reading life, and with a debut there is so much to discover!
That’s why we included “read a debut novel” in our 2020 Reading Challenge. When you read a debut, you have to try something you haven’t tried before. There’s a chance of meeting a new favorite author, getting to know their voice and hoping for many more books to come.
Of course, if now doesn’t feel like the right time you branch out, you can always go back and read the debut of one of your favorite and familiar authors to see how their work has evolved. There’s no “right way” to go about this reading challenge because it’s designed to help you get more out of your reading life, whatever that looks like for you.
There’s always a little risk involved in reading a debut from an author you’ve never read before. That’s why we’ve put together a list of fabulous debuts from the last few years to help you decide which books may be right for you right now.
I hope you find an absorbing read in this list, and perhaps even a new favorite author to follow.
In the idyllic small town of Three Pines, Quebec, where people don’t even lock their doors, a beloved local woman is found in the woods with an arrow shot through her heart. The locals believe it must be a hunting accident, but the police inspector senses something is off. The story is constructed as a classic whodunit but it feels like anything but, with its deliberate pacing, dry wit, and lyrical writing. A stunningly good first novel. Still Life is the first in a series that keeps getting better. Great on audio.More info →
Is there a debut novel you’re looking forward to in 2020? Or a debut novel you recommend to all your friends? Please drop the titles in the comments below and add to our TBR lists.
PS: Check out what I’m probably reading for the 2020 Reading Challenge, and a list of recommendations for the first challenge prompt: a book published the decade you were born.