Debut Author Snapshot

Each month we seek out a hidden gem from the vast Goodreads catalog, focusing on debut authors, indie publishers, and other literary folk not yet on the best-seller lists.

(showing 1-30 of 78)
J.R. Thornton
J.R. Thornton Beautiful Country
An American tennis player moves to Beijing and trains alongside China's junior national tennis team in Beautiful Country, a coming-of-age tale of culture shock and friendship.
Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney
Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney The Nest
In her sharply drawn new novel, The Nest, familial fallout ensues when the oldest brother of a quartet of dysfunctional siblings blows through their joint trust fund.
Petina Gappah
Petina Gappah The Book of Memory
An albino woman on death row at Zimbabwe's Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison writes down her unusual life story in the new novel The Book of Memory.
Dawn Anahid MacKeen
Dawn Anahid MacKeen The Hundred-Year Walk: An Armenian Odyssey
Part history, part memoir, The Hundred-Year Walk chronicles MacKeen's grandfather's incredible tale of survival during the Armenian Genocide and her ten-year quest to understand her family heritage.
Victoria Aveyard
Victoria Aveyard Red Queen (Red Queen, #1)
Her riveting fantasy, Red Queen, dominated the YA world this year and is the Goodreads Choice Winner for Best Debut Goodreads Author.
Dana Chamblee Carpenter
Dana Chamblee Carpenter Bohemian Gospel
The author shares her research for Bohemian Gospel, which spans ancient codexes, forgotten songs, and 13th-century kings.
Zachary Thomas Dodson
Zachary Thomas Dodson Bats of the Republic: An Illuminated Novel
With hand-drawn illustrations, a novel-within-a-novel, and even a sealed envelope the reader must not open, Bats of the Republic is a feast for the imagination.
Elsa Hart
Elsa Hart Jade Dragon Mountain
Exiled from Beijing, a librarian investigates the murder of an astronomer in Jade Dragon Mountain, a twisting historical mystery set in 18th-century southwest China.
Rajia Hassib
Rajia Hassib In the Language of Miracles
When their eldest son commits a terrible crime, an Egyptian American family is ostracized by their New Jersey community in the debut novel In the Language of Miracles.
Benjamin Johncock
Benjamin Johncock The Last Pilot
The historical novel The Last Pilot follows a daredevil airman through two decades of the Space Race, from 1947 onward, joining the likes of Chuck Yeager, Jim Lovell, and more.
Erika Swyler
Erika Swyler The Book of Speculation
With circus mermaids, traveling tarot readers, and a bona fide family curse, her debut novel, The Book of Speculation, blends carnival history and bookish lore.
Sarai Walker
Sarai Walker Dietland
Both a subversive feminist journey and an immersive character study—and definitely not a book about dieting—the new novel Dietland packs a surprising punch.
Viet Thanh Nguyen
Viet Thanh Nguyen The Sympathizer
After the fall of Saigon, a half-Vietnamese spy follows his quarry to Southern California, where he leads a double life in the new literary thriller The Sympathizer.
Claire Fuller
Claire Fuller Our Endless Numbered Days
Kidnapped at age eight, Peggy lives in the woods, believing that she and her dad are the only two people left alive in the world in the new novel Our Endless Numbered Days.
Issa Rae
Issa Rae The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl
The writer, actress, and YouTube sensation tells cringe-worthy, poignant, and always hilarious stories in her memoir, The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl.
Angelina Mirabella
Angelina Mirabella The Sweetheart
Step into the ring with this author's debut novel, The Sweetheart, set in the charismatic and colorful world of professional female wrestlers in the 1950s.
Mallory Ortberg
Mallory Ortberg Texts from Jane Eyre: And Other Conversations with Your Favorite Literary Characters
Her debut, Texts from Jane Eyre, climbs into the minds of our favorite characters—from Hamlet to Nancy Drew—and imagines the hilarious text messages they might exchange.
Ashley Weaver
Ashley Weaver Murder at the Brightwell (Amory Ames Mystery, #1)
The upper crust of 1930s England gathers at a seaside resort for some sun, surf, and foul play in Murder at the Brightwell, a debut historical mystery by a Louisiana librarian.
Charles Blow
Charles Blow Fire Shut Up in My Bones
The New York Times commentator shares his path out of poverty in his new memoir, Fire Shut Up in My Bones, which describes his childhood in segregated, rural Louisiana.
Martha Woodroof
Martha Woodroof Small Blessings
This NPR contributor's first novel, Small Blessings, tells the tale of a mild-mannered professor who discovers he has a ten-year-old son—arriving on the Monday train.
Celeste Ng
Celeste Ng Everything I Never Told You
In the literary mystery Everything I Never Told You, a shocked family in 1970s small-town Ohio pieces together clues after Lydia, the favored child, is found dead.
Maya Lang
Maya Lang The Sixteenth of June
Dedicated to "all the readers who never made it through Ulysses," the new novel The Sixteenth of June chronicles a special day in the life of a James Joyce-obsessed family.
Laline Paull
Laline Paull The Bees
Peek inside a buzzing beehive in The Bees, a dystopian adventure set in the strict caste society of honeybees that depicts a lowly worker bee who challenges the queen.
Yvette Manessis Corporon
Yvette Manessis Corporon When the Cypress Whispers
Bake in the Mediterranean sun on an idyllic Greek island in When the Cypress Whispers, a romantic debut novel inspired by the author's tenacious and wise grandmother.
Daniel Levine
Daniel   Levine Hyde
The villain of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde seizes his chance to tell the classic story in the new historical thriller Hyde, set in gritty Victorian London.
Samuel W. Gailey
Samuel W. Gailey Deep Winter
Peaceful small-town life turns sinister in the new suspense novel Deep Winter. A waitress's brutal murder upsets a tiny community in rural Pennsylvania.
Artis Henderson
Artis Henderson Unremarried Widow
In the heart-rending and yet hopeful memoir Unremarried Widow, an Army wife describes life before and after the death of her young soldier husband in Iraq.
James Whitfield Thomson
James Whitfield Thomson Lies You Wanted to Hear
This first-time novelist at age 68 tells the story of love gone wrong in Lies You Wanted to Hear, a novel about a desperate divorced father who kidnaps his own children.
Anthony Russell
Anthony Russell Outrageous Fortune: Growing Up at Leeds Castle
The aristocratic new memoir Outrageous Fortune describes the author's lavish but isolated childhood growing up behind the walls (and moat!) of England's Leeds Castle.
Kenneth Bonert
Kenneth Bonert The Lion Seeker
A South African Jewish family plants roots in Johannesburg in The Lion Seeker, a historical debut told in a riotous blend of Yiddish, Afrikaans, Zulu, and English.
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