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Books

16 debut novels to read in 2017

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An extraordinary number of great first novels hit in 2016 — and 2017 is shaping up to be even better. Don’t miss these sixteen smashing debuts.

Idaho, Emily Ruskovich

Told from the perspectives of multiple characters, Idaho follows Ann and Wade, as Ann tries to figure out what happened to Wade’s first wife before his fading memory is gone for good. (Jan. 3)

The Animators, Kayla Rae Whitaker

Avant-garde cartooning duo Mel Vaught and Sharon Kisses find their lives and partnership changing as their newfound fame takes its toll. (Jan. 31)

All Our Wrong Todays, Elan Mastai

Following a time-travel mishap, a man from a utopian parallel universe ends up in our 2016. Poor guy. (Feb. 7)

The Impossible Fortress, Jason Rekulak

Revel in 1987 nostalgia in this debut about a teen boy, a coveted copy of Playboy, and a computer-nerd girl. (Feb. 7)

The Hate U Give, Angie Thomas

This YA novel — about a teen who watches as her best friend is shot by cops — was inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement (Feb. 28)

Next Year, For Sure, Zoey Leigh Peterson

Kathryn and Chris have been together for nine years, so they decide they’re strong enough to experiment with an open relationship. But when Emily comes into their lives, their long-stable partnership encounters unexpected changes. (March 7)

No One Is Coming to Save Us, Stephanie Powell Watts

Watts transposes The Great Gatsby to the South, where newly wealthy JJ returns home to finally win over his high school sweetheart — only to find that the town and people in it have changed drastically since he left. (April 4)

American War, Omar El Akkad

After the second American Civil War erupts in 2074, a young girl living in a refugee camp meets an ill-intentioned stranger. (April 4)

Marlena, Julie Buntin

After she moves to rural Michigan, 15-year-old Cat is captivated by her wild, gorgeous neighbor Marlena — but within a year, Marlena is dead. Decades later, a reminder from that time comes back into Cat’s life unexpectedly, and she has to confront her past. (April 4)

Sympathy, Olivia Sudjic

A 23-year-old English woman becomes obsessed with a Japanese writer she endlessly researches online, who she believes to be her “Internet twin.” (April 4)

The Leavers, Lisa Ko

When his undocumented mom vanishes, an 11-year-old is adopted and Americanized by two white college professors. (May 2)

Chemistry, Weike Wang

A graduate student struggling with her research begins to question whether she really loves science — or her boyfriend. (May 23)

Our Little Racket, Angelica Baker

During the ’08 financial crisis, an ousted CEO’s downfall disrupts the lives of the women around him. (June 20)

Goodbye, Vitamin, Rachel Khong

In this tragic and funny novel, 30-year-old Ruth ends her engagement, quits her job, and moves home to care for her father, who has Alzheimer’s. (July 11)

Live from Cairo, Ian Bassingthwaighte

Set amidst the 2011 Egyptian revolution, Live from Cairo centers on an Egyptian translator, an American attorney, and an Iraqi-American resettlement officer, as they all try to help Dalia, an Iraqi refugee trapped in Egypt. (July 11)

See What I Have Done, Sarah Schmidt

Schmidt delves into the gruesome Lizzie Borden story, which may or may not have unfolded as we’ve always thought. (Aug. 1)

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