Looking back at 2015, it was a great year in which we saw many new authors that show a lot of promise. A couple of debut novels hit the bestseller lists and we are hoping to see many more of these in 2016. Here are our top ten debut novels for 2015 (in no particular order) - if you haven't read them yet, they come highly recommended.
This debut must have been one of the novels that was most discussed in 2015. The author used to be a fiction editor at Blunderbuss Magazine that documented extensively the effects of war on children. With this in mind, Novic created "Girl at War," a story that follows Ana Juric, a 10 year old girl in the turbulence brought about by the Yugoslav Wars. Ana's story is unique in a sense that it doesn't concern itself as much with the horrors of war, but more with how people heal, grow and even prosper in difficult circumstances.
This brilliant first novel by Leslie Parry is set in the vibrant turn-of-the-century New York, specifically in Coney Island and the Lower East Side. The story follows four separate people: a girl on her search for her missing sister, a woman who is locked up in an asylum and a man who finds and rescues an abandoned baby. These four outsider's lives seem to become more and more connected, with life stories and secrets unfolding, as the novel progresses. This is a great debut that will leave you wanting more.
Six years after writing The Electric Michalangelo, award winning author, Sarah Hall, released her debut novel, The Wolf Border. The subject of this marvellous literary work is the reintroduction of wild wolves from Eastern Europe into the English countryside. Captivating and breathtaking, she weaves the tale of Rachel Cane, a zoologist who spends her days tracking a pack of wild wolves, and then is invited to a project that will change her live forever. On the brink of motherhood, she has to return home and face the ghosts of her past.
Since its release in 2015, Renee Knight's debut novel, Disclaimer has almost immediately become and international sensation. When Catherine Ravenscroft discovers a mysterious novel on her bedside table, her worst nightmare starts to come true. The novel contains a very dark secret, a secret that she had told to only one person – and that person has been dead for 20 years. With her world falling apart, Catherine is forced to confront the full, horrible truth. Deeply unsettling and riveting, this is a psychological thriller that will keep you at the edge of your seat till the very end.
Jo Piazza and Lucy Sykes are not new to publishing, but this hilarious book is their first combined effort. And a good one at that. Stylish and very funny, the Knockoff paints the story of Imogen Tate, editor of Glossy fashion magazine who discovers that her twenty-something former assistant is plotting against her. Eve Morton plans to knock Imogen off her pedestal, take over the editor-in-chief position and reduce the 768-page magazine into an app. Prepare for plenty of wickedly funny moments and lots of laughs – so don't read this book in an environment where you have to keep a straight face.
After the multi-award winning The Windup Girl, Paoplo Bacigalupi once again impresses us with his debut thriller for adults, The Water Knife. In this riveting book the reader finds herself in our near-future in the American Southwest, where water resources have all but dried up. States are battling over the remaining, rapidly dwindling, water stores and amidst it all Angel Velasquez is tasked with ensuring there is enough water for the Southern Nevada Water Authority. The Water Knife explores the desperate actions people will take to endure unthinkable circumstances such as these and really makes you think about how far you would go in the fight for survival.
This new novel by Stephanie Kallos is a touching read about love, loss and language. A teacher tries to inspire his English high school students, telling them that language will expand their worlds, but he struggles to communicate and truly connect with the people in his own life. His estranged ex-wife, his autistic son and his daughter, who had just left home for college. A series of events however forces him to change his course in life and with the help of a nun and an art student, he manages to do just that.
Sarina Mahler has made it in life – or so she thinks. She has a successful architecture practise, her doting long-term boyfriend , Noah, is about to propose and she would have the happily married family life she has always dreamed off. But Noah has to go abroad for a time on an assignment and her dangerously handsome former flame, Eamon Roy arrives in town and appoints her to help renovate his new home. Needless to say, things don't turn out quite as Sarah had expected.
Anna Freeman's epic novel draws the reader to the tumultuous world of female boxing at the turn of the 19th century. Ruth, a young brothel-born girl has a pretty bleak outlook on life. Until she is discovered by a man who introduces her to bare-knuckle female boxing. With nothing to lose, Ruth decides to fight her way up to a better life and soon becomes the queen of the ring at the infamous Hatchet Inn. Under Anna Freeman's talented pen, the book comes alive with the smells and sounds of the brothel, the streets, the ring and some of the most luxurious houses in town.
This debut novel by Brendan Duffy is not for the faint-hearted. When Ben Tierney inherits land in the Swannhaven village, he packs up his family and moves from Manhattan to upstate New York. Hoping for a fresh start in life, they leave behind everything they know - only to discover that their new home comes with many chilling secrets. When his kids start to explore the surrounding forest, very weird things start to happen.