Top Ten Tuesday: Exciting 2017 Debuts

This week’s TTT, hosted by The Broke and The Bookish, is focused on the 2017 debut releases we’re excited about. When I looked at the new books I plan to read in 2017, I realised that hardly any of them were debuts, and so I embarked on a veritable odyssey of research which has resulted in me having to sell a kidney to buy eleventy billion new books. Also, there are more than 10 here and I’m not even sorry. You’ll thank me, I promise.

Stay With Me by Ayobami Adebayo (2nd March)
I’ve actually read this one and it’s so wonderful that I’m putting it on here anyway because I want you to read it too. It’s got a very Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie vibe, with a similar writing style although slightly more emotive approach to its story of a Nigerian woman desperate for a baby and forced to endure her husband’s polygamy when she struggles to conceive.

Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson (24th January)
This sounds extraordinary; it’s about a young black girl convicted of killing a white baby and how this affects her later life.

And We’re Off by Dana Schwarz (2nd May)
Dana Schwarz is my favourite person on Twitter so I’m really looking forward to her debut novel. It’s a YA, centring on a teenage girl’s trip to Europe and her turbulent relationship with her protective mother.

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon (30th May)
I’m very excited about this YA about Indian-American teens whose parents have arranged for them to be married.

American Street by Ibi Zoboi (14th February)
I’ve had this preordered for months and I can’t wait to read it; it’s about a girl who leaves Haiti for Detroit, losing her mother to immigration officials along the way. I’ve read a couple of immigration-related YA novels recently but this one sounds the best.

You’re Welcome, Universe by Whitney Gardner (7th March)
Another YA, this is about a deaf teen who’s expelled from school and forced to start again. It also involves art, and this is a very good thing.

See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt (2nd May)
This is about Lizzie Borden! It’s historical and dark and, apparently, “atmospheric”! So I need it.

Beasts Made of Night by Tochi Onyebuchi
Goodreads describes this as “a Nigerian-inspired fantasy set in a world where sin can be magically transferred from sinner to “sin-eater” for a cost, in which a gifted young sin-eater uncovers a dark secret and must rely on his deadly talents to save the kingdom – and his own life.” Yes please.

Elinor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman (18th May)
I found this on a Stylist list of 2017 debuts to look out for. It’s described thus: “Our heroine Elinor works as an accounts clerk, likes doing cryptic crosswords, and needs two big bottles of vodka to get her through the lonely wasteland of her weekends. She spreads the drinks out so she is never either drunk or sober. Something has to change…” I really like the sound of this. I’m hoping for a cooler Bridget Jones.

The End We Start From by Megan Hunter (18th May)
Another Stylist pick: “A dystopia that feels utterly convincing as our narrator gives birth to her son in a London under threat of advancing flood waters. She lives in the gulp zone so must head off into a familiar territory that has become terrifying in search of shelter and safety.”

No Place to Call Home by JJ Bola
I’ve developed a real love of any novel with an African connection and this sounds exactly like my kind of thing; it’s about a family who fled political violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo to seek asylum in the UK

What It Means When A Man Falls From the Sky by Lesley Nneka Arimah (4th April)
This is a collection of stories which sounds really varied and interesting: for example, in one, “a woman desperate for a child weaves one out of hair,” while in another,  “three generations of women are haunted by the ghosts of war.”

All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai (7th February)
This sounds so good. Here’s the synopsis from Bustle: This debut novel is set in a futuristic world that looks how the 1950s imagined the future — complete with flying cars. But the protagonist, Tom, can’t quite find a place in this idealistic world, and after a time-travel mishap, he finds himself in our version of 2016.

Radio Sunrise by Aniete Isong (6th January)
From Bookshy: In this debut novel, Ifiok, a young journalist working for the government radio station in Lagos, aspires to always do the right thing but the odds seem to be stacked against him. Government pressures cause the funding to his radio drama to get cut off, his girlfriend leaves him when she discovers he is having an affair with an intern, and kidnappings and militancy are on the rise in the country. When Ifiok travels to his hometown to do a documentary on some ex-militants’ apparent redemption, a tragi-comic series of events will make him realise he is unable to swim against the tide.

The Leavers by Lisa Ko (2nd May)
From Bustle: One morning, eleven-year-old Deming Gao’s mother is unexpectedly deported to China. Deming is then adopted by a white family and renamed Daniel Wilkerson. But as he grows up, he struggles to reconcile his new life with his former one.

Do any of these tempt you too? Will you also need to sell your soul to buy them all? Let’s counsel each other. Also, please leave links. I need more recommendations for 2017.

The Monthly Round-Up: December

Despite my lofty ambition for December of reading all the books I acquired this year and didn’t read, I just read whatever I wanted and kept acquiring more books. Oh well.

  1. Armada by Ernest Cline
    Too geeky for me. I reviewed it here.
  2. The Wicked and The Divine Vol.4: Rising Action by Kieron Gillen
    A return to form; volume 3 was awful, but this was excellent. Great artwork and interesting character arcs.
  3. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
    I loved this; the Prague setting, the creepy fantasy elements, the stuff with angels – it was all good. Now I need to get the second and third books.
  4. Angel Catbird Vol.1 by Margaret Atwood
    I love Atwood and this was an interesting development in her work. Aside from the animal-merging of the main character, I was baffled by the little fact boxes about domestic cats. It was weird.
  5. The Butcher’s Hook by Janet Ellis
    This was brilliant; a historical novel with an anachronistically badass female protagonist. Here’s my review.
  6. Stay With Me by Ayobami Adebayo
    I am still not over this one; set in Nigeria, with an Adichie-esque combination of relationship drama and cultural idiosyncrasies. It’s out in March and I strongly urge you to buy it.
  7. Saga Vol.3 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples
    Hurrah, more Gwendolen. At the time of writing this list, I am halfway through volume 5 which has rendered me incapable of remembering anything about this one. Whoops.
  8. Silver Stars by Michael Grant
    The sequel to 2016’s Front Lines, Grant continues with the story of his female GIs in WWII. My review will be up in February when this comes out, but suffice to say it’s violent and Frangie isn’t in it enough.
  9. Saint Death by Marcus Sedgwick
    Set in a Mexican border town ruined by drugs and gangs, this is a dark and depressing story but features some amazing writing.
  10. The Association of Small Bombs by Karan Muhajan
    My review of this will be on Fourth and Sycamore in January. It’s a compulsively readable account of a bomb blast in Delhi and its short and long term impacts.
  11. Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit by Jaye Robin Brown
    YA f/f love story; this was funny and touching at the same time. I really enjoyed the time I spent reading it.
  12. We Come Apart by Sarah Crossan and Brian Conaghan
    You might know Crossan from her verse novel One, which remains one of the best YAs I’ve read. This is also in verse, telling the story of a troubled teenage girl and a Romanian migrant boy who meet in community service. It’s out in January and it’s excellent.
  13. Feminine Gospels by Carol Ann Duffy
    I really enjoyed some of the poems here, particularly the one about the laughing school girls (my copy is all the way upstairs so that’s all the detail you’re getting, folks).
  14. The Boy in the Dress by David Walliams
    All young people I know rave about Walliams; while I’m not the biggest fan of his TV persona, I can confirm that he can write a funny children’s book. Although the Dahl-esque demonisation of the big-boned is not necessary, dude.
  15. We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo
    This was ace; starting with narrator Darling’s childhood in Zimbabwe and transporting to America later on, it’s a brilliant representation of contrasting cultures.
  16. Swimming Lessons by Claire Fuller
    I loved Fuller’s last novel, Our Endless Numbered Days, and this was excellent too. It’s a family drama in which the mystery of a long-disappeared mother is unravelled.
  17. American Savage by Matt Whyman
    Not as funny as The Savages, but still entertaining, with some bizarre plot twists.
  18. The Global Novel by Adam Kirsch
    A short consideration of how novelists have reacted to globalisation in their work. I’ve not read all the books mentioned here, but Kirsch’s discussions of Atwood and Adichie were interesting.
  19. Saga Volume 4 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples
    I enjoy this series more and more as it goes on, although I do need to read the books closer together to avoid forgetting everything that happens.
  20. The Thing Around Your Neck by Chimanda Ngozi Adichie
    I am officially obsessed with Adichie. I’ve written a raving, nonsensical review of this collection of sublimely good short stories which you lucky people will be able to read later in January. You’re welcome.
  21. Saga Volume 5 by Brian Vaughan and Fiona Staples
    Yes, I am still reading this series.
  22. Animal: The Autobiography of a Female Body by Sara Pascoe
    Making a late play for my favourite non-fiction of the year, this was funny, touching and made me want to punch the air and shout “CRUSH THE PATRIARCHY.”
  23. Wayfarer by Alexandra Bracken
    The sequel to Passenger, this was good in all the ways that book was (time travelly goodness, numerous locations) with added familial complications. Also, it turns out it’s a duology, which I did not know.

And that’s 307 books read in 2016! Woohoo. Now I need a sleep.