Tess Gunty’s smart debut novel follows four teenagers who have recently aged out of the foster care system living in the same building in small town Indiana, one that’s been economically devastated by the loss of the automobile industry. The coming of age novel centers around Blandine, the best protagonist name I’ve heard in a long time, and takes place over one week.
A coming of age story for the turbulent post-Recession era, Sarah Thankam Mathew’s debut novel follows Sneha, a 20-something whose corporate job and queer awakening go off the rails when threatened by The World We Live In, in this story about young people finding community to survive perilous times.
Two girls come of age in the Canary Islands in 2005 in this delectable debut novel that’s been compared to Elena Ferrante’s My Brilliant Friend and Blue Is The Warmest Color. Need I say more?
Being a child star is a uniquely horrifying nightmare of expectation and exposure. In a memoir that’s as intense as it is funny, Nickelodeon star Jeanette McCurdy recalls growing up with her abusive mother, chronicles an eating disorder, addiction, and the unique perils of fame.
Megan Gidding’s sci-fi thriller Lakewood, which explores the terrifying world of medical experimentation, was my favorite book of 2020. Now, the author returns with her second dystopian novel, The Women Could Fly, which sets up a world in which women, especially Black women, must either marry by the age of 30 (imagine!) or sign up to be officially monitored and tried for witchcraft.
This debut novel by Japanese magazine editor Emi Yagi is a capitalist fever dream, giving your toxic office a run for its money. It follows a woman in Tokyo who pretends she’s pregnant to avoid harassment at work — making her life markedly better, and creating even more problems.
Soothe or poke your mother wound with this debut novel about class, family and generational trauma. The story follows Anna, who grows up in Boston in an Italian-American working class family, with an unstable mother whom she and her sisters have to care for. In her 20s she moves to New York to get away from her upbringing, but questions whether or not she can ever really get away.
Former Teen Vogue Sex and Love columnist Nona Willis Aronowitz searches for authentic intimacy, exploring ideas around contemporary sex and the ways the sexual revolution has failed us with stories of “ambivalent wives and unchill sluts,” in addition to sex workers, “radical lesbians” and “woke misogynists.” Gang’s all here!
In her debut poetry collection, Nina Mingya Powles draws from everything from Blade Runner to Mulan to describe the memories of a mixed-race girlhood from Aotearoa to London to Shanghai to New York City. “[C]ertain languages contain more kinds of rain than others, and I have eaten them all,” she writes.
In this unsettling debut novel about power dynamics, British grad student Frances, amid personal scandal, flees to work on a farm in France (chic) where she meets an older artist named Paul, whom she forms a toxic relationship with that’s hot and heavy until it threatens to crush her sense of self.
This eerie novel weaves together two stories, as a young journalist from Mexico City investigates a murder in a rural town that leads her to the country’s most legendary healer. We see the stark differences in their lives and learn about the healer’s journey, from taking mushrooms to communicate with her ancestors to the loss of her abilities when her cousin is murdered.
From the author of Blonde, the Marilyn Monroe novel currently being adapted and starring Ana De Armas, comes Babysitter. The lives of several residents of the affluent Detroit suburbs in the 1970s are tragically entwined by Babysitter, a serial killer out for their children, in this thrilling novel about corrupt politics, unexamined racism, and sexual predation.
This nuanced, explosive look at mother-daughter relationships and generational trauma follows Lily over the course of the summer before she goes away to college. She lives with her aloof father and volatile mother who can only be sedated by a glass of spoiled orange juice. Eventually, Lily has flashbacks that aren’t hers, unraveling the harrowing history of her mother’s family — and maybe setting them all free.
This novel from acclaimed writer and artist James Hannaham, tells the story of Carlotta Mercedes, a trans woman who reenters life after being imprisoned for twenty years after a minor Fourth of July weekend incident. She returns to an utterly different world, where Fort Greene has been gentrified and where her family to reluctant to accept her true self.
This collection of humorous essays from The Cut writer Mia Mercado explores what it means to be “nice,” and “polite,” especially as a young Asian woman. She covers everything from The New York Times Sunday crossword to ASMR to notes app apologies to celebrating men for doing the bare minimum to the amorphous concept of the “bad bitch.” Sounds like my Twitter feed on a particularly good day.