In what is maybe my favorite book title I’ve seen so far in 2022, Warsan Shire — noted collaborator on Beyoncé’s Lemonade and Black Is King — writes poetry about migration, womanhood, trauma, and resilience.
Penguin Random House
In this debut essay collection about the expansiveness of millennial Black womanhood and Black Midwesterness (and that’s been compared to other influential collections on intersectionality like Hood Feminism and Against White Feminism), Negesti Kaudo explores race, class, sexuality, and more.
In this beautifully strange, unsettling gothic debut novel, environmental destruction has wiped out humanity, except for a Matriarch and her brother who form an incestuous family. They try to restart humanity, scavenging for supplies and watching old VHS tapes until one day their already fragile order gets disturbed in ways they can’t control.
MCD x FSG Originals
Exploring the minor themes of creation, destruction, and the human condition, Sarah Krasnostein interviews everyone from a death doula to a geologist who believes the world is only six thousand years old, to a ghost-hunter neurobiologist to a UFO enthusiasts to Mennonite families in New York to explore the vastness of belief systems that ultimately net out in all of us just trying to survive. Whew!
In this debut novel, ten-year-old Joan flees her abusive father with her mom and brother, who seek refuge in her mother’s hometown of Memphis. There, Joan grows up painting portraits of its citizens, eventually weaving the story of a place and her family’s deep roots there.
A Hollywood publicist’s life gets turned upside down when she gets in an accident on her way to a Judas Priest concert that causes a traumatic brain injury in this raw rock ‘n roll memoir about resilience and survival.
This collection of short stories spans from 1992 to 2007 and is centered on a Black neighborhood in a Southern suburb — at a time when the Black middle-class was expanded while media latched onto stories of “welfare Queens” and “crack babies.” Hubbard’s previous book The Talented Ribkins was praised by Toni Morrison, which is the only cosign needed.
This queer, coming-of-age, psychological novel is about a girl who transfers to a chilly, picturesque boarding school in Maine and becomes obsessed with the girl who leads the cult chapel choir. Think preppy, Gothic, woods, dark academia, obsession, Fight Club, drama!
Simon & Schuster
This memoir is about a Native woman growing up in the thriving punk scene of the Pacific Northwest trying to balance her punk rock life while doing the honor of her icon great-grandmother — a linguist who helped preserve her Indigenous language — proud.
What do you do when the world is ending from climate change? Peace out and join a group of eco-warriors on an island in the Bahamas (only they might not be who they say they are!) At least that’s what Willa Marks does in Allegra Hyde’s debut novel about the devastation of both climate change and heartbreak.
In this punchy essay collection, very online writer Jill Gutowitz chronicles major lesbian pop culture moments of the 2000s, including everything from the 2009 Gossip Girl Rolling Stone cover to the day Orange Is The New Black hit Netflix. And of course, some personal stories, like when the FBI showed up at her house because she tweeted a Game of Thrones meme.
In this gorgeous debut novel, two outsiders meet in an ancient, sprawling Trinidadian cemetery in a mythic love story about life, death, and everything in between.
Elena Ferrante, the premiere writer in anonymity, has written a book about writing. After you watch the highly-anticipated, devastatingly beautiful third season of the adaption of her novel My Brilliant Friend on HBO, read about her influences, struggles, and formation as a reader and writer.
In this satirical, outrageous debut novel, Ingrid Yang, a 29-year-old PhD student, just wants to be done with her dissertation on the late canonical poet Xiao-Wen Chou. But she finds a note in his archives that leads to an explosive discovery that upends her world and the world of everyone around her, shifting Yang’s relationship to white men, white institutions and herself in what becomes a kind of Asian American literary studies whodunnit with at least one drug hallucination scene. Nothing better to spoof and critique than the absurdity of academia.
This intoxicating and strange psychological debut novel is about a child beauty queen who finds out she’s unknowingly an agent of a shadow government project helmed by her own father. Combining folklore, ‘90s true crime stories, theories of human consciousness and Y2K-era pop culture and doom, it’s a novel that’s as addicting as it is heartbreaking.