Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Best Debuts

This week is freebie week for Top Ten Tuesday with The Broke and the Bookish.  Participants get to choose their own top ten topic or re-visit an old one we didn't get the chance to participate in.  Having not participated in all that many Top Ten Tuesdays and being lacking in a certain amount of creativity, I've elected to choose and oldie but a goody -  best debuts.  I love reading a new author's work first published work and discovering a potential favorite.  Actually, I think discovering authors' excellent first works before the rest of the world has a chance to tell you how great they are is one of blogging's greatest pleasures for me.  So, I give you some of my very favorite debuts!

1. The Well and the Mine by Gin Phillips  - I fell in love with the characters in this novel.  I'm so excited to read Phillips' new book, Come In and Cover Me

2. After You'd Gone by Maggie O'Farrell -  I have never cried harder at a book than I did the end of this one, and I would do it again in a heartbeat.  I was so surprised by how O'Farrell's style of writing had wrapped me up so tightly with her main character that I felt so strongly for her by the end.  It totally sneaks up on you, but it's incredible.

3. Spilling Clarence by Anne Ursu - Actually, I read Ursu's other book The Disapparation of James first, but this one is better.  It's all about a pharmaceutical accident that causes all the people in a town to remember all of their memories, the ones they'd forgotten, the ones they've repressed, all of them.  I love how Ursu uses off the wall ideas like not being able to repress memories or the actual disappearance of a kid at a circus to explore serious themes. 

4. The Center of Everything by Laura Moriarty - I read Laura Moriarty's second novel, The Rest of Her Life, first, but this one appealed to me on a much more visceral level.  I saw parts of myself in the narrator that made this hit weirdly close to home even though the narrator's life bears little resemblance to my own.

5. Sweetsmoke by David Fuller - For some reason, I always forget Sweetsmoke when I'm making lists of great books.  This book makes the Civil War South and life on a slave-holding plantation leap off the page, plus it's got a great main character and an intriguing mystery angle, too. 

6. The Stolen Child by Keith Donohue  -  I love books that can tell a compelling story and get you to really think about things, too.  I loved this story about a changeling and the boy he replaced that is so much more and makes you think about childhood, memory, music, art...  Great stuff!

7. A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray - I loved this so much that I can't believe that I haven't gotten around to finishing the rest of the series.  The boarding school, the magic, the atmosphere plus page-turning suspense made this one a hit with me.  Too bad I suck at series, the rest of this one is lurking on my TBR shelf.

8. The Gendarme by Mark Mustian - This was a debut that I picked up at BEA a couple years ago.  It's great historical fiction told in flashbacks about a Turkish gendarme who falls in love with an Armenian deportee during the Armenian genocide.  I really liked how the story was told in retrospect, and I'd love to see more from this author.

9. How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff - This book was full of stuff I don't normally like - no quotation marks, random capital letters, and a bit of incest.  And it was great, super great, too.  I'm looking forward to Rosoff's latest, There is No Dog.

10. The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister -  I loved how Bauermeister gave equal attention to all of her many characters, how she showed food's power to change their lives, and the descriptions are downright delicious.  Plus, I'm happy to report that her second book, Joy for Beginners, is very nearly as excellent as the first. 

What are some of the best debuts you've discovered?  



  1. I've only heard of two of these!

    My favorite debut (that I can think of off the top of my head) is The Night Circus.

  2. My favorite debut? That's tough. Maybe Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman. Great list!

  3. Great, great idea for your TTT freebie post! I have so many books to add to my TBR pile from your list! I love debut books as well. Are you participating in Kristi's Debut Author Challenge?

  4. I agree I only read A Great and Terrible Beauty and I need to finish the rest of the series


  5. Give John Corey Whaley's Where Things Come Back a shot! I bet it would make this list. It might top mine! Great list!

    Check out my Top Ten Books I Think Should Be Read/Discussed in EVERY High School!

  6. Amanda - The Night Circus is on my "failed good intentions" list, as in, I've been intending to read it for months and failing. I gotta read it!

    Kathy - I've heard of that one, but I've yet to read it. I'll have to add it to my TBR list!

    Magan - I would totally participate in Kristi's challenge if I didn't suck so much at challenges. Just about as soon as I state a goal to do something, I screw it up, so I try to read as many debuts as I can independently. LOL!

    Kristina - That's the thing about series...you actually have to read all the books. I've got so many series' started that I need to finish. Thanks for stopping by!

    Karis - I just scoped that one out on Amazon, and I think I definitely need to give it a try. Thanks! =)

  7. I read A Great and Terrible Beauty soon after its publication, and liked it. It read like a standalone, so I never doubled back to the series, even after I knew several books were out.

    Kristin Cashore's Graceling is definitely my favorite debut novel in recent memory. I also really like Geraldine Brooks, although her first book was non-fiction. Fantastic writers, both.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog!

  8. Cool Top Ten I have only heard of a few of those books. I may need to check out some of the others.(:

    My fav debut as of right now is Freshman Year and Other Unnatural Disasters.

    New follower Btw

    My top Ten http://booknerdrambling.blogspot.com/

  9. Thanks! I definitely recommend both How to Save a Life and Going Undergroud. Also, A Great and Terrible Beauty was so awesome!
    New follower :)