My Most Anticipated DEBUTS of Winter 2017

Most Anticipated debuts of winter 2017

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A little while ago, I shared My Most Anticipated Books of Winter 2017, but that list did not include debuts. And, thank God, because there are so many debuts I’m looking forward to this year! There’s no way would I have been able to combine everything into one list. Last year, 6 of my top 10 books of the year were debuts, so this crop has extra large shoes to fill!


The Most Dangerous Place on Earth by Lindsey Lee Johnson (January 10, Random House)
Demented high school books always suck me in…plus, a blurb by Megan Abbott, the queen of demented high school books.

A captivating debut novel for readers of Celeste Ng’s Everything I Never Told You and Curtis Sittenfeld’s Prep, The Most Dangerous Place on Earth unleashes an unforgettable cast of characters into a realm known for its cruelty and peril: the American high school.

The Futures by Anna Pitoniak (January 17, Lee Boudreaux Books)
Another type of book I’m a sucker for: the coming of age in New York City story. And, the publisher claims this book is for fans of Adelle Waldman (The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P.) and Maggie Shipstead (Seating Arrangements).

The Futures is a glittering story of a couple coming of age and a tender, searing portrait of what it’s like to be young and full of hope in a city that often seems determined to break us down—but ultimately may be the very thing that saves us.


We Were the Lucky Ones by Georgia Hunter (February 14, Viking)
This is the only book on this list that I’ve already read, so I can recommend it wholeheartedly. It’s a mind-blowing story and feels like a page turner.

An extraordinary, propulsive novel based on the true story of a family of Polish Jews who are separated at the start of the Second World War, determined to survive and to reunite.

Everything Belongs to Us by Yoojin Grace Wuertz (February 28, Random House)
I’m interested in reading more about South Korea and Kate at Parchment Girl included this book on her Winter 2017 Book Preview.

Two young women of vastly different means each struggle to find her own way during the darkest hours of South Korea s economic miracle in a striking debut novel for readers of Anthony Marra and Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie.


The Barrowfields by Phillip Lewis (March 7, Hogarth)
I’ve had great luck with debut Southern coming of age stories (My Sunshine Away, Only Love Can Break Your Heart) the past few years…this one is set in North Carolina.

A richly textured coming-of-age story about fathers and sons, home and family, recalling classics by Thomas Wolfe and William Styron, by a powerful new voice in fiction.

Down City by Leah Carroll (March 7, Grand Central)
This memoir was a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Pick and ya’ll know I love dysfunctional childhood memoirs.

Down City is a raw, wrenching memoir of a broken family and an indelible portrait of Rhode Island – a tiny state where the ghosts of mafia kingpins live alongside the feisty, stubborn people working hard just to get by.

The Fall of Lisa Bellow by Susan Perabo (March 14, Simon & Schuster)
I loved Perabo’s short story collection, Why They Run the Way They Do, despite generally having trouble with short stories.

The suspenseful, breakout novel from the critically acclaimed author of the short story collections Who I Was Supposed to Be and Why They Run the Way They Do—when a middle school girl is abducted in broad daylight, a fellow student and witness to the crime copes with the tragedy in an unforgettable way.

The Gargoyle Hunters by John Freeman Gill (March 21, Knopf)
Another Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Pick and I’m having visions of the movie The Thomas Crown Affair.

Hilarious and poignant, The Gargoyle Hunters is a love letter to a vanishing city, and a deeply emotional story of fathers and sons. […], the novel solves the mystery of a brazen and seemingly impossible architectural heist – the theft of an entire historic Manhattan building – that stunned the city and made the front page of The New York Times in 1974.

*All book summaries (in block quotes) are from Goodreads.

What Winter 2017 debuts are you looking forward to?

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  1. These all sound good! Although after finally getting my oldest through high school, the perils of that setting are still a little too close to home for me!

    Posted 1.3.17 Reply
  2. I just started The Futures last night. It’s too early to tell, but I’m very hopeful! Many of the others I’m also looking forward to and you’ve given me a couple new ones to check out!

    Posted 1.3.17 Reply
  3. Oooh “Down City” is one that wasn’t on my radar, so will have to look into that one a bit more! I can’t decided if “The Futures” is one for me… I mean Lee Bordeaux imprint I’ve had luck with, but something about it isn’t grabbing me, even though it SEEMS like something I would like.

    Posted 1.3.17 Reply
  4. Gabby wrote:

    Everything Belongs To Us is definitely one of my most-anticipated upcoming debuts, too! I feel like I don’t read enough Asian literature and this one looks really good.

    Posted 1.3.17 Reply
  5. Looks like several good reads to add to my always growing tbr pile! I’ve only read one, The Most Dangerous Place on Earth. It was good, not great, but then again I’m not a fan of Megan Abbott books (read two and didn’t really like them). The Barrowfields will be a must read since it takes place in NC.

    Posted 1.3.17 Reply
  6. The Fall of Lisa Bellow looks interesting. We Were the Lucky Ones is on my review stack and I’m hoping to get my hands on a copy of Everything Belongs to Us once I finish working my way through the current review book mountain sitting beside my bed.

    Posted 1.3.17 Reply
  7. Tara wrote:

    SARAH! Now I have more to add to my list! I’d not heard of The Futures until yesterday (saw it on Susie’s blog), but it sounds promising; I’ll be curious to hear what you think. Also, not sure how I managed to leave Perabo’s novel off my list; I guess I wasn’t thinking of her as a debut author, but she certainly is! Lots of good things to look forward to, so far!

    Posted 1.3.17 Reply
  8. The Futures and We Were the Lucky Ones are already on my radar. I’ll be investigating the rest!

    Posted 1.3.17 Reply
  9. The Most Dangerous Place on Earth got me with that Abbott blurb too!

    Posted 1.3.17 Reply
  10. I’m so out of it most of those books are new to me.

    Posted 1.3.17 Reply
  11. Catherine wrote:

    The Futures is pretty good- new adults entering work force in NYC. I’d say it’s brain candy.

    I’m not as tuned into debuts as usual. Kind of feeling the need to stick with authors I know so am glad you’ll be vetting for me!

    Posted 1.3.17 Reply
  12. I’m so looking forward to The Most Dangerous Place on Earth — and that was before I knew it was blurbed by Megan Abbott! I chose this for my January Book of the Month and I can’t wait.

    Posted 1.3.17 Reply
    • Sarah Dickinson wrote:

      Yay – I hope it goes well!

      Posted 1.9.17 Reply
  13. I’m reading The Most Dangerous Place right now and I cannot put it down. I’m ignoring my family, my phone, everything. Started it last night, will likely finish it today.

    Posted 1.4.17 Reply
    • Sarah Dickinson wrote:

      I just read your review today, so I think I’m going to pick it up sometime this month.

      Posted 1.9.17 Reply
  14. Barrowfields and Dangerous Place also caught my eye. I’ve scored an ARC of The Futures (pursued for the same reasons as you!) and will have to look out for We Were the Lucky Ones.

    Posted 1.4.17 Reply
    • Sarah Dickinson wrote:

      Just finished The Futures. Thought it was OK, but not particularly memorable or surprising.

      Posted 1.9.17 Reply
  15. I’m really, really excited for Everything Belongs to Us. I had my eye on The Futures, but noticed that some of the Goodreads reviews weren’t great, so I think I’ll be waiting that one out 🙂

    Posted 1.4.17 Reply
    • Sarah Dickinson wrote:

      Well – just finished it. It was okay, but not particularly memorable or surprising. Writing was easy, but didn’t stand out. I’d say skip it 🙂

      Posted 1.9.17 Reply
  16. Thanks for this list! A lot of these books sound great — Barrowfields, Everything Belongs to Us, The Futures, and The Gargoyle Hunters. As a former high school teacher, I can’t always handle harsh high school books so I’ll probably not dive into The Most Dangerous Place on Earth.

    Posted 1.4.17 Reply
    • Sarah Dickinson wrote:

      Haha – understandable about Most Dangerous.

      Just finished The Futures, was okay, but I was a little disappointed.

      Posted 1.9.17 Reply
  17. Great list. I’m flagging these on Edelweiss and look forward to your thoughts!

    Posted 1.5.17 Reply
  18. Thor Meriwether wrote:

    Thanks for all these great recs, Sarah. I hadn’t known about some of them. I am three-fourths through THE GARGOYLE HUNTERS and it’s a fantastic read–very funny, very emotional, but also a really quick, entertaining read. Recommend highly.

    Posted 1.6.17 Reply
    • Sarah Dickinson wrote:

      Oh yay – so glad to hear that! I’ve been trying to decide whether to request an ARC or wait for it to come out…maybe I’ll request.

      Posted 1.9.17 Reply

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