Summer Reading Challenge: Read a Debut Novel

We are on our third summer reading challenge – read a debut novel. A debut novel usually means the first novel that a writer has published. Debut novels are an author’s first opportunity to make a splash in the publishing world and can mean their future success or failure. First-time novelists all struggle finding a publisher willing to take on their work especially if they have no previous reputation (i.e. magazines, or literary journals). Oftentimes authors will choose to self-publish their words because publishing houses will not risk taking on a book from an unknown author. 

Read a debut novel
Debut Novel: First Novel an Author has Published

Why Read a Debut Novel

If you are a fellow writer you might want to try and find debut novels by other writers. This way you can see what sort of books are being published now. As a reader there is a thrill in reading a debut novelist’s work. It is like watching the future before it happens. It can be a chance to read a book from an author before they have become a legacy. In future years you can say to friends and neighbors that you read that novel before it was popular. It is almost as if you were part of the process of them becoming well known. (Fun fact: you were!) 

Debut Novel Reading Recommendations: 

Legends & Lattes by Travis Baldree

Read a debut novel by Travis Baldree
Legends and Lattes

Worn out after decades of packing steel and raising hell, Viv, the orc barbarian, cashes out of the warrior’s life with one final score. A forgotten legend, a fabled artifact, and an unreasonable amount of hope lead her to the streets of Thune, where she plans to open the first coffee shop the city has ever seen.

However, her dreams of a fresh start filling mugs instead of swinging swords are hardly a sure bet. Old frenemies and Thune’s shady underbelly may just upset her plans. To finally build something that will last, Viv will need some new partners, and a different kind of resolve.

The Hacienda by Isabel Cañas

read a debut novel by Isabel Cañas

Mexican Gothic meets Rebecca in this debut supernatural suspense novel, set in the aftermath of the Mexican War of Independence, about a remote house, a sinister haunting, and the woman pulled into their clutches…

Just for Today by Nell Hudson

Read a debut novel by Nell Hudson
Just for Today

It was a time of drinking too much and staying out all night. 

Of boozy al fresco dinners, sneaking into private clubs and midnight strolls on Hampstead Heath.

It was a time of friendship, of falling in love and being young.

A time when you felt that anything could happen.

But the party can’t last forever, and for Joni and her friends, sunrise promises something darker than any of them could have imagined, as they face the one undeniable truth: it’s not if the party ends; it’s how.

Here are Goodreads 2023 Debut novels.

Reading an Old Debut Novel

You might be thinking it will be hard to find a book that you will enjoy as well as finding a fresh new author. While we encourage you to find those new and upcoming authors it can also be fun to read the debut novel of someone you are already familiar with. Every author had to start somewhere. Find your favorite author’s first novel and read it. Compare it to the books you’ve recently read of theirs and see how far they have come. 

Literary Hub gives us their top 10 best debut novels of the decade.

Short-list has a list of the best debut novels of all time.

read a debut novel
Read A Debut Novel (Old or New)

Read a Self-Published Debut Novel

One of the hardest gems to find is a self-published debut novelist. We are also going to lump those small publishing houses in with those that are self-published. In the publishing world these authors are called indie authors. These novelists don’t have the backing of big publishing houses to get their work out there. They don’t have the funds to advertise nor do they have the clout. These self-published books are sometimes looked down upon by some readers because readers might believe that their writing sucks and that is why they didn’t get picked up by a big publishing company. There might be some grain of truth in that, as anyone can self-publish these days, however that shouldn’t be a reason to avoid these indie authors.

Great Indie Debut Novels:

A Clearer Sky by Krystal Bailey

A Debut Novel by Krystal Bailey
A Clearer Sky

Yorkshire, 1914. Mary Lennox thought her world didn’t need to extend past her aunt’s secret garden after finally finding a home with her cousin, Colin, and her uncle at Misselthwaite nearly six years ago. But when war breaks out in Europe, Mary realizes that she can’t control anything outside the garden walls when her childhood best friend, Dickon Sowerby, announces he’s leaving to fight, taking away both his steady companionship and Mary’s dream of something more. Things only spiral further with Colin’s sudden departure, and Mary is left to run an estate she never planned to manage.

As the Great War spreads—bringing wounded soldiers, news of death, and increasing uncertainty to Yorkshire—Mary is forced to reckon with decisions she isn’t ready to make. And she can only hope that the mysterious magic of the garden that brought them all together once before reaches far enough to preserve the home and family that she waited so long to find.

In this stunning continuation of The Secret Garden, author Krystal Bailey brings readers back to the garden gate and beyond with a story full of heart, familiar faces, and new beginnings.

A Portal Home: A Philcadian Short Story by Oakley R Campbell

A prequel short story to the Philcadian Chronicles
A Portal Home

When Tavettri falls through a portal into a new world, she desperately seeks to find a way home. Thankfully, two wizards are willing to help. Though one is more selfish in his assistance, and Tavettri is forced to make a choice that will change the future of two worlds.

This short story is a prequel to the Philcadian Chronicles and one of BDR Publishing’s authors.

Heroes of the Empire #1: The Cavalier by Israh Azizi

Debut novel by Israh Azizi
Heroes of the Empire

Death is Velamir’s close acquaintance. As a student in the Chishman academy, he cannot escape the brutal war. When he’s sent on a mission with three fellow academy cadets, Velamir returns to the Empire, the land of his birth. Calamity befalls the group as they trek through enemy territory, and Velamir learns a part of his past that makes the mission far more personal. Burdened with the deaths of the unavenged and the chance of losing his own life, Velamir must decide if revenge is worth the cost.

Natassa knows her role well: The silent and obedient girl. The one who looks away from the torture her father, the emperor, inflicts on the Empire’s inhabitants. The princess. But she’s a shackled prisoner, and somewhere under the mask is a spark of rebellion. When she learns of her father’s intention to marry her to a man she loathes, Natassa crafts a risky plan of her own—one dangerous enough to get her killed.

Promised Shadows by M.K. Ahearn

Debut novel by M.K. Ahearn
Promised Shadows

Rae is a skilled thief, willing to complete any job for the right price, that is until one job does not go according to plan. After coming face to face with a deadly and powerful prince, Rae has made a bargain that thrusts her into the center of palace life and fighting to save a kingdom she is not even sure she has much faith in.

Gavriel is the Royal Prince of Apricus, set to rule the kingdom one day, that is if the shadows do not rise again and tear it apart, driving them into a never-ending darkness. Alongside his twin sister, Rory, and loyal friend, River, the three work tirelessly to find a solution that will end the shadows for good. Their prayers seem to be answered when they are forced into a bargain with a criminal: Rae.

Together the group races against time to locate a long lost ancient artifact that just might be the key to saving their kingdom. The only problem is after 17 years of hiding and building their forces, the shadows are also on the hunt and they are seeking revenge. Will the group be able to beat the odds and find a crown that may only exist in legends before it is too late?

Goodreads gives us a list of books that were self published 2023.

Read a debut novel
Summer Reading Challenge: A Debut Novel