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LJ’s Great First Acts — Debut Novels

LJ S17 debutsFrom astute coming-of-age titles to high-profile pop fiction to books heard ’round the world, these seven Macmillan titles will be some of the most talked-about debuts of the spring 2017 season, according to Library Journal:

HOW TO BE HUMAN by Paula Cocozza
Out: May 9
Out of love and on leave from work, Mary finds comfort in the presence of a gorgeous red fox that has taken to visiting the back garden of her home in the London suburbs. But the neighbors are disturbed. “A compelling, unsettling, and wholly original debut.” (LJ 3/1/17)

THE CITY ALWAYS WINS by Omar Robert Hamilton
Out: June 13
Cofounder of the Palestine Festival of Literature, Hamilton takes us to Cairo as his idealistic protagonist joins the battle in Tahrir Square, then lands in disillusioned exile in New York. Forceful, astonishing writing and a piercing insider’s look at Egypt’s failed revolution.

MARLENA by Julie Buntin
Out: April 4
Relating the story of 15-year-old Cat, new in town and drawn to daring, desperate Marlena, Buntin captures a destructive yet essential relationship with ongoing consequences. A Discover Great New Writers pick; “an exceptional portrait, disturbing and precisely observed.” (Xpress Reviews 3/10/17)

BLUE LIGHT YOKOHAMA by Nicolás Obregón
Available now
Newly reinstated Tokyo police inspector Iwata inherits a troublesome case: an entire family has been slaughtered and the symbol of a large black sun left behind. “This gritty story…establish[es] ­Obregón as a fresh, up-and-coming voice in crime fiction.” (LJ 2/1/17)

AMBERLOUGH by Lara Elena Donnelly
Available now
In a wildly reimagined world where social conservatives are rising, a gay double agent working for resistant Amberlough City (think the Weimar Republic) gets himself and his burlesque-performing lover in trouble. “Donnelly’s striking debut brings a complex world of politics, espionage, and cabaret life to full vision.” (LJ 2/15/17)

THE STANDARD GRAND by Jay Baron Nicorvo
Out: April 25
In this refreshing work, an army trucker gone AWOL before her third deployment joins a Vietnam vet at his family’s seen-better-days Borscht Belt resort, now a halfway house for homeless veterans. But a nasty multinational corporation wants the land. “Nicorvo carves out something truly original.” (LJ 2/1/17)

ALMOST MISSED YOU by Jessica Strawser
Out: March 28
If Violet and Finn have the perfect marriage, why does he abandon her on holiday and take their son to her best friend, demanding that she hide them? “Fans of smart women’s fiction mixed with a fast-paced plot should not miss this startling first novel.” (LJ 1/17)

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