Book List

Best Debut Fiction of 2020

  • FICTION

    SHUGGIE BAIN

    FEB. 11, 2020

FICTION

SHUGGIE BAIN

by Douglas Stuart

You will never forget Shuggie Bain. Scene by scene, this book is a masterpiece. Full review >

FULL REVIEW >
  • FICTION

    BLACK SUNDAY

    FEB. 4, 2020

FICTION

BLACK SUNDAY

by Tola Rotimi Abraham

Twin sisters cut adrift in a perilous, duplicitous world learn that “only the wise survive.” A formidable debut. Full review >

FULL REVIEW >
  • FICTION

    LUSTER

    AUG. 4, 2020

FICTION

LUSTER

by Raven Leilani

Sharp, strange, propellant—and a whole lot of fun. Full review >

FULL REVIEW >
  • FICTION

    HOW MUCH OF THESE HILLS IS GOLD

    APRIL 7, 2020

FICTION

HOW MUCH OF THESE HILLS IS GOLD

by C Pam Zhang

Aesthetically arresting and a vital contribution to America’s conversation about itself. Full review >

FULL REVIEW >
  • FICTION

    DAYS OF DISTRACTION

    MARCH 31, 2020

  • FICTION

    SUCH A FUN AGE

    JAN. 7, 2020

FICTION

SUCH A FUN AGE

by Kiley Reid

Charming, challenging, and so interesting you can hardly put it down. Full review >

FULL REVIEW >
  • FICTION

    THESE GHOSTS ARE FAMILY

    MARCH 3, 2020

FICTION

THESE GHOSTS ARE FAMILY

by Maisy Card

An intriguing debut with an inventive spin on the generational family saga. Full review >

FULL REVIEW >
  • FICTION

    BESTIARY

    SEPT. 8, 2020

FICTION

BESTIARY

by K-Ming Chang

A visceral book that promises a major new literary voice. Full review >

FULL REVIEW >
  • FICTION

    THIN GIRLS

    JUNE 9, 2020

FICTION

THIN GIRLS

by Diana Clarke

Incisive social commentary rendered in artful, original, and powerfully affecting prose. Full review >

FULL REVIEW >
  • FICTION

    FIEBRE TROPICAL

    MARCH 4, 2020

FICTION

FIEBRE TROPICAL

by Juliana Delgado Lopera

A rich, deeply felt novel about family ties, immigration, sexual longing, faith, and desire. Simultaneously raw and luminous. Full review >

FULL REVIEW >
  • FICTION

    THE VANISHED BIRDS

    JAN. 14, 2020

SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY

THE VANISHED BIRDS

by Simon Jimenez

The best of what science fiction can be: a thought-provoking, heart-rending story about the choices that define our lives. Full review >

FULL REVIEW >
  • FICTION

    PRECIOUS YOU

    MARCH 10, 2020

  • FICTION

    NEW WAVES

    MARCH 10, 2020

FICTION

NEW WAVES

by Kevin Nguyen

A blistering sendup of startup culture and a sprawling, ambitious, tender debut. Full review >

FULL REVIEW >
  • FICTION

    THE SECRET LIVES OF CHURCH LADIES

    SEPT. 1, 2020

FICTION

THE SECRET LIVES OF CHURCH LADIES

by Deesha Philyaw

Tender, fierce, proudly Black and beautiful, these stories will sneak inside you and take root. Full review >

FULL REVIEW >
  • FICTION

    THE DISCOMFORT OF EVENING

    AUG. 18, 2020

FICTION

THE DISCOMFORT OF EVENING

by Marieke Lucas Rijneveld ; translated by Michele Hutchison

Rijneveld’s extraordinary narrator describes a small world of pain which is hard to look at and harder to ignore. Full review >

FULL REVIEW >
  • FICTION

    SHARKS IN THE TIME OF SAVIORS

    MARCH 31, 2020

FICTION

SHARKS IN THE TIME OF SAVIORS

by Kawai Strong Washburn

Striking style, memorable characters, and a believably miraculous premise add up to a beautifully crafted first novel. Full review >

FULL REVIEW >
  • FICTION

    SOMETHING TO TALK ABOUT

    MAY 26, 2020

ROMANCE

SOMETHING TO TALK ABOUT

by Meryl Wilsner

A sparkling debut with vibrant characters, a compelling Hollywood studio setting, and a sweet slow-burn romance. Full review >

FULL REVIEW >

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