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There’s something about a debut. The team at LoveReading adore discovering a new favourite author. Can you imagine the blood, sweat, tears and love that has gone into the process of becoming an author? Here you can be in at the start and then recommend your favourites far and wide.
Falling in love, riding out change, figuring out what you want to do with your life – Ciara Smyth’s pitch perfect debut simmers with romance and deep-rooted dilemmas, delivered through witty dialogue and affecting emotional detail. Seventeen-year-old Saoirse (pronounced ‘Seer-sha’- be sure to get it right) is on the cusp of crossing the Irish Sea to read history at Oxford. Except she’s not sure she wants to go. She has more than enough on her plate dealing with her dad’s remarriage, getting over breaking-up with her girlfriend, and coming to terms with her mum’s debilitating illness. She just wants to spend her summer watching horror movies and kissing girls – no strings attached. To that end, Saoirse goes to a mate’s end-of-exams party and gets it on with his cousin Ruby. Irresistibly drawn to Ruby’s good looks and good heart, Saoirse accepts her challenge to embark on a summer romance with all the serious bits left out, in finest romcom tradition. But, as Ruby sagely points out, “the thing about the falling in love montage…is that when it’s over, the characters have fallen in love”. Super smart and funny (“If you are a girl inclined to deface school property, may I suggest the classic penis and balls, as you will avoid suspicion due to stereotyping”), Saoirse is lead fans of contemporary YA will love and root for - flaws and all - and her journey is a thoroughly entertaining, thought-provoking rollercoaster ride.
Longlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize 2019 Rural Trinidad: a brick house on stilts surrounded by bush; a family, quietly surviving, just trying to live a decent life in a society. Clyde, the father, works long, exhausting shifts at the petroleum plant in southern Trinidad; Joy, his wife, looks after the home. Their two sons, thirteen years old, wake early every morning to travel to the capital, Port of Spain, for school. They are twins but nothing alike: Paul has always been considered odd, while Peter is widely believed to be a genius, destined for greatness. When Paul goes walking in the bush one afternoon and doesn’t come home, Clyde is forced to go looking for him, this child who has caused him endless trouble already, and whom he has never really understood. And as the hours turn to days, and Clyde begins to understand Paul’s fate, his world shatters - leaving him faced with a decision no parent should ever have to make. Claire Adam’s devastating first novel compassionately brings to life different ways of experiencing the world. Like the Trinidadian landscape itself, Golden Child is both beautiful and unsettling; a resoundingly human story of aspiration, betrayal, and love.
All The Hidden Truths is Claire Askew’s debut novel and the start of the DI Birch series set in Edinburgh, It was the winner of the McIlvanney Debut Prize and shortlisted for the 2019 Crime Writers’ Association Gold Dagger. This is a series that is worth putting on your must-read list, smart, sharp, and so very readable, it comes with a highly recommended tag from me. Books in The DI Birch Series: 1. All The Hidden Truths 2. What You Pay For 3. Cover Your Tracks Serial Reader? Check out our 'Fall in Love With a Book Series' collection to find amazing book series to dive in to.
January 2016 Debut of the Month. One of our Books of the Year 2015. Seventeen-year old Peggy has recently returned home, initially we know not from where. Her father is dead, her mother has destroyed all evidence of him from their home. Peggy has a nine-year old brother who she has only just met. Slowly we are drip-fed an extraordinary tale of madness and survival. Young eight-year old Peggy spent an idyllic summer living rough with her father, learning survival skills. He then takes her on a trek across Europe to a deserted wooden hut where they turn native for he believes the world has ended and he and Peggy the only people left alive. How he dies and she eventually gets home is the heart of this terrific tale. It is an unusual, atmospheric, alarming, horrifying tale of madness and survival. Highly recommended. ~ Sarah Broadhurst Winner of the Desmond Elliott Prize 2015.
Winner of the Desmond Elliott Prize 2015. Seventeen-year old Peggy has recently returned home, initially we know not from where. Her father is dead, her mother has destroyed all evidence of him from their home. Peggy has a nine-year old brother who she has only just met. Slowly we are drip-fed an extraordinary tale of madness and survival. Young eight-year old Peggy spent an idyllic summer living rough with her father, learning survival skills. He then takes her on a trek across Europe to a deserted wooden hut where they turn native for he believes the world has ended and he and Peggy the only people left alive. How he dies and she eventually gets home is the heart of this terrific tale. It is an unusual, atmospheric, alarming, horrifying tale of madness and survival. Highly recommended. March 2015 Debut of the Month.
This light-hearted, easy-to-read tale set in the USA, is told through emails, texts, diary entries, and extracts from stories. When her relationship falters Crystal finds herself living back with her loving but interfering Mom. Crystal decides her mum needs a boyfriend and signs her up for a lifelike experimental robot, what on earth could go wrong?! I started reading with a slight hesitation but soon settled down as I got used to the texts and emails laid out on the page in front of me. The characters are inventively introduced by Crystal Hemmingway through different forms of electronic communication. The individual personality traits start to shine through and I was able to connect with them even with the limited descriptive detailing. I recommend throwing yourself and letting go, as Mom’s Perfect Boyfriend is a fun, bright and animated read.
Longlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize 2017. A fascinating heart-breaking debut novel full of attitude and aching tension. Set over a decade and more, we see events unfold in the Bosnian war, and separately watch the relationship between two people ebb and flow before events converge in one unforgettable moment. At the end of the second chapter, a shiver of chills and understanding sliced through me as I began to see a vivid, striking picture emerge. David Savill writes with true compassion and unflinching honesty, his knowledge of two major events, from very different parts of the world, creates a sincere and provocative tale. Zigzagging around in time, between the three main characters, left me feeling unsettled, and a sense of foreboding hovered over the pages. ‘They Are Trying to Break Your Heart’ connects to the intimate, the personal, creating hushed stillness and reflection in a tumultuous world, what a truly captivating novel this is. ~ Liz Robinson
Crossing genres in style, this just has to be one of my favourite novels of the year. Set in the marshlands of North Carolina, the majority of this story takes place in the 1950’s and 60’s. The prologue begins in 1969 with the body of Chase Andrews being found in the marsh. The first paragraph of the prologue introduces surprising beauty, the marsh simply sings, it settled into my mind and became a part of me. The central character is Kya, we meet her as a child, and the truth of her life is immediately apparent. As the novel moves backwards and forwards in time, Kya emerges as the Marsh Girl, and suspicion begins to hound her after the body is found. Author Delia Owens is a wildlife scientist who has worked in Africa and written non-fiction, this is her debut novel. Descriptions entered my mind in wafting movement, I fell in love with the marsh and the girl who lived there. Where the Crawdads Sing is truly touching, almost hauntingly beautiful, and opens a doorway to a different world. It has been chosen as a LoveReading Star Book and a Liz Robinson Pick of the Month.
For years, rumors of the "Marsh Girl" have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life - until the unthinkable happens. Perfect for fans of Barbara Kingsolver and Celeste Ng, Where the Crawdads Sing is at once an exquisite ode to the natural world, a heartbreaking coming-of-age story, and a surprising tale of possible murder. Owens reminds us that we are forever shaped by the children we once were, and that we are all subject to the beautiful and violent secrets that nature keeps.
Shortlisted for the Whitbread First Novel Award. Wickedly funny and devastatingly moving, 26a is an extraordinary first novel. Part fairytale, part nightmare, it moves from the mundane to the magical, the particular to the universal with exceptional flair and imagination. A coming-of-age novel with a difference. Head to our 'Black Lit Matters' list to find more must-read novels by black writers.
Revenge is a dish best served cold. Fear is a brilliant debut, a menacing tale of a family’s chilling journey, of a man’s best attempts to protect his loved ones. When all else fails, he takes things into his own hands. And who can blame him? Not me. This is an alarming, creepy story that challenges our traditional values and all that we hold dear. ~ Charlotte Walker
You'd die for your family. But would you kill for them?Family is everything. So what if yours was being terrorised by a neighbour - a man who doesn't listen to reason, whose actions become more erratic and sinister with each passing day? You go to the police, but they can't help you. You become afraid to leave your family at home alone. But there's nothing more you can do to protect them. Is there?