Whether you’re a fan of dark psychological thrillers or partial to a heart-warming comedy, 2017 is set to be an exciting year for fiction, with talented female writers releasing debuts for all tastes. So, to ensure you’re ahead of the curve, we’ve rounded up the most promising debuts to read before everyone else does…
Conversations With Friends by Sally Rooney, £14.99 | Amazon
Named in the
Observer’s ‘Rising Stars of 2017’, Rooney’s debut is one of the most anticipated works of fiction to be published this year. Conversations With Friends is a challenging exploration of the frictions and politics of female friendship, setting up a thrilling conflict between the protagonist’s lofty mind and carnal body as the relationships of several friends unfold in person and online.
Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman, £12.99 | Waterstones
This book contains one of the most joyful, if difficult, character evolutions in fiction this year, as protagonist Eleanor gradually learns to break away from the tired habits that prop up her life in order to rediscover the self she’s lost along the way – a relatable story of confronting illusions and starting anew.
Goodbye, Vitamin by Rachel Khong, £12.99 | Waterstones
Adrift with a lacklustre career and crumbled relationship, 30-year-old Ruth is summoned back to her family home to help care for her father, a prominent academic who has recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Both hilarious and heart-breaking, you’ll be touched by the compassion and insight threaded through this novel.
My Sister's Bones by Nuala Ellwood, £9.99 (was £12.99) | Waterstones
Ellwood’s first novel is a compulsive thriller of shocking twists, and comes highly recommended for lovers of 2015’s
The Girl on the Train. Kate is a successful reporter hardened by her time covering conflicts across the world, who is forced by the death of her mother to return to the oppressive home she seemed to have finally escaped. Bringing together challenging issues including domestic violence and civil war, this read is surprising, sharp and deeply unsettling.
Next Year For Sure by Zoey Leigh Peterson, £20.09 | Amazon
Kathryn and Chris have a perfect relationship from the outside but, after nine years together, are secretly battling a creeping loneliness. When Chris reveals his feelings for the alluring Emily, Kathryn encourages her boyfriend pursue this other woman, certain the couples’ deep bond can weather a rough patch. As the affair continues and their lives become more deeply entwined with the mysterious Emily, Kathryn’s own horizons begin to widen and she faces up to new desires of her own. This debut is a tender, honest and often very funny consideration of tested romance.
Sympathy by Olivia Sudjic, £14.99 | Amazon
A novel about online obsession in an unnervingly opaque and anonymous digital age. At twenty-three, Alice Hare becomes fixated with a Japanese writer half-way across the world who she believes is her ‘internet twin’. Sudjic’s compulsive debut charts the depths of desperation and torment to which humans can be pushed in a warped effort to find connection.
The End We Start From by Megan Hunter, £9.99 | Amazon
A gripping story of new motherhood set in a dystopian future, Hunter’s narrative immerses us in a future of environmental collapse which sees London submerged in flood waters, as a family who have only known stability become refugees. As they lurch from one crisis to the next, a mother is driven to find a better life by the resilience and wonder of her child. This novel’s short length belies the depth of the poetry and love in its pages.
The Possessions by Sarah Flannery Murphy, £12.99 | Waterstones
Edie has worked for the secretive Elysian Society for five years, helping to connect grieving relatives with the spirits of their loved ones by channelling them through her own body. When she is visited by a distraught widower named Patrick, his glamorous wife Sylvia threatens to overtake Edie’s body and mind – drawing Edie closer to Patrick and the troubling, suspicious story of Sylvia’s demise.
The Things We Thought We Knew by Mahsuda Snaith, £12.99 | Waterstones
Snaith’s voice is skilful and exuberant, making for a very exciting addition to fiction this year.
The Things We Thought We Knew is the story of a lost friendship, broken apart by horror and tragedy. It is also a story of memory, as Ravine lies in bed, racked with chronic pain, and tries to piece together what happened all those years ago.
The Witch Finder's Sister by Beth Underdown, £9.09 | Amazon
Based on real life killings in the mid-1600s, Underdown’s historical tale of witchcraft and murder in a small Essex town has been described as a feminist parable crossed with a classic check-twice-under-the-bed thriller. Returning to rural Manningtree, Alice is forced to confront the murderous rumours about her brother, Matthew.
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