Happy Tuesday, everyone! Today I’m back with another post inspired by Top 5 Tuesday, which is a weekly meme created by the lovely Shanah at the Bionic Bookworm. You can visit here for the upcoming topics!
This week, the topic is top five debut novels. Tbh, I never know whether a book is a debut or not. But I went through Goodreads (come say hi!) and realised that I’ve actually read quite a few debuts. So instead of doing a top five, I thought I’d just talk about some of my favourite debuts!
There are three categories. “Yep, that’s a debut” includes those books that are still great and that I love, but are still a little unrefined and feel like debuts. Next, we have “good but no cigar” for those debuts that are near perfect, they just lack a little something to make it perfect. Finally, we have “writing a weak debut? we don’t know her” for debuts that are perfect in every way.
Yep, that’s a debut
Legend by Marie Lu: this is (IMO), the definition of “yep, that’s a debut”. Not because it’s bad, but because it’s just a little unrefined. However, I think Lu wrote this when she was 15 or something? So we’ll let it slide. Legend is still one of my favourite YA dystopians, and it has a lot of my favourite elements (namely a corrupt government).
The Lost Girls by Heather Young: this is a thriller/mystery, and I love it a lot even though I rarely talk about it. The setting is fantastic: it’s so descriptive and you really feel like you’re at the house in the summer and winter. I really enjoyed this one, and highly recommend it. It’s a bit slower-paced than you’d expect from a thriller, so just know that going in.
The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton: I just recently read Evelyn Hardcastle, and I think it’s a really strong debut. It’s super complex, but all comes together seamlessly in the end.
Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver: this is another book that is good, but not amazing, and is definitely a little unrefined. It’s one of my all-time favourites, but I can see the flaws.
Good but no cigar
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas: I think the strongest thing about this book was the timeliness of it. Honestly, the BLM aspects aside, it was just a “good” debut. The characters, the pacing, the relationships, the setting were all good, but not great. However, this book is super emotional and super topical, which I think makes it stand out.
The Martian by Andy Weir: this is another book that is good but not great, but has some aspect that pushes it closer to the “great” side, namely the humor. I never laugh when reading books (not because I’m heartless, just because I don’t really laugh when reading things), but this book made me literally laugh out loud. It’s so funny, and the main character is great.
Looking for Alaska by John Green: listen. I know John Green is hit or miss, but no matter how many times I read this book, I still love it. I definitely think Looking for Alaska is Green’s best novel, and if you only read one of his books, it should be this one.
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins: this is the book that really started the YA dystopian trend, and I still think it’s the best one. I recently re-watched the movie and was reminded of how brilliant it actually is? Like, there’s so much good in this book, and the whole series works as a cohesive series.
The Secret History by Donna Tartt: my biggest complaint with this book is it was long. But honestly, I don’t think that it could’ve been edited down, either. Maybe the first half could have a little, but everything was necessary to build the characters and the setting and everything, so it made sense. But, because it was so long, it’s going in the good category.
Writing a weak debut? We don’t know her
Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng: possibly the best debut I have ever read in my life. I am not even joking when I say this is a perfect book in my eyes. I don’t have much to say about this book other than I love it a ton.
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini: I think this book is another near-perfect book. The writing is amazing, the plot is fantastic, the settings are so great. If you haven’t read this book, I highly recommend it.
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern: this book is easy to forget that it’s a debut. It’s just so beautifully written. Like, yes, the character development could be a bit better. But the writing, the settings, the atmosphere, and the pacing make up for it (for me, at least). It’s hands down the most magical book I’ve ever read.
Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk: I didn’t know that Fight Club was his debut, tbh! The character development, plot twists, message, and ending are all amazing. If you haven’t read Fight Club yet, I highly highly recommend it.
Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky: I didn’t know this was his debut either. I know this is a somewhat controversial book, but I fall into the “loving it” category. I think it’s one of those books everyone should read, and that it will be relevant for a long time.
Red Rising by Pierce Brown: by now we probably all know that Red Rising is one of my favourite books. My biggest criticism of it is that it uses the “harm a woman to advance a man’s storyline” trope, which is shitty. However, Mustang is one of my favourite characters ever, the action is fantastic, the side characters are brilliant, and everything else about this book is perfect.
So those are some of my favourite debuts! Have you read any of these? What are your thoughts? Are there any debuts you think I should try? Let me know!
Thanks for reading! xx