This year, all are agreed, was a pretty great one for books — but it was a particularly good one for debut novelists, which impressed us over and over again with their ingenuity, seriousness, and talent. This year’s debuts ran the gamut from sci-fi masterpieces to realistic war novels, with several magic-tinged worlds floating around in between. Looks like the novel/this insufferably ironic generation/reading itself isn’t a lost cause after all. Read on for our favorite debut novels of the year, and since we already had to tearfully eliminate quite a few from our list of loves, feel free to add them back on for us in the comments.
The Yellow Birds, Kevin Powers
“The war tried to kill us in the spring,” Powers’s deft coming-of-age novel begins, delicately poetic. A beautifully dark, harrowing story of war and friendship, this may be the best novel yet to come out of the Iraq war.