Welcome to our exciting roundup of the 10 Best Debut Authors of April 2023! As spring breathes new life into the world around us, it’s the perfect time to discover fresh literary voices that are emerging on the scene. These talented wordsmiths have enthralled us with their compelling stories, vivid characters, and thought-provoking themes, proving that they are forces to be reckoned with in the literary world. From poignant coming-of-age tales to gripping thrillers and captivating speculative fiction, these debut authors have masterfully woven narratives that will leave a lasting impression.
10 Best Debut Authors of April 2023
- Genevieve Wheeler – Adelaide
- Nick Medina – Sisters of the Lost Nation
- Terry J. Benton-Walker – Blood Debts
- Ling Ling Huang – Natural Beauty
- Carlyn Greenwald – Sizzle Reel
- Cat Shook – If We’re Being Honest
- Stephen Buoro – The Five Sorrowful Mysteries of Andy Africa
- Brittany N. Williams – That Self-Same Metal
- Becky Chalsen – Kismet
- Camille Kellogg – Just as You Are
Genevieve Wheeler – Adelaide
At twenty-six, American Adelaide Williams finds herself unexpectedly swept off her feet by the enchanting Englishman, Rory Hughes, while living in the picturesque city of London. Despite Rory’s inconsistent communication and lack of commitment, Adelaide is certain of their profound connection, particularly when he provides her with a sense of belonging. However, when tragedy strikes Rory, Adelaide becomes his rock, risking her own well-being in the process. This captivating debut delves into the complexities of grief, mental health, and love, raising the critical question: how do we prioritize ourselves when love demands too much? With raw honesty and warmth, this compelling novel captures the essence of youth, love, and the struggle to find balance in relationships with others and oneself.
Nick Medina – Sisters of the Lost Nation
In this deeply atmospheric and poignantly captivating debut, a young Native girl searches for answers about the mysterious disappearances of women from her tribe’s reservation, delving into her people’s myths and stories while being haunted by a nameless entity from an ancient tribal myth. Anna Horn constantly looks over her shoulder, wary of bullies, entitled casino visitors, and the supernatural force that follows her.
When sinister events unfold around the casino and girls start to vanish, Anna seeks answers in her tribe’s legends, grappling with her place in the community. As her own sister disappears, Anna becomes determined to bring her home, confronting the ancient and modern demons plaguing the reservation. Author Nick Medina weaves a gripping thriller with elements of mythological horror, creating an insightful and timely narrative about life as an outcast, the significance of preserving tradition, and the courage required to embrace one’s true identity.
Terry J. Benton-Walker – Blood Debts
In Terry J. Benton-Walker’s contemporary fantasy debut, Blood Debts, readers are transported to New Orleans, where powerful magical families, intergenerational curses, and deadly drama unfold. Twin heirs Clement and Cristina Trudeau must grapple with their family’s tragic past, a curse afflicting their mother, and the threat of a dangerous enemy targeting them.
As they work to unravel the mystery of a decades-old murder, the twins must confront their own conflicting relationship with magic and rebuild their fractured bond. Set against the backdrop of New Orleans’ magical and non-magical communities, Blood Debts is a gripping tale of family, betrayal, and the pursuit of justice.
Ling Ling Huang – Natural Beauty
In the cunning and incisive debut novel, Natural Beauty, a young pianist with a unique technique enters the world of elite beauty and discovers its staggering cost. After an accident devastates her parents, she leaves her promising future at the Conservatory for a job at a high-end beauty store in New York City. As she navigates the realm of lavish products and procedures, she befriends Helen, the niece of the store’s enigmatic owner, and finds herself drawn into a world of privilege and belonging. This sharp-witted exploration of consumerism, self-worth, race, and identity unveils a startling and sinister truth beneath the glossy facade.
Carlyn Greenwald – Sizzle Reel
In this irresistible queer coming-of-age rom-com, 24-year-old aspiring cinematographer Luna Roth navigates the challenges of coming out as bisexual while pursuing her dreams in Hollywood. After meeting A-list actress Valeria Sullivan, Luna hopes to land a job on Valeria’s directorial debut and explore her newfound sexuality. With the help of her best friend Romy, Luna juggles her career ambitions, friendship, and growing romantic feelings for Valeria. As complications arise, Luna must determine if she can achieve her filmmaking dreams, maintain her friendship with Romy, and win Valeria’s heart, or if she’s destined for the cutting room floor.
Cat Shook – If We’re Being Honest
In Cat Shook’s debut novel If We’re Being Honest, reminiscent of We Are the Brennans by Tracey Lange and All Adults Here by Emma Straub, readers are introduced to the Williams family as they navigate a transformative summer following the sudden death of their patriarch, Gerry. The story unfolds in Eulalia, Georgia, where the family gathers for the funeral, only to be left reeling from unexpected revelations. As the cousins confront their personal struggles and the eccentric adults grapple with their own dilemmas, Gerry’s widow, Ellen, tries to maintain composure amidst the gossiping townsfolk. This witty and original novel explores the complex dynamics of a family in mourning, highlighting both their heartbreaks and the healing power of their bond.
Stephen Buoro – The Five Sorrowful Mysteries of Andy Africa
Brimming with vibrancy and intellect, this debut novel follows the unique teenager, Andrew Aziza, on a journey of self-discovery amidst Nigeria’s colonialism and communal violence. Set in Northern Nigeria, 15-year-old Andy explores life’s bigger questions with his friends, Fatima, Slim, and Morocca, and teacher, Zahrah. When he falls in love with Eileen, a white girl, Andy’s world is turned upside down as he faces a man claiming to be his father and an anti-Christian mob, forcing him to confront his identity and desires in a turbulent world. The Five Sorrowful Mysteries of Andy Africa introduces a brilliant, new literary voice, offering a powerful insight into modern African life, the West’s involvement, and the daunting challenges of growing up in a tumultuous world.
Brittany N. Williams – That Self-Same Metal
In this breathtaking YA fantasy debut, ideal for admirers of Holly Black and Justina Ireland, a Black swordsmith girl battles a Fae rebellion in Shakespearean London. Joan Sands, a 16-year-old artisan, creates and maintains stage blades for Shakespeare’s The King’s Men while harnessing a magical metal-controlling ability from her Head Orisha, Ogun. With her Orisha-blessed family, Joan monitors London’s Fae presence. However, when brutal Fae attacks surge, Joan’s rescue of a cruel Lord’s son entangles her in both human and Fae political intrigue. This swashbuckling, romantic series starter, set amidst the backdrop of Shakespeare’s London, offers a unique heroine and an unforgettable tale.
Becky Chalsen – Kismet
In the sun-drenched beach town of Kismet, Fire Island, “Kismet” offers a tantalizing tale of love, sisterhood, and destiny, centered around the inseparable Sharp twins, Amy and Jo, and Amy’s husband, Ben. As the Fourth of July weekend approaches, Jo’s hasty wedding overshadows the twins’ 30th birthday, and Amy’s marriage to Ben is on shaky ground. Amid the festivities, the arrival of a mysterious, handsome stranger with a familiar face threatens to unveil long-held secrets, testing the unbreakable bond between the twins and challenging their cherished relationships. This captivating story serves up family drama, hidden truths, and the consequences of the past, all under the dazzling summer sun.
Camille Kellogg – Just as You Are
This witty and steamy debut rom-com offers a queer twist on the classic enemies-to-lovers trope, inspired by Pride and Prejudice. Liz Baker, an employee at a struggling New York queer magazine, clashes with minority investor Daria Fitzgerald, who’s implementing budget cuts and other unpopular changes. As the two women spend more time together, Liz discovers Daria’s softer side and finds it increasingly difficult to resist their undeniable chemistry. Brimming with humor and heart, this captivating story celebrates queer culture, chosen family, and the irresistible allure of love despite one’s better judgment.