Fiction Debuts - 2009

A list featuring some selected first novels and debut short story collections (mostly hardcover). This list may not be comprehensive. First novel information is collected from a variety of sources. Annotations are from Advance, the Ingram Book Magazine - unless otherwise noted.

Annotated lists of books receiving at least one starred review from one of four major review sources: Booklist, Kirkus, LJ and PW. The review source assigns the star.
  • You or Someone Like You
    Author: Burr, Chandler
    $ 26 ISBN: 9780061715655 Date: 2009
    star Kirkus
    This remarkable debut novel by an acclaimed "New York Times" writer is at once an odyssey through classic literature and a heartbreakingly real portrait of a marriage as it unravels.
    Updated 5.21.09
  • April & Oliver
    Author: Callahan, Tess
    $ 23.99 ISBN: 9780446540599 Date: 2009
    starLJ
    A devastating tragedy serves to reunite two friends from childhood, in this emotionally compelling and sexually charged first novel from an exciting new voice in fiction.
    Updated
  • Hello Goodbye
    Author: Chenoweth, Emily
    $24 ISBN: 9781400065172 Date: 2009
    star PW
    A heartbreaking, beautifully-crafted debut novel about friendship, loyalty, and growing up--Hello Goodbye follows a dying woman's final vacation with her family at a lavish New England resort.
    Updated 3.31.09
  • 4.22.09
  • The Girl She Used to Be
    Author: Cristofano, David
    $ 22.99 ISBN: 9780446582223 Date: 2009
    star PW
    When Melody Grace McCartney was six, she and her parents witnessed an act of violence so brutal it changed their lives forever. Now, Jonathan Bovaro, the mafioso sent to hunt her down in the Witness Protection Program, is insistent that she's just a pawn in the government's war against the Bovaro family.
    Suggested Reading: Debuts
    Updated 3.31.09
  • Eve: A Novel of the First Woman
    Author: Elliott, Elissa
    $ 24 ISBN: 9780385341448 Date: 2009
    starLJ
    In this luminous debut novel, Elliott puts a powerful twist on biblical narrative, boldly reimagining Eve's journey. At once intimate and universal, timely and timeless, this unique work of fiction blends biblical tradition with recorded history and dazzling storytelling.
    Updated 1.27.09
  • The Moon Opera
    Author: Feiyu, Bi and Howard Goldblatt (trn)
    $ 18 ISBN: 9780151012947 Date: 2009
    starBooklist
    The debut novel of one of China's rising young literary talents is a gem of a book that takes a piercing look into the world of Chinese opera and its female stars.
    Updated 1.27.09
  • An Elegy for Easterly
    Author: Gappah, Petina
    $ 22 ISBN: 9780865479067 Date: 2009
    star PW star Kirkus
    In her spirited debut collection, author Gappah portrays the resilience and inventiveness of the Zimbabwean people who struggle with issues common to people everywhere: failed promises, unfulfilled dreams, and the yearning for something to anchor them to life.
    Updated 5.20.09
  • A Reliable Wife
    Author: Goolrick, Robert
    $ 23.95 ISBN: 9781565125964 Date: 2009
    star Kirkus
    Set in rural Wisconsin in 1909, Ralph Truitt stands alone on a train platform waiting for the woman who answered his newspaper advertisement for "a reliable wife." But when Catherine Land steps off the train from Chicago, she's not the "simple, honest woman" that Ralph is expecting.
    Updated 3.31.09
  • The Walking People
    Author: Keane, Mary Beth
    $ 25 ISBN: 9780547126524 Date: 2009
    star Kirkus
    Debut author Keane offers an extended meditation on leaving, finding, and making home in a novel focused on the new Irish immigrant experience--"Publishers Weekly."
    Suggested Reading: Debut
    Updated 3.31.09
  • The Ballad of West Tenth Street
    Author: Kernan, Marjorie
    $ 13.99 ISBN: 9780061669170 Date: 2009
    starPW
    Lively, lovely, charming, and surprising, this imaginative debut is a true-life fairy tale of an utterly unusual Manhattan.
    Updated 2.26.09
  • Drawings in the Dust
    Author: Klein, Zoe
    $ 25 ISBN: 9781416599128 ate: 2009
    starBooklist
    By turns philosophical, suspenseful, and passionate, this brilliant debut novel--in the bestselling tradition of Anita Diamant's The Red Tent--transports readers into a mystical world and takes them on a journey they won't soon forget.
    Updated 5.21.09
  • Etta
    Author: Kolpan, Gerald
    $ 25 ISBN: 9780345503688 Date: 2009
    starKirkus
    Beautiful, elusive, and refined, Etta Place captivated the nation at the turn of the last century as she dodged the law with the Wild Bunch, led by Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Her true identity and fate have remained a mystery. Kolpan envisions this remarkable woman's life in a stunning debut novel.
    Suggested Reading: Westerns
    Updated 2.26.09
  • Secret Son
    Author: Lalami, Laila
    $ 23.95 ISBN: 9781565124943 Date: 2009
    star LJ
    In the spirit of The Reluctant Fundamentalist, Lalami's powerful first novel explores the struggle for identity, the need for family, and the desperation that overtakes ordinary lives in a country divided by class, politics, and religion.
    Suggested Reading: Debuts
    Updated 3.31.09
  • The Selected Works of T. S. Spivet
    Author: Larsen, Reif
    $ 27.95 ISBN: 9781594202179 Date: 2009
    star LJ star Booklist
    This brilliant, boundary-leaping debut novel traces 12-year-old genius map-maker T.S. Spivet's attempts to understand the ways of the world.
    Updated 5.15.09
  • The Vagrants
    Author: Li, Yiyun
    $ 25 ISBN: 9781400063130 Date: 2009
    starPW star Booklist
    The astonishing first novel from the author of the award-winning story collection A Thousand Years of Good Prayers weaves together the delicate moments between mothers and sons, husbands and wives, illuminating the reality of oppression and pain.
    Updated 3.31.09
  • All the Living
    Author: Morgan, C.E.
    $ 23 ISBN: 9780374103620 Date: 2009
    starLJ
    All the Living has the timeless quality of a parable, but it is also a perfect evocation of a time and place, a portrait of both age-old conflicts and modern life. This lyrical and moving debut novel is an ode to the starve-acre southern farm, the mountain landscape, and difficult love--an unforgettable book from a major new voice.
    Suggested Reading: Debuts
    Updated 1.27.09
  • Precious
    Author: Novack, Sandra
    $ 25 ISBN: 9781400066803 Date: 2009
    starBooklist
    A haunting, gorgeously written first novel about a fractured family, Precious is set in 1970s small town Pennsylvania during the tumultuous summer a young girl goes missing.
    Updated 2.26.09
  • Drift
    Author: Patterson, Victoria
    $ 13 ISBN: 9780547054940 Date: 2009
    star PW
    From a fresh new voice comes this wise and intimate debut collection that offers a fascinating glimpse of exclusive Newport Beach through the lives of ordinary people who, in some way, find themselves on the outside looking in.
    Updated 5.20.09
  • Drift
    Author: Patterson, Victoria
    $ 13 ISBN: 9780547054940 Date: 2009
    star PW
    From a fresh new voice comes this wise and intimate debut collection that offers a fascinating glimpse of exclusive Newport Beach through the lives of ordinary people who, in some way, find themselves on the outside looking in.
    Updated 5.20.09
  • Woodsburner
    Author: Pipkin, John
    $ 24 ISBN: 9780385528658 Date: 2009
    starKirkus star LJ
    On April 30, 1844, Henry David Thoreau accidentally started a forest fire that destroyed 300 acres of the Concord woods. Against the background of Thoreau's fire, Pipkin's ambitious debut penetrates the mind of the young philosopher.
    Updated 4.22.09
  • Home Repair
    Author: Rosenberg, Liz
    $ 14 ISBN: 9780061734564 Date: 2009
    starBooklist
    Prize-winning poet Rosenberg's debut novel is a bittersweet and moving story of a woman whose husband takes off while she is in the middle of a garage sale, leaving her to deal with loss--and maybe a chance at a whole new life.
    Updated 5.21.09
  • Love or Something Like It
    Author: Shaw, Deidre
    $ 25 ISBN: 9781400067701 Date: 2009
    starBooklist
    Shaw's emotionally honest, clear-eyed debut novel follows a thirty-something woman forced to redefine love, career, and family after her young marriage falters.
    Updated 3.31.09
  • Everything Ravaged, Everthing Burned: Stories
    Author: Tower, Wells
    $ 24 ISBN: 9780374292195 Date: 2009
    starKirkus
    In Tower's debut collection of stories, families fall apart and messily try to reassemble themselves in an America that is touched with the seamy splendor of the dropout, the misfit, boozy dreamers, hapless fathers, and wayward sons.
    Updated 1.27.09
  • Cutting for Stone
    Author: Verghese, Abraham
    $ 26.95 ISBN: 9780375414497 Date: 2009
    starPW
    A stunning debut novel from the author of My Own Country: an enthralling family saga of Africa and America, fathers and sons, doctors and patients, exile and home.
    Updated 1.27.09
  • Future Missionaries of America
    Author: Vollmer, Matthew
    $ 24 ISBN: 9781596923126 Date: 2009
    starLJ
    A waiter at Yellowstone National Park seeks consolation in the arms of his dead friend's girlfriend. A young woman vacationing in Idaho becomes obsessed with a female poet and her adopted child. A deadbeat bus-driver with a gambling addiction watches his son attempt the impossible at the X Games. A widow, retreating to a New Hampshire lake house, finds her son living there with another man. A temp in New York City distributes his will and testament to twenty-seven strangers, hoping to convince one of them to be its executor.
    These are just some of the compellingly odd characters found in the pages of Matthew Vollmer's brilliant debut collection, Future Missionaries of America. Taking us from a Seventh Day Adventist boarding school to a traveling exhibition of plasticine bodies, from the moonlit paths of Yellowstone National Park to a quiet New Hampshire lakehouse, Vollmer's twelve stories are at once sorrowful, exuberant, and absurdly comical.
    Updated 1.27.09
  • The New Valley
    Author: Weil, Josh
    $ 22 ISBN: 9780802118912 Date: 2009
    starPW
    The linked novellas that comprise Weil's masterful debut bring readers into America's remote, unforgiving backcountry, and delicately unveil the private worlds of three very different men as they confront love, loss, and their own personal demons.
    Updated 2.26.09

Starred Review Lists

Books that received at least one starred review from Booklist, Kirkus, LJ, and PW.

2013 Crime Fiction: Jan-June | Fiction: Jan-June | Speculative Fiction

2012 Crime Fiction: July-Dec | Fiction: July-Dec | Speculative Fiction

Hotlists@ Google Docs

Crime Fiction... 2013 | 2012 | 2011

Fiction... 2013 | 2012 | 2011

(lists of new and notable books - lists are sortable and can be downloaded)

more stars lists...

book mark Overbooked

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