9 Debut Novels To Listen To Right This Minute

What an entrance! These are the works by first-time novelists that have Audible's listeners and editors all aflutter.

We all love the feeling of being the first to discover the next big thing — especially when that thing is a new book. And it’s even better when that new book comes from a brand new voice in fiction. From psychological thrillers to literary fiction to culturally on-point YA, these are some of the debut novels of 2017 that we think have the most potential to stand the test of time. We very much hope we’ll be hearing from these authors again soon.

See all the debuts we’re excited about this year here.

The Hate U Give

"Fabulous listen"

"This book is stunning. It's not just relevant. The writing is amazing. The characters compelling and complicated. I highly recommend this audiobook if you are not a black person living in America. #blacklivesmattertoo #audiobooks #knitandread" — Kathryne, Listener Since 2011

Lincoln in the Bardo

"Lincoln in the Bardo is one of the most extraordinary books I have ever listened to — and make no mistake — this one is meant to be listened to. 166 individual narrators (led by Nick Offerman, David Sedaris, author George Saunders, and the incomparably sweet Kirby Heyborne as Willie) came together to voice this wildly surreal audiobook. And while that might sound like a production stunt, the breadth of voices is necessary to create the immersive cacophony effect (almost a Greek chorus of Americana) — because Saunders' first full-length novel, a hugely ambitious work that delivers a devastatingly accurate portrait of grief, is entirely voiced by ghosts." – Emily, Audible Editor

Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk

Library Journal Editors' Pick

It's the last day of 1984, and 85-year-old Lillian Boxfish is about to take a walk. As she traverses a grittier Manhattan, a city anxious after an attack by a still-at-large subway vigilante, she encounters bartenders, bodega clerks, chauffeurs, security guards, bohemians, criminals, children, parents, and parents-to-be in surprising moments of generosity and grace. While she strolls, Lillian recalls a long and eventful life that included a brief reign as the highest paid advertising woman in America — a career cut short by marriage, motherhood, divorce, and a breakdown.

The Dry

We're Thankful We Don't Have This Cleaning Job:

“The entrance hall was muggy and stank of bleach. A side table piled with household clutter of bills and pens sat askew against a far wall, shoved from its original position. The tiled floor was ominously clean. The entire hallway had been scrubbed down to the original grout. ‘The industrial cleaner’s been through, so there aren’t any nasty surprises,’ Raco said. ‘They couldn’t save the carpet in the kid’s bedroom. Not that you’d want to.’”

The Bear and the Nightingale

Series name: Winternight Trilogy

Books in Series: The Bear and the Nightingale (Book 1);The Girl in the Tower (Book 2); The Winter of the Witch (Book 3)

Vasya is a young, plucky girl living in a small village in Northern Russia. She lives a mostly happy life—until her widowed father brings home a new wife from Moscow. Determined to control her spirited stepdaughter, Vasya’s stepmother forbids her and her siblings from listening to their nurse’s fairy tales or participating in the ancient practice of honoring household spirits. However, when a force from the outside world threatens life as Vasya and her community know it, she sets off on a journey to defend her home, using a mysterious jewel given to her father by a stranger when she was born. Katherine Arden's writing soars on the wings of Kathleen Gati's narration in this story of tension between Russian tradition and modernity.

Caraval

"A Dazzling Debut"

"I can’t get Caraval out of my head. It was the first book I listened to this year, and I have the best kind of anxiety that I might not listen to anything better for the rest of 2017. It was just.that.good. I have been pushing it on my coworkers for a few weeks now, and two of them are finally listening and I simply can't wait to have friends to obsess over it with. " – Katie, Audible Editor

I Liked My Life

"5 Stars!"

"I loved this book so much! The author has you engaged from the first page and it is brilliantly written. It is on the top of my list of recommended books for my family and friends. After finishing it over a week ago, the characters are still with me. 👍" – Kate, Listener Since 2012

To Catch a Killer

New voice in Mystery/Thriller

"Narrator Christy Romano captures fearless 17-year-old Erin Blake convincingly. When she was two, Erin spent three days beside her murdered mother's body, and now she's determined to find her killer. Romano also effectively depicts secondary characters: Rachel, Erin's guardian, who was also her mother's best friend, as well as gutsy, eccentric Samantha and kind, level-headed Lysa, Erin's friends, who add warmth and support to her life. Each chapter begins with a helpful quote about detecting or forensics from a book by Erin's uncle, FBI agent Victor Fleming. Tension escalates, and so does Romano's delivery when Erin's favorite science teacher, who is also helping with the case, is brutally murdered. Listeners will root for Erin, both in her single-minded pursuit and in her partnership with her secret crush as they join forces to identify the perpetrator. Listeners of all ages will enjoy this roller-coaster mystery." – AudioFile Magazine

Cake

New voice in Romance

"I don't write many reviews and I'm primarily a mystery reader, but I enjoyed this book so much I felt compelled to write a review to tell everyone how satisfying a read it was. It has everything — charming characters, witty dialog, interesting plot. I hope this is the first of many books from Ms. Bengtsson. The narrators were excellent. Joe Arden is new to me, but I've always enjoyed Andi Arndt. Her work in the Stage Dive series is a must listen." – Jimmie, Listener Since 2009

The Hate U Give

"Fabulous listen"

"This book is stunning. It's not just relevant. The writing is amazing. The characters compelling and complicated. I highly recommend this audiobook if you are not a black person living in America. #blacklivesmattertoo #audiobooks #knitandread" — Kathryne, Listener Since 2011

Lincoln in the Bardo

"Lincoln in the Bardo is one of the most extraordinary books I have ever listened to — and make no mistake — this one is meant to be listened to. 166 individual narrators (led by Nick Offerman, David Sedaris, author George Saunders, and the incomparably sweet Kirby Heyborne as Willie) came together to voice this wildly surreal audiobook. And while that might sound like a production stunt, the breadth of voices is necessary to create the immersive cacophony effect (almost a Greek chorus of Americana) — because Saunders' first full-length novel, a hugely ambitious work that delivers a devastatingly accurate portrait of grief, is entirely voiced by ghosts." – Emily, Audible Editor

Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk

Library Journal Editors' Pick

It's the last day of 1984, and 85-year-old Lillian Boxfish is about to take a walk. As she traverses a grittier Manhattan, a city anxious after an attack by a still-at-large subway vigilante, she encounters bartenders, bodega clerks, chauffeurs, security guards, bohemians, criminals, children, parents, and parents-to-be in surprising moments of generosity and grace. While she strolls, Lillian recalls a long and eventful life that included a brief reign as the highest paid advertising woman in America — a career cut short by marriage, motherhood, divorce, and a breakdown.

The Dry

We're Thankful We Don't Have This Cleaning Job:

“The entrance hall was muggy and stank of bleach. A side table piled with household clutter of bills and pens sat askew against a far wall, shoved from its original position. The tiled floor was ominously clean. The entire hallway had been scrubbed down to the original grout. ‘The industrial cleaner’s been through, so there aren’t any nasty surprises,’ Raco said. ‘They couldn’t save the carpet in the kid’s bedroom. Not that you’d want to.’”

The Bear and the Nightingale

Series name: Winternight Trilogy

Books in Series: The Bear and the Nightingale (Book 1);The Girl in the Tower (Book 2); The Winter of the Witch (Book 3)

Vasya is a young, plucky girl living in a small village in Northern Russia. She lives a mostly happy life—until her widowed father brings home a new wife from Moscow. Determined to control her spirited stepdaughter, Vasya’s stepmother forbids her and her siblings from listening to their nurse’s fairy tales or participating in the ancient practice of honoring household spirits. However, when a force from the outside world threatens life as Vasya and her community know it, she sets off on a journey to defend her home, using a mysterious jewel given to her father by a stranger when she was born. Katherine Arden's writing soars on the wings of Kathleen Gati's narration in this story of tension between Russian tradition and modernity.

Caraval

"A Dazzling Debut"

"I can’t get Caraval out of my head. It was the first book I listened to this year, and I have the best kind of anxiety that I might not listen to anything better for the rest of 2017. It was just.that.good. I have been pushing it on my coworkers for a few weeks now, and two of them are finally listening and I simply can't wait to have friends to obsess over it with. " – Katie, Audible Editor

I Liked My Life

"5 Stars!"

"I loved this book so much! The author has you engaged from the first page and it is brilliantly written. It is on the top of my list of recommended books for my family and friends. After finishing it over a week ago, the characters are still with me. 👍" – Kate, Listener Since 2012

To Catch a Killer

New voice in Mystery/Thriller

"Narrator Christy Romano captures fearless 17-year-old Erin Blake convincingly. When she was two, Erin spent three days beside her murdered mother's body, and now she's determined to find her killer. Romano also effectively depicts secondary characters: Rachel, Erin's guardian, who was also her mother's best friend, as well as gutsy, eccentric Samantha and kind, level-headed Lysa, Erin's friends, who add warmth and support to her life. Each chapter begins with a helpful quote about detecting or forensics from a book by Erin's uncle, FBI agent Victor Fleming. Tension escalates, and so does Romano's delivery when Erin's favorite science teacher, who is also helping with the case, is brutally murdered. Listeners will root for Erin, both in her single-minded pursuit and in her partnership with her secret crush as they join forces to identify the perpetrator. Listeners of all ages will enjoy this roller-coaster mystery." – AudioFile Magazine

Cake

New voice in Romance

"I don't write many reviews and I'm primarily a mystery reader, but I enjoyed this book so much I felt compelled to write a review to tell everyone how satisfying a read it was. It has everything — charming characters, witty dialog, interesting plot. I hope this is the first of many books from Ms. Bengtsson. The narrators were excellent. Joe Arden is new to me, but I've always enjoyed Andi Arndt. Her work in the Stage Dive series is a must listen." – Jimmie, Listener Since 2009

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