Best Debuts of 2014: Staff Picks

Post originally published on 12/16/14

IN CASE OF EMERGENCY:
Courtney Moreno

In this well-written, engaging, debut novel, I found myself completely engrossed in Moreno’s study of physical and emotional trauma. In balancing the clinical details of scene-and-patient assessment with the nuances of new romance and battling demons, this is a book that I keep coming back to. I never wanted it to end.


LOVE ME BACK:
Merritt Tierce

With a distinct, dark, unapologetic voice, Tierce’s debut novel is one that is both observational and vulnerable. Tierce found a niche in the literary community with a brutally honest tale about a self-destructive woman who explores the darker side of the American Dream.


Junkette:
Sarah Shotland

A beautiful, visceral account of a heroin addict’s struggle in pre-Katrina New Orleans. In her struggle for survival, I found myself relating to Claire in ways I never thought I could. Whether that was set up by Shotland’s brilliant use of setting, or the grittiness of her prose, I’m not sure, but it works.


THE ART OF FALLING
Kathryn Craft

It has been a long time since I have found adult fiction that has dealt with body image struggles in the same clear honesty that Craft has. In an account of dancer Penny’s rehabilitation after a fall, we follow her through an emotional rehabilitation in a world that constantly rejects her.