Take a Chance: Debut Authors (so far) in 2019

Along with the authors we know and love, part of our joy at Reading Group Choices is recommending great new writers making their debuts! We’re almost at the halfway point for 2019, and the year has already given us an impressive roster of first-time novels and memoirs.

We’ve identified half a dozen debuts to read with your group, with discussion questions, interviews, excerpts, and other materials below to help create a lively discussion. Take a chance on someone new!

We’ll look forward to what the rest of the year brings…

The Red Address Book by Sofia Lundberg

Novel, released January 2019

Meet Doris, a 96-year-old woman living alone in her Stockholm apartment. When Doris was a girl, she was given an address book by her father, and ever since she has carefully documented everyone she met and loved throughout the years. In writing down the stories of her colorful past—working as a maid in Sweden, modelling in Paris during the 30s, fleeing to Manhattan at the dawn of the Second World War—can she help Jenny, her American grandniece, unlock the secrets of their family and finally look to the future? And whatever became of Allan, the love of Doris’s life? A charming novel that prompts reflection on the stories we all should carry to the next generation, and the surprises in life that can await even the oldest among us.


The Golden Child by Claire AdamGolden Child by Claire Adam is a recommended book for 2019

Novel, released January 2019

The new novel from Sarah Jessica Parker’s imprint, SJP for Hogarth. Rural Trinidad: a brick house on stilts surrounded by bush; a family, quietly surviving. Clyde, the father, works long, exhausting shifts at the petroleum plant; Joy, his wife, looks after the home. Their two sons, thirteen years old, wake early every morning to travel to the capital, Port of Spain, for school. They are twins but nothing alike: Paul has always been considered odd, while Peter is widely believed to be a genius, destined for greatness. When Paul goes walking in the bush one afternoon and doesn’t come home, Clyde is forced to go looking for him. And as the hours turn to days, and Clyde begins to understand Paul’s fate, his world shatters—leaving him faced with a decision no parent should ever have to make.


One of our recommended books for 2019 is The Far Field by Madhuri Vijay

The Far Field by Madhuri Vijay

Novel, released January 2019

In the wake of her mother’s death, Shalini, a privileged and restless young woman from Bangalore, sets out for a remote Himalayan village in the troubled northern region of Kashmir. Certain that the loss of her mother is somehow connected to the decade-old disappearance of Bashir Ahmed, a charming Kashmiri salesman who frequented her childhood home, she is determined to confront him. But upon her arrival, Shalini is brought face to face with Kashmir’s politics, as well as the tangled history of the local family that takes her in. And when life in the village turns volatile and old hatreds threaten to erupt into violence, Shalini finds herself forced to make a series of choices that could hold dangerous repercussions for the very people she has come to love.

Read the Reading Group Choices interview with Madhuri Vijay on our blog!


No Ashes in the Fire by Darnell L. Moore

Memoir, released February 2019

From a leading journalist and activist comes a brave, beautifully wrought memoir. When Darnell Moore was fourteen, three boys from his neighborhood tried to set him on fire. They cornered him while he was walking home from school, harassed him because they thought he was gay, and poured a jug of gasoline on him. He escaped, but just barely. It wasn’t the last time he would face death. Three decades later, Moore is an award-winning writer, a leading Black Lives Matter activist, and an advocate for justice and liberation. In No Ashes in the Fire, he shares the journey taken by that scared, bullied teenager who not only survived, but found his calling.


Wally Funk’s Race for Space by Sue NelsonOne of our recommended books for 2019 is Wally Funk's Race for Space by Sue Nelson

Biography/Memoir, released March 2019

Wally Funk was among the Mercury 13, the first group of American pilots to complete NASA’s 1961 Women in Space program. Funk breezed through the rigorous physical and mental tests, her scores beating those of many of the male candidates—even John Glenn. Just one week before Funk was to enter the final phase of training, the entire program was abruptly cancelled. Politics and prejudice meant that none of the more-than-qualified women ever went to space. Undeterred, Funk went on to become one of America’s first female aviation inspectors and civilian flight instructors, though her dream of being an astronaut never dimmed. In this offbeat odyssey, journalist and fellow space buff Sue Nelson travels with Wally Funk, approaching her 80th birthday, as she races to make her giant leap.


One of our recommended books for 2019 is Hurricane Season by Nicole MellebyHurricane Season by Nicole Melleby

Young Adult Novel, released May 2019

Fig, a sixth grader, loves her dad and the home they share in a beachside town. She does not love the long months of hurricane season. Her father, a once-renowned piano player, sometimes goes looking for the music in the middle of a storm. More than anything, Fig wants to see the world through her father’s eyes, so she takes an art class to experience life as an artist does. But when Fig’s dad shows up at school, confused and looking for her, it brings social services to their door. As the walls start to fall around her, Fig is sure it’s up to her alone to solve her father’s problems and protect her family’s privacy. But with the help of her best friend, a cute girl at the library, and a surprisingly kind new neighbor, Fig learns she isn’t as alone as she once thought . . . and begins to compose her own definition of family.


Looking for more great reads? Check out our Favorite Books page for the best picks from each year!