Hi dear friends,

Today I am late (no one will be surprised I know) to post my Top 5 (or more) Tuesday hosted by Shanah @bionicbookworm!

As I am literally running on fumes with everything that happened recently in my life I will go (nearly) straight for the jugular and write something nice and easy.

When I say “nearly” that’s because talking about debut novels made me think of  what made these persons suddenly be brave and hit the “publish” button to launch their first baby book in the literary world!

Most of them did not have a master in literature and some had maybe jobs that did not rely on writing.

And suddenly they write a book, knock at some editing house’s door some being accepted others deciding to still publish but going indie and Bam Wham Madame, instant hit! Or at least they write what I consider below as a wonderful story that would have you believe was written by a seasoned author.

So yes why? What pushes them to publish?


Calling to my writers friends here, Jacqueline, Alexandra, ….

Please share with us your personal journey!

And maybe YOU, yes you reading these lines are secretly writing something even for a very long time and YOU plan to publish it one day?


OK OK I promised something short so let’s get to these masterpieces of debut novels!

The first one is a monument! The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini has been rated more than 2 million times on Goodreads! When I read it I was gobsmacked! And awed!


“It may be unfair, but what happens in a few days, sometimes even a single day, can change the course of a whole lifetime.”

Amir is the son of a wealthy Kabul merchant, a member of the ruling caste of Pashtuns. Hassan, his servant and constant companion, is a Hazara, a despised and impoverished caste. Their uncommon bond is torn by Amir’s choice to abandon his friend amidst the increasing ethnic, religious, and political tensions of the dying years of the Afghan monarchy, wrenching them far apart. But so strong is the bond between the two boys that Amir journeys back to a distant world, to try to right past wrongs against the only true friend he ever had.

The unforgettable, heartbreaking story of the unlikely friendship between a wealthy boy and the son of his father’s servant, The Kite Runner is a beautifully crafted novel set in a country that is in the process of being destroyed. It is about the power of reading, the price of betrayal, and the possibility of redemption; and an exploration of the power of fathers over sons—their love, their sacrifices, their lies.

A sweeping story of family, love, and friendship told against the devastating backdrop of the history of Afghanistan over the last thirty years, The Kite Runner is an unusual and powerful novel that has become a beloved, one-of-a-kind classic.


Second impressive debut novel that caused many people to open their eyes upon a controversial topic: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas


Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

But what Starr does—or does not—say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.


My third “top debut novel” is once again an underdog that I can’t understand for the love of God why it’s not better known and most read because I swear this is a brilliant story of courage, survival and resilience! If you Find Me by Emily Murdoch


There are some things you can’t leave behind…

A broken-down camper hidden deep in a national forest is the only home fifteen year-old Carey can remember. The trees keep guard over her threadbare existence, with the one bright spot being Carey’s younger sister, Jenessa, who depends on Carey for her very survival. All they have is each other, as their mentally ill mother comes and goes with greater frequency. Until that one fateful day their mother disappears for good, and two strangers arrive. Suddenly, the girls are taken from the woods and thrust into a bright and perplexing new world of high school, clothes and boys.

Now, Carey must face the truth of why her mother abducted her ten years ago, while haunted by a past that won’t let her go… a dark past that hides many a secret, including the reason Jenessa hasn’t spoken a word in over a year. Carey knows she must keep her sister close, and her secrets even closer, or risk watching her new life come crashing down.


Fourth choice to give you something lighter and more “fluffy” : The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang was like a refreshing romantic tsunami in 2018!


A heartwarming and refreshing debut novel that proves one thing: there’s not enough data in the world to predict what will make your heart tick.

Stella Lane thinks math is the only thing that unites the universe. She comes up with algorithms to predict customer purchases — a job that has given her more money than she knows what to do with, and way less experience in the dating department than the average thirty-year-old.

It doesn’t help that Stella has Asperger’s and French kissing reminds her of a shark getting its teeth cleaned by pilot fish. Her conclusion: she needs lots of practice — with a professional. Which is why she hires escort Michael Phan. The Vietnamese and Swedish stunner can’t afford to turn down Stella’s offer, and agrees to help her check off all the boxes on her lesson plan — from foreplay to more-than-missionary position…

Before long, Stella not only learns to appreciate his kisses, but to crave all the other things he’s making her feel. Soon, their no-nonsense partnership starts making a strange kind of sense. And the pattern that emerges will convince Stella that love is the best kind of logic…


Fifth incredible debut novel with a real ugly cover that would never have me buy the book if not for the best advice one of my friends could give me: The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner


Dill has had to wrestle with vipers his whole life—at home, as the only son of a Pentecostal minister who urges him to handle poisonous rattlesnakes, and at school, where he faces down bullies who target him for his father’s extreme faith and very public fall from grace.

The only antidote to all this venom is his friendship with fellow outcasts Travis and Lydia. But as they are starting their senior year, Dill feels the coils of his future tightening around him. The end of high school will lead to new beginnings for Lydia, whose edgy fashion blog is her ticket out of their rural Tennessee town. And Travis is happy wherever he is thanks to his obsession with the epic book series Bloodfall and the fangirl who may be turning his harsh reality into real-life fantasy. Dill’s only escapes are his music and his secret feelings for Lydia—neither of which he is brave enough to share. Graduation feels more like an ending to Dill than a beginning. But even before then, he must cope with another ending—one that will rock his life to the core.

Debut novelist Jeff Zentner provides an unblinking and at times comic view of the hard realities of growing up in the Bible Belt, and an intimate look at the struggles to find one’s true self in the wreckage of the past.

And of course I could not stop at five books of course! Once a rebel always a rebel 😀 


This book has been recommended by many of you lovers of YA reads and it left me in shambles!!!! I cried. It was poignant but also so beautiful! A List of Cages by Robin Roe


When Adam Blake lands the best elective ever in his senior year, serving as an aide to the school psychologist, he thinks he’s got it made. Sure, it means a lot of sitting around, which isn’t easy for a guy with ADHD, but he can’t complain, since he gets to spend the period texting all his friends. Then the doctor asks him to track down the troubled freshman who keeps dodging her, and Adam discovers that the boy is Julian—the foster brother he hasn’t seen in five years.

Adam is ecstatic to be reunited. At first, Julian seems like the boy he once knew. He’s still kindhearted. He still writes stories and loves picture books meant for little kids. But as they spend more time together, Adam realizes that Julian is keeping secrets, like where he hides during the middle of the day, and what’s really going on inside his house. Adam is determined to help him, but his involvement could cost both boys their lives…


Now something very male, oozing testosterone, deceits, betrayals, secrets and the most incredible plot twists you could dream of! Seriously friends, read this one this is diabolical! Nine Minute by Beth Flynn


On May 15, 1975, fifteen-year-old Ginny Lemon is abducted from a convenience store in Fort Lauderdale by a member of one of the most notorious and brutal motorcycle gangs in South Florida.

From that moment on, her life is forever changed. She gets a new name, a new identity and a new life in the midst of the gang’s base on the edge of the Florida Everglades—a frightening, rough and violent world much like the swamps themselves, where everyone has an alias and loyalty is tantamount to survival.

And at the center of it all is the gang’s leader, Grizz: massive, ruggedly handsome, terrifying and somehow, when it comes to Ginny, tender. She becomes his obsession and the one true love of his life.

So begins a tale of emotional obsession and manipulation, of a young woman ripped from everything she knows and forced to lean on the one person who provides attention, affection and care: her captor. Precocious and intelligent, but still very much a teenager, Ginny struggles to adapt to her existence, initially fighting and then coming to terms with her captivity.

Will she be rescued? Will she escape? Will she get out alive—or get out at all? Part psychological thriller, part coming-of-age novel, filled with mystery, romance and unexpected turns, Nine Minutes takes readers into the world of one motorcycle gang and inside the heart of a young girl, whose abduction brought about its fall.


Aaaaand my last one, recommended very warmly by Alexandra: The City of Brass by SA Chakraborty


Nahri has never believed in magic. Certainly, she has power; on the streets of 18th century Cairo, she’s a con woman of unsurpassed talent. But she knows better than anyone that the trade she uses to get by—palm readings, zars, healings—are all tricks, sleights of hand, learned skills; a means to the delightful end of swindling Ottoman nobles.

But when Nahri accidentally summons an equally sly, darkly mysterious djinn warrior to her side during one of her cons, she’s forced to accept that the magical world she thought only existed in childhood stories is real. For the warrior tells her a new tale: across hot, windswept sands teeming with creatures of fire, and rivers where the mythical marid sleep; past ruins of once-magnificent human metropolises, and mountains where the circling hawks are not what they seem, lies Daevabad, the legendary city of brass, a city to which Nahri is irrevocably bound.

In that city, behind gilded brass walls laced with enchantments, behind the six gates of the six djinn tribes, old resentments are simmering. And when Nahri decides to enter this world, she learns that true power is fierce and brutal. That magic cannot shield her from the dangerous web of court politics. That even the cleverest of schemes can have deadly consequences.

After all, there is a reason they say be careful what you wish for…

Now if you’ll excuse me I will go visit your choices, answer your comments left from oh at least two days ago and ….just tell me what you best debut noves are!

Thanks for reading!



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  1. WOW, I wouldn’t think some of these were debut authors either. I haven’t read all of them but the ones that I did read didn’t seem like they were debut authors! Great line up.


  2. Ha! I knew you wouldn’t stick to 5, and I’m glad you found room to include THE CITY OF BRASS, which, like your fab choices, was an amazing debut novel. Oh, and I so want to read IF YOU FIND ME, which is on my wish list. I think I need to move it up onto I must Buy List! What do you think? 😉

    As for advice about writing and publishing? I have lots. Maybe I need to do a series of articles over on my writing blog. Do you think anyone would be interested?

    1. Of course people would be interested Alexandra!!! Maybe we could start this with an interview (I would ask you some questions covering the basics) and then you can build up on it kind of like “do and don’t to build characters” and “how do you show and not tell” and etc!

  3. I remember reading If You Find Me several years ago and feeling like there was no one to discuss it with. Such a sleeper book that deserved so much more attention! TKQ makes me smile just thinking about it. 🙂 Such a feel-good story! A List of Cages… I still get weepy just thinking about Julian. And seeing Nine Minutes reminds me that I need to continue on with the series!

    1. Tanya why weren’t we friends several years ago????? We could have discussed If You Find me!

  4. I’m one of those who’s secretly (not really secretly) writing a book and hoping to publish it someday and I don’t think I’ll ever be like these authors. lol. Great list Sophie. 🙂

  5. TSK and TKQ are two favorites of mine. Hoang is getting a LOT of love out there, but I think Zentner deserves more than he gets. All three of his books was fabulous!