Here are a few of the most exciting debut novels coming out in July. These have all received starred reviews in library journals. For a longer list, please visit our catalog.
“She Who Became the Sun” by Shelley Parker-Chan
In a famine-stricken village on a dusty yellow plain, two children are given two fates. A boy, greatness. A girl, nothingness…
In 1345, China lies under harsh Mongol rule. For the starving peasants of the Central Plains, greatness is something found only in stories. When the Zhu family’s eighth-born son, Zhu Chongba, is given a fate of greatness, everyone is mystified as to how it will come to pass. The fate of nothingness received by the family’s clever and capable second daughter, on the other hand, is only as expected.
When a bandit attack orphans the two children, though, it is Zhu Chongba who succumbs to despair and dies. Desperate to escape her own fated death, the girl uses her brother’s identity to enter a monastery as a young male novice. There, propelled by her burning desire to survive, Zhu learns she is capable of doing whatever it takes, no matter how callous, to stay hidden from her fate.
After her sanctuary is destroyed for supporting the rebellion against Mongol rule, Zhu takes the chance to claim another future altogether: her brother’s abandoned greatness.
“The Rules of Arrangment” by Anisha Bhatia
Zoya Sahni has a great education, a fulfilling job and a loving family (for the most part). But she is not the perfect Indian girl. She’s overweight, spunky and dark-skinned in a world that prizes the slim, obedient and fair. At 26 she is hurtling toward her expiration date in Mumbai’s arranged marriage super-mart, but when her auntie’s matchmaking radar hones in on the Holy Grail of suitors — just as Zoya gets a dream job offer in New York City — the girl who once accepted her path as almost option-less must now make a choice of a lifetime.
Big-hearted with piercing social commentary, The Rules of Arrangement tells a powerful, irresistibly charming and oh-so relatable tale of a progressive life that won’t be hemmed in by outdated rules. But not without a few cultural casualties, and of course, an accidental love story along the way.
“Steel Fear” by Brandon Webb & John David Mann
“Brotherhood” by Mohamed Mbougar Sarr
Under the regime of the so-called Brotherhood, two young people are publicly executed for having loved each other. In response, their mothers begin a secret correspondence, their only outlet for the grief they share and each woman’s personal reckoning with a leadership that would take her beloved child’s life.
At the same time, spurred on by their indignation at what seems to be an escalation of The Brotherhood’s brutality, a band of intellectuals and free-thinkers seeks to awaken the conscience of the cowed populace and foment rebellion by publishing an underground newspaper. While they grapple with the implications of what they have done, the regime’s brutal leader begins a personal crusade to find the responsible parties, and bring them to his own sense of justice.