22 Books We’re Looking Forward To This Year

January 30, 2018

2018 promises to be a wonderful year in books. We tried to keep our list of books we are looking forward to reading this year to just eighteen, but trimming it down to twenty-two was difficult enough. As usual, our list focuses on debuts and books that are out during the first half of the year. So, dive in.

The Afterlives by Thomas Pierce

This book is already out, so read it now! In Thomas Pierce’s strong debut novel, narrator Jim Byrd struggles with the fragility of life and relationships. Holograms walk the streets, a device allows you to view your heartbeats on your phone, and a woman just may have invented a machine that can free you from the constraints of time. For all that, the novel feels incredibly familiar.

Publication date: January 9

Everything Here Is Beautiful by Mira T. Lee

This debut novel has already hit bookstore shelves, and you shouldn’t delay in reading it. Our reviewer Katharine Coldiron writes: “Mira T. Lee’s voice is not reassuring or simple; it is alive, worthy of pursuit and concentration.” Read our review here.

Publication date: January 16


This Will Be My Undoing: Living at the Intersection of Black, Female, and Feminist in (White) America by Morgan Jerkins

This is a debut collection of essays from an important new cultural and political voice. Jerkins writes about her own experience being black, female, and feminist and shines a light on injustices that often go unacknowledged and are too rarely discussed. Don’t miss this intelligent and incisive new voice.

Publication date: January 30

The House of Impossible Beauties by Joseph Cassara

Joseph Cassara’s debut novel, set in New York in the eighties and nineties, documents the experiences of Angel, one of the founders of the House of Xtravaganza, and the people she meets as part of the Harlem ball scene. Don’t miss this one.

Publication date: February 6


Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi

We are not the only people looking forward to Freshwater, Akwaeke Emezi’s debut novel. Its protagonist, Ada, grows up in Nigeria and leaves to attend college in America, where she is assaulted. Freshwater is narrated by Ada’s disparate selves. Don’t miss this dark, graceful new novel.

Publication date: February 13


The Sea Beast Takes a Lover by Michael Andreasen

Michael Andreasen’s debut short story collection is full of surreal and otherworldly thrills. Ramona Ausubel has this to say about it: “Full of explosions of magic, aching tenderness and star-bright writing. This is a book that will make you want to tap the person next to you and say, ‘I’m sorry to interrupt, but you have to hear this.’”

Publication date: February 27 

Awayland by Ramona Ausubel

Oh, how we love Ramona Ausubel’s stories. Though we like to focus on debuts, we couldn’t resist including this book on our list. In Ausubel’s latest collection, a mother turns to mist and a Cyclops looks for love. We’re excited.

Publication date: March 6


Carry You by Glori Simmons

Glori Simmons’ debut short story collection is being published by Autumn House Press this March. We were lucky to be able to publish “Night Vision,” a story from the collection, in our New Voices section. Read it here.

Publication date: March 7


The Natashas by Yelena Moskovich

Yelena Moskovich’s debut novel is coming out from Dzanc Books this spring. In the words of the publisher: “A startlingly original novel that recalls the unsettling visual worlds of Cindy Sherman and David Lynch and the writing of Angela Carter and Haruki Murakami, The Natashas establishes Yelena Moskovich as one of the most exciting young writers of her generation.”

Publication date: March 13

The Merry Spinster: Tales of Everyday Horror by Mallory Ortberg

Yeah, readers are pretty excited about Mallory Ortberg’s forthcoming collection The Merry Spinster, in which classic fairy tales and children’s stories are given dark twists. We can’t wait.

Publication date: March 13


Tangerine by Christine Mangan

In Christine Mangan’s debut novel, two former college roommates and recent Bennington alums find themselves reunited in Morocco after more than a year of estrangement. This one will keep you on your toes.

Publication date: March 27


Beyond Measure: Essays by Rachel Z. Arndt

Rachel Z. Arndt’s first collection of essays, out from Sarabande books, catalogs the measurable, from data on judo competition weigh-ins to the height of a standardized kitchen countertop. At the same time, Arndt examines the limits of what data can tell us.

Publication date: April 10


Animals Eat Each Other by Elle Nash

This spring is going to be full of debuts. In Animals Eat Each Other, a woman begins an unusual affair with two people who are already in a relationship. Though strict rules for the tryst are laid out, I think it’s safe to say that things get messy.

Publication date: April 3


The Comedown by Rebekah Frumkin

This novel spans decades and follows the saga of two Cleveland families. It is Rebekah Frumkin’s first book and comes highly recommended by Carmen Maria Machado.

Publication date: April 17


 A Lucky Man: Stories by Jamel Brinkley

Jamel Brinkley’s first short story collection arrives from Graywolf this year to much fanfare. Garth Greenwell says of the book: “This is a rare debut that introduces not a promising talent but a major writer, fully formed.”

Publication date: May 1


Night Beast by Ruth Joffre

We are anxiously anticipating Ruth Joffre’s debut collection, which comes out from Grove Press in May. The title story, “Night Beast,” was selected by Kelly Link as the winner of our Fall Fiction Contest. Yeah, we’re proud.

Publication date: May 8


Belly Up by Rita Bullwinkel

We love all the wonderful books that A Strange Object publishes, and we are sure that Rita Bullwinkel’s debut collection Belly Up will be no exception. Deb Olin Unferth had this to say: “Bullwinkel’s delightful, passionate stories of disturbance and worried words have the best kind of frenetic energy.”

Publication date: May 8


The Pisces by Melissa Broder

Lucy, the novel’s protagonist, falls in love with a merman while she is recovering from grad school burnout at her sister’s Venice Beach pad. You had us at merman.

Publication date: May 1


Half Gods: Stories by Akil Kumarasamy

We love a good debut short story collection, which is why we are so excited about Akil Kumarasamy’s Half Gods, out from FSG this summer. For a sneak peek at Kumarasamy’s work, check out her story “New World” in Harper’s.

Publication date: June 5


There There by Tommy Orange

Sherman Alexie had this to say about There There, Tommy Orange’s first novel: “Set in Oakland, California, There There is truly the first book to capture what it means to be an urban Indian—perhaps the first novel ever to celebrate and honor and elevate the joys and losses of urban Indians. You might think I’m exaggerating but this book is so revolutionary—evolutionary—that Native American literature will never be the same.”

Publication date: June 5

The Blurry Years by Eleanor Kriseman

The Blurry Years is a coming-of-age story that is set against the backdrop of Florida in the seventies and eighties. It is Eleanor Kriseman’s first novel and will be published by Two Dollar Radio.

Publication date: July 10


The Fifth Woman by Nona Caspers

The Fifth Woman is told as a series of vignettes in which the narrator grapples with the sudden death of her partner. Caspers’ beautiful, moving novel is out from Sarabande this summer.

Publication date: August 7


by Sadye Teiser


At The Masters Review, our mission is to support emerging writers. We only accept submissions from writers who can benefit from a larger platform: typically, writers without published novels or story collections or with low circulation. We publish fiction and nonfiction online year-round and put out an annual anthology of the ten best emerging writers in the country, judged by an expert in the field. We publish craft essays, interviews and book reviews and hold workshops that connect emerging and established writers.

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