Varied Firsts of the New Year | Wyatt’s World

These authors offer fresh perspectives for 2018 with stories that kick off new series, provide novel takes on long-established genres, and will likely launch the writer to new heights.

  • Halsey Street by Naima Coster (Little A: Amazon).
    While first novels mark beginnings and possibilities, Coster’s debut opens with loss, as artist Penelope Grand moves back home to Brooklyn only to find everything she knew, including her family, altered by the relentless swarm of gentrification. Both threads drive this finely shaped family tale that considers what belonging means and what change reaps.
  • The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen (St. Martin’s).
    For only half of this writing team is this a debut  (Hendricks); Pekkanen (The Best of Us) has published widely. But for both authors, this is their break-big moment. Getting plenty of buzz, this twisty and sharp psychological thriller is one of the key titles leading the race to be the next Girl on the Train and has already gotten a leg up in that contest as screen rights have been acquired by Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Partners.
  • Everything Here Is Beautiful by Mira T. Lee (Pamela Dorman: Viking).
    The immigrant experience, mental illness, and sisterly bonds inform Lee’s debut, a carefully constructed novel orbiting the lives of siblings Miranda and Lucia. First-generation Chinese Americans, the women find their trajectories diverging after the death of their mother, with Miranda holding steady and trying to help Lucia, who begins to hear voices.
  • Heart Spring Mountain by Robin MacArthur (Ecco: HarperCollins).
    As tropical storm Irene tears into Vermont, Vale learns her mother has gone missing. The news sends Vale back to her home and into the lives and memories of her extended female family—all of whom have simmering tales to tell. MacArthur’s lyrical and stirring multigenerational novel—her sophomore effort—is both story- and character-rich and deftly realized.
  • Monument Road by Michael Wiley (Severn House).
    The first installment in the new “Franky Dast” books is not the first novel by Shamus Award–winning Wiley, but it does open a new noir series about a man who served time on death row for a crime he did not commit and now works for the legal shop that freed him. Wiley’s home-state newspaper, the Naples Florida Weekly, offers a readers’ advisory–ready description: “This gorgeously crafted, shudderingly dark novel blends the genres of psychological thriller and murder mystery.”
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Neal Wyatt About Neal Wyatt

Neal Wyatt compiles LJ's online feature Wyatt's World and is the author of The Readers' Advisory Guide to Nonfiction (ALA Editions, 2007). She is a collection development and readers' advisory librarian from Virginia. Those interested in contributing to The Reader's Shelf should contact her directly at

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