The 25 most anticipated debut novels of 2022—what a task! How can we possibly narrow it down when there are so many interesting debuts this year? Well, we managed to do it–kind of. Here they are in order of release date. We hope you enjoy discovering these brand new novelists as much as we did!
1. The Arc: A Novel by Tory Henwood Hoen (February 8th)
Tory Henwood Hoen is a Brooklyn-based writer whose debut The Arc: A Novel comes out February 8th via St. Martin’s Press. The story explores whether or not AI can successfully find compatible soul mates via a super-sophisticated dating app called “The Arc.” The Arc promises to match partners for longevity in a way that would never happen organically–for a hefty price. Since we’re on the verge of AI taking charge of every aspect of our lives in the real world, it’s important for artists to explore this terrain before they’re rendered obsolete by the algorithm. Hey, here’s an idea–let’s create machines that can operate us like machines. Convenience is king, baby. “Is it possible to optimize our most intimate relationships?” Can the algorithm replace human consciousness? Trying to boil down our most basic human needs into an equation is a messy business. But then again, man’s search for God has always been messy. Maybe our devices will provide the Ultimate Reality after all. Anyway, this sounds like the perfect book for all the frustrated singles out there looking for love on the internet. Just in time for Valentine’s Day!
2. Divine Vintage by Sandra L. Young (February 21st)
Speaking of Love and the Ultimate Reality…Divine Vintage by Sandra L. Young deals with a vintage boutique owner turned sleuth via an Edwardian wedding dress. When Tess Burton models a Trousseau gown from the late 1800s, she’s struck by powerful visions of a murder that transpired way back when. She then becomes obsessed with discovering the truth about the murder via her shamanistic dress and some old journals. But when her time-traveling escapades threaten her budding relationship, Tess is forced to decide whether she’s gone too far…or not far enough.
3. Tripping Arcadia by Kit Mayquist (February 22nd)
Numerology, anyone? The 2’s align for this release coming 2 you on 2/22/22. Kit Mayquist digs all things cold and old and it shows in his debut “gothic” novel set in modern Boston. Tripping Arcadia promises to deliver the scandalous glamour of F. Scott Fitzgerald for a new generation. When med school dropout Lena starts working for a wealthy family, she becomes desperately entwined in their lavish and hedonistic lifestyle. By the time Lena discovers the patriarch of the wealthy family was partially responsible for the demise of her own, she has already fallen in love with his alluring daughter, Audrey. Is she willing to turn against them to avenge her family or has she descended too far? Fans of Mexican Gothic will love this page-turning debut from Kit Mayquist.
4. The Hitman’s Daughter by Carolyne Topdjian (February 22nd)
The Hitman’s Daughter is a paranormal crime-thriller genre mashup in the most interesting way. When a blizzard hits the guests at the Chateau du Ciel find themselves trapped at a New Year’s Eve party with deadly consequences. Hotel employee Mave Michael finds the resident artist dead and it doesn’t look good when security shows up and finds her alone with the body. Especially because her father is a notorious hitman serving life in prison. Mave turns this into an opportunity to confront her past and solve the mystery of the murder. But first, she must uncover the real history of the haunted hotel and the secrets held by the elite guests. Topdjian’s debut comes out in hardcover later this month via London publisher, Agora Books.
5. Country of Origin by Dalia Azim (March 15th)
Dalia Azim has published several short stories in various prestigious outlets such as American Short Fiction, Aperture, Columbia: A Journal of Literature and Art, Other Voices, The Washington Post, and Glimmer Train where she received the Short Story Award for New Writers. Her debut novel Country of Origin comes out this month via Deep Vellum. Country Of Origin is set against the backdrop of revolution in 1950’s Egypt. When Cairo goes up in flames, Halah Ibrahim rejects her father’s allegiance to the new military-backed government and flees to America with a young soldier she just met. This is a multigenerational family saga that explores themes we can all relate to–love, the need for independence, and family identity.
6. A Novel Obsession by Caitlin Barasch (March 15th)
Caitlyn Barasch was born and raised in New York City. She is the author of numerous short stories that have appeared in over a dozen publications and is a former creative writing teacher at New York University, her alma mater. Now, her debut novel is coming out via Penguin Random House this spring. Here’s another story about the emotion under every human action, the thing that makes the world go round’–Love with a capital “L.” A bookish twenty-four-year-old New Yorker with ambitions to write a novel struggles to find the perfect story to tell. When Mr. Right falls into her life it just seems so perfect…maybe too perfect. Falling in love is a complicated process but it sure can fan the flames of creativity. Check out A Novel Obsession by Caitlin Barasch coming soon.
7. A Magic Steeped In Poison (The Book Of Tea #1) by Judy I. Lin (March 29th)
Judy Lin brings the heat with her debut YA fantasy novel A Magic Steeped In Poison, the first in a duology. Set in a mythological Chinese kingdom in an unknown era of the past, the book’s protagonist Ning travels to the capital city to compete in a teamaking competition. But this isn’t all about the glory. Fueled by guilt over feeling responsible for her mother’s death by poison tea, Ning senses that her sister may be in danger of succumbing to the same fate. As she embarks on her quest through the minefield of ancient teamaking, filled with backstabbing politics and dangerous magic, it might be Ning’s life that is threatened after all. Coming to you this spring from publisher Macmillan. Check it out!
8. Little Foxes Took Up Matches by Katya Kazbek (April 5th)
Katya Kazbek is a bilingual Russian/ English writer who splits her time between Moscow and NYC. Her day job consists of writing about early post-Soviet history for Supamodu.com but now she’s got a novel coming out in April via Tin House. In Little Foxes Took Up Matches, Kazbek draws from her love of researching Soviet history in this surreal novel about a young man who swallows his grandmother’s sewing needle that holds serious implications for him and his family. For Mitya, the young protagonist of the novel, his grandmother’s sewing needle sitting inside of his stomach is a comfort–”a small metal treasure that guides him from within.” For his family, it is the beginning of the end. Mitya’s life begins to reflect the uncertain future of his country fresh after the collapse of the Soviet Union. As if growing up wasn’t hard enough…
9. Hotel Magnifique by Emily J. Taylor (April 5th)
The Hotel Magnifique is a strange and wondrous place straight out of the prosperous late 19th century in Paris. Champagne flowing through fountains in the foyer isn’t even the most decant feature of this hotel. This place is so classy it travels…every morning it appears in a different location. Well, it’s easy to see why Jani would want to join the staff when the place showed up in her town, right? After all, she’s spent her whole young life so far in a small port town looking after her younger sister Zosa. Her job sucks and she can’t afford to stay at Hotel Magnifique so why not work there? Plus, the doorman is a total hunk. But when Jani discovers she’s stuck in the magic hotel forever, of course, she needs to get free and free the rest of the staff as well. We always want what we can’t have. Check out Hotel Magnifique, a YA fantasy debut novel from California author Emily J. Taylor. Coming to you in hardcover from Penguin Teen this spring.
10. Gold Mountain by Betty G. Yee (April 5th)
Tam Ling Fan grew up in a privileged life in 1860’s China but that ends when her father is wrongfully imprisoned. Ling Fan poses as a young man and takes her dead brother’s contract to work on the Transcontinental Railroad in America, hoping to earn enough funds to get her father out of prison. Will she survive this grueling and dangerous life in the Sierra Nevadas? Scope out Gold Mountain in hardcover from Carolrhoda Books on April 5th.
11. Not Your Child by Lis Angus (April 18th)
Not Your Child, the debut novel by Canadian writer Liz Angus, is about a parent’s worst fear. It seems like things can’t get worse when single mother Susan suspects a strange man is stalking her twelve-year-old daughter. Then, she discovers the man is convinced her daughter is really his granddaughter abducted at birth and he’s obsessed with getting her back. Susan insists on a DNA test to prove she’s the real mother but the results show she’s not! Then the kid goes missing but the stalker has an alibi that checks out and the cops can’t get anything on him. Who’s the perp and where’s the kid? Wild Rose Press brings this mysterious cliffhanger to your shelf on April 18th. A very interesting debut novel of 2022.
12. Hope and Glory by Jendella Benson (April 19th)
This debut novel from Nigerian-British author Jendella Benson weaves together a young woman’s dreams for her own future and the reality of a family in shambles. Glory Akindele returns to London from Los Angeles after the sudden death of her father to find that her entire family has fallen apart in her absence. Her formerly-independent sister is now a suburban mother, her brother is in jail, and her mother is headed for a breakdown. Glory’s life in LA isn’t working out either but nobody has to know that! Then, she gets involved with a guy from her past–as if all these feelings weren’t messy enough. Hope and Glory comes out via HarperCollins imprint William Morrow this spring.
13. We Do What We Do In the Dark by Michelle Hart (May 3rd)
After the death of her mother, college freshman Mallory finds herself involved in a secret lesbian love affair that alters the trajectory of her life. The affair brings Mallory out of isolation and makes her feel like the woman she is meant to be. But when it ends, how will she proceed? Will she find the courage to say “YES” to life or fall back into the comfort of her small lonely world? Michelle Hart’s debut novel What We Do in the Dark explores how loss, love, admiration, and desire shape the course of our lives. Coming to you May 3rd from Penguin Random House.
14. Rainbow Rainbow by Lydia Conklin (May 31st)
Rainbow Rainbow is a collection of award-winning short stories that reveals the nuances of queer life. Uncertainty, identity struggles, lust, and responsibility are just some of the themes trans author Lydia Conklin explores in this collection. “The stories in Rainbow Rainbow will make you laugh and wince, sometimes at the same time.” The characters endure both the darkness and joy of coming to terms with their identities–that alone is a breeding ground for good drama. Also, this is the only short story collection on our debut novels of 2022 list. (We had to make an exception for this one.) The hardcover drops via Catapult on May 31st!
15. A Little Bit Country by Brian D. Kennedy (May 31st)
Move over Orville Peck, here comes Emmet Maguire–a teenager from Illinois with an ambition to become the biggest gay superstar in country music. But as always, love comes in and complicates things. Emmet’s new lover Luke hates country music, and yet they’re inseparable. Then the family drama begins. Also, A Little Bit Country is set in a Dollywood-inspired theme park, which is bound to make matters interesting. Will the budding lovers get over their differences or succumb to pressures that have nothing to do with their love for each other? Snag this YA paperback from HarperCollins imprint Balzer + Bray this summer to find out what goes down.
16. The Peacekeeper by B.L. Blanchard (June 1st)
Don’t judge a book by its cover! Author B.L. Blanchard may have blonde hair and blue eyes but she’s part of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians from Michigan’s upper peninsula. Blanchard draws from her own heritage in her debut novel The Peacekeeper—a thrilling piece of alternative history that takes place in a modern-day, never-colonized North America. An Ojibwe detective embarks on a journey of self-discovery in the wake of a personal crisis while solving two murders. The book comes out June 1st via Amazon publishing sci-fi imprint 47North. What a great debut novel of 2022!
17. In Search of the Magic Theater by Karla Huebner (June 1st)
The life of the artist is full of pain and beauty. This story follows two women through formative stages in their very different lives. When a recent divorcee lodges at the home of a young cellist their creative and life paths become entwined in ways neither could have predicted. With references to Hesse’s Steppenwolf and Greek mythology, In Search of the Magic Theater sounds like a fascinating read–aside from boasting wondrous cover art. In one writer’s opinion, this book takes the prize for “best cover art” on our debut novels of 2022 list. The book comes out this summer from Regal House Publishing.
18. Nuclear Family by Joseph Han (June 7th)
When Guy Fieri visits Cho’s Delicatessen, Mr. and Mrs. Cho find themselves that much closer to realizing their dream of franchising their Korean restaurant across Hawaii. That is until a video of their son attempting to cross the DMZ into North Korea goes viral and tanks sales at their restaurant. What would possess him to do such a thing? Well, the kid is literally possessed by the ghost of his grandfather who is desperate to find the family he left behind in the north back in the 1950s. Set in the months leading up to the 2018 North Korea / Hawaii nuclear missile scare, Nuclear Family sounds like a truly weird and hilarious debut novel. Brought to you this summer by Counterpoint Press.
19. A Botanist’s Guide to Parties and Poisons by Kate Khavari (June 7th)
The year is 1923 and London is the place. Saffron Everleigh is a research assistant of botany at University College London but her colleagues don’t respect her because she’s a woman. Then, her mentor is accused of murder when somebody is poisoned at a University fundraiser party and drops dead. Can Saffron use her knowledge of botany to prove her mentor is innocent or will she become the killer’s next victim? A Botanist’s Guide to Parties and Poisons by Kate Khavari drops June 7th via mystery and thriller publisher Crooked Lane Books.
20. The Final Strife by Saara El-Arifi (June 23rd)
Here comes the first book in an African-Arabian fantasy trilogy from Saara El-Arifi. The Final Strife is about three women who band together to fight an empire that divides its subjects into castes–red-blooded elites, blue-blooded working class, and clear-blooded slaves. Viva la revolution! This 640-page epic fantasy drops on June 23rd via HarperVoyager.
21. This Vicious Grace by Emile Thiede (June 28th)
Now for a YA fantasy of mythological proportions. This Vicious Grace brings a folklore vibe to Gen Z. Alessa’s gift from the gods is supposed to magnify her lovers’ powers but instead, she’s killing every suitor she touches. What a curse! When an impending demon invasion threatens everyone on her island, the high priest determines that sacrificing Alessa is the only way to save the population. Heavy load…and this is only the first book in The Last Finestra series! Coming to you June 28th from Wednesday Books.
22. The Book Eaters by Sunyi Dean (August 9th)
The Book Eaters is a strange allegory for our tendency to accept the narratives that others create for us. In this fantasy novel, a tribe of alien people subsists only on eating books. When they devour a story, they retain the contents of that book. Men are fed stories of adventure and glory while women are fed fairytales and cautionary stories. But Devon’s son doesn’t like to eat books…he prefers human minds. Autistic author Sunyi Dean’s surreal debut comes out on August 9th via Tor Books.
23. Monsters Born and Made by Tanvi Berwah (September 6th)
Here’s another YA fantasy about class struggle set amidst the backdrop of an oceanic world where man-eating beasts abound. Sixteen-year-old Koral risks her life every day trying to capture a vicious maristag sea monster to sell to the ruling class, who use them for their annual chariot race. If Koral can’t capture a maristag she won’t get paid and her family will starve. Indeed she does capture one but then it escapes! So, without any training, she decides to cheat her way into the race for a chance to win the hefty cash prize. If she loses, not only will she be killed but her chronically ill sister will die and her parents will starve. Talk about pressure to live up to one’s familial expectations! Monsters Born and Made comes out this summer from indy YA publisher Sourcebooks Fire.
24. Don’t Let In The Cold by Keely Parrack (September 6th)
Mother Nature interferes again in Don’t Let In The Cold by Keely Parrack. When a solar flare causes a massive blackout, Lottie and Jade find themselves alone in the dark freezing in a remote Tahoe cabin facing an impending snowstorm. But the elements aren’t all they need to fight off for survival. A group of slashers show up and chase the girls into the wilderness sparking a wild manhunt in the black of night. Check out this mystery thriller for teens dropping this summer also via Sourcebooks Fire.
25. The Last Hope In Hopetown by Maria Tureaud (Fall ‘22)
For some reason stories that involve a struggle in which a youth is destined to overcome impossible odds in order to save the whole family are hot this year. Twelve-year-old Sophie Dawes lives a charmed life in Hopetown where vampires and humans co-exist in harmony…until a few bad apples go rouge. Sophie is human but her parents are vampires and now child protective services are coming for her because the vampires can’t be trusted. Can Sophie brave danger and find a cure to the sickness that made her loving vampire parents go rogue? This year’s middle-grade classic The Last Hope In Hopetown comes to the school book fair this fall via Little, Brown.
Patrick Salway is a writer, musician, and actor living in Los Angeles. Follow him on social media @blone_noble and @veneer_publications. Listen to VENEER.
If you enjoyed this piece, check out 14 Books Coming Out In 2021.
Need a book trailer? Film 14 offers book trailers for authors and services such as audiobook recording, book cover design, and more! Check us out here, or shoot us an email! Want to make your own book trailer? Check out our free guide!