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5 debut novelists to watch in early 2019

These impressive first-time authors are already generating a career's worth of literary buzz.

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1. Sugar Run by Mesha Maren (Jan. 8)

What would you do if you got out of prison for the first time in 18 years? And how do you start fresh if the past won’t leave you alone? These are some of the questions that Jodi McCarty, the protagonist of Mesha Maren’s acclaimed Sugar Run, faces after being incarcerated at just 17 years old.

The book was named a best new book by both Amazon and Southern Living, and the reviews are big enough to knock your literary socks off: “Sugar Run is a shining debut, with a heady admixture of explosive plot and taut, burnished prose. This is a book that loves its wounded characters and troubled places, and in so deeply loving, it finds a terrible truth and beauty where other writers wouldn’t have found the courage to look,” says best-selling author Lauren Groff. “Maren is masterly at describing America’s modern wastelands, the blasted towns not yet and maybe never-to-be the beneficiaries of rehabilitation and reoccupation,” echoes Charles Frazier in The New York Times Book Review. 

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